While every couple is different, there are certain common patterns that emerge when divorce is imminent. Being able to identify these patterns allows you to take the right steps to save your marriage, but it also prepares you in the event that a divorce does occur. PsychCentral.com explains some of the signs of a marriage in peril so you can take the appropriate actions, whatever they may be.

Removing yourself

While it may seem like removing yourself from a volatile situation will diffuse it, it can actually be interpreted in a different way. Stonewalling makes spouses feel stuck in their situation and also isolates them in their ill feelings. When communication breaks down people feel less connected, and as their connection diminishes divorce becomes more and more of a possibility. It is OK to take a break from the conversation if you are feeling overwhelmed, but make sure your partner understands and is assured that the conversation will resume when the anger subsides.

Personal attacks

Personal attacks accomplish very little when debating with your partner. They do elicit feelings of hurt and resentment, and these feelings will continue to break down your marriage if left unchecked. Personal attacks also provoke a partner to react defensively. This creates a cycle of strife that only serves to make both parties bad and deter them from reaching an amicable resolution. Instead of accusing or maligning, try to express your feelings in a way that does not place blame.

Expressions of contempt

Contempt should be reserved for people who are truly detestable. Showing contempt towards your spouse is very damaging, as it can break down a person’s self-esteem until he or she is no longer able to cope. If there is a lack of mutual respect in your relationship, to the point where your mock or behave hostilely towards your partner, chances are it cannot be salvaged. In this case, it is best that you consult with an experienced family law attorney, who will be able to provide insight on the next steps.