Walking on eggshells.
The absolutely most common reason I hear is “I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. Nothing I do is right.” It is really difficult to live under constant criticism. As the individuals self esteem is lowered by their partner, they are vulnerable and even invite further criticism. It is a vicious cycle. Sometimes these individuals feel that if only he/she could change things would be better. They won’t get better. The spouse is the one with the problem and nothing you do will change that.
The kids will no longer bring their friends to the house
For whatever reason, if the kids don’t want to bring their friends over, you have a problem. It may be because there is too much tension between the parents or it may be that the spouse is also abusive to the children. Kids often are the canaries in the coal mine – they know when there is a problem. Pay attention.
“I don’t want to go home at night”
Often I see folks who are considered workaholics. They spend a lot of time at work because they just don’t want to be home. It may be because of the tension, the criticism or just the lack of companionship. While this may be good for a career, it is no way to live. A variation of this is spending a lot of time with co-workers after hours. This can be perilous because sometimes one of the co-workers may become an attractive alternative to a spouse.
“We never do anything together”
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of couples who pursue different interests. Perhaps one likes camping and the outdoors and the other prefers the symphony. These couples function quite well following their separate paths and then perhaps discussing their day afterwards. It is the degree of separateness that is telling. Do they still communicate with each other? Is their intimacy in conversations? Speaking of intimacy, lack of intimacy is rarely about lack of sex. It is about caring and sharing with each other.
What does your therapist tell you?
This is a question I often ask prospective clients. There was probably a reason a therapist referred a client to me. The therapist sees something the client is not yet ready to see. Therapists often recommend a client visit with me just to explore options and as a fact check. I explain the process and possible outcomes to clients. Sometimes they decide the present is not painful enough yet and sometimes they are ready to move forward towards a better life.
There is hope
I have many many stories of people who are much relieved after taking actions. Sometimes they did not realize how much pain they were in until they got out of the situation.
Seeing a divorce lawyer does not mean you will get divorced
I am about education. Learn what your options are. I believe in helping give people enough information to make an informed decision. I never ever try to talk someone into a divorce. Only you can talk yourself into that.