Marriage can be a blessing, but it can also come with its highs and lows, and when arguments begin to cause severe problems in your marriage, it could be a sign that your relationship may need help. While disagreements about money and children are common in marriage, lack of trust, living in a state of anxiety and emotional instability, and above all, violence are signs that you are experiencing a toxic marriage.
These dynamics can be exhausting – mentally, emotionally, and physically, not only for those involved but those in the space surrounding the conflict. Understanding the signs that make up a toxic marriage can help couples decide whether it’s time to seek counseling or file for divorce.
Dr. Lillian Glass, a California-based communication and psychology expert, defines a toxic relationship as:
- Any relationship between two people who don’t support each other
- Where there’s conflict, and one partner seeks to undermine the other
- Where there’s competition between spouses
- Where there’s disrespect and a lack of cohesiveness
One of the first signs that exhibit a toxic marriage is a lack of trust. Trust is the one thing in a marriage that one must continually develop, appreciate, and work on during a partnership. It’s better to maintain the trust in the person you love than to try and repair it. Studies show that a healthy marriage is built on trust, and when a marriage lacks that aspect, it can lead to constant worry, insecurity, and arguments. One of the best ways to avoid this issue is by having open communication with your spouse.
According to a report by Woman’s Health, if you are constantly avoiding talking about critical emotional issues or go to someone else for emotional support, that may be a huge red flag that your marriage is in trouble. An essential aspect of any intimate relationship is having someone whom you trust and are comfortable talking to about anything, including anything that can affect you emotionally, and nothing should be off-limits. But if the thought of talking to your spouse causes you to feel anxious, it could spell trouble. Communication is one of the most important aspects needed in a marriage, and without it, conflict can arise, leading to toxic behaviors.
One sure sign that you have a toxic marriage is any signs of domestic abuse. Allegations of domestic violence are grave. They can affect the victim not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. In addition to it being a civil matter, California also imposes criminal liability on those who have perpetrated domestic violence or violated an abuse prevention order. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you need to reach out to law enforcement and your attorney. Although it may seem difficult to ask for help, many resources can help you “break the silence” and end the abuse. Additionally, documented evidence of domestic violence is a factor the court can consider when adjudicating child custody and spousal support in a divorce case.
One of the first steps in saving a marriage of this sort is to recognize that you are in a toxic relationship. It will require both you and your spouse to work together and seek the help of a professional that can help you both work out the issues that are causing the marriage to be harmful. In some cases, people may turn their marriage around, but in those relationships where a spouse continues to be in denial or emotionally/physically abusive, leaving a toxic marriage may be the best option.
The attorneys at Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., understand that getting divorced is a highly personal, emotionally charged, and complex experience. Knowing what to expect can help ease the stress and create a sense of security when uncertain about your future. Our team of family law attorneys has decades of experience counseling clients in all aspects of marital dissolution and legal separation proceedings. Our attorneys will thoroughly explain all issues related to your dissolution to ensure that your rights are protected and the final dissolution judgment is both equitable and fair.
Written by Debra Schoenberg