4 'Last Straw' Moments That Often Put The Final Nail In A Marriage Coffin  

Maximum emotional load limit reached. Next stop, structural collapse.

Woman thinking off her husband rolling his eyes, putting the final nail in the marriage coffin ZKH | Shutterstock, DjordjeDjurdjevic, pixelshot | Canva

When the martial load capacity is reached, the stability of the relationship weakens. Stress and strain warp the marriage foundation and the relational bond can be fractured by the slightest emotional force.

Here are 4 "last straw" moments that often put the final nail in a marriage coffin:

1. The public eye roll

When couples start rolling their eyes at one another and belittling each other publicly, it is a sure sign of a marriage about to end.


Erika Jordan, Dating Coach / NLP Practitioner

Woman rolls her eyes and this could be a last straw moment Nakaridore Via Shutterstock

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2. Confessions of infidelity

There are "two last straws" moments in my experience. First, it may happen one partner says they no longer are in love with their spouse. That's a killer. A second is when they confess to cheating. That's a heartbreaker. I've seen too many couples reach this point and the usual outcome is divorce, though some may seek out counseling to overcome their feelings of betrayal and remain married for the sake of their children.


Gloria Brame, PhD., Therapist

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3. Erosion of trust and respect 

A "last straw" moment that often puts the final nail in a marriage coffin is the complete erosion of trust and respect. When one partner betrays the other's trust, whether through infidelity, repeated lies, or broken promises, it creates a deep wound that can be difficult to heal. Over time, these betrayals accumulate, wearing down the foundation of the relationship.

Respect is equally vital. When it is lost, communication turns toxic, and mutual understanding vanishes. Disrespect can manifest in many ways, such as constant criticism, belittling, or dismissing the other person's feelings and needs. This persistent lack of respect signals that the fundamental values that hold the marriage together have been compromised.

When both trust and respect are shattered, it often signifies a point of no return. The marriage becomes an environment of hurt and resentment rather than love and support. At this juncture, many realize the bond has been irreparably damaged, which leads to the painful, but necessary decision to part ways.


Clare Waismann, Addiction Specialist and Counselor

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4. The loneliness threshold has been met

The average divorce occurs not at one pivotal mistake, but at a threshold of chronic relational mistakes that pile up over time. The experience of someone being dismissive, disinterested, disloyal, or disengaged at important junctures in the relationship. Just like we get more hungry the longer we go without food, the experience of loneliness in marriage grows over time and eventually hits a breaking point.

Eli Harwood, Counselor/Therapist

@jennianne71 Married singleness is a difficult place to be in your marriage and in my case one of the many reasons for my divorce. #healingafterdivorce #divorcesupportforwomen #divorcetiktok #selflove❤ ♬ original sound - JenniAnne | Faith + Travel

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A marriage does not wither, fall apart, and die in an instant. The dissolution of a relationship takes time, often with resentment and spite accumulating until it can no longer be contained. Then, all it takes is one last eye roll, one more night together but lonely, or a final disrespectful word. The straw is placed, the spine of the marriage breaks, and there is no rehabilitation or recovery.

Learn from these last straws, and find ways to lessen the emotional stress load in your marriage before the fatal fissure of marital dissatisfaction closes the coffin on your marriage.

Couple stand forehead to forehead trying to not have a last straw moment Photo Drive Studio via Shutterstock


Will Curtis is a writer and editor for YourTango. He's been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.