The Biggest Sign of Divorce Men Never See Coming

Silence is not always golden.

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While the divorce rate in America has been declining since the 1980s, between 42 and 45 percent of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. And it might surprise you to find out that most of these filings are initiated by women.

"Many men are blindsided by their wives asking for a divorce because everything is just fine for him," couples consultant and coach Lesli Doares told Best Life.  "Women instigate about 80 percent of divorces—many after years of feeling unheard or having their concerns minimized."

There are a lot of habits—outside of cheating, which is the most obvious one—that lead women to want a one-way ticket to Splitsville. Feeling like their husband isn't attune to their needs or doesn't do enough household chores are big ones, as is the fact that women are actually more likely to get bored with long-term monogamy than men.

Interestingly enough, however, the percentage of women ending relationships doesn't extend to non-marital bonds, which experts say might have something to do with the way marriage has been slow in catching up with today's expectations on gender equality.

"When men and women seek couples therapy and then subsequently divorce; or, when either partner seeks individual therapy about a marriage conflict that ends in divorce, it's often the woman who expresses more overt conflict and dissatisfaction about the state of the marriage," psychotherapist Douglas LaBier wrote on Psychology Today.com. "On the other hand, the man is more likely to report feeling troubled by his wife's dissatisfaction, but pretty much 'OK' with the way things are; he's content to just lope along as time passes. In contrast, I find that younger couples—who are more likely to form non-marital but committed relationships—experience more egalitarian partnerships to begin with. When their relationship crumbles beyond repair, both experience that disintegration. Both are equally likely to address it—and part, if it can't be healed."

But why are men so often blindsided by their wive's request for divorce? The answer is that men often view the absence of conflict in a marriage as a sign that everything is peachy keen, when it might actually be a sign that the wife is so tired of bringing up issues with no tangible results that she's just given up on the marriage altogether.

"Many women go radio silent after years of attempts to improve the relationship. If she no longer is talking about it, and a specific solution has not been implemented, she may be planning her exit," Doares said.

"You need to be aware and realize it is a bad thing if your spouse starts to shut down verbally," matrimonial law attorney Jacqueline Newman told Best Life. "Is she beginning to no longer talk to you about her day or what is going on in her life? If she stops complaining, that can also be a bad sign."

So if your wife seems inordinately tight-lipped as of late, it's worth asking her some of the questions that every husband should ask his spouse at least once a year. And for more great advice on how to maintain a healthy marriage, check out the habits experts say are most likely to increase your chances of divorce.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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