Miserable and married
16 Signs Of An Unhappy, Loveless Marriage (From Therapists)
There's constant criticism
Constant criticism is an indication that feelings of love and warmth for each other are being replaced by judgment. If you're constantly criticizing each other, that's not a good sign, according to licensed therapist and co-founder of Viva Wellness Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC. "Criticism or name-calling is a huge boundary violation," adds licensed marriage and family therapist Shane Birkel, LMFT.
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Your relationship has become sexless
Another sign of an unhappy marriage is a virtually nonexistent sex life. Or, when you do have sex on the rare occasion, it's not great. Of course, not having sex all the time isn't necessarily a bad thing, and some couples don't mind a sexless relationship. It's not so much about how often married couples have sex; rather, it's about whether you enjoy the sex with your spouse and feel good about your shared sex life.
You struggle to spend time together
Being around each other may feel like a chore, or extremely forced. Without the sense of intimacy that was once there, you may feel like you have nothing to say—and also don't really care what they have to say.
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You stop sharing wins with each other
When something exciting happens, who's the first one you call? If it was once your spouse and now it's a friend or family member, that's a sign your marriage has taken a hit. Birkel notes that in unhappy marriages, there isn't much motivation to connect or share anything.
You’re both defensive
Caraballo and Birkel both note that constant defensiveness is a sure sign that the two of you aren't communicating well, going hand in hand with the constant criticism. Simple statements or questions can also be met with backlash. For example, when one partner reminds the other to do a chore, they may get defensive and say something along the lines of, "I already said I was going to do it—don't guilt-trip me."
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You avoid each other, as much as you can
Birkel says that generally avoiding each other is also a relatively obvious sign things aren't going well. You'll likely make separate plans and have no motivation to spend time together—all of which point to an unhappy marriage.
You daydream about leaving
It's entirely possible that fantasies of leaving or being single will start to pop up in your mind. You're becoming aware of the issues facing your marriage and how the marriage makes you feel, and it's inevitably causing you to think of the other possibilities.
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There's an anxious versus avoidant attachment dynamic
Something Birkel has frequently noticed is a clash of attachment styles: "There's a spectrum of people who are pursuers," he explains, "who are kind of boundary-less and get their self-esteem from how the other person feels about them. And then there are withdrawers—conflict avoiders that don't want to talk about issues." In these scenarios, there's often a cycle of one pursuing and the other withdrawing, only to cause more subsequent pursuing and withdrawing.
You feel more yourself when separate
When you first get together with your spouse, you're supposed to feel like they bring out the best in you, and you like who you are around them. In an unhappy marriage, you'll feel more yourself when they're not around and may even dislike who you are around them, Birkel says.
You stop arguing
Not arguing anymore roughly translates to the two of you not being willing to work through things anymore, Birkel says. Arguing isn't great, obviously, but at least it means you're still fighting for something. "Losing motivation to work through things with each other is a really bad sign."
You're in denial about negative patterns
Whether you've been together for decades or you're just not keen on the idea of divorce, accepting you're in an unhappy marriage can be very difficult. This can result in denial, or an "inability to recognize negative patterns," Birkel says, adding, "if you don't recognize it, it's going to be very difficult to improve on your relationship."
There's no understanding or compassion
Things like blame, judgment, and shaming will often take front stage in an unhappy marriage, Birkel says, leaving little to no room for understanding or compassion. When something goes wrong or isn't working, no one's willing to give the other the benefit of the doubt, a supportive gesture, or even just a loving tone of voice.
Body language changes
We can tell a lot from body language, and it's usually not too hard to read when you know what to look for. Very basically, you and your spouse may always angle yourselves away from each other, even when speaking. You may cross your arms or put your hands on your hips a lot, in a dominating or defensive manner.
It feels physically wrong being together
Being in each other's presence is no longer warm and joyful and instead likely feels cold, awkward, and uncomfortable. This may actually show up in certain body language, such as the examples mentioned above, but it can also simply be an overwhelming feeling that you don't want to be physically near each other. A. marriage without intimacy may struggle to survive.
You feel contempt toward each other
Along with defensiveness and criticism, contempt is one of the "Four Horsemen" of relationships described by The Gottman Institute, one of the leaders in relationship research, Caraballo explains. Contempt is a kind of extreme disdain for another person, akin to hatred and disgust. It's a lingering emotion, and it will make most encounters with your spouse unpleasant.
You stonewall each other
The fourth and final "horseman," Caraballo says, is stonewalling. It essentially involves someone shutting down, particularly during conflict. They might walk away or simply surrender to make the conflict go away and be left alone. Birkel adds that stonewalling shows an unwillingness to improve your relationship.
Yes, a loveless or unhappy marriage can still be revived as long as both partners are committed to doing the work.
"Reviving an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage starts first and foremost with a desire to have things change," Caraballo says. The desire to work things out must also be followed by concrete steps to repair, he says. "This could look like learning new ways to communicate more effectively, managing finances differently, or anything in between."
Couples' therapy will likely be extremely helpful if not necessary, Birkel and Caraballo note. You can also try using "therapist-written books on relationship repair together, or attend workshops or retreats led by licensed professionals," Caraballo adds.
And always remember, Birkel says, if you've made the decision to work on your problems and try to save your marriage, "This is a person you love and care about and want to make it work with," he says. Remind yourself of that fact often.
An unhappy marriage can be revived if both partners are willing to do the work. Couples' therapy can be useful to help mend a loveless marriage.
An unhappy marriage is more than just a rough spot—but it doesn't mean your marriage is doomed.
It may take a lot of soul searching and hard questions to figure out whether you want to make the marriage work or if it's time to walk away. (Here's how to know if your marriage is over.)
But if you and your partner decide your relationship is worth it, you've already overcome a huge hurdle—and your marriage may be even stronger once you come out on the other side.
RELATED: Married But Lonely: 4 Potential Causes & What To Do
18 Signs You're In An Unhappy, Loveless Marriage
Look, you all have seen the stats. The chances of ending up in a lasting marriage are essentially based on a coin toss. But sometimes, recognizing that your marriage has gone from heart eyes to anger—or worse, indifference—can be tough to spot.
That said, unhappy marriages are pretty common, says Marni Feuerman, PsyD, a marriage therapist in Boca Raton and author of Ghosted and Breadcrumbed: Stop Falling for Unavailable Men and Get Smart About Healthy Relationships.
In many cases, Feuerman explains, marriages suffer from communication issues that one partner recognizes and the other refuses to acknowledge. This might happen because one person’s life goals have shifted, or they feel like their concerns are never taken seriously. In other cases, both partners find themselves trapped in unhealthy patterns (constant bickering, for example) and detach because they’re just too exhausted.
But, finding yourself in an unhappy marriage doesn’t mean it has to be the end. If both people are willing to show up, talk it out, and work on their relationship, there could be hope. "Sometimes marriages go through a tough time—and that’s fine, everyone does," says Tracy Ross, LCSW, a couples and family therapist in New York. "But are you trying to address it, and, even if you’re not successful in the beginning, are both people showing up for that conversation?"
That mutual desire to fix the marriage is key, and sometimes, it takes an expert to uncover the cracks. Whatever the outcome, by pinpointing the tensions in your marriage, you’ll have an opportunity to find happiness with your spouse, with someone new, or on your own. The tricky part is figuring out whether you’re simply going through a marital rough patch, or if you’re actually in an unhappy marriage. Luckily, these are the 18 expert-informed signs to help you figure that out:1. You’re not having sex.
- ‘Dead Bedroom’ Relationships Are Way Common
Sure, everyone’s libidos are different, but if you and your partner go from getting it on multiple times a week to every few months, there's a good chance at least one of you is feeling rejected and unwanted. "What makes marriage romantic is the combination of physical and emotional intimacy that’s reserved for just the two of you," says Feuerman.
Affection like this is rarely duplicated in other relationships, making it especially unique, she adds. So, when your desire for your partner or their desire for you starts to peter out, it can sting something fierce and lead to resentment that drives you apart.2. You have divorce fantasies.
Imagining you’re married to someone else or single isn’t always something to worry about. However, routinely fantasizing about a life without your partner or comparing your actual life to an imaginary one in which you’re married to someone else is a sign that you’re no longer feeling some or all of the qualities that once attracted you to your spouse. And if you’re okay with the idea of a life sans your spouse, you probably don’t actually want a life with them.3. You minimize each other’s concerns.
Oftentimes, says Feuerman, unhappy marriages are rooted in imbalances where one person thinks they’re superior to their partner and dismisses their spouse’s feelings. This one’s a big no-no because it defeats the whole equal partnership thing—a pretty big deal in marriage.
- The BEST Relationship Advice You'll Ever Hear
If you find yourself constantly vying for the upper hand in discussions with your spouse, you might want to sit down with a therapist one-on-one and figure out why you don’t see value in what your partner has to say (or vice versa) and how this might impact your marriage.4. All your time feels like alone time.
If even when you’re chilling on the couch with your partner, you feel like they aren't in-the-moment engaging with you, and instead, seem more interested in their phone, it could be a sign you two aren’t on solid ground anymore.5. The fun’s gone.
It might sound simple, but a disconnect in a relationship can be linked to humor, says Feuerman. With all the run-of-the-mill disagreements and compromises that come with marriage, it’s important for couples to find the lightness when things get heavy because "laughter is a great healer," she says. If you and your partner can no longer joke and laugh things off, it means the two of you are in a negative rut that you might need help getting out of.
Breakups are tough, but sometimes they're for the best:6. They’re no longer your confidant.
Relationships of every kind need transparency to last. Feuerman’s not saying you can never keep certain things private, but sharing deets about the career-changing project you’ve just been assigned at work or the news about your sister’s pregnancy with your spouse is kind of a given. So, if you find yourself offering more detail about your life to your neighbors than your beau, you might have some trust issues to work out.7. You feel neglected.
- Why Your Partner's Suddenly Pulling Away
If you’re feeling lonely and hurt, lean into that, Feuerman advises. By digging deeper, you’ll be able to identify what’s making you feel abandoned by your partner, whether it’s their endless stories about how great their new gym buddy is. or that they routinely dedicate all their time and attention to your kids, leaving you in the dust.
Once you pinpoint the source of these feelings, you’ll be able to tell your partner what you need from them and explain why their actions make you feel especially vulnerable. You’ll know you need to reach out for third-party help if your partner doesn’t see a problem with your loneliness, or if they outright tell you they’re distancing themselves from the marriage on purpose.8. Everything they do gets under your skin.
Does the sound of your partner’s chewing make the hairs on your body stand on end? Are you wondering about whether they've always spoken into the phone so loudly? Or if they've always taken those ridiculously long showers?
When the little things start feeling like big ol’ annoyances, there’s a chance the way you see your spouse is starting to shift, says Feuerman. In these cases, she explains, "there’s always something deeper and more individualized going on." Meaning: This is a you problem.
This is where one-on-one sessions that supplement couples counseling can really make a difference. Perhaps you’re feeling taken for granted; maybe they’ve taken on more at work and you’re missing them. Whatever it is, without shaming your spouse in front of your therapist, you can use a personal session to get to the bottom of why you’re suddenly rolling your eyes at their every move.9. One of you cheated.
Even if you and your partner thought you’d moved on after one of you had an affair, you might still be harboring feelings of resentment that you’ve shoved deep down. Pain from unhealed wounds can manifest themselves in a number of ways, including guilting your partner for something you said you’d forgiven them for and struggling to trust them.
- 'How I Told My Partner I Cheated'
You don't need to forget the infidelity ever happened, says Feuerman, but if you and your spouse can’t seem to move past it after giving it your best shot, you might have to just admit you’re unhappy and discuss getting outside help, taking time apart, or separating altogether.10. They’re keeping secrets.
Maybe you aren’t working through issues of infidelity, but you suspect your partner has a relationship on the side because they’ve stopped offering details about their day or their stories about where they’ve been aren’t adding up.
A spouse being vague in order to cover up an affair or substance abuse struggles is a very common relationship stressor that, if not addressed, might push you and your partner toward splitsville, says Feuerman.11. Most of your conversations turn into arguments…
This one’s a little more obvious, but Feuerman says spouses tend to downplay arguments and disagreements as "normal couple happenings" when, in fact, they’re important signals indicating you and your partner don’t want the same things out of life.
Instead of minimizing your spats as common reactions, consider what you’re arguing about, whether you’re picking fights to cover up your hurt, and how often you have the same arguments. You might find that you and your spouse are simply going through what you think are the healthy motions of marriage when you actually just might not be a good fit for each other anymore.12. …or you don’t even argue at all anymore.
- How To Fall Back In Love When Things Get Boring
Ross calls these "the cold fights," which can feel worse than having verbal arguments. This can manifest in different ways: You or your spouse are pushing down feelings, you're withdrawn and turning inward, and/or you don't bring up aspects of the relationship that are bothering you. Sure, a lot of fighting is worrisome, but no fighting at all? That means the two of you don’t think there’s anything left worth fighting for in your relationship.
The fix is for you and your partner to come up with a different method for conflict resolution, such as writing down your feelings so you can better articulate them to your partner instead of stewing in anger or indifference. When you decide on a method that works best, go back to your spouse and try to hear them out one last time (note: with an open mind), say what you have to say, and then try to come up with a resolution together. If that doesn’t work, take your problems to a professional who can help you work through it.13. You can’t do commitment.
Though you might have thought it was at first, monogamy isn’t for everyone, and it might not be for you. It’s common in unhappy marriages for one person to feel like they’re missing out on life because they’re "tied down" to someone or feel like they were rushed and pressured into marriage before they were ready. Feuerman often works with clients who get married because they didn’t want to be alone and others who do it because they felt like they had to by a certain age and later realize marriage doesn’t actually align with their values.
- Here’s What Being In A Throuple REALLY Means
If this sounds like you, tell your partner how you’re feeling and do what you need to in order to feel happy. That can mean divorce, separation, an open marriage, polyamory… you have options, you just have to find what’s right for you.14. You feel like you’re under a microscope.
Sure, there’s no avoiding a little feedback from your spouse every now and again, but if nonstop criticism about how you organize the pantry leaves you feeling like you can’t do anything right, there’s a good chance your marriage is lacking some very crucial TLC. "Marriage, partnerships, relationships are about being accepted for who you are" so, when that stops happening you’ve got trouble, says Feuerman.15. They’re always on the defensive...
- 7 Ways To Get Over Your Unrequited Love—For Good
Talking to someone who's in denial can feel like repeatedly banging your head against a wall. And a spouse who refuses to attempt to understand your worries or apologize for how they’ve made you feel is especially frustrating because their denial is a major roadblock to repairing your relationship.
A successful marriage calls for compromise, shutting up to listen, and making a sincere effort to see things from your partner’s point of view. All in all, marriages require empathy. If your spouse doesn’t feel for you when you’re hurting and refuses to get help to improve your relationship when you express how that affects you, it might be time to move on.16. ...Or they don't recognize there's a problem at all.
"There’s no getting back on track in a marriage if both people don’t want to face their issues head-on," Feuerman says. So, if your spouse doesn't see anything that needs repair in your marriage, there's a slim chance you'll be able to get back on track considering only one of you thinks you've derailed.17. You're increasingly more attracted to other people.
When you get married, it's not like you suddenly have to wear blinders that keep you from finding other people attractive. But if you've had recurring thoughts about emotionally cheating on your spouse, are flirting with other people regularly, or spending time with someone in a way that would bring on a heap of guilt if your partner found out, you're pulling away from your marriage, says Feuerman. Chances are there's something missing from your marriage that you're searching for in other relationships.18. You have different agendas.
Say you want children and your spouse doesn't. Say you see marriage as a way to deepen a relationship with a partner, and your spouse felt saying "I do" was only important for tax purposes.
If you're together for different reasons, it's not unusual for these opposing beliefs to drive a wedge between you two. And if you can't find a middle ground, you might have to find other people whose goals mirror yours.Can you revive an unhappy marriage?
The short answer: Yes. But just because you can resuscitate a marriage on life support doesn’t mean it won’t be hard work.
- Every Type Of Marriage, Modern And Traditional
- What You Can Do About Your Sexless Marriage
- 9 Hardest Things About The First Year Of Marriage
When it comes to working on an unhappy marriage, Ross says it takes more self-work than anything. One person can’t point fingers and play the blame game; it takes both parties acknowledging and owning up to their role in getting to Unhappy Harbor. And, in her opinion, Ross believes couples who have children have to work extra hard to salvage the relationship.
"If both people are willing to look at it, work at it, and take responsibility for it, then it’s probably a marriage worth saving," Ross says.
Some of that intrinsic work, Ross says, might involve asking tough questions: Do you love the person? Can you listen to each other and have uncomfortable conversations? Can you be vulnerable, even just a little bit? You also have to address the elephant in the room: Do you actually still want to be married to this person?
"You can’t tell someone 'You need to change A, B, C, and D' because it honestly just doesn’t work. You have to be willing to look at yourself," Ross says. "It’s really about turning the lens around onto yourself and not onto your partner. That’s not an instant thing. It’s a process to get there—to peel it away and unpack it. Then, the dynamic loosens up and the defenses get lowered and you can see what is there."
Ultimately, if there is a "strong foundation and a basis of friendship and intimacy," as well as just a deep sense of care for one another, Ross says that’s a good starting point to addressing the issues.
Ross often hears that people in unhappy marriages don’t have time for each other. But, if your marriage is truly a priority, you’ll fit it into your schedule—just like you do with your other priorities, she says. If you’re struggling to move your marriage to the top of that list, Ross has some tips:
- Be intentional about making time for each other. "When you have that time together, you want to really practice being curious about each other. It’s not assuming you know everything about what that person is thinking, doing, or feeling," Ross says. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. Maybe pencil five-minute check-ins with your spouse into your schedule throughout the day. "When you do that, you don’t feel lonely," she explains.
- Don’t rely on other people to fill your emotional needs. "If someone else is your emotional anchor—if there is a third in the relationship—you have to cut that out," Ross says.
- Have fun with each other. And Ross really means fun. Don’t try to have errands be your fun time. Make it light, fun, or even pleasurable. Ross tells her clients to do something just because your partner wants to do it. Start there, and see where it takes you.
What if it really is time to end my marriage?
Now, with all of that being said, some marriages aren’t worth saving at all. For those in an abusive relationship, it’s important to get out safely. "You cannot fix another person," Ross says. "It’s not your fault."
- The Signs Of An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
- How To Show Up For Someone Facing Domestic Abuse
When in an abusive marriage, you might notice a change in yourself. Maybe you’re jumpy and feeling insecure about your relationship. You may also avoid friends out of fear they’ll pick up on something. It can even manifest physically with a change of appetite or lack of sleep.
Recognizing you’re in an abusive relationship can be difficult, Ross says, because abuse can be both overt and subtle. Ross recommends having a trusted confidant to turn to when you’re feeling uneasy to offer a reality check. "When you’re alone in it, you really don’t know 'Is this okay?'" Ross says. She also suggests keeping a private list of moments that make you feel wary, then finding a calm moment to reflect on the behaviors exhibited in your partner. T"he shame about admitting [what's wrong] keeps a lot of people from getting help," Ross says.
If you’re in an abusive relationship and need help, you can call, text, or chat with the National Domestic Violence hotline. Call 1-800-799-7233 and/or text "START" to 88788.
Aryelle Siclait is the editor at Women's Health where she writes and edits articles about relationships, sexual health, pop culture, and fashion for verticals across WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine. She's a Boston College graduate and lives in New York.
Short and Unhappy: Why Married People Have No More Enjoyment of Life than Single and Single People
"On average, marriage increases your happiness by one percent," says psychologist Jennifer L. Taitz. To feel complete, you need to be in a relationship - a myth that should be forgotten
“Still not married? So you will remain an old maid. You need to find someone. Youth is gone! - a set of phrases that every woman who is not in a relationship has heard. Despite the fact that recently the patriarchal society is losing its positions under the onslaught of feminism, the stereotype still lives in the minds of many that single people will certainly seek relationships and only in them can they find happiness. Journalist Katherine Gray decided to refute this myth and go for experiment - She didn't date for a whole year. As a result of the experiment, she wrote the book “A Year Without Men. What I Learned Without Dating and Relationships”, the translation of which is published on June 8 by the Bombora publishing house. Forbes Woman publishes a piece on why marriage is not a panacea and will not necessarily make you happy.
Finished reading here
There is a persistent myth in society, a constant delusion that married people are happier than single people.
Which leads to this conversation.
1. A well-meaning married man tries to cure my loneliness by advising (cross out the unnecessary) to be less picky, spend less time on your career, stay put and stop flying to different countries or meet their friend (whom I don't want to meet).
2. I smile, thank you, and say I'm fine.
3. He bows his head sympathetically and says, "I just want to see you happy."
If I got a pound for each such conversation, I would have... Okay, only about £9. But this is also money - almost a dozen. I don’t know a single loner who hasn’t been told many times: “I just want to see you happy.”
However, all this research showing that "married people are much happier" is complete nonsense.
I'm afraid there is no proof of this worldwide delusion. I looked. So excuse me, Committee on Marriage Myths, your claims are sandcastles.
It is only true that both couples and singles find that the importance of the other makes them happier. A 2012 survey of 20,000 adults across 24 countries found that 45% of singles believe that finding a partner will make them happier. And almost two-thirds of married couples and people with a stable and reliable partner say that their other half is the most important source of happiness in their lives.
The stereotype “They lived happily ever after” can be more accurately interpreted as “They were happy for a while”.
About the same thing I was told by some cowboy dentist, to whom I went to whiten my teeth. In the end, my teeth remained the same, and the dentist laughed all the way to the bank, saying that "the happiness of married people ends as soon as the confetti settles."
Bella DePaulo, former professor of psychology at the University of California, uses graphs to show the same effect in her TED talk: "What no one has ever told you about lonely people."
A group of college students were asked to predict their future happiness, either alone or married.
As expected, their predictions of marital happiness were astronomical, some kind of stellar level. Far down on the chart, a sad little line marks their gloomy predictions of happiness in solitude.
DePaulo then comes up with accurate data on the long-term happiness of a single person, which turns out to be much higher than the student's predictions. Then she shows what really happens to those who marry, real data, not imaginary figures from a fairy-tale land. In fact, just before the wedding and after it, there is a slight rise, an increase in the level of happiness, which continues for both parties for about a year.
And then something unexpected happens: the level of happiness of married people returns to the previous level in the premarital period. So what? The same happiness.
Perhaps it is the preparations themselves, the excitement and the post-wedding period that make people happy, and not the marriage itself.
The most comprehensive study of marital and single happiness, looking at more than 24,000 people over 15 years, also found that the rise in happiness levels before and after marriage was minimal.
"On average, marriage increases your happiness by one percent," says psychologist Jennifer L. Taitz.
We are so brainwashed with the myth of “being happier together” that when we enter into a relationship, we grab our partner like a lifeline. A horrifying study of 20,000 adults found that a quarter of them believed that finding a new partner would make them happier.
Pay attention - a quarter! These people are clearly alone. This is so sad. The fear of loneliness keeps many people in its paws. So, to sum up: singleness is no better than marriage, but no worse, except for this two-year wedding delight. Single people are just as happy, research shows. Enticing existential joy has very little to do with whether or not you have a ring on your finger.
- "Living in uncertainty is very hard." Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout on quarantine and loneliness
- Reputation Institute and sexism: why women and men are criticized differently for the same thing
Why are married men so unhappy?
Why married men . ..
also and about marriage can be said.
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Labkovsky, Psychologist, thought thought, I do not remember a few , the meaning is, married men wither, married women flourish. Married men live less than unmarried men, and married women live longer than unmarried ones.
919 July 2020 women live longer than unmarried women.
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