When you have sex, you place trust in one another, and that creates increased intimacy. Yes, we all have physical urges to have sex, but there is a need for emotional fulfillment as well. Intimacy creates that desire to be close and bond with your partner, leading to improved marital satisfaction, emotional well-being, and happiness.
According to sex and relationship therapist Megan Fleming, Ph.D., if you’re having sex less than ten times a year, you’re headed for trouble! Sexual and emotional intimacy separates the romantic relationship with your partner from all other relationships you have.
5. Quality time doesn’t exist — and maybe you don’t care
Do you distance yourself from your spouse when you get the chance, because you would rather be apart? Are you spending time in different rooms when home? Are you drifting apart at social gatherings?
If you’re avoiding spending quality time with your spouse, you are disconnected and growing further apart by the day. This distance sends a strong message to you and your partner: You no longer value the relationship to the extent of caring about time with your partner.
All living things need care. Without care and nurture, those living things wither and die. Just like the child, pet, or houseplant in your home — without care, your relationship can’t survive. Quality time is part of that care in human relationships.
6. You’re ignoring your intuition
Take a moment right now and close your eyes. Focus only on your breath and continue to do so until you feel a calmness sweep over you. In this calm state, ask yourself, “Am I in an unhappy marriage?”
The little voice in your gut that answers back is your intuition. It’s easy to ignore the booming voice in your head, but the little voice knows your truth. You cannot ignore facts forever. And the longer you do, the more (sometimes) irreparable damage can be done in your marriage.
Your intuition can be very informative when you give it the chance to speak. Find that calm again and continue asking yourself more specific questions.
- Is my marriage working?
- Do I love my spouse?
- How safe do I feel? Respected? Loved?
- What can I do to fix my marriage?
- Do I even want to fix my marriage?
Whatever questions you feel you need to ask, allow them to emerge. Quiet, calmness is the key to hearing your intuition because it comes from your heart. And typically the first answer is from your gut. Trust your gut because your mind may try to rationalize you away from it.
7. You aren’t taking any steps toward repairing your marriage
One way to distinguish between a marital rut and a deeper issue are the answers to the questions, “How long has my marriage been this way? And is the situation progressively worsening over time?”
All couples experience periods of rough patches in their marriage, which can be predictable at times. However, if your marital dis-ease has lasted longer than two years with no signs of improvement, it may be time to seek marital counseling.
Unfortunately, the average couple waits six years from the time they begin recognizing relationship problems when they try therapy.
Six years is a long time to be asking, “Are you in an unhappy marriage?” And in six years, lots of damage can be done. What could have begun as minor missteps in the marriage can erode into significant transgressions difficult to overcome.
8. You fantasize about a life without your spouse
Or about making decisions like a single person again.
Imagining a life without your spouse is a sign that your marriage is headed in the wrong direction. Regularly fantasizing about the single life emotionally detaches you from your relationship.
You’re working on distancing yourself for an eventual separation, hoping to save yourself some pain. And you’re setting your marriage up for failure.
According to Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., author of Kiss Your Fights Goodbye, “…Detaching psychologically by fantasizing about having an affair or making plans for the future that don’t include your partner can all be signs that you’ve fallen out of love. It’s as if the mind has pulled its own plug so our hearts won’t suffer as much when the relationship ends.”
The same thing occurs if you routinely begin to make decisions that exclude your partner. Are you making financial decisions like you are single? Do you consider your mutual goals, or only your needs and wants?
Acting as if you are solo sends the message to your partner that they don’t count. You don’t need to take their opinion or dreams into consideration. Whether you have decided to stay in the relationship or not you send the signal you don’t care.
Finding yourself in an unhappy marriage did not happen overnight. Many couples rest on their laurels and just forget to focus on their relationship. However, losing sight of your relationship doesn’t have to be the end – but continuing with the status quo may be.
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