Nobody signs up for an unhappy marriage. When you exchange your “I do’s” on your wedding day, you expect a long and joyful life with your partner. You make vows to be together through sickness and in health, until death parts the two of you. In an ideal world, every married couple stays true to these promises. However, real life is a different story. Not everything is as we expect. Sometimes, the happy marriage that you dream of, turns out to be a cold and lifeless one. It’s a sad truth, but situations like these do happen.
No, it’s not something that happens abruptly or just out of the blue. You don’t just wake up one day and realize that you’ve fallen into an unhappy marriage. They have underlying causes and it’s a gradual development. These problems can occasionally go unnoticed. Slowly building up through time. An unresolved argument from last month or a fight from last year gets piled up on top of your other marital woes until you reach a point where you can no longer stand seeing your partner.
Before it becomes too late for the both of you and your marriage becomes irreparable, it helps if you can spot the tell-tale signs of your failing relationship or if you’re stuck in an unhappy marriage. Here are some of the signs that you need to look out for:
1 You nag a lot at each other.
You can be in a bad mood and every little thing just easily gets on your nerves. It can be something that your partner did. He picked you up late from work. Or he always forgets to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket even after five years of marriage. Or it can be about how he spends so much time playing his video games. In turn, he gets mad at you for nitpicking everything that he does.
Everyone gets bad days like these and we all got something to complain about. But if this constant nagging is an everyday occurrence and the two of you just always seem to be on the lookout to find faults in each other, then maybe there’s something more to it.
2 There’s no sexy time any more.
You don’t even have sex anymore. Or if you do, it happens once in a blue moon that you can’t remember the last time you did it. The spark in the bedroom just fizzled out and you just can’t seem to get the sexy going. It can be because you just got promoted and your work schedule has become super hectic. Maybe you’ve just given birth and taking care of your baby has become your priority. Whatever the reason, the result is that it has caused a dry spell in your sex life.
Sex in any relationship is important. Forms of intimacy—like hugging and kissing—are the details that make your relationship with your partner a romantic one. If you fail to show intimacy for each other, then you’re clearly having problems.
3 Communication is sparse and impersonal.
Another sign that you’re in an unhappy marriage is the communication or rather, the lack of it. The two of you barely talk to each other. You live in the same house but it seems as if you’ve become strangers instead of husband and wife. The meaningful conversations are gone. The only time you talk to each other is when you have something to discuss about like the kids or when you need to pay your bills.
You don’t spend the time to sit down, chat, and catch up on each other’s lives, much less have pillow talks. Your partner is no longer the first person you tell about that award you received from work or the bad day you had in the office. And the way the two of you communicate is usually brief and impersonal—whether through texts or calls or by relaying messages. It feels like you’re talking to a colleague instead of talking to your spouse. The fact that you no longer enjoy having a conversation with your partner is a clear red flag to your relationship. It goes to show that you’ve lost interest in each other’s lives.
4 Fantasies about the future don’t involve your spouse.
We all enjoy daydreaming from time to time, wishing a future where we’ve reached our goals and living a happy life. Maybe you are picturing moving to a bigger house. Or buying a new sports car. Maybe it’s something for your children such as successfully sending them to college and having them graduate from a good university. It’s a totally normal thing to want something better for yourself. But when your spouse is no longer included in your fantasies of the future, then maybe it’s time for some retrospection. It’s a sign that you’ve become so unhappy in your marriage, you’ve psychologically detached yourself from your partner. Your daydreams are your “silent way out” of your relationship.
5 You no longer share a good laugh.
When was the last time you made a joke with your partner that made you laugh so hard, water almost squirted from your nose? Can’t remember? Maybe the last time was when the two of you were just starting on your relationship. There were plenty of times when you laughed about at just anything. It can be about silly things like penis and fart jokes. Those fun moments with your partner are what made the two of you close to begin with. But somehow, at some point in your marriage, the laughter has ceased to exist. Now, it’s replaced with nothing but cold indifference and aloofness.
Humor is good for any relationship. It keeps the two of you bonded and makes everything lighter. So when that part starts missing, you need to start asking yourself what caused it and how you can go back to the way you were before.
6 Your spouse isn’t your go-to person anymore.
Another sign that you’re in an unhappy marriage is when your spouse isn’t “your person” anymore. If you have a problem, your first instinct is to call on the person you rely on the most. When you were a child, if you’ve tripped yourself and fall on your knees, the first person you’re going to ask for help is your parents. And when you’re married, that immediate person who comes to your mind is your spouse. Unless of course there’s trouble in paradise. If you no longer seek help from your spouse and would rather call on someone else whenever you find yourself in a pinch, it’s a sign that you’ve become emotionally distant from your partner. Your subconscious doesn’t see your significant other as someone you can count on anymore.
7 No more date nights
For couples who are new to their relationships, you usually go on dates 2-3 times a week. You just want to keep spending quality time together and soak up each other’s company. But when you get married, because of work, house chores, and other responsibilities that come with being an adult, your date nights become a scarce event. But not totally non-existent.
When it does happen, your date nights with your spouse is a welcome surprise. It does sometimes take more planning and getting around your busy schedule. But all in all, it’s something that you always look forward to. At least that’s how it’s going to be if you’re marriage is on a good standing.
Take a good look at your relationship. Have you stopped looking forward to spending a romantic evening with your spouse? The minute you no longer make time to plan and prepare for a date with your partner is the minute you know your marriage is on the rocks.
8 You’re both doing your own thing.
Are you and your partner still doing things together? Have you stopped seeing each other as a couple and are living two independent lives? If you’re in an unhappy marriage, you’re always “trying to leave.”
One way of doing that is by making decisions without involving your partner. You don’t want to hear your spouse’s sermon about you leaving your stable job to start your own company. Or even about you buying a piece of new jewelry. It doesn’t matter if the issue at hand is big or small. What truly matters here is that you want to include your partner in your judgments because you confide in them and value their input. Even if you don’t follow their advice, sometimes, you just want your spouse to be up to date with what’s going on in your life. But if that doesn’t happen anymore, then it’s a sign that you’re in an unhappy marriage.
9 Your spouse is having an emotional/physical affair.
Unless you’re in an open marriage, if you’re having physical affairs with someone, then it’s a clear sign that your marriage is on the rocks. Emotional affairs, however, are a bit trickier to define than that of physical affairs. Technology has made it easy for us to be emotionally invested in someone without seeing them. You can meet someone online through dating apps and develop feelings for them. Instead of you confiding in your spouse about your worries, you pour your heart out to another person you’ve met on the internet. You’ve replaced the role of your spouse in your life with an online person.
10 The person you married is now a stranger.
You don’t talk like you used too. You don’t know what’s happening with their lives anymore. The sad thing is, you don’t even care anymore as well. The two of you are still staying in the same house but you’re no longer partners, but just room mates. A sign that you’re in an unhappy marriage is when you finally realize that the person you married is now a stranger.
No one gets married with the thought in mind that they’re going to separate someday. You exchange your vows intending to keep those promises. But the future is never certain and the most that we can do is hope for the best. If you can spot the signs of an unhappy marriage that are mentioned here early on, you can still fix what you have and work on improving your relationship.
But if you’re absolutely certain that there’s no way for you to work out your differences, then it’s time to close that chapter of your life. Remember: not all relationships are meant to last and that’s fine. It’s better for you to move forward than to be stuck in a marriage where you’re miserable for the rest of your life.