After 17 years as a divorce attorney, I can easily spot the patterns of behavior that indicate a divorce is imminent. Here are the 3 most common ones:
1. Changes in Behavior– Either someone will join a gym and start working out more, or they now have to work late much more often than before, or maybe they have new friends that they have made on their own– any of these become reasons they now avoid spending time at home. Your spouse will also hide his/her phone and emails. Privacy becomes increasingly important as they confide in others to prepare for the separation, and they don’t want their emails or call history subject to scrutiny.
2. Separate Finances– If anyone wants to consult an attorney or start buying furniture for a new place, or they want to put a deposit on a new place or secure movers without letting their spouse know, they will pay these out of a separate bank or credit card account that the other spouse cannot access. If you ask questions and get a response saying “it’s none of your business” you should know something is up.
3. No More Fun Together– It becomes a chore to make plans with someone that irritates you, and as a result you don’t plan things together. It’s hard to laugh or feel comfortable around someone that annoys you or worse has caused you harm either physically or emotionally. You will lose interest in being intimate, and you will find that getting a gift becomes overwhelming. When special occasions come up, you are really at a loss to want to celebrate, and as a result you don’t. Eventually the tension in the air becomes unbearable– it’s as if all the oxygen has been sucked out of the room.
Experiencing any or all of these things is incredibly hard to stomach, but rather than ignore the problems or just hope that things will get better, it is important to try and confront the issues. There is nothing wrong with point blank asking the person if they want a separation. Better to be informed and know what’s really going on so that you are not blind-sided– then at least you have time to think things through carefully and formulate a plan.
Knowledge is power, so go get empowered.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.