The 3 Biggest Mistakes Married Couples Make (According to a Divorce Lawyer)

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Married Couples Make (According to a Divorce Lawyer)

Elliot Polland has been practising divorce law since 1968, and he’s seen it all: from lovers’ quarrels to full-blown implosions of couples who wish they’d never said, “I do.”

We asked Polland to share the most common pitfalls he sees couples experience — and how to avoid them.

3 marriage mistakes that often lead to divorce

divorce marriage red flags
How to avoid ending up with a divorce. Image: Sony

1. Lack of communication

It’s important to resolve disagreements right away and not let resentment build. Polland recommends taking time in the evening to right any wrongs that may have occurred during the course of the day.

“There’s an old saying, ‘Never go to bed angry with each other,’ and I think that’s true,” he said.

2. Ignoring red flags

“You have to be diligent in making sure that your relationship with your spouse hasn’t gone awry,” Polland said.

He described “aberrant or unusual behaviour,” such as changing passwords, making or receiving calls at hours that don’t seem appropriate, or a sudden wardrobe overhaul, as tell-tale signs of an affair.

“Sometimes if you catch it early, you can resolve the relationship,” he said.

“The longer that extramarital relationship continues, the harder it is to unravel it.”

3. Choosing the wrong partner in the first place

“A lot of times people choose somebody for the wrong reasons,” Polland said.

“You’ve got to have a solid foundation in the relationship so that the relationship can continue when some of the other factors start to erode.”

For some, the above issues will never be a problem. After all, for every red flag that indicates divorce may be on the way for one married couple, there is a green flag that highlights another pair is going strong. In other relationships, cracks may be visible from as early as the wedding date (as some from the industry have shared).

In the end, the best thing is to be open and honest and try to look after one another throughout the entire process.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.


  • Surely if you get to “#2 Ignoring red flags” you’ve already failed at either number 1 or number 3?

    If your partner is cheating (or planning on cheating) on you then surely there is something wrong with the relationship? Either a problem like not being together for really long stretches, or the person is not faithful in the first place.

      • Yeah I don’t get that in relationships. Fine if you both agree on some sort of open relationship. But if you expect a monogamous relationship surely a partner cheating should be game over?

        I can understand having all sorts of other problems in relationships and repairing them, but not that one. Maybe I’m old fashioned.

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