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life's short get a divorce


Life’s Short. Get a Divorce.™

By Corri Fetman | January 08, 2024

10 Signs Your Marriage May Be Heading for Divorce

The fact that you are even reading this article should probably be evidence enough for you that your marriage is not heading down a healthy path and that subconsciously (or consciously) you want out. Maybe it is even your New Years’ Resolution.  But since coming to that realization can be scary on your own, allow me help ease you into accepting your potential divorce step-by-step so that you can digest what you feel slowly, and not in one epic breakdown that your friends will be talking about for twenty years to come.

Maybe you’re feeling unappreciated, not heard, no longer turned-on, or just plain bored in your marriage. Whatever your reasons for feeling unsatisfied may be, if you’re like most people who are feeling confused when it comes to their relationship, you’ve come to a fork in the road where you are now forced to decide whether or not your marriage is one worth saving, or one that is better off being left behind and put in the past. But before you waste several more years of your life sleeplessly wondering whether or not you should just bite the bullet and leave your spouse, let me break it down for you: nobody who is in a successful, fulfilling, thriving marriage is contemplating leaving their partner. You clearly are. Therefore, you are not in a successful, fulfilling, thriving relationship.

As simple and straightforward as this concept may seem, it is one that has alluded people for centuries. Negative connotations about divorce as well as a fear of being alone stop people who contemplate getting a divorce from going through the motions of a bad marriage every single day. And if you are one of these people who have found yourself in a bad, unhealthy marriage that needs to end, but are too concerned with what other people will think of you or whether or not you will be alone afterwards, please consider the following: think of all of the youthful, happy, vibrant years that couples all over the world have wasted by staying together in second-rate relationships when all they had to do was admit that they were no longer happy, and leave…it’s terrifying! Perhaps, much more daunting than the thought of a divorce. But only you know. That’s right. ONLY YOU. This is not your friend, coworker or relative’s life. This is your life. Only you know what is best for YOU.

Bottom line: Life is short. This is not a dress rehearsal. The point of life is to be happy and live your best life. There is no time to waste in spending it with someone who you are not one-hundred percent confident is the only person you would ever want to share your life with. If this statement does not describe you, then you are losing very precious years in which you could be happy. Now that is something to be afraid of.

But, because I know that things are not always so cut-and-dry and there are excuses and gray areas, I have devised a handful of ways to help recognize if your marriage may be past its expiration date and whether to consider if divorce is in your future:

1. If you can’t muster up the energy to engage with your partner anymore…

Trying to solve an endless array of trivial marital problems can sometimes feel similar to trying to solve a Rubick’s Cube. Stupid and futile. And we all know what happens to a Rubick’s Cube after awhile…it gets thrown on the ground in frustration and never touched again. If you have reached the point where you feel like your marriage is a proverbial Rubick’s Cube that you don’t even care enough about it to try to solve it…it may be over.

2. If you feel like everything your spouse does is annoying or wrong…

Do you find yourself criticizing, nitpicking, being defensive, and dwelling on every single negative thing your spouse does? If you do, then you have probably already realized that you are now the “cranky partner” from every bad sitcom ever made. For this, I’m sure you already hate yourself, but I’m going to say this anyways: nobody can stand that person and that is not the person a healthy marriage should cause you to become. Constantly bitching at your spouse and being a nag only to to make him or her feel inadequate will send your marriage into a tailspin. It may also make you secretly hate yourself. If your spouse’s cute laugh has now become an annoying shrill that makes you ill or want to smother him or her with a pillow, the proverbial handwriting is on the wall. So if you just can’t stand your spouse anymore from his hairy nose or to her ungroomed gnarly toes…it’s probably over.

3. If you just can’t resist bringing up tired issues whenever you get the chance…

There is one, deadly word for you if this situation fits your relationship: resentment. Deep down, you are most likely bringing up an old, unresolved issue with your partner because you feel some kind of unrelenting resentment about it. And even deeper down, that resentment stems from feeling unsupported and vulnerable. Odds are, if you are feeling like your dreams, goals, or whatever matters most to you is not being valued by your spouse, then you are going to keep bringing it up over and over again until it eventually destroys your marriage. Basically, if you and your partner are not able to sit down and rationally try to work through the deep, corrosive issue that is eating away at either of you, then it may be over.

4. If you have no idea what’s going on in your spouse’s day-to-day life or vice versa…

Everyone and their brother has heard the age-old relationship adage: communication is key. And you know what, this is one adage that will never be out-dated as long as people are still getting married. Once a couple stops sharing their daily triumphs and trials or having conversations about things they find intriguing, it’s the kiss of relationship-death. Not communicating is a serious sign of major emotional detachment and if this describes your relationship right now…I’m sorry to say this, but living separate lives means it’s over.

5. If you daydream about your life and what it would be like without your spouse in it…

Allow me to reiterate what I stated in the beginning of this chapter: truly happy couples are not considering what life would be like without their partner. In fact, those who are in deeply successful relationships would not want to pretend for more than one minute that they could be in a world where their spouse did not exist. It’s an undisputable fact. So if you are finding yourself constantly daydreaming about what your life could be like sans-spouse, you are already well on your way into the first step in an actual divorce: emotional divorce. And it’s so over.

6. If your spouse physically harmed you or your children…

This is an irrefutable absolute. No “but’s”, no “maybe’s”, this one is a solid, un-changing

O-V-E-R. If you or your children have been hit or physically harmed by your spouse, leave. I don’t care if how sorry your spouse pretends to be, how much your spouse begs you to stay, or what excuses you can make up to justify his/her behavior. Your spouse is clearly an unstable human being and is a danger to you and your well-being. This relationship is over.

7. If you or your spouse goes to a bar, gets online, or pretends to be single…

If you find yourself wanting to shed your married persona the second you leave the house and your spouse is not around, it’s time to call it quits. It’s not fair to you or your partner to keep up the charade that you are happy in this marriage because clearly you are not. Happy people don’t fake being single. You (or your spouse) have already left the marriage emotionally, so why not just fill out the paperwork and be done with it for real because this relationship is not a marriage. Conversely, if your spouse is engaging in this type of conduct, get out. It is a relationship of convenience and habit.  This marriage is over.

8. If the idea of sex with your spouse makes you cringe, feel trapped and/or bored…

Does thinking about going to bed tonight and having the your spouse put the moves on you give you the grossed-out chills instead of the excited butterflies? If so, then you need to get out of your relationship immediately. Connecting with your partner on an intimate, personal, and very naked level should create a deep, loving bond that you look forward to. It should not make you want to roll over and fake sleep to avoid further interaction. Everyone deserves great sex in their lives, and the bottom line is that if you’re not getting it at home, then you will probably just go looking for it somewhere else. So do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself….if the sex is bad, it’s over.

9. If you don’t want your spouse on the guest list…it’s over

Your partner in marriage should also be your best friend and definitely someone you want to travel, hang out with and someone you cannot live without. And who doesn’t want their best friend with them on the night of a big social event? If you are answering that question with a resounding, “Me, that’s who!”, then your relationship is not fulfilling by any means. Not only do you deserve to be married to someone who is there to support you on your worst days, but someone who can celebrate the great days with you too. If you are married to someone who you are not able to hang out and have fun with anymore, then it may be time to call it quits.

10. If you cannot trust your spouse…

On my list of points to guide you in making choices as to whether or not to end your marriage, it only seemed fitting that I end with the most important factor of all: trust. Trust is everything. It is the root of all of the evils listed above, and unless you can trust your partner one-hundred percent with everything from money, to fidelity, to the safety of your children, your marriage will fail.

However, I know that not everyone is perfect so it would be unreasonable for me to tell you that once trust is lost that it cannot be rebuilt. Because it can. However, it cannot be rebuilt over and over again. If your spouse has a habit of breaking your trust and then begging for forgiveness, do yourself a favor and get out. Breaking promises is a habit that you should never grow accustomed to dealing with, whether it be in your marriage or otherwise. Know your worth…big time.

So, you ask, what is the next step if you have determined that your marriage may be over? A game plan. If you are fortunate to know that you may want to end your marriage, book a consultation with a family law attorney to determine your rights and prepare a proper strategy for your particular case.

Corri D. Fetman of Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd. is a leading legal authority in the Chicagoland area known for her expertise in family and matrimonial law as well as her widely recognized “Life’s Short. Get a Divorce.™” marketing campaign that made international headlines in 2007.  After Fetman’s “Life’s Short. Get a Divorce.™” billboard became the topic of national pop culture debates all over the world, she and her firm established a name as one of the most progressively minded, media-savvy and accomplished divorce, matrimonial and family law attorneys with over thirty plus years’ of experience.

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