The idea you could be stuck in a toxic marriage can be very upsetting. Rather than making you regret getting married in the first place, however, use it as a sign that it is time to make a change. Recognizing the signs of a toxic or controlling marriage can be the first step toward a brighter future for you and your family.
The following are a few red flags. If you notice them, it may be time to discuss your options with a family law attorney.
You Feel Emotionally Drained
If your relationship constantly makes you feel exhausted, hopeless, or emotionally spent, it could be toxic. A healthy marriage can have ups and downs, but there should be a balance between the two. You should not always feel sad, depressed, or physically and emotionally drained in your marriage. If you feel this way more often than you feel happy and productive, it could be time to make a change.
You Can Never Get It Right
Your spouse should be the person who supports your endeavors, encourages you to grow, and picks you up when you feel down. If your spouse often finds fault in what you say and do, the marriage may have turned toxic. Constantly criticizing how you talk, eat or act could be your spouse’s way of lashing out at you, or letting you know he or she is not happy. Do not take the criticisms personally. Instead, find the underlying cause of what is bothering your spouse. If you simply cannot get it right, it might be a sign to move on.
You Lie to Family and Friends
If you find yourself covering up how you and your spouse are actually doing, or lying to family and friends about how happy you are, it might be time to do something differently. There is a reason your loved ones often ask if you and your spouse are doing okay, or how things are at home. You are probably doing a worse job of covering up your true feelings than you think. Instead of living a façade, get the life you want – full of genuine happiness – by getting out of your toxic marriage.
You Lose the Physical Connection
Almost every marriage experiences a decrease in sex after the beginning stages of the relationship, but if your “normal” for the last few years has stopped completely, something could be wrong. Your spouse withholding physical affection – even in the form of holding hands or hugging – could be a sign that he or she is unhappy. If you and your spouse are living more like roommates than a married couple, the marriage might have gone too far south to salvage.
Your Relationship Has Turned Mean
If most of your interactions with your spouse are biting comments, sarcastic remarks, or arguments, you may have a toxic marriage. While every couple fights occasionally, your relationship should not get stuck indefinitely at a low point. You should have a barrier you both do not cross, even when things get difficult. If you and/or your spouse are doing or saying things you both know can cause irreparable pain to the other person, it could be time to get out.
You Feel Relieved at the Thought of Divorce
Do you often fantasize about leaving your spouse? Do you feel real relief when you imagine being single again? Listen to your fight or flight instincts when it comes to your marriage. If living in a toxic relationship has taken the fight out of you, it may be time for flight. Considering divorce constantly or browsing ads for an apartment to rent could be signs that it is time to leave a toxic marriage for good. Your relationship may have become too physically or emotionally unbearable at this point.
If you believe you are in a toxic relationship, discuss separation or divorce with a family attorney today. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.