No one expects their marriage to fail.
When you first married you were convinced that you and your partner were meant to be. You were in love, you enjoyed each other’s company, and you wanted the same things.
As time went on, however, some of those things have changed. Maybe you don’t spend much time together, and the time you spend together is marred by arguments or dulled by ambivalence.
As things continue to deteriorate, you ask yourself: how did we get here? And what are we supposed to do now? Perhaps you’ve begun to consider whether it might be better to end the marriage.
Here are 10 signs that may mean that your relationship is in trouble.
- You are cheating or you suspect that your partner is cheating. When your marriage feels broken, and you can’t let go of resentments and can’t resolve conflicts, and you no longer feel a deep conection with your partner, it is easy to feel lost. Under these circumstances, it can be tempting to seek understanding in a relationship outside of the marriage. Cheating is a severe betrayal of the marriage. If infidelity exists in your marriage, it is possible to heal, but it will require the guidance of a marriage counselor.
- Your sex life has diminished or has become unsatisfying. You used to look forward to your sexual connection with your partner. Now, however, sex may have become mechanical and obligatory. At times, you may feel you are no longer attracted to your partner, or sex has lost its emotional connection. Sometimes, sex has all but vanished from your relationship. It can feel challenging to reignite a sexual connection that has dimmed.
- You fight all the time. As your relationship has become more contentious, your home has lost its sense of comfort, ease, and peace. You and your partner are angry with each other much of the time; it doesn’t feel like one fight resolves before another one begins. It is possible that you are arguing regularly in front of your children, and they don’t see warmth between you two. Your home often feels like a war zone, and you aren’t sure how to call a truce.
- You feel like you don’t have anything in common. You used to enjoy spending time talking and doing things together. When you married, you had shared interests, enjoyed similar experiences, and had the same worldview. You have drifted apart, years may have passed without feeling a common connection, and you’ve begun to wonder whether you can find your way back to each other.
- You and your partner are more like roommates than romantic partners. The marriage has lost its romance. You no longer feel a spark. Your discussions have devolved into merely practical concerns: what needs to be done to care of the kids, maintain the household, pay the bills, and buy the groceries. You rarely talk simply to enjoy each other’s company. You aren’t sure how to reconnect with each other.
- You don’t rely on your partner for support. When something meaningful happens in your life, you don’t necessarily tell your spouse. In fact, when you have things on your mind, you may worry, based on your history together, that your partner will be critical, controlling, or dismissive. Though you wish you could rely on your partner for comfort and feedback, in actuality, it is more stressful than supportive to share.
- You are filled with resentment. If you feel as though your partner has left you behind, you are likely to feel resentful. You feel that your partner doesn’t listen, and it seems, doesn’t care about you. You are likely holding onto hurts from the past, and feel that nothing has changed. You may feel that you have made sacrifices that aren’t being honored, or our contributions are going unnoticed. Overall you feel unappreciated, angry, and hurt, and have begun to consider ending your relationship.
- Your arguments feel out of control. There are times when emotions seem to blow up between you and your partner. It might feel as though it has become a habit for one or both of you to lash out, yelling, insulting, and threatening the other. It may feel impossible to gain control when the argument is explosive. You don’t know how to break the cycle; it feels like it might be easier to end the relationship. Is it possible to learn a new way of communicating instead of eruptive arguments?
- When addiction takes hold. When one or the other of you has become dependent on a vice, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling, or otherwise, the relationship will suffer. If efforts to control your abuse haven’t been successful, it can create an unsustainable marriage.
- You don’t find your partner interesting anymore. When your partner shares his or her news, does your mind wander? If you find yourself hoping that they’ll finish sharing so you can return to your book, television show, or work emails, you might have disengaged from your relationship. Is it possible to re-engage your interest in the relationship?
If you are experiencing any of these scenarios, your marriage may be filled with an unsustainable amount of stress.
This doesn’t mean that it has to end, however! It does mean that you need to make some changes if you want your marriage to improve. It is very possible to heal a broken marriage with the right support.
If you and your partner are invested in re-engaging and healing the divide that has grown between you, please reach out! Couples therapy is a powerful way to reconnect with your partner and create happier years ahead.