I was married at 25 and divorced a little over three years later. If I’m being completely honest, I can now admit that I knew that my husband and I weren’t a good match. I had a feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach that we were getting married for all the wrong reasons, and things were rocky from the start.
We’d known each other since I was 18 and getting hitched just felt like something to do. When he proposed, it was more of a statement, something like, Hey, so why don’t we just get married. Actually, if I recall correctly, those were his exact words. And I accepted. It happened at Red Lobster as we were eating our dinner biscuits. Oh, the romance. Not being one for grandiose displays of affection, I convinced myself that this scene was cool.
I tried to make it work. I reminded myself that everything in life has its ups and downs and I faced our issues head on, armed with my best. Whenever we attempted to talk about the important stuff, we always ended up in a yelling match, with doors slamming, tears falling and expletives flying. We couldn’t see each other’s point of view. Correction: We didn’t want to see each other’s point of view. I felt invisible, unappreciated and undesirable. He felt attacked, misunderstood and cornered. We stonewalled each other out of sheer frustration.
With a failed marriage under my belt before reaching 30, I felt in many ways like a failure. While I knew that calling it quits was absolutely what I had to do, it was so hard to shake the fears that creeped up, trying to prevent me from leaving. What if I never find someone and I’m alone forever? What if the next man that comes along sees my divorce as a liability? How am I going to pay all my bills and survive financially? It’s not easy to know when to finally let go. But looking back now, I can see that there were clear signs that my marriage was over. And just in case you’re teetering on the edge, here they are.
9 SIGNS YOUR MARRIAGE IS OVER
Lack of affection and sex. For the last year of our marriage, I made up any excuse I could think of to avoid having sex. Getting intimate was the last thing I wanted to do. Even sitting close to him made me uncomfortable. There was a palpable sense of disconnection on a physical level that couldn’t be denied, and everyone around us could sense it.
More problems than solutions. Nothing is perfect and relationships can be hard work but we found it hard to agree on anything and everything. Even the simplest disagreements turned into full-out, heated debates with no resolution. We couldn’t even agree to disagree. Seeing eye to eye on anything felt like an impossible dream.
Home was not homey. I often dreaded leaving the office at night. It wasn’t fun to come home where a fight could explode from something as trivial as deciding what to eat for dinner. I found myself more at peace when I had the whole house to myself because when we were together, we both felt like we were walking on eggshells.
More bad than good. There will always be ups and downs in any relationship but in our case, the bad times far outweighed the good. We were more angry with each other than happy. We were more frustrated than satisfied. We spent more time and energy feeling shitty than feeling good in each other’s company.
We brought out the worst in each other. We were no longer the best versions of ourselves. We screamed, yelled and belittled each other. I became a nagging wife, nitpicking about everything I could think of because I felt completely unsatisfied with my life. My usual cheery disposition was replaced by a dark cloud of anger and dissatisfaction.
The respect was gone. Not only were we no longer lovers but we were also no longer friends. As time went on, we had less respect for each other’s boundaries and choices. We couldn’t appreciate the fact that we were different people with different perspectives on life. Rather than accept those differences, we both wanted the other person to change.
We didn’t fight fair. There was no such thing as a healthy argument for us. We would assassinate each other’s character and make it more about putting down than trying to work through our issues. It was never about trying to find common ground. It was about proving that we were right.
Secrets. We fought about money. A lot. Even though we fought about everything, I had a hunch that there was something lurking below the surface of our arguments about our finances that I wasn’t aware of. I eventually discovered that he was lying about where our money was going. He was racking up debt without my knowledge.
Counselling didn’t work. We went to couples therapy as a final attempt to save the marriage. He’d sit there proudly, his arm wrapped around my shoulder. Looking our therapist dead in the eye, he’d explain that he didn’t think we needed to be there. He thought we were just going through a minor hiccup. Minor hiccup? If the pain and anger we were dwelling in for most of our marriage was a minor hiccup, I didn’t want to know what a big problem would feel like. This last ditch effort was my final indication that we were officially over. Have you ever had a big split? What signs let you know it was time to call it quits?