Marriage isn’t easy, even for the people you think have everything figured out. An unhappy marriage is when one or both spouses feel like being married is a chore rather than something they look forward to. Maybe their marriage started strong, but now they’ve drifted apart. Problems that were once small or trivial have spiraled out of control they don’t talk, they don’t show affection, and they’re just going through the motions. All they know is things aren’t good, and they aren’t even sure if they are still in love. Knowing how to recognize the signs of an unhappy marriage is the first step in making sure your relationship doesn’t go down a similar path.
Here are some signs of an unhappy marriage.
• You’re not even fighting anymore: The hope is that even after your grittiest arguments where each side feels they are the one in the right, there’s an opportunity to communicate, hear the other person’s perspective, and ultimately resolve the conflict. Couples that aren’t even bothering to fight anymore aren’t interested in the possibility of growing as a couple and repairing the relationship. They are emotionally disconnected, which is one of the telltale signs of an unhappy marriage.
• Your partner isn’t willing to get help: The ability to have a healthy relationship requires two people, not one. You may want the relationship to work, but one clear sign that your relationship is in trouble is when your partner isn’t willing to get help or work on resolving the issues as a team.
• Lack of communication: Perhaps the biggest of signs of an unhappy marriage is when you simply stop talking, even when on the surface, nothing appears to be wrong. You have no desire to share with your spouse how your day went or what you’re feeling or going through. In fact, you may be sharing exciting news or failures with friends or someone else instead. You use to call your spouse to say you’re on your way home, but now you don’t, and if you do communicate, it’s only through one or two-word text messages.
• You’re not each other’s priority anymore: You or your spouse have taken the priority off each other and placed it on more hours at work or prioritizing other people in your life. The days of spending quality time together and the occasional date night have been replaced by falling asleep early on the couch and forgetting the other person exists. If your spouse isn’t the priority in your life, your marriage will remain in an unhealthy place, or end completely.
• Physical or emotional abuse: This is a no-brainer for any relationship. If there is physical or emotional abuse of any kind, your relationship may be past the point of no return. And for your sake as the victim, that may be a good thing.
• Lack of intimacy: A red flag for any relationship that’s on the rocks is if there is little to no intimacy. More than just sex, lack of intimacy includes kissing, hugging, or hand-holding. If you can’t bring yourself to show affection to your spouse, then your marriage is definitely an unhappy one.
• You both are not physically comfortable with one another: You are dealing with the emotional effects of a sexless marriage. Gone are the days when you used to express your love for each other without any inhibitions. You used to hold hands, kiss each other and cuddle. But now, you will notice that you both are not physically comfortable around each other. The idea of having sex with your partner makes you feel awkward and vice versa because your marriage has turned into a loveless marriage and as a result, into a sexless marriage. Intimacy has become so rare in your married life that you fail to connect with your spouse any more. However, you should know that lack of intimacy in your relationship is not just affecting your marriage, but your mental health too.
• You continuously criticize each other: You’re both constantly chiding each other. For any mistake (no matter how small), you have to bear each other’s harsh criticisms. You and your partner will make each other feel horrible by highlighting each other’s defects. Instead of helping you become a better person, the continuous criticisms from your spouse will demoralize you and will weaken the bond that you share with him/her. If you were in a happy relationship, then your partner would give constructive advice and not discourage you with harsh comments.
• You look for happiness outside the marriage: This means you are either prefer spending time alone and enjoying what life has to offer you, or you find yourself getting attracted to another person. While coping with a sexless marriage you start looking for intimacy outside it. This other person is someone you are able to connect with. Who seems to care for you and respect you more than your spouse. You might be having an emotional affair with this person without even realizing it. An emotional affair takes place when you get overly comfortable with someone outside your marriage and end up sharing intimate details about your life with this person.
• You both fail to appreciate each other: Playing the blame game has become a common phenomenon in your unhappy marriage. For any problem that you face, you both start blaming each other instead of finding a solution together. Nothing you do makes your spouse happy and vice versa. The mutual feelings of appreciation are long lost in the relationship and you both start taking each other for granted. Sometimes, you might feel that you’re the only one making efforts to make the relationship work. This is a sign of a loveless marriage.
• You hardly care about your responsibilities towards your partner: There comes a point in your loveless marriage when you hardly care about your responsibilities towards your partner. You do not keep track or simply don’t care about what your spouse’s preferences.
What they want to eat, their likes/dislikes, their television preferences etc are of no concern to you. You start caring more about your own needs, likes and dislikes and you might not even feel ashamed to shun your responsibilities. Your spouse can exhibit this same behaviour as well. You both become selfish in the relationship. You do not care about the sexless marriage effect on your husband. You withdraw from sex which leaves high and dry.
Spending time with your partner feels like a task to you: You dread spending alone time with your partner. Given a chance, you would rather spend your free time alone or with your family members or friends. Both of you even stop making efforts to plan dates or mini-vacations, because you want to avoid being alone together. There is no effort at intimacy from the husband.
How To Survive An Unhappy Marriage
• Both of you can make efforts to work things out by either confronting one another or taking the help of a therapist.
• You can continue living in a loveless marriage and live totally separate lives.
• Meet a marriage counselor and set marriage counseling goals that you would want to achieve.
• You and your partner can discuss trying out an open relationship.
• Or last but not least, you can try to move on and get a divorce to find happiness elsewhere.
• Seek help early: Don’t wait for those negative emotions and behaviors to take root. It is far easier to guide couples in developing compassionate communication skills than it is to untangle resentment that has had plenty of time to deepen.
• Learn to listen: This is so important no matter how silly it sounds. It is so easy when falling in love to hear what you want to hear and to move forward in the spirit of everything being rosy. But too often people don’t know how to truly listen to themselves or to their spouses. They get lost in blame and a need to be right and fail to hear with their hearts. Everyone has triggers, fears, and painful memories. By learning to communicate those deeper realities with responsible expression and compassionate reception, intimacy and love grow. Too many relationships are lost simply because people don’t feel heard.
• Prioritize your marriage: Saving an unhappy marriage takes work. And making that investment can seem like a contradiction in terms if one or both of you is really unhappy. But if you are committed to making your marriage work, you will need to infuse it with dedicated time and energy. Even ten minutes a day that is completely devoted to emotionally connecting with your spouse can work wonders.
• Replace the “divorce” mindset with a “marriage” mindset: This is a decision that you are going to choose your thoughts. Remember that you didn’t get to this place overnight, and you’re not going to get out of it overnight, either. Take the time to rediscover the reasons you got married in the first place.
• Work on yourself with no expectations of your spouse: Yes, the objective here is for both spouses to be committed to the recovery of the marriage. But your work can’t be contingent on your spouse’s. That may seem like a big risk and it is. “But if the character and behavior traits you are working on are all positive traits, how can you lose? And if you start growing and demonstrating the results, your spouse may take notice and begin to change, as well.
• Take responsibility: This can be so difficult, especially if your spouse has done something that you believe is more egregious than anything you have done. But relationships are always a common ground where two people come to work out their lives by learning, struggling and growing. There is always responsibility on both sides. Owning up to yours will help to diffuse defensiveness on the other side while sharpening your self-awareness and -accountability. That goes for the little things as well as the big things.
• Be transparent and accountable: Leave your pride at the door. Transparency and accountability require self-reflection and an examination of your thoughts, behaviors, and intentions. There is no room for convenient omissions of details and information. Your goal needs to be bringing you and your spouse onto the same page. Your intentions, therefore, need to be pure and for the good of the relationship. Your personal commitment to this especially if you have violated your spouse’s trust — will speak volumes about your commitment to the good of your relationship going forward. Saving an unhappy marriage is a commitment to a lot of hard work. But assuming that the marriage is not abusive and you can still see through the clouds misery to the memory of loving light coming through, there is hope. Seeking help for saving an unhappy marriage can help define areas that need work, while giving you tools for working on them. It’s amazing how the “impossible” becomes “possible” when problems are identified and a plan of action is made to overcome them.
Why A Marriage Become Loveless
• The relationship might have taken a backseat in the couple’s lives, so they fail to give time to each other and forget to appreciate one another
• The couple is not able to come to terms with the differences they have in terms of their preferences, dreams, personalities and end up drifting apart
• Some specific incidents like a major fight might have triggered feelings of resentment towards each other, which the couple is not able to resolve
• An affair could have broken the trust and partners could be grappling with the torment and guilt which is the aftermath of an affair
• There could be circumstances like caring for an ill parent, dealing with sudden financial stress, joblessness or sexual inadequacy that can create havoc in a marriage
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