Emotional Divorce

Warning Signs/Symptoms of Emotional Divorce

Easier to talk at length with almost anyone other than spouse
Holds grudges against spouse
Personal activities seem to have gradually excluded spouse
Holds onto resentments which are remembered during arguments
Has friendlier feelings towards others than spouse
Draws children to self for emotional companionship
Attracted to pornography (men) or romance novels (women)
Addicted to TV sports or “soaps” to the neglect of relationship duties
Not paying attention when spouse speaks
Frequent arguments/fights
Busy “religious” schedule doesn’t leave enough time for spouse
Gives marriage advice, knowing it is not being personally applied
Becoming depressed at the thought of going home (If you discover that you can identify with at least five of the symptoms above, you will want to consider the next checklist…)

Emotionally Divorced, in Fact (Previous symptoms plus the following)

Separate lifestyle and activities
Habitually going to bed at different times (for reasons other than health or job)
Discontinued sex life
Virtually no conversation with spouse
Rage or Silence
Mostly condemning of spouse’s character through negative reports
An unusually close friend or confidant of the opposite sex
Plotting vengeance
Separate friendships
Finds married life depressing
Contemplating “legal” divorce
Feelings of hopelessness
Constantly patronizing spouse (anything to avoid conflicts) but holding bitterness

Excerpted from Looking Good on the Outside – An exposition of emotional divorce – by Ken Nair – Lifepartners


  1. wow... i knew things were bad, but i really didnt realize that i was in fact, emotionally divorced until i read the above and saw that almost all apply to me. i'm not sure there's any hope or if i even want to believe there's any hope. is it possible to be past the point of no return?

  2. A read through the checklists and I know that I divorced emotionally a long time.

    Married for 30 years, I have been emotionally divorced for about 6 years now. The checklist totally fits.

    Why have I not divorced legally so far (am already living separately for all practical purposes) - I do not know.

    It seems that I just do not care now if I am legally divorced or not.

    I wish I had seen this checklist many years ago.

    Too much water has passed under the bridge and a lot of resentment / bitterness has replaced any good memories from my marriage.

    I certainly do not feel emotionally attached to my wife.

  3. Hey there Anonymous, great to see your response to this post. You know, anyone who's emotionally divorced can also be emotionally remarried if they're willing to do so. Just as you've allowed your marriage to spiral into an emotionally divorced abyss, you can purpose to put it back on solid ground. We tell people that only God gets to say, "I Am that I Am" and that's because He's the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    We have the capacity to change our thoughts and actions because God's given us the ability to do so. Usually, it's our own pride, ego, fear and shame that keep us from doing this. As a husband, God has called you to love your beautiful bride as Christ loved the church and gave His life for her. Notice, there's no time limit on this directive.

    You need to be a source of life to your wife even as God used Adam as a source of life for Eve. Your wife is God's gift to you ~ a precious covering for your heart (that missing rib).

    Michael & Annalea

  4. Signs exist to give us an idea on which way we are leading to. In the case of relationships, alienation in the marriage can start with the very small actions like arguing over minute things. However, I think that couples should always make an effort to resolve their fights at its early stage instead of hanging it in the open until marriage is on the verge to fall apart.

    I've read in a marriage counseling book
    that couples should maintain an open communication to strengthen their relationship. I suggest couples read marriage counseling books
    for them to understand their partners better and to learn some tips from successful marriages.

  5. I have heard several testimonies of sad divorces. The emotional part is the worst thing about this, and the implications rest upon the children.

  6. what Mr. Nair's list above says is true. Read his testimony. As a child, I wouldn't have known that Mr. Nair was some of those things on the list afterall, he and his wife were Christians...
    Sadly, I am married to a Christian who is now everything on that list. He isn't willing to try and God hates divorce. I'm no humdinger either. Does God even care and more than that, hoe do Christians get away with emotional divorce? It makes no sense and tells the world that the Bible is not true. : (

  7. I have been in this struggle of emotional divorce for a few years from what I see now, after reading the article and crying over it.
    Couple years ago I started feeling emotionally disconnected with my husband, but remained quiet about it since we were working as missionaries and "expectations" are all around you; it got to the point that I would cry out for hours pleading God to help me feel romantic love for my husband again, I felt this agony of craving those feelings of butterflies in my stomach for him, for the sake of my marriage and family I wanted to fall in love all over again, but I just couldn't... I have let the time pass as just another struggle in life, but I see I have been falling off love deeply carrying this guilt and now I don't know how to get back again. I have remained faithful to my husband, but recently I started day dreaming my own romantic novel in my mind with a stranger "as a scape" of this inside pain. I know I need to return emotionally to my husband, he is a Godly men. I want to talk to some one about it, I have realized now I need counseling. G.S

  8. I read the checklists and it only brings home moreso the pain I am going through. I for years have been hiding in alcohol around our house (not out at the bar). I recently noticed wife just didn't seem to want to talk to me like she had before. Sex had become a rare occurrence years ago which made me want to drink all the more. In February of this year upon finishing up my nightly 6 pack, I had an overwhelming pressure on me a feeling of guilt and disparity that was so strong I could physically feel it. I believe this was God convicting me of my sins. Letting me know that I have been out of his will for too long. That was last I drank a beer and have such a strong urgent conviction I haven't had the slightest urge to drink.
    A few days later I told my wife about this and that I felt we were drifting apart. Her answer hurt so bad. She said "I just don't care anymore" At that point she put up a huge wall and sex has totally stopped, talking has gotten nowhere. She had been a stay at home mom for 3 years and had only gotten a job a month before this happened. She told me that she had gotten the job so she could afford to leave. Also she made a male "friend" at work. He left a week or so later but she and he still text and talk on phone regularly she deletes texts and call log and lies telling me she no longer talks to him. Phone bill says otherwise though. At the time I stopped drinking I started trying to do things to make life easier for her. I cook, wash clothes, dishes, bathe kids, clean house and on my days off from work I spend watching daughters. I started out trying to win her affections, but in doing so I have fallen for her. I don't know why because she is very distant and tells me still nothing has changed that I'm doing too little too late. Still I feel so strongly in love with her. I want her so badly to love me. To find me attractive, to want me again.
    She seems to just not want to care, I assume out of fear of me failing and going back to drinking. I have no intention of allowing that to happen. I do understand her view somewhat, but it scares me that maybe she will never want to reconnect.
    I am going to keep trying as hard as I can and hope to have a loving wife again.

    1. May the Father give you His favor with her and bring total restoration base on the seeds that you are planting in her heart.

    2. Dude we are marital twins. So sorry. :-((

  9. I have been married only two months and it saddens me to see that my Marrige has fallen into a lot of the above list.