How to Tell If You Need a Divorce

by Dwight Malone

If you feel that your marriage is on a downward spiral and likely to end in divorce, you're not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. There are a number of telltale signs that your relationship is headed down the wrong path. Although couples counseling with a licensed therapist is an option for those who have a desire to save the marriage, in cases of severe relationship issues, divorce may be imminent.

Think about the last time you had fun together. If you can't remember or if those instances are extremely rare, you may want to re-evaluate the relationship. Even if both people have different interests, there should be things you both enjoy doing together.

Take note of how often you and your spouse verbally fight and argue. Although verbal disagreements are a normal part of marriage, they should be limited. John Gottman, a marital researcher, states that a successful marriage will have only one negative interaction for every five positive ones. If arguments ever escalate to physical violence, it is unhealthy for either person to continue with the marriage.

Fantasizing about a divorce is a sign that you actually need one. Thinking about a divorce during a rough patch in the marriage can be common, but if you are constantly thinking about divorce and the perceived freedom that comes with it, there may be no way to save the marriage.

Some couples can work through isolated incidents of infidelity, but repeated cheating by you or your spouse is a sign that you need a divorce. Infidelity is a result of a serious issue in the relationship, whether it's an intimacy issue or the cheater doesn't value the marriage and respect her spouse.


  • If you want to save your marriage, be open about your feelings with your spouse and talk through whatever problems you believe are destroying the relationship. Good communication is key, and even if you are thinking about divorce, it's better to tell your spouse so she is aware of your feelings if you hope to work things out.
  • Marriage is a two-way street, and while you may believe your spouse is totally at fault for the relationship's breakdown, be willing to accept part of the blame, whether you try to save the marriage or follow through with a divorce.

About the Author

Dwight Malone is a journalist who has worked for various Chicago-area newspapers, including the "Chicago Tribune" and "Naperville Sun." He has been a writer, editor and graphic designer since 2000. Malone studied journalism at Eastern Illinois University.

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