Divorce is quite common in the U.S., with almost 700,000 divorces filed in 2021, according to the CDC. Although the image of marriage disintegrating through fights and arguments is frequently portrayed in media, there is a different kind of divorce – the invisible divorce.
This kind of fallout happens when a couple married lives separate lives, even though they reside in the same home. Sometimes, couples may be aware of it, and other times not, leading to an invisible decline in their marriage.
What Is Invisible Divorce?
An invisible divorce is a situation where a couple remains legally married but no longer shares emotional or physical intimacy as they once did. The relationship may resemble that of co-workers or roommates rather than a loving couple.
Despite having a shared history and possibly children together, the bond that once held them together no longer exists. Although some couples in this situation continue to love each other, there may also be feelings of resentment or passive indifference.
Signs Indicating Invisible Divorce
1. Lack of Intimacy
When a couple’s relationship begins to break down, they may start to notice a lack of intimacy in their interactions with their partner. An absence of emotional and physical intimacy can be an indication of an invisible divorce. For example, warm conversations and loving gestures are no longer present in the relationship. In addition, spending more time alone or working longer hours may also be signs that one or both partners are avoiding each other.
2. Absence of Friendship
In a marriage, having a strong friendship with your spouse is crucial for success. While your spouse doesn't need to be your best friend, they should be one of the closest people in your life. Being able to turn to them in times of need or crisis fosters trust, emotional intimacy, and creates a deeper bond between partners that only strengthens the marriage.
Research has shown that a solid friendship between spouses can make all the difference in a relationship. If you no longer feel like you can speak to your spouse about your troubles, concerns, or in general consider them a friend, this could be another sign of invisible divorce.
3. You Keep Things From One Another
When a lack of friendship and intimacy emerges within a marriage, it can result in spouses keeping things from one another. This doesn’t necessarily involve adultery or other harmful activities, but rather it demonstrates that two individuals residing in one household lead separate lives.
A failure to maintain meaningful connections and emotional bonds can cause individuals to withdraw, resulting in a growing split between them. Such distance only increases when couples hesitate to share details of their lives with each other, and ultimately, they struggle to rebuild communication and intimacy.
4. Lack of Communication
Communication is key in any successful relationship, especially in a marriage. If you find yourself avoiding discussing your relationship and ways to improve it, you may have already given up on it without even realizing it.
Being open and honest with your partner is crucial to maintaining a healthy and happy marriage. It's important to listen to your partner and express your own wants and needs as well. Without clear and honest communication, misunderstandings and resentment can build up over time and ultimately lead to the breakdown of the relationship.
5. You Make Excuses for the Marriage
Despite the importance of communication and shared values in a relationship, it's not uncommon for individuals to continue rationalizing their reasons for staying in an unhappy marriage. Saying things like "the kids love them" or "they’re great about cleaning around the house" may seem like valid justifications for staying, but they shouldn't be the only things holding a marriage together.
If you're sticking it out for the sake of others while leading separate lives, this could be a sign of an invisible divorce. It's important to be honest with yourself and evaluate whether or not your relationship is truly fulfilling.
6. Lack of Mutual Respect
Maintaining a level of mutual respect is vital in any marriage. When you constantly find yourself married to someone you cannot value or highly esteem, it is easy to lose your sense of worth and self-respect.
According to CNBC, this may stem from some level of contempt present in the relationship, which, in turn, is one of the four horsemen of divorce. A noticeable absence of respect in your marriage may also indicate that there is an invisible divorce in the works.
At the Law Office of Tzvi Y. Hagler, P.C., we understand that divorce can be a difficult and complex process. If you are considering divorce, our experienced divorce attorneys can help you navigate this challenging time.
We'll work with you to understand the New York divorce process and help you determine your legal options. With our guidance, you can approach your divorce with confidence and move forward with a plan for the future.
Contact us today at (516) 514-3868 or request a consultation with us online to learn more.