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Impending DivorceWhen we think of divorce we think of a split, break, or schism in the natural order of the marriage and family. This civil liberty granted to couples serves as an exit strategy to what we deem an internal war with no end. Many surface signs of a divorce can signal the impending break-up, from infidelity to out-right loathing. However, a marriage or relationship doesn’t simply break, it erodes over time. What started off as the promise to share in each others lives slowly ebbed away for very particular reasons, often due to reasons that have not been addressed.

Psychological studies have continually tried to unearth the effects and reasons why relationships can fall so completely apart. Here are some main psychological signs that a marriage is approaching the point of no return, and by “return” we mean a healthy, stable relationship. This does not mean a perfect harmonious union, but the want and focus to be there for the other person each day.

#1. Lack of Conflict Resolution

Any relationship will have conflict. It’s part of life. Therefore, much of what makes up a healthy relationship will not be judged by its lack of conflict, and but how well a couple can cope with conflict, whether its origins be internal or external. Differences are often submerged or avoided for a variety of reasons that may link to other facets of disharmony that creep into relationships. Bullying, lack of understanding, lack of communication, or simply avoiding the important questions and potential problems are some relationship pitfalls we all are guilty of from time to time. Some couples who do not construct a reasonable way to resolve their differences without deeply injuring the relationship end up avoiding disagreement and conflict all together. Both spouses will arrive at a point of despair long before they realize consciously that their marriage isn’t working. These couples separate thinking it is pointless to try to resolve anything because a reasonable process was never built to resolve conflict in the first place.

#2. Disengagement

Emotional engagement is, in its most minimal form, the base requirement for the development and maintenance of intimacy in a relationship. The willing and inhibited discussion of both spouses’ feelings without fear of unreasonable negative repercussions from this expression is an integral part of a balanced and successful emotional relationship. A genuine interest in the emotional life and emotional complexities of the other are needed elements for a sustained, intimate relationship.

#3. Increased Focus Outside the Marriage

Empty marriages have become more commonplace in our modern society. Many couples compensate for an abandoned but not broken apart marriage by thinking they can focus on other aspects of their life to avoid the possibility of an uncontested divorce. Living in a state of denial about their own emotional relationship is never sustainable or healthy. Some of these couples cope by pouring themselves into their children, so child centered-activity becomes the sole focus of family life. Others pour themselves further into careers by working late every night so the time with the other is minimized. Not that focusing on family isn’t good, but a marriage should be built on two people who actually enjoy each others company.

There are obviously many other psychological signs of a marriage in emotional distress. Communication is often considered to be the backbone of the marriage. If spouses have trouble talking to each other about what each spouse is feeling, either out of fear or guilt, then the marriage needs work. Making excuses and remaining in denial should never be the solution.

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