The January blues may not just be confined to work, as it’s also the most likely month couples will file for divorce.
When you compare it to any other month in the year, it’s got the highest rate.
And one of the days – the first working Monday of each January – is even dubbed ‘divorce day’.
This is the day that searches on the Internet and enquiries to divorce providers peak, RSVP Live reports.
According to support service Amicable, the sharp increase in interest stems from the pressure felt by couples over the Christmas holidays.
If a marriage has been on the rocks for some time, things can come to a head for couples over the holidays.
Intense time spent together, financial pressure, potential critiques from extended family members and seeing some people’s loved up posts on social media can spell disaster for some marriages.
However, divorce isn’t a simple process, and may not always be the right solution.
We spoke to relationship expert and systemic psychotherapist David Kavanagh about the telling signs that a couple is heading for divorce, as well as the important implications that many couples are not aware of if they decide to go ahead with it.
Signs a couple is heading for divorce
Complete breakdown in communication
Communication is key in any relationship, and according to David a breakdown in it is “a major factor” that a divorce is beckoning.
He tells RSVP Live: “A breakdown in communication is a tell-tale sign that the couple is on a slippery slope to divorce. This means whenever someone speaks, their partner either wants to retaliate aggressively or refuses to engage in a conversation.”
Lack of trust
If you’re insecure about your husband or wife socialising without you, this is a red flag.
David explains: “Obviously this is a major issue, where people can’t feel they can go and socialise individually or separately without their partner condemning it, criticising it, or punishing them for doing so.”
Trust is the foundation of relationships, so a different perspective on what is a good or happy social life can be troubling for marriages.
Being openly hostile and aggressive towards each other
All couples argue, but if aggression and negativity stems from every conversation you may have a problem.
“This is when someone is unable to give an opinion or say what they’re thinking about something without a strongly negative reaction or judgement coming back to them from their partner,” says David.
“For me, this would be a serious red flag in therapy sessions that couple is in crisis.”
A lack of intimacy and sex
David explains that a married couple not having sex can sometimes be a contributing factor, but stresses that it’s definitely not a prerequisite.
He tells us: “Many couples have healthy, happy relationships without having sex, but you don’t know have a happy relationship with the other things aforementioned. If you’re not having sex it doesn’t indicate that they’re on the slippery slope to divorce, it just means you’re not having sex.”
Taking the above into account, it is worth noting that divorce is a long and difficult process, with many things couples need to understand and take into consideration before filing for one.
David recommends that a couple seeking divorce should educate themselves and understand the wider implications before taking action.
What you need to know
“You need to educate yourself on what exactly it is you’re going to be doing,” David says.
“It’s a very difficult and challenging process legally and it’s very expensive for some people of limited wealth.”
Although a divorce may be something you want, that does not make the process in any way easy.
David explains: “It’s very emotionally draining and it’s incredibly challenging for families to go through. Your extended family may be supportive, they may not be supportive of the fact you’re getting divorced.”
“That isolation can be very, very scary and very hard to take in. People you imagine will give you support, are actually not supportive.”
“Some people say divorce is easy in Ireland, that you can apply for it and it will happen, but there are ramifications people don’t think about emotionally or psychologically.”
The finality of divorce
David explains that a lot of couples can file for divorce, before realising down the line it was a huge mistake. Not only does this have a severely emotional impact, but a financial one too.
“Someone might have gotten some sense from friends or family who have been divorced, but it’s very difficult to gauge how difficult divorce is unless they are going through it themselves,” he tells us.
“In some cases, couples go through a divorce and then realise they have made a massive mistake – that mistake may cost you tens of thousands of euro so that’s a major issue for couples to think about.”
“They need to consider ‘can we salvage this or are we just throwing it away for the sake of it without realising what we’re actually doing?’.”
“The recommendation is to seek therapy or speak to someone about it first.”
David Kavanagh is a registered psychotherapist. He has helped over 12,000 couples to date and is a specialist in the area of addiction. Based in Dundrum, David runs a thriving private practice. You can find out more information by visiting his website here. (link – https://www.davidkavanagh.tv )