As shocking as it sounds, it’s a trend that’s gathering pace, according to the Telegraph. Lyn Ayrton, Managing Partner of family law practice Lake Legal, told the publication she estimates that in 5% of divorces, there’s no further direct communication between the soon-to-be ex-spouses following an initial text, email or phone call to say it’s over – from then on, the lawyers take over. Men will typically say nothing until the last minute, right before they walk out, and women claim they’ve aired their grievances for months or years but have never been listened to.
Whilst it’s almost unheard of for couples to come to the conclusion their marriage is over at the exact same moment, it’s the lack of communication Ayrton believes is cause for concern – because of our increasingly busy lives and reliance on technology in our interactions, she says it’s never been easier to leave a marriage this way. “Much as the trend of ‘ghosting’ is rapidly on the rise in younger people, so is the equivalent in older couples,” she said. “Just walking away is simpler than facing the music, taking responsibility and finding words for difficult feelings.”
And she certainly has a point. talk modern day romance and there’s no word more ubiquitous than ‘ghosting’ just – now a bona fide phenomenon not only in our love lives, but our careers and friendships too. Put simply, it’s a way of trying to avoid conflict at all costs – likely confounded during periods of stress and fuelled by our dating app culture; seemingly endless singles at the swipe of a finger who you could potentially be far happier with.
“Meeting someone new and starting an affair is often a catalyst for walking out on a long-term partner,” Ayrton added. “And with access to social media, having an affair has never been easier.”
So are these no-warning divorces all down to affairs? Psychotherapist, marriage counsellor and Founder of the Runaway Husbands community, Vikki Stark says she has found that in 99% of cases she’s come across where a man has left his wife out of the blue, there’s another woman on the scene.
She reveals that women do leave suddenly, they tend to leave for all sorts of reasons and in all sorts of ways, whereas men tend to follow a particular pattern – for example, she says they’re far more likely to do so in the months of October, November and December, possibly due to financial stress at Christmas or health scares, which are more likely in the colder months.
Apart from keeping your wits about you until the end of the year, Stark also says there are seven major warning signs that a man is about to end his marriage…
1. He has a history of infidelity: Or having abandoned previous relationships. Apparently, this is the strongest predictor he’ll flee without warning.
2. He’s unhappy with his life: And this isn’t how he has usually felt in the past.
3. His personality has changed: He may now appear withdrawn and irritable, and have a lack of interest in family activities.
4. His habits have changed: Maybe he’s started going to the gym, colouring his greys, got a tattoo or changed his car.
5. His values have changed: He’s now belittling things he used to value – often a sign he’s being influenced by another.
6. He’s taking more business trips: Or has unexplained absences.
7. He has started to casually mention a woman he works with: As with all of the signs, this on its own may not be cause for concern, but when teamed with multiple other red flags suggests a higher probability of abandonment.
For help with separation and divorce, including free confidential advice, visit Relate.org.uk