Seven Potential Signs of a Future Divorce

Studies indicate that certain signs are closely associated with the poor functioning of a couple's relationship and, thus, predict a future divorce. The deterioration of their relationship is evident and there's no turning around for many of them.
Seven Potential Signs of a Future Divorce

Last update: 19 March, 2021

Even good relationships go through difficulties at some point so conflict is normal to a certain extent. However, there are times when said conflicts cross sensitive boundaries and this is when the signs make it possible to predict a future divorce.

Certain emotions are hard to hide and the distress signs during crises are quite evident. All of them are obvious manifestations of those who no longer feel comfortable with their partner, of feelings of rejection. It’s at this point that anyone can predict a future divorce.

This is because, once you go beyond the boundaries of trust, respect, and courtesy, it’s quite difficult to turn around. Especially when not addressed properly within a reasonable amount of time. As you can see, predicting a divorce is relatively simple when the signs we explain below are present.

“Nice people don’t necessarily fall in love with nice people.”

-Jonathan Franzen-

1. Aggressive or violent manifestations

It’ll be difficult to dislodge aggressiveness or violence after it’s already a part of a person’s routine. Disagreements and lack of understanding often lead to a point at which every discussion takes a violent turn.

Normal discussions disappear and those that involve disagreements or contradictions prevail, even if there are no visible wounds. Practically every discussion includes a high level of aggression in those couples who are about to break up.

Two people yelling at each other.

2. Criticism and contempt signal future divorce

It’s common for mutual compliments to take precedence when a couple is settling down. There’s a natural disposition to see the positive aspects of the other and to exalt their virtues. It isn’t simply a tactic of conquest, but a real attitude that’s part of falling in love.

The exact opposite happens when a couple is on the verge of breaking up. There’s anything from sarcasm, ridicule, contempt for what the other person does or says, etc. The main goal here seems to be to discount them and it’s an unequivocal tell-tale sign that there’ll be a future divorce.

3. A defensive attitude

It’s common for one or both partners to want to wash their hands of the matter when there’s a looming breakup. Suddenly, each one of them tries to blame the other for what’s happening and fails to own their share of the responsibility.

For instance, one will tell the other that they’re the source of the problem: “It’s not me, it’s you”. This mental scheme is the beginning of the point of no return. Defensive attitudes will prevail and the other person will pay even less attention.

4. Feeling overwhelmed

People feel overwhelmed when they can’t find a way out. The circumstances that produce this feeling of confinement are the actual relationship in many cases.

The usual response to such a feeling is to emotionally distance oneself. This distancing increases as time passes. It’ll be more and more difficult to strengthen the ties again, the moments of intimacy, of complicity.

5. Feelings of failure and unhappiness signal a future divorce

At some point, one of the two may notice that the situation is unbearable and that a rupture is imminent. You may want to get back on track and may even attempt a dialogue or simply adopt a more constructive position during an argument.

However, it’ll be a lost cause as soon as the other party ignores, minimizes, or misrepresents those efforts. Failed grievances are one of the clearest predictors of divorce. It means there’s no longer a willingness to resolve anything that’s failing.

6. Bad memories predominate

It’s likely for there to be resentment, thoughts of revenge, feel deeply disappointed, and blaming one another when negative memories predominate. Thus, rejection or even hatred find a breeding ground.

All this ends up strengthening a destructive attitude towards the formerly-significant other. They’re now the enemy and they must either attack them or defend themselves from them. The mind and heart become used to it and it’s quite hard to change it back.

A woman crying while a man watches her.

7. Body language can indicate a future divorce

The signs that can predict a divorce aren’t so obvious in some couples as they mask them behind passive-aggressive attitudes. Thus, at times, it may seem like their future isn’t so bleak.

Nevertheless, there are elements people can’t hide because body language communicates better than words. Thus, you’ll notice gestures that denote rejection or a certain distance from one another. There’ll be many uncomfortable bodily sensations experienced in the presence of the partner as well. Also, it isn’t uncommon for one or both of them to become ill.

While all of these signs can predict that a breakup is looming, it’s really those involved in a relationship who have the final say. As you can see, it’s possible to get back on track, though a bit difficult. It’ll be easier to reverse it if people deal with the problems early on.

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  • Testor, C. P., Pujol, M. D., Vidal, C. V., & Alegret, I. A. (2009). El divorcio: una aproximación psicológica. Universidad Ramon Llull, 2, 39-46.