11 Signs It Might Be Time for a Divorce, According to Relationship Experts
Therapists say these are the red flags you should never ignore. Like marriage, a divorce is a big decision—and it’s not an easy one to make. Most relationships aren’t perfect all of the time, but if you’re feeling unhappy in your relationship you might find yourself wondering: when is it time to divorce? “There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to when is the right time to end a marriage,” explains Jor-El Caraballo, licensed therapist, author and co-founder of Viva, a therapy practice with offices in NY, CA, and PA. “To put it harshly, in my experience, most people make that decision when the negatives in the relationship outweigh the benefits of staying together.” “A divorce, from my perspective, is what we think about when we feel like escaping the pain,” says Vagdevi Meunier, Psy.D., founder and executive director of the Center for Relationships in Austin, Texas. “But the fact is, divorce may not be the right or only answer there.” In the U.S., about 40 to 50% of married couples end up divorced, according to the American Psychological Association, and that number is even higher for subsequent marriages. There’s a good reason for that: feeling like we can find someone who meets more of our needs than our current partner does. But the truth is, that very rarely happens. If you are considering a divorce, it’s best to first look where, exactly, you’re getting your fulfillment from. “Sometimes people need to do their own work before they consider a divorce,” says psychologist Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D. “Oftentimes, what they’re wanting from their relationship might be unrealistic, and if they were to do some of their own therapy work, they might recognize that their partner’s not responsible for fulfilling them.” In fact, going to therapy—both individually and as a couple—can help you work through the issues you’re facing as a couple and come up with tangible ways to overcome them. But the trouble is, once the damage has been done for weeks, months, or even years, it becomes more and more difficult to repair. And if you do go to couples therapy, it needs to be something you’re both committed to for the long haul. “I recommend committing to at least three months of counseling before making any major decisions about leaving the relationship,” says Samantha Burns, couples counselor and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back. But unfortunately, for some couples, even counseling won’t necessarily prevent divorce. There are some clear deal-breakers and some grey areas. Here, 11 signs it might be time to get a divorce.