Your Current Feelings About Your Spouse

With divorce rates holding steady at about 50%, New Jersey couples might be concerned if there are early signs that their marriage could be coming to an end. According to a study, how you feel about your spouse now, especially if those feelings are ambivalent, could predict that the two of you might divorce later.

Common Factors Predicting Divorce

There are many reasons why marriages fail. Often, couples find themselves struggling with more than one factor that leads to a divorce. In other cases, spouses might ignore the signs that their marriage has been struggling for a long time until they just cannot move forward. Some of the common factors that lead to divorce include:

  • Infidelity
  • Financial issues
  • Alcohol or substance addiction
  • Abuse or domestic violence
  • Drifting apart over the years

What Is Ambivalence Toward a Spouse?

Feelings of ambivalence toward a spouse mean that you experience both positive and negative feelings about your spouse or that you feel both love and hate at the same time toward your significant other. This can cause you to drift apart as it might make you question how much you care for the other person. It can also cause significant stress as the spouses might begin to question the future of the relationship. Ambivalence can make you disengage with your spouse since you are not sure about the way you feel about them. Additionally, if there is marital conflict involved, these feelings of ambivalence might intensify. If you find that your marriage is struggling and that you cannot resolve the conflict, you could benefit from speaking to a New Jersey family law attorney to review your options.

How Can Ambivalence Lead to Divorce?

Over time, ambivalence can lead to couples growing apart. It is one of the strongest predictors of divorce, with couples who experience ambivalence heading toward a dissolution of marriage about seven years after these feelings start. Sometimes, one spouse might begin feeling ambivalent. However, once the other spouse begins feeling it as well, the first spouse might then feel pushed to file for divorce.

The Study

Data from the Iowa Midlife Transition Project, which studied couples with young adult children, revealed that ambivalence about your spouse could lead to lower marital satisfaction. While some of the couples would later divorce, those who chose to stay together, despite the ambivalence, also experienced less satisfaction and increased conflict. The study did not only look at ambivalence in relationships. It also analyzed data from these same families related to other factors, including:

  • Marital conflict
  • Instability
  • Satisfaction
  • Separation or divorce

Individual Versus Shared Ambivalence

Couples might have shared ambivalence toward their relationship. However, they might also experience individual ambivalence, which, according to the data, resulted in a more significant negative view of the marriage itself. Individual ambivalence resulted in heightened negative evaluations of the marriage, including:

  • Increase in individual unhappiness
  • Stronger desire to dissolve the marriage
  • Decrease in marital satisfaction

As people age, individual and shared ambivalence can affect the way they deal with their romantic relationships. For example, older people are usually more interested in finding value in their current relationships and experiences. This means that feelings of ambivalence might lead them to drift away from romantic partners who are not bringing satisfaction and happiness into their lives and in some cases to seek a divorce as they choose to leave situations with conflict and stress. If you are facing this situation, you may want to speak with a New Jersey family law attorney to see how you can move forward.

If you have decided to end your marriage, you should learn about your options so you can make a plan to achieve a fair and favorable divorce settlement. At Morgenstern & Rochester, we are ready to help you make informed decisions about your family law matters. Call us today at (856) 489-6200 for a consultation at our Cherry Hill offices or use our contact form to reach out to us.