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11 Signs It’s Time to Separate from Your Spouse

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11 Signs It’s Time to Separate from Your Spouse

Deciding if it might be time to separate from your spouse is not an easy thing to do. Actively choosing to become a single mother can be the most daunting decision of your life and certainly is not one that should be made lightly.

As a mother, there are always so many things to weigh up, especially when there are children involved, but here are 11 signs it might just be the right time to separate.

No Trust

Trust is the foundation upon which healthy and strong relationships are built, and once it is lost, a married couple may very well be heading for a divorce. Trust can, however, be restored, but it can require a monumental effort by both parties and only if they’re fully committed to saving their marriage.

If you have honestly tried discussing and addressing these issues with your partner and you’re not seeing any changes in their behaviour or attitude toward your relationship, it may be time to call it a day.

Lack of Respect

Being disrespectful to each other is another red flag and could indicate that the relationship may be heading for a breakdown.

Sometimes, the signs are subtle, and you may not instantly recognise them. They may first come disguised as showing a lack of consideration, constant criticism or making insensitive comments that gradually escalate.

When this behaviour starts to become frequent, and you’re unable to treat one another with the respect you once had, the writing may be on the wall.

You’re Only Staying Together for the Kids

When your kids become your only reason for staying together, it means that there is absolutely nothing else left in your relationship. If this is the case for you, it may be a good time to consult with a trusted family lawyer.

Studies and surveys have reported that most children would rather have their parents divorced and happy rather than remain in an unhappy relationship.

It’s Cheaper To Stay

Economics is also another common reason that prevents mums from taking the bold step to initiate a separation and choose to live as a single mother.  

Paying for a second household is often unaffordable when you are living on the income of a single mum, and it just becomes cheaper to stay together in an unhealthy relationship.  

Don’t forget that as a single parent, you may be entitled to government support and tax breaks – consult a tax agent and family lawyer to find out just what kind of support you might be entitled to if you were to decide it was time to separate.

You’re Worried What Others Will Think

In the past, single mums often sadly faced a stigma regarding getting a divorce, often holding women back from filing for divorce or even just separating.

Thankfully, although being divorced or separated no longer bears the same stigma in today’s world, being worried about what others will think can still play on people’s minds when contemplating a divorce.

Your happiness and your future are more important than what others may think.

Poor Communication

Good communication is the only means of resolving any given problem. Without this, there is little hope of resolving anything, let alone saving your marriage.

In many marriages, there are bound to be some challenges along the way, but that can only be resolved through healthy communication with your partner, and the sooner you engage with them, the better.

Poor communication can lead to one or both spouses shutting down and refusing to engage in fear that it will lead to an argument. This not only allows small issues to fester into major disputes but makes communication even harder. If you have reached a stage where you are no longer able to discuss your disputes without breaking into a fight, your marriage may already be on the rocks.

When two spouses cannot properly communicate with each other, the problem does not end with a decision to divorce but can make family mediation and post-divorce parenting even more difficult.

Walking On Eggshells

Stress and unhappiness in a relationship can put immense strain on a couple, making one or both partners feel like they are constantly walking on eggshells, afraid that they may at any time trigger an unpleasant or angry reaction from their spouse.

If you’re walking on eggshells around your partner, how long can you really sustain it? It might just be time to walk away and start over.

Values are Compromised

If you’re being asked or expected to compromise your values, it could be time to leave.

Values are individual beliefs and serve as a guide for how you behave and how you expect others to behave towards you and the people around you. When your values and your partner’s values are not aligned, and they are expecting you to change, you need to consider if your relationship is worth compromising your values.

Constant Criticism

Being under constant criticism is an exhausting way to live.

Being criticised day in and day out can breed resentment, mistrust, and disrespect. It can make one feel distressed, unappreciated, and always on edge. These are all harmful traits to a healthy marriage, and nothing good will come out of living this way.

Different Parenting Styles

This may not be a reason to separate from your spouse entirely on its own unless your spouse’s parenting style may be harmful to the children, but applying different parental styles can certainly add more tension to a marriage.

When the parents disagree on parental styles, it confuses the children, creates unnecessary arguments and makes life, in general, difficult for the whole family.

Here’s where the open and honest communication comes into play. Discuss your concerns regarding your differing parenting styles and the effect you see this having on your children and your family as a whole.


There is absolutely NO excuse for any kind of abuse in a relationship, be it physical, verbal or emotional.

When you have reached this stage, there may not be much left to do except pack up and walk away.

If you are the victim of abuse, please seek help from organisations such as White Ribbon Australia, 1800Respect or Lifeline.

As divorce lawyers in Perth, we see many of these signs with our separating clients and work with them to achieve the most amicable divorce while saving them stress and money too.

A final note would be that do not let a perceived lack of support as a single mum be another reason to choose to stay in an unhappy marriage. There are so many resources and support networks out there – both online and in person – such as the services offered by Single Mama Way.

Elle has a host of amazing resources, including books, courses, the Single Mama Way Tribe, counselling sessions for single mums and a super supportive Facebook group for like-minded single mothers to share their experiences, seek advice and form meaningful connections.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended as any form of advice, and we recommend seeking professional legal and/or financial support and advice when making this life-changing decision.


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