Every marriage is different, and so are the signs that it is breaking apart. While common reasons for divorce include infidelity, money troubles and growing apart, other subtle behaviors also spell trouble. These can manifest themselves in a general sense of contempt for the spouse. When this happens, the marriage is in trouble.
This may simmer for years
A feeling of contempt may simmer over the years and manifest itself in a variety of different behaviors. Often the spouses will not even be aware of this, but those displays are signs:
- Regularly ignoring a partner: Communication is the foundation of a healthy marriage, so its trouble when one spouse continually shuts it down. A red flag is when they check their device when you start talking.
- Ignoring your body language: Healthy couples communicate complex thoughts and feelings with non-verbal cues. One partner may begin to ignore them consciously or unconsciously.
- Ignoring your communication: There is trouble if a spouse does not take your calls or respond to texts in a timely fashion. While these may be about the business of running the home, deprioritizing calls from you when they are ordinarily available should prompt them to think why they are doing it and you to have doubts.
- Intimacy fades: Older couples with children and longer marriages may struggle with this, but even small moments of connection can maintain those bonds or be a sign if they are missing.
- Complacency: Taking things for granted is part of human nature, but showing no interest in sharing new experiences as a couple, such as taking a class or exploring a new setting, is frustrating for the other spouse and often leads to contempt.
- Being overly needy: This behavior can wear out a spouse, draining them of emotions and ultimately relegating the relationship to the status of a job or obligation.
Is this how you want to live?
Couples can recognize this behavior and do something about it. Ideally, it starts with counseling. However, a divorce may be best the solution if one or both shows little interest in changing this kind of behavior.