MORE than 40,000 of us Google ‘divorce’ in January.
Here break-up coach Sarah Woodward shows Claire Dunwell the relationship red flags that mean it’s time to call it quits.
1. You give them receipts
Domestic abuse can take many forms, including physical or emotional mistreatment, or controlling or coercive behaviour.
But do not underestimate financial abuse.
Sarah explains: “One in five women in England have experienced financial abuse in either their current or past relationship.
“Red flags include a partner questioning everything you spend and going through receipts and bank statements.
“Or being forced to take out debt in your name that you have no means of repaying while your partner spends money freely on themselves.
“If you are experiencing abuse of any type, it is a clear indication the relationship must end.
“It’s essential that you talk to professionals such as National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or Women’s Aid at womensaid.org.uk for the best way to do this.”
2. You check their Facebook
Although a study by relationship counselling service Relate found that 94 per cent of counsellors felt a marriage could survive an affair, for some couples there’s no going back after a betrayal.
Sarah says: “An affair is often a marriage deal-breaker and a symptom of underlying issues like feelings of anger, resentment and loneliness, and differences in sexual desire.
“You need to be able to forgive an affair to move forward and rebuild your marriage, but this will take time and effort.
“If you find yourself watching your partner’s every move and not wanting to let them out of your sight, or you’re constantly checking their phone or social media, then it’s time to call it quits and move on.”
3. You never argue
If you and your partner never have a cross word, it could be a sign that you’re not clearly communicating your wants and needs.
Sarah says: “Couples nearing the end of the road can find themselves barely speaking to each other, let alone arguing.
“Arguing can enable you to build trust and intimacy and allows you to communicate your thoughts and feelings to your partner.
“For a relationship to thrive, conflict should be resolved in a way which improves a connection in the relationship but if it turns into a blame game and becomes more about pointing fingers, it’s a red flag.
“If you feel you can’t express your needs and wants in your relationship, then it could also signal that it’s time to leave.”
4. You don’t say what you want
People change over time, and couples can end up wanting different things, especially in a relationship which started when you were young.
Sarah says: “While you had plenty in common at the start, you now find your hopes and plans have changed and are no longer aligned, meaning the person you fell in love with feels like a stranger.
“If this is the case for you, it may be that with compromise on both parts you can find a way forward for the future that excites and motivates you both.
“However, do you find yourself walking on eggshells or not expressing your opinions to keep the peace?
“Over time, this can cause resentment until the only way to resolve matters is to leave the relationship.”
5. You call your friends first
After a long time together, many couples lose the intimacy, but this isn’t just about sex – it can also be a lack of emotional intimacy, especially for women.
Sarah says: “Maybe your partner used to be your rock — the one you’d always go to for advice, to share those important moments with or your latest mishap with — but now it’s your friends you call or text first.
“You may find you’ve stopped arranging things together such as hobbies you used to share, socialising as a couple and generally participating in each other’s lives.”
6. Your kids ask if you’re happy
Many couples stay together for the sake of the children, but this isn’t always the best decision.
Sarah says: “Children are perceptive and pick up on any negativity, tension and arguments, even if you think you’ve kept things hidden from them.
“Remember, you are a role model for your children as to what a healthy relationship should be like.
“They might comment that you seem happier when the other parent isn’t around or even ask outright if you’re getting a divorce because you seem so unhappy.
“If you need to tell the kids you’re divorcing, tell them together when you have plenty of time for questions and reassurance.
“Don’t overshare details and encourage them to talk to you about any worries they may have.”
New Year brings realisation they want out
ROZ LIDDER, Family Law Partner at law firm Gunnercooke, says: “I’ve seen the peak in divorce enquiries every January.
“We are twice as busy compared to other months.
“For many, a new year signals a new start and for some, a realisation of, ‘I can’t do this any more’.
“Some wait until January when their partner will be distracted with work, hoping the timing will make things easier.
“A lot of people tell me that the festive period is over and how they have had that time at home which, sadly, has made things worse.
“Some are undecided as to whether they wish to divorce immediately but I’ll never push someone to make a decision.”
Roz adds: “Out of ten consultations, normally five will ask to proceed and the other five reconsider.”