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18 Signs You’re In An Unhappy Marriage, According To A Psychologist

The honeymoon phase rarely lasts forever. Ideally, once the urge to hold your spouses hand and make out with them in front of unenthused onlookers starts to fade, your relationship will slow down and relax into a comfortable, lasting rhythm that works for the two of you. Or, it might slowly dissolve into a loveless relationship, so slowly in fact, that you dont even realize how you got there.

18 Signs You're In An Unhappy Marriage

Okay, that last one sounds harsh, I know, but unhappy marriages are more common than you think, 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 persons life goals have shifted and no longer align with their partners or they feel like their concerns are never taken seriously in the relationship. In other cases, both partners find themselves trapped in unhealthy patterns (constant bickering for example) and detach because theyre just too exhausted to argue anymore.

Since all marriages (even the happiest ones) have conflict, some issues are fixable with counseling, Feuerman assures. But some youll realizeonce a pro spotlights the cracks in your relationshiparent worth repair. Whatever the outcome, by pinpointing the tensions in your marriage, youll have an opportunity to find happiness with your spouse, with someone new, or on your own. The tricky part is figuring out whether youre simply going through an expected marital rough patch, or if youre actually in an unhappy marriage. Luckily, there are signs to help you figure out the latter:


Sure, everyones sex drives are different, but if you and your partner go from getting it on multiple times a week to every few months, youre upping the chance of one of you feeling rejected and unwanted. What makes marriage romantic is the combination of physical and emotional intimacy thats 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.

Imagining youre married to someone else or single isnt always something to worry about. However, routinely fantasizing about a life your partner isnt in or comparing your actual life to an imaginary one in which youre married to someone else is a sign that youre no longer feeling some or all of the qualities that once attracted you to your spouse. And if youre okay with the idea of a life without your spouse, you probably dont actually want a life with them.

Oftentimes, says Feuerman, unhappy marriages are rooted in imbalances where one person thinks theyre superior to their partner and dismisses their spouses feelings. This ones a big no-no because it defeats the whole equal partnership thinga pretty big deal in marriage.


If you find yourself constantly vying for the upper hand when youre discussing something with your spouse, you might want to sit down with a therapist one-on-one and figure out why you dont see value in what your partner has to say (or vice versa) and how this might impact your marriage.

If even when youre chilling on the couch with your wife, you feel like shes isnt in-the-moment engaging with you, and instead, seems more interested in the latest on Instagram, its a sign you two arent on solid ground anymore.

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, its important for couples to find the lightness when things get heavy because laughter is a great healer, she adds. 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:

Relationships of every kind need transparency to last. Feuermans not saying you can never keep certain things private, but you can probably admit sharing deets about the career-changing project youve just been assigned at work or sharing the news about your sisters pregnancy with your husband is kind of a given. So, if you find yourself offering more detail about your life to your neighbors than him, you might have some trust issues to work out.

If youre feeling lonely and hurt, lean into that, Feuerman advises. Everyone has individualized ways of feeling appreciate and loved, she adds. And by digging deeper youll be able to identify whats making you feel abandoned by your partner whether its their endless stories about how great their new gym buddy is, or its 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, youll be able to tell your partner what it is you need from them and explain why their actions make you feel especially vulnerable. Youll know you need to reach out for third-party help if your partner doesnt see a problem with your loneliness or if they outright tell you theyre distancing themselves from the marriage on purpose.

Does the sound of your wifes chewing make the hairs on your body stand on end? Are you wondering about whether shes always spoken into the phone so loudly? Or if shes always taken those ridiculously long showers?

When the little things start feeling like big ol annoyances, says Feuerman, theres a chance the way you see your spouse is starting to shift. In these cases, she says, theres 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 really make a difference. Maybe youre feeling taken for granted, maybe theyve taken on more at work and youre missing them. Whatever it is, without shaming your husband or wife in front of your therapist, you can use a personal session to get to the bottom of why youre suddenly rolling your eyes at your spouse's every move.


Even if you and your partner thought youd moved on after one of you had an affair , you might still be harboring feelings of resentment that youve shoved deep down inside you. Pain from unhealed wounds can manifest themselves in a number of ways including guilting your partner for something you said youd forgiven them for and struggling to trust them.

Feuermans not saying to forget the infidelity ever happened, but if you and your spouse cant seem to move past it after giving it your best shot you might have to just admit youre unhappy and discuss getting outside help, taking time apart, or separating altogether.

Maybe you arent working through issues of infidelity, but you suspect your partner has a relationship on the side because theyve stopped offering details about their day or their stories about where theyve been arent 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 delicately and head-on, says Feuerman, might push you and your partner toward splitsville.

This ones a little more obvious, but Feuerman says spouses tend to downplay arguments and disagreements as normal couple happenings when, in fact, theyre important signals indicating you and your wife, husband, or partner dont want the same things out of life. Instead of minimizing your spats as common reactions, consider what youre arguing about, whether youre 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 a good fit for each other anymore.

If you and your spouse huff and storm off to separate rooms to scowl when youre upset, you might be so disconnected from each other that fighting to make the other understand your side of things doesnt even seem worth it anymore.


Sure, a lot of fighting is worrisome, but no fighting at all? That means the two of you dont think theres 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 that you can better articulate them to your partner instead of stewing in your angry feelings. 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 doesnt work, take your problems to a professional who can help you work through it.

Though you might have thought it was at first, monogamy isnt for everyone , and it might not be for you. Its common in unhappy marriages for one person to feel like theyre missing out on life because theyre 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 didnt want to be alone and others who do it because they felt like they had to by a certain age and later realize marriage doesnt actually align with their values.

If this sounds like you, tell your partner how youre feeling and do what you need to in order to feel happy. That can mean divorce, separation, an open marriage, polyamoryyou have options, you just have to find whats right for you.


Sure, theres no avoiding a little feedback from your spouse every now and again, but if non-stop criticism about how you organize the pantry leaves you feeling like you cant do anything right, theres a good chance your marriage is lacking in some very crucial TLC. Marriage, partnerships, relationships are about being accepted for you are so, when that stops happening youve got trouble, says Feuerman.

Talking to someone whos in denial can feel like repeatedly banging your head against a wall. And a spouse who refuses to attempt to understand your worries about your marriage or apologize for how theyve 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 partners point of view. All in all, marriages require empathy. If your spouse doesnt feel for you when youre hurting and refuses to get help to better your relationship when you express how that affects you, it might be time to move on.


Theres no getting back on track in a marriage if both people dont 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.

When you get married it's not like you suddenly have to wear blinders that keep you from finding other people attractive. But if thoughts about emotionally cheating on your spouse go through your mind, if you're flirting with other people, 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 relationships with other people.


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, who thinks your relationship was deep enough, 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 who's goals mirror yours.


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