While every couple is unique, and relationships end every day for a variety of reasons, there do seem to be a few habits all people who get divorced have in common. Some of these habits can spell disaster all on their own, while others are an indicator of an impending problem. That's why it's a good idea to be on the lookout for unhealthy situations, and avoid bad habits, if you'd like your relationship to last for the long haul.
All of that said, divorce can be a smart choice for some people, and things can even end amicably if a couple decides they just weren't mean to be. But if things are going downhill in your relationship, despite the fact you'd really like it to work out, it doesn't mean all hope is lost.
If you and your partner have some relationship-ruining bad habits, there's plenty you can do to turn things around. "Awareness is the first step to changing any behavior," dating and relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca, CLC, tells Bustle. "One or both partners needs to address this [issue] and start a dialogue about what’s going wrong and what the couple can do about it. If both partners want to strengthen the marriage, it can be saved with intention in that direction."
Below, habits people who get divorced tend to have in common, so you'll know just what to avoid on the road to strengthening your relationship.
1. They Don't Argue
I know this may sound strange, but couples who don't argue are not only creepy, but kind of unhealthy. That's because arguments offer the perfect moment to air your grievances, vent your frustrations, and make each other happy again.
But not arguing can also be a sign that one or both of you has checked out, and that's not a great sign, either. "Instead of saying 'I need some time' or 'I’m not in a good place to have this discussion right now,' they simply disengage," says clinical psychologist and The Web Radio Host Dr. Josh Klapow. "These are signs that the person has given up." And that often means a breakup is on the horizon.
2. They Make It Personal
If you're occasionally arguing with your partner, consider your relationship normal and healthy. But take note if things get personal or super mean during your fights.
"Couples who move from arguments about different views on a topic, to arguments that are personal, are clearly headed for trouble," Klapow says. "As our arguments move from 'I don’t like what you are doing or saying,' to 'I don’t like you,' the relationship disagreements become far more toxic."
3. They Have Unreasonable Expectations
Many couples go into marriage with unreasonable expectations. Some think it'll be a cure-all for the problems they had while dating, while others think exchanging rings means all the hard work is done.
"For some people, everything that led up to the wedding was what they were living for," says dating expert Kevin Darné. "When they settle in to working, paying bills, buying a home, plotting a strategy for their future, and possibly raising children it's not the fairytale they hoped for." And that can lead to quite the rude awakening down the road.
4. They Don't Make Sex A Priority
"They stop flirting with one another, holding hands, snuggling on the sofa, taking showers together, having spontaneous sex in a variety of ways and locations," says Darné. While every couple goes through a dry spell or two — especially if there's a health issue involved — it's so important to make sex a priority. If you don't, that lack of passion and connection can lead to a breakup.
5. They Don't Allow Themselves To Go "All In"
"Some people actually fear losing their identity in marriage, so they intentionally hold back from emotionally investing too much," says Darné. But there's no way to only be half in, when it comes to marriage. If you aren't fully invested, you'll feel disconnected. And then bored. And that can lead to cheating, and even divorce.
6. They Stop Trying
Just because things are official doesn't mean you can kick back and stop trying. "It would be like getting a job and slacking off after the probation period," says Darné. "The word 'security' for a lot of people means they no longer have to give their best in order to maintain their position." But if you don't make an effort to go on dates, things will end.
7. They Don't Think Of Themselves As Partners
While it's perfectly fine (and healthy) to maintain your individuality in a marriage, thinking of yourselves as separate isn't smart. As Sedacca tells me, once that "us" factor is gone, the partnership will likely fail.
8. They Harbor Resentment
It's impossible to have a healthy marriage if one of both of you is harboring resentment. And yet, that's just what happens to many couples. "The phrase 'the contempt of the familiar' applies to many marriages," says certified life coach Mitzi Brockman, in an email to Bustle. "Years of living in close quarters, seeing each others' worst selves, and causing a myriad of hurts leaves people contemptuous of their partners. Contempt is the death knell for any marriage."
9. They Don't Communicate
As dating expert Stef Safran tells me, couples headed for divorce often find themselves there because they didn't work on their problems, or because they chose to confide those problems in someone outside the relationship. Constant communication is where it's at if you want a healthy marriage, so don't fall into these traps.
10. They Don't Trust Each Other
Trust issues can crop up for a multitude of reasons, and they can take time to work through — and sometimes even require some outside help from a therapist. But if you two can't fix things, the relationship is unlikely to work. As Safran says, "Without trust, a relationship has a hard time coming back."
11. They Jump To Conclusions
If you want to avoid the wrong kind of fights — like, the kind that can lead to a breakup — then don't jump to conclusions. "Marriage is all about putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and being selfless, not selfish," says dating expert and premiere matchmaker Rori Sassoon. By jumping to conclusions, you're assuming the worst and being distrustful. And that's not a recipe for long-term marriage success.
12. They're Immature
While everyone's entitled to the occasional bad mood, being snarky and immature is yet another habit that can land you in Divorceville. "Whether you are married or in a committed relationship, it’s important to keep your cool and maintain a safe environment for open communication," Sassoon says. "If you are unable to be sensitive to your partner’s needs and concerns, your relationship will hit a dead end as communication closes off."
13. They Take Each Other For Granted
After you've been married for a minute, you might start taking for granted the fact your husband makes you coffee every morning, or the fact your wife knows just how to cheer you up. But the moment you stop appreciating each other is the moment things go downhill. "Couples who are bound for divorce take each other for granted. They assume that because they are married their partner will always be there, but that isn't always the case," Brockman says.
Marriage takes a lot of work, so it's important not to kick back and fall into these traps, since they can pave the road to divorce. If you want your marriage to stay healthy, avoiding these bad habits will certainly help.