Nine Signs It May Benefit You To Leave Your Marriage

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated June 14, 2024by Regain Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact theDomestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Leaving a marriage can be easier considered than done. For many, marriage is a significant commitment and often involves love, connection, and hope for the future. Marriage may also affect shared assets, children, and financial relations. Deciding to get a divorce can be a significant decision and may cause many emotions to arise. If you're considering leaving your marriage, consider the following nine signs that you might benefit from doing so.

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Not ready to end your marriage?

1. You argue often 

Disputes or disagreements may be healthy when occasional and handled with emotional maturity and communication. However, if you are facing painful arguments or frequent escalated verbal debates, it may signify an unhealthy dynamic. The Gottman Institute points out that unhealthy patterns can include criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stone-walling.

If you have tried to seek support or have set boundaries with your spouse, but they do not seem interested in changing, refuse to admit anything is wrong, or do not want to try to seek professional support, it may indicate that the relationship has become one-sided. Long-term arguments and emotional distress can have lasting impacts on mental and physical health. 

2. You are experiencing abuse

Abuse can be mental, physical, or emotional. If you feel you are experiencing abuse, leaving your relationship may be the safest option. However, recognizing abuse can be challenging for many who experience it. A few signs of abuse can include the following: 

  • Frequent labeling such as "you're so ugly" or "you're a crybaby" 
  • Frequent yelling or raising the voice to intimidate or cause fear
  • Power dynamics that are unfair and harmful 
  • Physical violence like kicking, hitting, punching, or holding someone against their will 
  • Demeaning statements
  • Gaslighting (a type of abuse involving discrediting a person's experiences of abuse over time, often accusing them of the same behavior)
  • Love bombing (a behavior used in an abusive relationship to shower an individual in love or affection after treating them abusively to try to regain their trust) 
  • Isolating an individual from their family, friends, or place of work 
  • Causing others to believe that a survivor is actually the abusive one (triangulation, smear campaigning) 

If you have experienced any of the above behaviors or feel you might be confronting abuse, consider reaching out for professional support. Studies show that around 25% of all marriages end because of abuse and that abuse often worsens over time. No matter what you're experiencing, abuse is not your fault. 

3. You are no longer intimate with one another

Intimacy is often a feature that separates a marriage or relationship from a friendship or queer-platonic relationship. Physical intimacy like hugging, kissing, sex, and time together can increase feelings of love and connection. In some marriages, intimacy stops occurring or mismatching desires occur. These concepts are often addressed in marriage counseling with a licensed therapist and can often be remedied with time, work, and understanding. 

However, if one partner is uninterested in physical intimacy or long-term challenges have occurred and individuals feel that support would not benefit the situation, divorce may be an option. 

4. You fantasize about life without your significant other

If you have positive daydreams about life without your spouse, it may indicate that you're interested in leaving your relationship. If you don't feel 100% certain about your marriage and do feel 100% certain about a future daydream, it could benefit you to consider following a different path. It can be normal and healthy to change your mind throughout life or no longer desire the same situations you wanted at the beginning of your relationship.  


5. You don't find your marriage fun 

While it can be normal to want to settle down and not go out as much as you get older, neglecting time together or finding your partner boring, unresponsive, or irritating may be signs that you no longer want to be in your marriage. For some couples, scheduling date nights, spicing up sexual intimacy, or finding new ways to relate can support this issue. However, it may indicate a lack of love or affection for others. 

6. You aren't listened to or respected 

Communication is often critical to a functioning marriage, and if it's not there, several problems can arise. If you have tried to express your thoughts and feelings to your spouse but believe you are not being heard or taken seriously, you may want to consider leaving the marriage because your core needs are not being met.

Marriage is a collaborative effort, and both partners may choose to make efforts to express their emotions freely. If an effort is absent or partners disrespect each other's boundaries, resentment may form. Often, partners make an effort during many conversations before feeling that the effort is no longer worth it and that it may be time to leave a relationship. If you notice communication issues arising early in a relationship, consider reaching out for professional help to tackle these concerns early on.

7. You or your spouse is having an affair

Infidelity refers to a physical or emotional relationship outside your marriage that goes outside the boundaries you've set together. Online interaction, suggestive conversations, kissing, and sexual touch are some forms of infidelity. However, the definition of infidelity may vary for each relationship. It is estimated that around 50% of marriages involve infidelity in some way. Although many partners choose to address these concerns in therapy, it can also be healthy to choose to divorce if trust is broken in this way. 

8. You don't talk to your spouse about anything 

While you might want to tell your friends and family about specific topics in your relationship, only talking to others about your conflicts and ignoring or excluding your spouse from these conversations may be unhealthy. If your spouse is unaware of your feelings, they may struggle to make changes or communicate with you. 

Not ready to end your marriage?

9. You no longer love each other

If you or your spouse no longer feels love or affection, it may signify the benefit of divorce. Whether the lack of love is on one side or both, remaining in a loveless marriage may cause resentment, fear, or feelings of inadequacy. In addition, if you are keeping these feelings from your spouse, they might think you still love them and feel hurt when you tell them the truth. Allowing them the chance to meet someone else or move on can benefit both of you. In the future, you may also be able to explore connections that feel emotionally fulfilling to you. 

Counseling options 

Marriage counseling can be beneficial if you are considering separating from your partner but haven't discussed the topic yet. In addition, if you've decided to stay with your spouse but have concerns you'd like to discuss, counseling can allow you to do so. Marriage therapists can be found in person or online, but many couples appreciate the convenience and affordability of online therapy. 

An online therapist can offer the same therapy and resources as an in-person provider and is equipped to provide worksheets, at-home activities, and resources to couples. You can also meet with your therapist from two locations if you have already begun the divorce process and would prefer not to partake in therapy with your spouse in the same room. 

Studies have found that online counseling is often preferable to couples over in-person therapy due to its ability to amplify connection with the therapist and provide a flexible format to the unique needs of couples experiencing relationship challenges. If you want to try an internet-based format, consider signing up with a platform like Regain, which allows you to connect with your therapist over the phone, via video, or through live chat sessions and offers unlimited messaging. 

Therapist reviews

“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time... She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling initially, but I truly believe it is making a difference for our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”

“My wife and I decided to give online couples counseling a go after finding traditional methods weren’t all that suited to our busy working and parenting lifestyle. Our counselor Donna Kemp has been amazing! We both feel she’s listened to us and given us the confidence to step out of our comfort zone to deal with problems that are easy to avoid. She is encouraging without being pushy. We’ve both responded very well to her and her methods and look forward to continuing on with Donna. Highly recommend!”


Choosing to leave a relationship is often not an easy decision for spouses. If you're interested in receiving advice and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of staying in your relationship, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for further guidance and emotional support.

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