When Is Enough Enough in a Marriage? 21 Signs Divorce Is Near

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How do you know you’ve had enough in a relationship? When is it OK to walk away, and how do you tell if that’s the right decision?

If you’ve been feeling like you can’t keep going, you’re in the right place.

Below, we’re laying out the critical signs that you’re nearing your breaking point, and what to do next.

Here’s a summary of the key signs:

  • You don’t feel content, supported or important in your relationship
  • You never want your partner to touch you
  • You’ve completely stopped caring or trying
  • You fantasize about divorce or about being with someone else
  • You fight about the same things, without compromise or resolution
  • Your spouse is abusive, controlling or neglectful
  • You’ve tried it all, including couples counseling

Tried couples therapy, and it failed?

Even though many people see it as a last resort, a failed attempt at marriage therapy doesn’t mean your marriage is beyond repair.

But it may mean you need to do something different.

If you don’t want your marriage to suffer anymore, start focusing on the way you treat your spouse and learning techniques to rebuild the “we” in your relationship like Dr. Lee Baucom teaches in Save The Marriage.

Click the link above now, or read the signs that your relationship is on its last leg below.

How do you know when you have had enough in your marriage?

1. You feel small in your own relationship

man ignoring woman on a couch with a quote about your partner not putting you first in your marriage

If your partner never puts you first, you’ll struggle to feel happy and whole in your marriage.

Perhaps they work all day and night and chase promotions rather than spend time with you.

Or maybe they make major decisions that affect both of you without talking to you first and just expect you to go along.

Or, maybe your spouse is Mr. Nice Guy or Mrs. Nice Gal to everyone but you.

If you feel alone and ignored in your relationship and you realize that’s pretty much always been the case, you may be ready to do better by yourself.

Read Next: How to Save Your Marriage

2. You don’t want physical intimacy

Does the thought of your partner touching you make you cringe?

If so, you know you have big problems in your relationship.

Attraction and desire naturally go up and down in a relationship, but losing all desire for physical intimacy usually shows that there’s more going on beneath the surface.

It might be because of all the issues chipping away at your emotional connection, causing you to feel emotionally drained and physically repelled.

But if you’re never “in the mood” and you know it’s not you—it’s your partner?

That’s a good sign you need to consider whether you even want to be in the relationship.

3. You crave a more romantic relationship than your partner can give

This may seem somewhat inconsequential, but it’s not.

Some people are hopeless romantics. Others are not.

When you’re a romantic person and you fall in love with someone who is pretty oblivious, it can start to make the passion and excitement fizzle out for you.

And when that starts to happen, fantasies about someone else sweeping off your feet can creep in.

At which point, you can’t just ignore it anymore.

Recommended Reading: Why Do Men Change After Marriage?

4. You’ve stopped trying

man lying on a couch looking stressed with a quote about feeling checked out in your marriage

When you’re apathetic and unwilling to put in any effort, the relationship may have reached a point of no return.

You can have all sorts of couple’s problems, and that’s not in and of itself a sign that the marriage is on the outs.

The key indicator is how you feel about saving it.

If you’ve checked out and are just coasting along, it means you’ve lost incentive to improve things.

And in all likelihood, you’d probably be fine with it if something came along and ended your marriage for you.

Recommended Reading: How to Save Your Marriage When You Feel Hopeless

5. You daydream about divorce

Sometimes people have fights and threaten divorce out of sheer frustration.

But they don’t really mean it.

If you’re daydreaming about divorce, that’s another thing entirely.

Wishing that you were single is a clear sign that you’re subconsciously looking for an out.

It’s not the absolute last stage where the next step is actual divorce.

But it is a sign that it’s time to take your unhappy marriage seriously and do something proactive.

6. All of the lies

Trust is crucial for a marriage to survive.

If your partner lies to you time and time again, you will naturally start to feel more and more distant from them.

Broken trust is hard to repair, especially when it’s repeated.

Or perhaps it’s you who feels like you have to lie every day in order to give the appearance that everything is OK in your relationship.

No matter what, if lying is the norm, something’s got to give.

7. Your spouse keeps cheating on you

Cheating is not just a betrayal of trust.

It’s also a symptom of things not being alright between you and your partner.

When they keep cheating on you and you keep forgiving them but it keeps happening, you might need to consider that something deeper and more problematic is at play.

Many couples do overcome infidelity, but if you can’t move past it, you are well within your rights to say enough is enough.

8. You’re tired of the lack of compromise

woman looking in a mirror with a quote about needing to have your needs met if your relationship

You want one thing, your partner wants another.

This is common in any relationship, but the couples who make it learn to meet somewhere in the middle.

If your partner has a my-way-or-the-highway attitude, that can wear on you over time if you’re not an exceptionally flexible person.

…Or a doormat.

You need to get your needs met, too. It can’t be what your partner wants 24/7.

That’s not a healthy relationship.

You may have known this all along, but if it’s only now that you’re feeling like you can’t go along with one more thing, you may be ready to tap out.

9. Marriage therapy isn’t working

It’s common for couples who don’t know what else to do to try a marriage counselor or licensed clinical social worker as their last resort.

But it’s no guarantee for the marriage.

Marriage counseling is not immune to biases and outdated methodologies.

But even good marriage counselors don’t always have all the answers.

And it’s no surprise that failed marriage therapy often makes people question whether it’s time to throw in the towel.

If you feel like traditional marriage therapy failed you, we recommend listening to your gut and learning how to apply relationship-centered techniques like in Dr. Lee Baucom’s guide Save The Marriage.

10. It doesn’t bother you to think about your spouse leaving you

You may have thought about divorce for yourself, but have you imagined what that would mean for your spouse?

If you’ve already thought about them moving on and finding love elsewhere—and that didn’t bother you?

That could be one of the less obvious signs that you’re not quite committed in your heart.

11. You don’t respect your partner

Ouch—when you don’t respect your partner anymore, it’s hard to save your marriage.

Not respecting your partner means:

  • Not caring what they say or how they feel
  • Not valuing their opinions
  • Having no sympathy for them
  • Embarrassing, mocking or ridiculing them in front of others because you want to “get back at them”
  • Treating them with contempt

If you don’t have a shred of respect for your significant other anymore, it’s probably only a matter of time before you split.

12. You’re constantly fighting about the same thing

COUPLE arguing on a couch with a quote about not being able to resolve conflict destroying your marriage

Are you still having the same argument over and over?

Whether you fight about who’s going to clean up or your spouse’s spending habits, if the underlying issues never get resolved, you’re fighting a losing battle.

This inability to resolve conflict creates a negative cycle that’s tough to break.

And you only get more reactionary or jaded over time.

If these cycles continue without resolution, they can sew so much destruction and animosity that it’s hard to come back from.

13. Your spouse is abusive

Abusive relationships are never OK.

There are many forms of abuse, but whether it’s verbal abuse or physical abuse, there is no excuse for it.

Bear in mind that abuse can be more subtle, psychological and emotional, like your partner body shaming, gaslighting or ridiculing you.

And obviously, hitting, pushing or even threatening physical violence demonstrates a need to walk away from the relationship.

If your partner abuses you, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help: 800-799-7233

14. Your partner is controlling

Controlling partners set all the rules in their relationships and use intimidation or other psychological tactics to manipulate you.

They may make you feel like you can’t do anything right by constantly criticizing and critiquing you—”You look like a slob.” “You sound dumb when you talk that way.” “Why can’t you clean properly?”

They may use subtle threats—”If you go to that after-work party, I’m going to stay out all night and turn my phone off.”

Or they may isolate you from others, disrespect your boundaries or make rules about what you can do and who you can talk to.

All of these are examples of controlling behaviors that mean it’s time to reevaluate staying in the relationship for your own mental health and wellbeing.

15. Your spouse has shown they won’t change

You’ve waited and waited, told your partner what you need and they haven’t made any adjustments to accommodate you.

Mind you, we’re talking about things that are changeable, like your partner drinking less, and not about trying to change their personality.

If those things that are within your partner’s power to control keep getting ignored and you just can’t live with them, you may need to consider what you’re compromising to stay together.

16. It’s not a good situation for the kids

If you believe your kids are suffering because your partner is negligent, drunk or putting them in harm’s way, that is absolutely a reason to say “enough” in a relationship.

Your kids’ needs come first.

Sometimes parents worry that splitting up will be the worse option for the children, but you should never be worrying that they’re not safe and secure at home.

17. Your other half keeps breaking their promises

man thinking with a quote about needing a dependable partner to keep a marriage going

It’s hard when your partner doesn’t keep their promises.

Sometimes people over-promise or make unrealistic guarantees because they want to please their partners.

But there’s a difference between wanting to make you happy and being incapable of following through.

We all need reliable and dependable partners to build a future with.

If you can’t depend on yours, that’s a big problem.

18. You’re rarely happy

Do you feel emotionally drained each and every day with your spouse?

If you’re barely happy anymore and this has been the case without improvement for a long time, that can be a subtle signal that something is wrong.

It’s worth mentioning that happiness can come and go for us all and that even the best relationships go through lulls and rough times.

But if you feel you can’t continue in this state, listen to yourself.

Because you can’t keep repressing your feelings.

19. You feel trapped

Sometimes when you’re getting close to the end of a relationship, you can tell because you’re starting to feel like the walls are closing in.

Like you’re trapped and you need to get out.

Some people living in a troubled marriage start acting out or doing things they know they shouldn’t be doing in order to push the envelope and make their partners want to leave them.

This is a form of escapism.

But if you know you don’t want to spend quality time together anymore and your wedding band is starting to feel like a tiny little handcuff, things are not looking good.

20. All the signs point to a better future alone

Do you have a gut feeling there’s a better life for you out there, alone?

Maybe you’re dreaming about singledom.

Maybe you think about traveling the world, becoming a new person and living a completely different lifestyle than your spouse would ever want to now.

Or you start thinking about other potential partners with whom you might have a happy relationship.

Whatever you’re pondering, the more you think about being single, the closer you probably are to making it come true.

21. You feel like you’ve tried everything

Have you taken every single piece of advice from friends, family and the internet—

And your marriage is still bad?

Usually by the time someone feels they’ve had enough in a relationship, they’ve already tried various approaches and stretched themselves to the max to change things.

You’ve tried tough love, you’ve tried empathy and compassion, you’ve done loving detachment.

And still, nothing has changed.

Maybe you haven’t tried literally everything, but feeling spent and exhausted is an indication that you’re maybe reaching your limit.

What to do when you’ve reached this point

If you’ve been nodding your head while reading this article, then something needs to change.

But does that mean you’re ready to jump into a separation or divorce?

Not necessarily.

Here are some steps to take to help yourself head in the right direction.

Define your deal breakers

couple having a serious talk with a quote about drawing boundaries in your marriage

So you’ve got a list of grievances with your partner and they all feel pretty overwhelming.

But have you sat down to think about which of these things you can live with and which ones are a definite N-O?

Considering where you draw the line will help you determine when enough is actually enough.

But it can also give your spouse tangible goals to work toward, should you decide to stay and try to work it out.

After all, if your spouse doesn’t know your boundaries, it’s hard for them to not cross them.

Talk to your spouse

Have you had a serious conversation with your spouse about everything that’s been worrying you?

If not, now is the time to get it all out on the table.

This will give them a chance to hear you, digest what you’re saying and understand the seriousness of the situation.

And maybe act before it’s too late.

Consider how you’d work through your problems

When you’ve started taking a good hard look at the issues in your relationship, you can also think about whether they’re fixable—or not.

Some things, like abuse or your kids being in jeopardy, are not.

But many problems can be solved when you really try.

Consider talking to your partner not about divorce yet, but about what it would take to save your marriage.

A commitment is a valuable thing, and most times, a marriage deserves the respect of exhausting all avenues of redemption before calling it quits.

Think about your alternatives

If things are that bad, what would the alternative look like for you?

Living apart? Filing for divorce?

If you’re thinking about divorce, try to consider all the aspects of it, not just relief from your problems.

Divorce doesn’t fix all problems, and sometimes it’s not actually feasible for financial or other reasons.

Moreover, it can be hard to tell if leaving would make you any happier—some research suggests that’s often not the case.

So you really want to think out all the options.

And if you do decide something like divorce is the best option for you, you will feel more confident in your decision with a plan of action.

Take care of yourself

Don’t neglect self-care during a time like this.

Not getting along with your partner is tough on you emotionally and psychologically.

But more to the point, it’s hard to make major decisions about your relationship when you’re feeling overburdened with stress.

So do yourself a favor and pamper yourself a little bit, get fresh air and exercise and do the things you know will help you manage those stress levels.

That way you’ll think more clearly and know that your decisions are based on self-awareness and not just an emotional reaction.

Final thoughts

When you feel like you’ve had enough in a relationship, don’t rush into ending it until you’ve assessed the problems and thought out the results of your next actions.

While some of the issues in your relationship may be too severe or unfixable for your marriage to survive, others may actually be solvable.

It’s usually best to communicate with your spouse about what’s bothering you and giving your marriage a chance to find a solution.

But there’s no shame in walking away from a bad marriage if it’s beyond redemption.

Just make sure you’re coming from a place of clear thinking rather than stress reactions and you’ll make the judgment call you need to make with more wisdom and confidence.

FAQ

When should you bring up your marriage?

If you want to talk to your other half about the problems in your marriage, it’s best to do so during a calm moment, and not right after an argument when tensions are high.

Planning out a time to talk is recommended so you’re not springing it on them.

It’s also a good idea to have that conversation before you’ve reached your very last straw, when you might be less invested in the outcomes due to runaway problems and built-up resentment.

How do you know when your marriage is beyond repair?

Here are some signs that your marriage is simply beyond repair:

  • There’s abuse
  • You are moving from fantasizing about divorcing to casually or actively looking at your prospects
  • You live like roommates
  • There is no possibility for compromise on your deal breakers
  • There’s a pattern of cheating and lying that just doesn’t stop
  • You have so much resentment that you treat your partner with animosity and disrespect
  • Arguments have ceased because you don’t care anymore
  • You don’t want to put in the effort anymore
  • Trust is completely broken in the relationship

What does a failing marriage feel like?

A failing marriage feels bad.

Not just sometimes—most, if not all the time.

It will bring down your levels of self-confidence, happiness and fulfillment.

You may feel constantly anxious, sad or depressed, or like you’re no longer a fun or loveable person.

This is because a failing marriage leaves you feeling so emotionally spent that you don’t feel like yourself anymore.

If you need help pulling your marriage back from the brink and returning to the loving, supportive relationship you once had, we highly recommend Dr. Lee Baucom’s best-selling guide

What does a failing marriage feel like?

A failing marriage feels bad.

Not just sometimes—most, if not all the time.

It will bring down your levels of self-confidence, happiness and fulfillment.

You may feel constantly anxious, sad or depressed, or like you’re no longer a fun or loveable person.

This is because a failing marriage leaves you feeling so emotionally spent that you don’t feel like yourself anymore.

If you need help pulling your marriage back from the brink and returning to the loving, supportive relationship you once had, we highly recommend Dr. Lee Baucom’s best-selling guide Save The Marriage.

This program is praised for being a much-needed update to the traditional marriage therapy techniques that do not work for a lot of couples.

It’s based on the revolutionary concept that you can save your marriage—even if your partner doesn’t want to or care—by making simple but critical changes in how you approach your spouse.

Click here to check out Save The Marriage.

Marlene Davis is an experienced blogger with a focus on interpersonal relationships. Her dream is to help improve people's lives and relationships through sharing of practical knowledge and evidence-based practices.