Getting divorced is not fun. Getting surprised by a divorce is worse.
[Warning: This information is hard to hear, especially at this time of year. But for those that need it, it can be lifesaving.]
Unfortunately, the reality is that you don’t know for sure whether you will be experiencing the agony of Divorce in 2020 or beyond. You may think that you know, but you don’t know for sure.
More importantly, you may think you have seen indicators that are telling you that you are NOT headed for Divorce anytime soon.
I’ve been practicing Divorce and Family Law since 1990. I’ve seen a great deal.
In addition to that, I’ve lived through a great deal. Many years ago, I was caught totally off-guard by an unexpected divorce at a point in time when I would have sworn there was no way that one was headed my way. Moreover, I saw some of the signs that I talk about below and felt sure that there was no way Divorce was coming. In fact, I was pretty sure some of them guaranteed that I was safe from Divorce.
I was wrong.
So here it is, my list of seven things that do NOT mean that you are NOT headed for Divorce:
1. Getting a Gift
It’s Christmas time, which means gift-giving time. Chances are good that you will get a gift from your spouse for Christmas or another holiday sometime soon.
The reality is that getting that gift – even if it’s the best one you’ve ever gotten – does not mean that your spouse is not thinking of Divorce.
If your spouse asks what you want, makes sure to get you the exact thing that you’ve been asking for, or goes out of the way to get you an extra-special present, there is no guarantee that you will still be married this time next year.
2. Giving Your Spouse a Gift
So pretty much, take what I said above and reverse it. It’s still true.
Someone would have to be pretty shallow to base the longevity of their marriage on the types of Christmas presents that they receive. Still, I’ve met some pretty shallow people. Even with that, though, the chances are excellent that one year’s gift or gifts are not going to make up for whatever is causing your spouse to think of Divorce, if, in fact, they are.
Many people wait until after the holidays to start something that they have been planning for quite a while.
3. Being Told That Your Spouse Still Loves You
I’ve written about this a few times over the years, but many a divorce starts with “I love you, I’m just not ‘in love’ with you.”
So, being told by your spouse that he or she loves you – whether whispered in your ear or written in a card – is no guarantee of future marital success.
4. Going on a Family Vacation or Holiday Trip
Often times, the holiday season means going to see family, or having them come to see you. The fact that your spouse is willing to go see your family or friends or that he or she treats them as usual while they are in your home does not mean that your marriage is safe.
Anyone that is planning for a future divorce has, in all likelihood, developed an outstanding ability to fake things. Those things can easily include acting completely normally around others that you love, whether that’s your parents, siblings, friends, or children.
5. Another Year Passing
Silver Divorce is a thing. Middle-aged and older people get divorced all the time.
In fact, there are more and more people getting divorced during what used to be the Golden Years – those years beyond the Silver stage.
Additionally, the idea that since your spouse is “old,” surely, they wouldn’t get involved with someone else is silly. People of all ages find someone other than their spouse to begin a relationship with.
6. Being Disinterested in Sex
The sad truth is that if your spouse has little or no interest in intimacy, one of two things may be true. He or she may be genuinely disinterested – or it could be that they are just disinterested in you.
But what can be real news to people is No. 7, below.
7. Great Sex
It is possible that your spouse is very interested in sex – including sex with you – while thinking of or even planning a divorce.
I’m no psychologist and don’t pretend to understand how this can happen. But I have listened to people talk about their marriages for decades. I can assure you that a couple’s love life can be the best it has been in years, right before the divorce papers are filed.
So, there you have it. Not a fun topic, and certainly not enjoyable at this time of year. But given the spike in divorce filings at the beginning of every year, knowing this may help someone.