While you may be surprised when your spouse states he or she wants a divorce, there were likely dark clouds in the horizon, pointing to an approaching cold front. According to a recent survey, by Northside Counseling, there are 10 common behaviors which indicate divorce winds are blowing. Although not a clinical study, the survey results did appear to be consistent with what we have noticed over 15 years of practicing divorce and custody law.
1. Two or More Affairs
Spouses stray from the nest and engage in affairs for a variety of reasons, including falling out of love with the other spouse, lack of passion and excitement in the marriage or a feeling of not being appreciated by the other spouse. If spouse states that they believe in monogamy but inwardly believe it’s unrealistic, you’re likely in for two or more affairs. If your spouse has promised to stop engaging in affairs, it’s not enough. If a promise alone was enough, the wedding vows would’ve worked the first time around. Two or more affairs in a marriage are an indicator that your spouse may be ready to fly the coop.
2. Ongoing Lying
Your wife calls and says she’s working late at the office and will be home much later. You call to check in on her, and she’s not there. Your husband says he’s going on a fishing trip with a buddy, and you bump into that buddy at the food store. Ongoing lying is a red flag that your spouse just might be keeping a dirty little secret.
3. Close Friendship with Opposite Sex
With countless hours at work and social media platforms, it’s easy to wind up with an opposite-sex friend. Spouses with opposite-sex friends can often interact and wind up spending more time with that friend than their partner. Platonic relationships can lead to romantic ones. As a matter of fact, 85 percent of divorced couples attribute their spouse’s close friendship with the opposite sex the reason for marital strife.
4. Continued Defensiveness
Defensiveness is a defense mechanism to criticism. Yet, it’s a destructive response and obstructs communication between partners. Nothing gets resolved, and the conflict just escalates. When your spouse is continually defensive, it’s a sign that they are blaming you for the problem. It’s a way of saying, “I don’t care what you need in the marriage, this is what I need.” This behavior is a strong predictor of an impending divorce.
5. Abusive Threatening Behaviors
Abusive threatening behaviors often manifest themselves with threatening, constant criticism, manipulation and bullying. This type of abuse can leave the victimized spouse feeling anxious or depressed. Abusers tend to enjoy the power they feel from emotional abuse, and many cannot change this learned behavior. Abuse is a red flag that it’s time to file a petition for divorce.
6. Secretive Behaviors
Behaviors that are illegal, suspect and addictive can continue into a marriage and are obvious red flags that shouldn’t be ignored. Trust what you feel; your hunch that something’s up is probably right. The reason why people act secretive in a marriage is because that they know that they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Once the cat is out of the bag, it’s likely to fuel divorce papers.
7. Hiding of Phone or Use of Password
There shouldn’t be any secrecy between partners in a marriage. There’s no reason for a spouse to be hiding their phone or not providing passwords. Why hide texting history, emails on who you’ve been in contact with, visited websites or cell phone records? The simple answer is that a spouse doesn’t want the other to know what they’ve been up to. When you snoop, you just might not like what you find.
8. Excessive Drinking or Drug Use
While you and your spouse probably partied before saying I do, marriage is the time to settle down. Excessive drinking or drug use can lead to abusive behavior and loss of employment. Often, the sober spouse cannot tolerate these types of behavior. Rehab programs and AA don’t work for everyone, and divorce may be the only alternative.
9. Repeated Flirting
Spouses who repeatedly flirt stir up a whole host of problems. All that attention directed to another stirs up jealousy in the ignored spouse. It’s also highly suggestive that the flirting spouse is interested in something more than tea and crumpets. Repeated flirting is a recipe for divorce.
10. Differing Sexual Desires
Not being in the mood for intimacy is a mantra often spoken by married couples. When couples have a different sexual appetite, it sets the change for incompatibility. When one’s needs in a marriage aren’t met by the other spouse, divorce is likely looming in the background.
About the Author
As owner and managing partner of Right Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada, Stacy Rocheleau, Esquire, specializes in divorce, family law, and child custody law.