Signs Your Marriage will End in Divorce Featured Image

17 Signs Your Marriage Will End in Divorce: Insights from a Relationship Coach

You’re watching a movie scene. Husband and wife are screaming in the kitchen. A small thing blew up big time. They’re dredging up past issues. Lawyers are getting involved. As the scene ends with them divided and miserable, you feel unsettled – seeing a faint reflection of your own marriage.

Divorce is no joke. It disrupts your whole life. Mental health? Wrecked. Finances? Ruined. Social ties? Shredded. Overall wellbeing? In the gutter. Research shows divorced couples and their kids take hits to income, education, and support systems. It also increases the risk of poverty.

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Worst of all? It can scar kids for life. Emotional issues, behavioral problems, academic struggles – divorce makes kids prone to all that. It limits their future prospects.

That’s why spotting divorce warning signs early is crucial – before small cracks become giant chasms. As a relationship coach, I’ve seen too many marriages crumble beyond repair.

But there’s hope. This article lays out 17 huge red flags – based on years of experience – that your marriage is going down the tubes. Recognize the signs, and you can fight to save it. Identify the fissures, and you can take steps to save the marriage before it’s too late.

17 Signs a Marriage is Heading for Divorce

A) Signs of Communication Breakdown

Top divorce predictor? Breakdown in spousal communication. Stop openly, honestly talking? Resentment, misunderstandings, and alienation fester.

1) No More Conversations

Communication is oxygen for a healthy marriage. Communication is how you share inner worlds – thoughts, feelings, hopes, fears. It’s how you understand and support each other’s needs. When the well of communication runs dry, you lose that intimacy and connection. You become strangers under one roof, growing more distant over time and vulnerable to misinterpreting innocent actions as threats. A pervasive silence can breed assumptions that the other person simply doesn’t care anymore.

2) Making Decisions Alone

Another insidious sign of troubled communication? You make major life choices without looping your spouse in. From career moves to financial decisions to parenting approaches, a unified couple ideally operates as a partnership. When you start excluding your spouse from important choices that impact you both, it signals a lack of care for their perspective and a breakdown of respect and trust. It weakens your collaborative abilities and sows seeds of confusion, anger, and conflict.

3) Constant Fighting or No Fighting

Frequent, toxic fighting and absolute silent treatment represent two extremes on the unhealthy communication spectrum – both potential harbingers of divorce. If every interaction devolves into a battle, with shouting, name-calling, and miserable tension, it gradually erodes the bedrock of your relationship. You lose respect, trust, and fondness. But the cold silent treatment can be just as damaging. A lack of productive disagreement often indicates you’ve stopped caring enough to hash out issues. Healthy marriages require a balance – the occasional argument (handled maturely) is normal, but constant combat or icy detachment is not.

B) Signs of Disrespect

Mutual respect forms the bedrock of a healthy marriage. When that foundational respect crumbles, it creates an insidious downward spiral that lays the groundwork for the relationship’s disintegration.

4) Loss of Respect

Respect means valuing your partner’s opinions, boundaries, and inherent worth as a person. You appreciate them not just as your spouse, but as a friend deserving of consideration and kindness. A lack of respect poisons the atmosphere, damaging intimacy and replacing positive regard with resentment. You may find yourself disregarding their thoughts, talking over them, or prioritizing your own needs and wants above theirs. This dynamic breeds anger, bitterness, and an inability to have empathy for one another.

5) Criticism and Contempt

Few behaviors are as toxic and corrosive as criticism and contempt. Criticism attacks the person rather than the specific action, rejecting core aspects of their character. Contempt goes even further by treating your partner with disgust, disdain, or mockery – sarcasm, insults, and name-calling that communicate forcefully that you don’t value them. Both criticism and contempt devastate self-esteem and emotional safety. The perpetual targeted strikes become a self-fulfilling cycle – you start to embody the worst perceptions of each other through the cumulative cuts.

6) Abusive Behavior

When disrespect devolves to its most extreme, unacceptable form, it can manifest as emotional, verbal, physical, sexual, financial, or other types of abuse towards one’s partner. Criticism escalates to outright cruelty. Contempt leads to active attempts to make someone feel debased, inadequate, and subjugated. Abuse represents an unequivocal, egregious violation of the trust, safety, and respect that are fundamental to marriage. No healthy union can survive the corrosive effects of any form of spousal abuse – it is an immediate signal that professional intervention is critical and that the marriage is likely terminal without actionable change.

C) Signs of Mistrust

Trust forms the foundation of a secure, stable marriage. When that foundational trust erodes, it creates an insidious dynamic that plants seeds of doubt, suspicion, and resentment.

7) Lack of Trust

Trust means believing in your partner’s honesty, loyalty, and reliability. It’s feeling safe, comfortable, and confident in the relationship. A lack of trust poisons that sense of security. You may find yourself questioning their whereabouts, wondering if they’re telling the truth, or worrying about staying faithful. Paranoia and constant accusations replace the positive assumptions that make partnerships thrive. This pervasive mistrust creates an atmosphere of tension and negativity that stifles intimacy.

8) Dishonesty About Finances

Finances represent one of the most combustible arenas where trust issues often first arise. Money impacts so many core aspects of a relationship – lifestyles, goals, values, sense of security and freedom. Hiding expenses, debts, income, or crazy spending from one’s partner represents a fundamental breach of transparency and respect. It plants seeds of doubt and resentment. Beyond that, financial infidelity can create very real, tangible consequences like bankruptcy, foreclosure, and legal issues.

9) Cheating

Perhaps the most painful betrayal of trust, infidelity devastates the foundation of a marriage. An emotional or sexual affair violates the vow of exclusivity and commitment. It communicates forcefully that needs, whether physical or emotional, are not being met within the primary relationship. An affair can stem from myriad sources – unresolved resentment, pursuits of validation, broken promises, addictions, and skewed boundaries around friendships. It’s one of the most difficult violations to overcome, requiring comprehensive effort to rebuild the shattered trust.

When you see your spouse flirting with the waiter Meme

D) Signs of Intimacy Problems

Intimacy exists as the driving force behind a passionate, fulfilling marriage. When that intimate connection begins to fray, it’s a sign that your marriage is headed for a bad outcome.

10) No Intimacy or Affection

Intimacy means sharing your innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires openly with your partner. Affection expresses that closeness through physical touch, caring words and actions. Both facilitate an atmosphere of emotional and sexual closeness – you feel secure, desired, and understood. A lack of physical intimacy and affection, as well as emotional, signals a breakdown in that core bond. You may find yourselves operating more like roommates than romantic partners, creating distance and a sense of disconnection.

11) Loss of Love

Love forms the bedrock emotion that binds and sustains marriages over decades. It’s an enduring combination of affection, attraction, and attachment. Love means acting with care, respect, and support towards your partner. If that love fades away, it robs the marriage of its essence and meaning. You lose the underlying positive regard, friendship, and devotion that feeds passion and commitment. The relationship turns hollow and transactional without love’s keystone presence.

12) Living Like Roommates

When spouses essentially live as cohabitating individuals rather than an intimate partnership, it represents one of the loudest warning signs of disconnect. You maintain separate social lives, personal interests, and individual goals – operating so independently that you’re essentially single people sharing a living space. There’s no intermingling of your paths, support for each other’s endeavors, or foundational togetherness. The marriage exists in name only.

13) Marriage Feels Draining

A flourishing marriage has an additive, nurturing effect – it fills your emotional reserves through the security of a supportive partnership. A troubled marriage does the opposite – it perpetually depletes and exhausts you. You may experience physical or mental consequences like persistent stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, or depression stemming from the negativity within the relationship dynamic. Rather than a source of joy, the marriage itself becomes a source of draining unhappiness.

E) Signs of Commitment Issues

A successful, enduring marriage requires an unwavering commitment and investment from both partners. When that devotion starts slipping away, it lays the groundwork for the relationship’s dissolution.

14) Staying Together for the Children

Using children as the sole justification for staying married signals significant underlying issues with the marital commitment itself. It means the love, respect, and desire to be partnered has faded – the only remaining glue is avoiding the disruption of divorce for the kids’ sake. While that intention is noble, research shows that high-conflict marriages can actually be more damaging to children than separation in the long run. Staying together without renewed commitment often just exposes kids to toxic tension.

15) Different Life Goals

Healthy relationships and successful marriages require an intertwined vision and unified goals driving both people in a mutually beneficial direction. When those overarching visions diverge, it eliminates the core motivating purpose for sticking together. There’s no longer a captivating joint dream fueling the partnership. The fundamental ground of shared hopes and values crumbles, leaving just conflicting personal ambitions.

16) Destructive Addictions

The presence of a destructive addiction – whether substances, gambling, workaholism or otherwise – corrodes marital commitment and stability. Allowing compulsive, harmful behaviors to take precedence over your responsibilities to each other violates the caring promise at the heart of a marriage. The relentless prioritization of an addiction above your spouse signals that the relationship has taken a backseat to the unrestrained impulses.

When you realize your marriage is in danger because of your spouse’s addiction Meme

17) Unwillingness to Work on the Marriage

Fundamentally, a marriage requires effort, compromise, and reinvestment from both parties to persevere through the inevitable rough patches. An unwillingness to put in that work, even by just one spouse is one of the clearest signs of waning commitment. This materializes as one partner showing an active resistance to changing, cooperating, or resolving issues. It means you’ve checked out of the relationship beyond surface-level obligations. You’ve surrendered the ability to nurture and protect the marital bond.


The topic of divorce is one I approach with mixed emotions. On a personal level, my marriage has weathered its own storms that at times felt unsalvageable. We hit valleys where many of the signs I outlined in this article flared as glaring red flags, except the infidelity part. But through arduous work, sacrifice, and a resolute commitment to our partnership, we overcame those hurdles and found a renewed appreciation for the unbreakable bond we share.

At the same time, I’m acutely aware that every couple’s situation is unique. As a relationship coach, I’ve counseled individuals who have endured years of toxicity, contempt, or even abuse – unhappy situations where the honorable decision was to escape an irreparably harmful dynamic and get a divorce. Attempting to force a marriage steeped in codependency, neglect, or cruelty can potentially inflict deeper, longer-lasting trauma.

Ultimately, while divorce is never something to take lightly, neither is resigning yourself to interminable misery and resentment. My hope is that by increasing awareness of the most concerning sign of divorce, you empower yourself to proactively address issues before existential disconnects calcify. With awareness comes agency to either rebuild lasting love or identify the point of no return.

If this article struck a chord or you recognized some of these patterns in your own relationship, I encourage you to take the next step. Leave a comment with your thoughts, questions, and personal experiences. Or share this piece with friends who may be grappling with similar challenges – they’ll thank you for providing a frank wake-up call. The path to revivifying your marriage or granting yourself a fresh start both begin with a single act of bravery. Take that first step today.

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