Red flag: “I lost my voice in the relationship.”
“Early in our marriage we fought a lot about me not ‘respecting him,’ so over the years I was being programmed to think that the problem was me having something (anything) to say when it came to making decisions for the family. The quieter I got, the less we would fight. To him, we were perfect. He even suggested we be marriage mentors with the new found ‘zen’ in our marriage. But when I got tired of being silent, it all fell apart. It wasn’t until after counseling that I realized everything about me would always be too loud under the control of a narcissist who couldn’t stand to be out-shined.”—Taccara Mart
Why it’s a red flag
Therapists agree that communication is the glue that holds any relationships together. “Couples who find it difficult to discuss topics with each other, without making assumptions or getting offended, have a harder time staying together,” says Celeste Holbrook, PhD, sexual health consultant and educator. “The good news is that all couples have to learn how to communicate well and it is always a work in progress.” In other words, if you struggle to understand each other, a positive solution is to try to find a communication tool, whether that’s through therapy or through patient listening and giving in once in awhile
Red flag: “He stopped referring to me by my name.”
“A sign that my husband and I were headed for divorce was his annoying way of referring to me as ‘she’ instead of by my name. The first time I remember it happening was on our honeymoon, and it was about then that I realized I’d made a terrible mistake marrying that man. I’ve since learned it’s an abuser’s way of dehumanizing his victim and shredding her self-worth.”—Susan Helene Gottfried
Why it’s a red flag
Lack of respect is a huge issue that tears couples apart, marriage counselors say. “Having respect for each other and the marriage is an important aspect in a healthy marriage,” explains Dawn Michael, PhD, certified sexualty counselor, clinical sexologist and author of My Husband Won’t Have Sex With Me. “When you begin to lose respect for your spouse, it’s important to get to the core of why you are feeling this way and talk it out with your spouse.” Here are some more signs your marriage is headed for divorce.