8 Subtle Signs Your Partner Wants A Divorce From You

signs your partner wants divorce from you

You just can’t shake off that foreboding feeling that there’s something very, very wrong with your marriage. And no matter how much you may try to tell yourself that everything is fine, you have this voice at the back of your mind constantly telling you that your partner wants a divorce.

Key Points:

If someone suspects their spouse is thinking about divorce, it is likely because they're seeing signs they shouldn't ignore.

Warning signs include emotional disconnection, loss of romance, and living like roommates.

Once contempt enters a relationship, it may be too late to save the marriage.

To fix an ailing marriage, partners will need to confront the issues together—or end the relationship respectfully to avoid further damage.

Your gut is telling you that your marriage is on the rocks.

This realization may come to you gradually, or friends and family may bring up their concerns. My clients have frequently brought this issue to counseling. As Lisa (not her real name) told me, “My parents wondered why we aren’t going out together like we used to. They used to babysit for us every week, but it has been months now. I know something is wrong, but I can’t figure it out. We just aren’t happy; we aren’t having fun anymore. What is going on?”

Maybe you want to avoid thinking about this, hoping that the marriage will get better with time. This is almost always a mistake. If you suspect your spouse wants a divorce, it is probably because you are seeing signs that you shouldn’t ignore.

Related: 10 Warning Signs Your Relationship Has Ended

Here Are Some Signs That Your Spouse Is Quite Unhappy And Considering Divorce:

1. Your Spouse Is Avoiding You, Avoiding Time Together, Or Avoiding Conversation.

Jeff told me, “It seems like all she wants to do is be with her friends. I don’t even know what she’s doing or when she’ll be home! Sometimes I eat dinner alone because she hasn’t even checked in!” Margo says, “When I try to tell Marc about my day, he isn’t even listening. He looks totally bored!”

Common indicators of detachment include:

  • She or he isn’t interested in where you are or what you’re doing.
  • You feel an emotional disconnect.

If you’ve been arguing a lot, you may be glad to have some distance—but if it continues, it is a sign of serious problems in your relationship.

2. You Live Like Roommates And Your Partner Rejects Sexual Overtures.

Kim told me sadly, “We are like ships passing in the night.” And Jack said, “We used to make love often, but now we can go for months without physical contact.”

In relationships like this, there is no more romance. If you talk at all, it is about logistics like who can pick up groceries. Your spouse may not cuddle, hug, or say “I love you” anymore. You may have told yourself that this is normal over time.

3. Your Spouse Is Unwilling To Work On The Relationship To Resolve Conflicts Or Improve Communication.

Becca said, “I bought the book on how to fix our marriage, but he never even opened it.”

You have expressed your worries that he or she is drifting away. You have offered to do whatever it takes to fix your marriage: counseling, date nights, even reading self-help books together. But your partner isn’t interested in taking steps to improve things. Or perhaps she or he will agree to some token steps, unenthusiastically.

Related: 6 Subtle Signs Your Relationship Is Over, Even If You Still Care For Them

4. Your Spouse Doesn’t Seem To Care About Your Feelings.

Jeff said, “When I told Maggie that my boss gave me a bad review, she just said I should ‘get over it.’”

There is a lot of arguing, criticism, blame, stonewalling, and contempt. John Gottman calls these the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Or worse, communication has completely shut down.

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Ann Gold Buscho Ph.D.

Dr. Buscho is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in family issues and issues related to divorce, parenting, parenting planning, and co-parenting counseling. She has professional and personal experience in nesting, co-parenting, step-parenting, and single-parenting issues. She has presented widely at the state and national conferences for attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals on collaborative divorce, forgiveness practices, nesting during divorce, and consensual dispute resolution. Dr. Buscho is also a co-founder of a residential treatment program for traumatized emergency responders and their families at which she volunteers regularly.View Author posts