Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Causes of divorce you may not have considered

When a divorce happens, most people assume that an obvious or common trigger was the reason. Many people get divorced because of infidelity or falling out of love, to name a couple of well-known examples. In these cases, the cause of divorce seems apparent, though that is not always the case.

If you're considering getting a divorce here in Oregon, you may have other reasons for doing so. There are many relationships here in Oregon and elsewhere that break down due to, as experts say, silent killers. These reasons may not be obvious to anyone but the two people in the relationship. Sometimes, one or both people don't realize anything is wrong until the damage is done. Researchers advise people to watch out for the following signs.

Behaviors that arise during arguments

You might think that you're helping your marriage by not generating arguments. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. Couple need to acknowledge conflict and deal with it, otherwise, negativity will only grow. It's a great idea to handle conflict in an effective way, but don't avoid it altogether.

When arguments arise, it's crucial that you do not shut down or stonewall your spouse. It can be difficult if you're feeling upset, especially when you want to speak respectfully to your spouse. But if one person stops trying to solve the problem, it will only get worse.

Being dismissive or breeding resentment

People can be offensive to their spouse without even realizing they are doing so. For example, if your spouse says, "I feel sick," and you reply, "No, you're fine," that is invalidating how he or she feels. Contradicting your spouse's feelings can make him or her feel less connected to you.

If you or your spouse have a habit of rehashing issues from your shared past, it could lead to divorce. Sometimes, people with resentment will speak with sarcasm or be passive-aggressive. Keeping open lines of communication can help hold resentment at bay.

The future and the past

Experts say that when couples retire and don't have as many distractions, they often notice change in their spouse. They may feel as though their spouse has changed in ways that they cannot abide. Though growth in a marriage is common and even expected, if you are going in a different direction than your spouse, you may feel distanced from him or her.

Regarding the past, a spouse with trauma from long ago may not be willing to deal with it. But if you're the one who hasn't dealt your own, it can be very damaging to your marriage. People may react negatively to things happening in their current relationship that are actually due to something that happened in the past. Experts say that therapy and open communication is the best way to handle this concern.

Money lies

This may seem like a more common cause of divorce, and though that's true, it is perhaps not in the way you might think. Couples may assume that having separate bank accounts is the solution to money woes, but if you and your spouse don't have aligning financial values, it can cause arguments. Both people need to feel as though they can trust one another and that they have the same financial goals.

No matter your reasons for wanting a divorce, you should know that it is likely a common occurrence. It can be easy to feel shame or embarrassment over what you might think of as a failed marriage, but it is something that just happens, sometimes even with the best effort. Learning what you can from the experience and going forward will help set you on the best future path.

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Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law
1607 N.E. 41st Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

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