Can divorce be predicted?
While you may be surprised when your spouse says they want a divorce, there are likely to be dark clouds on the horizon, signaling a cold front is approaching. According to a recent survey, conducted by Northside Counseling, there are 10 common behaviors that indicate divorce winds are blowing. Although not a clinical study, the survey results appear to be consistent with what we have seen over 15 years of practicing divorce and custody law.
1. Two or more matters
Spouses drift away 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 feeling unappreciated by the other spouse. If the spouse says that he believes in monogamy but internally believes that it is unrealistic, he is likely to have two or more affairs. If your spouse has promised to stop having affairs, that’s not enough. If a promise alone was enough, the wedding vows would have worked the first time. Two or more affairs in a marriage is an indicator that your spouse may be ready to blow up the co-op.
2. Continuous lying
His wife calls and says that she will be working late at the office and will be home much later. You call to see how she is and she’s not. Her husband says that he is going fishing with a friend and you meet that friend at the grocery store. Continual lying is a red flag that your spouse might be keeping a dirty little secret.
3. Close friendship with the opposite sex
With countless hours of work and social media platforms, it’s easy to break up with a friend of the opposite sex. Spouses with friends of the opposite sex can often interact and end up spending more time with that friend than with their partner. Platonic relationships can lead to romantic relationships. In fact, 85 percent of divorced couples attribute their spouse’s close friendship with the opposite sex as the reason for marital conflict.
4. Continuous defensive attitude
The defensive attitude is a defense mechanism against criticism. However, it is a destructive response and obstructs communication between partners. Nothing gets resolved and the conflict just escalates. When your spouse is continually defensive, it is a sign that he is blaming you for the problem. It’s a way of saying, “I don’t care what you need in marriage, this is what I need.” This behavior is a strong predictor of an impending divorce.
5. Abusive Threatening Behavior
Abusive threatening behaviors often manifest as threats, constant criticism, manipulation, and intimidation. This type of abuse can make the victimized spouse feel anxious or depressed. Abusers tend to enjoy the power they feel from emotional abuse, and many are unable to change this learned behavior. Abuse is a red flag that it is time to file for divorce.
6. Secret behaviors
Behaviors that are illegal, suspicious, and addictive can continue in a marriage and are obvious red flags that should not be ignored. Trust what you feel; your hunch that something is up is probably correct. The reason people act secretive in a marriage is because they know they shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Once the cat is out of the bag, he’s likely to feed the divorce papers.
7. Phone Hiding or Password Usage
There should be no secrets between the partners in a marriage. There is no reason for a spouse to hide their phone or not provide passwords. Why hide text message history, emails about who you’ve been in contact with, websites visited, or cell phone records? The simple answer is that one spouse doesn’t want the other to know what he or she has been doing. When you poke around, you may not like what you find.
8. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
While you and your spouse probably broke up before you said yes, marriage is the time to settle down. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs can lead to abusive behavior and loss of employment. Often the sober spouse cannot tolerate this type of behavior. Rehab and AA programs don’t work for everyone, and divorce may be the only alternative.
9. Repeated flirting
Repeatedly flirting spouses cause a whole host of problems. All that attention directed to another arouses jealousy in the ignored spouse. It is also highly suggestive that the flirting spouse is interested in something other than tea and scones. Repeated flirting is a recipe for divorce.
10. Different sexual desires
Not being in the mood for intimacy is a mantra often said by married couples. When the couples have a different sexual appetite, the change due to incompatibility is established. When one’s needs in the marriage are not met by the other spouse, divorce is likely to loom on the back burner.