Cultivating deep awareness on the yoga mat is hard enough, but applying it to your own marriage can be more difficult to master than a forearm stand scorpion pose. It's here that awareness really counts and yet it's one area where many of us would rather remain blind.
Marriages change slowly, so it can be hard to spot the signs of separation. Still, there are bound to be some behavioral changes if splitting is on your partner's mind.
Marriages rarely go from "till death do us part" to "I cannot even stand to breathe the same air as you" overnight. As with everything, your marriage is alive and giving you signs all the time—you just need to learn to listen.
Familiarizing yourself with these signs of looming divorce is a good start.
1. Your partner's communication style has done a 180.
You've always wished your spouse would complain less about you. Suddenly, he has and it's downright eerie! Once a partner has abandoned the (oh so irritating) repair attempts like nagging you to change, it's a good indicator they've given up.
We all have days when we don't feel like talking, but a general trend of shutting down the lines of communication and creating distance makes it easier to pull the plug when they deem the time is right.
There's a distinct difference between your spouse going through something that has nothing to do with you and harmful breakdowns of communication—so don't call a lawyer just yet.
2. Financial behavior and cash conversations begin to morph.
This doesn't necessarily mean your spouse is suddenly hiding the credit card bill. It could also mean that he will send you on a luxury girls' weekend out of the blue!
It could be that there are suddenly new bank accounts, new loans, and old passwords are being changed. Maybe he suddenly feels compelled to pay the phone bill when that's always been your job. When financial changes within a relationship occur, it could signal that a partner is starting to think about their future—and what it looks like without you in it.
Be aware of gripes about changes in earning potential, a reduction in compensation or bonuses, or other complaints—especially if he has had a solid career history and job performance. It could be a setup to reduce financial expectations and responsibilities when he tells you he wants a divorce. Similarly, they could start showering you with gifts if they sense you are growing increasingly distant.
3. They're annoyed about everything.
Every married person has the unique ability to annoy their partner like nobody else on the planet. However, these annoyances fluctuate in the landscape of a healthy marriage and often can be quelled with humor and warmth.
But if your partner is suddenly always on edge and you feel unable to smooth the tension with a loving tease, tender kiss, or something spicier, you may not be imagining things. He could be checking out of your relationship but feel unsure about how to truly cut the cord.
In my book, Soon-to-Be-Ex, we explore this further. Don't discount the possibility that you actually are being particularly annoying right now and need to do some work yourself!
4. Your spouse has taken on a great interest in other things—except you.
Some autonomous interest in hobbies is perfectly healthy. The flames of romance need plenty of oxygen to thrive.
What is not normal is when one partner seemingly has moved on to finding a new, singular interest in hanging out with friends, traveling solo, is practically living on the golf course—and places no focus on even trying to include you.
Disinterest creates distance. If you suddenly feel like you have been pushed out of the fun activities or the other events and happenings that you used to share together, he could be having thoughts about a solo future.
If your spouse is suddenly possessive of his electronic devices, is abruptly required to work late, or has a sudden abundance of "business trips," this could be a sign he's either cheating or damn close.
Other signs of infidelity include increased concern about appearance, or possibly even overcompensating when it comes to your relationship. All of those signs could point to an affair—and combined with points 1 through 4 on this list could indicate your spouse is getting his proverbial ducks in a row to leave.
If cheating does seem likely, I advocate for people to have an open, honest conversation.
Note: If you're suddenly breathing into a paper bag, relax. Many healthy marriages may have one or two of these signs crop up at various stages. Relationships ebb and flow. The point of this list is to keep you alert so that you can face difficulty directly and, if you chose not to act, aren't blindsided when divorce papers show up on the kitchen table.