Is it Time to Get a Divorce? Recognizing Signs and Preventing Divorce

Last Updated:
December 6, 2023

Let’s be honest, marriage can be complicated. It’s a rollercoaster of twists and turns that can often lead to rough patches that, despite your best efforts, can sometimes result in you contemplating if your marriage is coming to an end. While statistics show that you would not be alone in your decision (almost half of first marriages end in divorce in the U.S.), making it is not something to take lightly.

The relationship experts at Ritual have compiled separation advice including a list of signs that indicate it might be time for a divorce, how to approach discussions about divorce, and strategies on the steps you can take to prevent divorce.

5 Signs It’s Time For a Divorce

You no longer communicate the way you once did

One of the early signs that your marriage might be in trouble is a communication breakdown. If you are finding it difficult to have open and honest conversations, avoid discussions on important matters, or resort to staying silent on certain issues, it might be an indicator that there are deeper underlying issues. This can often lead to a toxic atmosphere, resulting in an often damaging emotional distance.

You are constantly arguing, sometimes over the same thing

Every relationship experiences disagreements - whether that be over small matters such as whose turn it is to make dinner or bigger matters such as approaches to parenting. When these arguments are not resolved or become more regular or heated, however, it can signal a significant problem in your marriage and may indicate an inability to find common ground - something that can completely dismantle a marriage.

You can’t remember the last time you spoke openly

Can you remember the last time you expressed your thoughts and feelings to your partner? If not, this might be a sign that you have become emotionally distant in your relationship - a key indicator that your relationship might be in trouble. If you are experiencing feelings of emotional detachment, or your partner seems emotionally distant, it could suggest that your emotional connection has broken down - something that can make it difficult to sustain a fulfilling relationship.

You don’t feel respected or supported

Mutual respect, support, and encouragement are essential for a successful relationship. When you or your partner begin to feel unsupported or criticized, it can naturally raise questions about the health of your marriage. If disrespect becomes recurring, whether that be through harsh words or dismissive behavior, it is a key indicator that the foundation of your marriage is potentially crumbling.

Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse is a clear indicator that you should consider divorce. If you are the victim of domestic violence and need support, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) for help 24/7.

You or your partner have broken trust

Trust can be broken in a marriage in so many different ways, from infidelity to being dishonest or keeping secrets. When you or your partner have broken trust, it can be a difficult road to rebuilding it. And while breaking trust is certainly a roadblock, it is not always a deal breaker for everyone. However, when the underlying issue remains unresolved and trust issues persist, the foundation of the marriage can be seriously damaged.

How Should You Approach Discussing Divorce With Your Partner?

So you believe you have reached a place where you feel your marriage has come to an end, next is the all-important discussion with your partner. There will never be the perfect way to approach this conversation but here are some tips to keep in mind. 

  • Choose the right time and place: Arguably there will never be a right time and place to tell your partner you would like a divorce, but still, when approaching the conversation, remember to take into consideration the time and environment. Try to do it in a calm and private place, free from distractions where you will both feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and emotions.

  • Be honest and transparent: Honesty is key when discussing divorce. Clearly express your feelings and the reasons that have brought you to this decision. Be open to hearing your partner's perspective too - this should make the divorce process just that bit easier to navigate.

Consider next steps: Remember that discussing divorce with your partner is just the first step, you will now need to work together to find the best approach. Relationship mediation is a service that many couples utilize to negotiate their agreement - the focus is on finding common ground and fostering a cooperative approach to resolving issues. Unlike court proceedings, mediation aims to preserve relationships, especially when children are involved.

How Can You Avoid or Prevent Divorce?

It is only natural to want to avoid divorce from the person you once envisioned a future with. If you are still unsure whether divorce is the answer for you and your partner, there are some steps you can take for divorce prevention.

  • Speak to a professional: Marriage counseling or couples therapy can be a powerful tool for couples facing challenges. If you think your relationship is capable of fixing, a qualified therapist can help facilitate communication and identify underlying issues to help guide both you and your partner back on track. Many couples find that addressing problems early with professional help can prevent a divorce.

  • Spend quality time together: Life can be hectic! Try your best to set aside time to spend together to restore your relationship. This might be a shared activity that you both enjoy or a special date night. This time can be used to reconnect, strengthen the bond, and potentially relight the spark.

  • Regular check-ins: Make a habit of regularly checking in on your partner and their thoughts and feelings about your relationship and your marriage. This might help you identify issues early on before they escalate and is a great chance to discuss concerns and express feelings about situations (past or present).

Don’t forget empathy: Having empathy for your partner is crucial. This means understanding their needs, wants and aspirations to help develop a deeper connection and potentially limit disagreements or conflict. Practice actively listening and validating each other’s feelings.

If you and your partner would like to speak with a relationship expert about your relationship issues, consider Ritual. Ritual is a schedule-friendly and affordable app that helps you heal and turn crisis into opportunity with the help of our experienced Relationship Experts, and science-backed method.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Tell us about yourself: Start by having a session with one of our experts. Together we explore your goals and needs, to make sure our guidance stays relevant and effective.

  2. Get your personalized plan: Decide which areas of your relationship you want to focus on. You’ll receive insights and tools to help you get where you want to go, while better understanding your partner (and yourself).

  3. Make daily steps forward: Improvement becomes a habit, with new skills and approaches you’ll start practicing right away. Weekly 1:1 sessions with your expert will help you track the changes as you go, and keep you motivated in the process.

Start your journey with Ritual today.