There are thousands of articles that will tell you why people get divorced – in fact, there are even scientific studies solely dedicated to the phenomenon. While science tells us that infidelity, conflict, and financial issues are leading causes of divorcing couples, many still decide to split up without these underlying reasons as driving forces. So then, how do you know when it’s time to consider divorce? 

Sign #1: You Have Contempt For Your Partner

Famous relationship psychologist John Gottman refers to contempt as the “kiss of death” for a relationship.

Contempt is when you see your partner beneath you – but it’s essential to know that contempt doesn’t always come in obvious ways. Many times, it’s a subconscious feeling that stems from internal issues and needs to be formally recognized. 

For example, contempt can come in the form of mockery and sarcasm, whereas other times, it’s blatant disrespect in private or in front of others. 

Sign #2: You Withdraw During Conflict

Sometimes when there’s a heated argument, it’s a good idea to reel back and take some time away from each other so you can cool off. But when these “cool off” sessions are actually a result of demand/withdrawal patterns, this can quickly become problematic. 

Let’s say that married couple John and Susan are at the beginning of a heated argument after returning home from a restaurant. Susan thought John was flirting with the waitress at the restaurant, and John merely shuts down and recluses himself in another room, although Susan is desperate to talk about how it made her feel. John comes out the next day and pretends nothing happened. 

Sign #3: You Live Like Roommates

If you’re living with your spouse – which most of us do – you technically are roommates, but you don’t want to act like roommates: You want to act like a married couple. 

Roommates are people you share your space with but live independently from, and your spouse should be a person you share your life with

If you’re always hanging out in different rooms, go days without conversation, and there’s a significant lack of intimacy, you act more like roommates than anything else. At this point, your relationship has become stale, and it may be time to assess where you truly want to be.

Sign #4: There’s Violence and/or Emotional Abuse

No person should ever stay in a relationship if there’s violence and/or emotional abuse. Your relationship and home should make you feel safe – not like you’re always walking on eggshells. 

Physical violence can manifest in different ways, like occasional slaps, pushing, or beating. Even if your partner “only” hits you when stressed or under the influence, remember that that behavior can come out when they’re happy and sober, too. 

On the other hand, emotional abuse is not something you can see happening, but it’s something you can feel. If your spouse is hypercritical towards you, ignores your boundaries or wishes, constantly yells at you, and blames you for their problems, you’re likely a victim of emotional abuse. 

* There are resources out there. Learn how to protect yourself with the National Domestic Violence Hotline or call them at 800-799-7233.

Sign #5: You Don’t Prioritize Each Other

In movies and television shows, relationships are often romanticized as two people who have finally found their other halves. 

But in reality, a relationship should always contain two individual people who have their own thoughts, wishes, desires, and goals – which is why learning to grow together is one of the biggest challenges of marriage. 

Unfortunately, it’s easy for people to forget that their spouse needs to remain a priority, even if other things in life (kids, work, friends) are always at the forefront. 

If you’ve talked to your partner about this and still see no change, it may be because they’ve grown used to this way of life, and it’s time to move on.

Hickey & Hull Can Help You Today 

Whether you have questions about the divorce process or would like to begin filing immediately, the family law experts at Hickey & Hull Law Partners are here to help you. 

Our team has worked with thousands of families and couples just like yours and knows that no two situations are quite the same, so we approach every request with compassion, honesty, and care. 
Reach out to us today by filling out our online form or calling us anytime. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.

In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Little Rock:
124 W. Capitol Avenue Suite 870
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (479) ‍434-2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-2415

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In Russellville: 

127 East 3rd Street
Russellville, Arkansas 72801

Phone: (479) ‍434-‍2414
Fax: (479) ‍434-‍2415



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In Northwest Arkansas:
409 W. Poplar Street
Rogers, AR 72756
Phone: (479) ‍802-6560
Fax: (479) ‍802-6561

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