What Does An Unhappy Marriage Look Like? 21 Signs & Symptoms


10. You have separate lives.

Even couples with children and heavy workloads can create and maintain intimacy with healthy, ongoing communication. If you and your spouse aren’t making the effort, however, to understand each other’s work and interests, the intimacy required for a happy marriage will quickly erode.


11. You have needs not satisfied by your partner.

These needs could be sexual, emotional, physical, or spiritual. And when they go unmet you look for ways to satisfy them. You could address them all yourself, or you could look to someone else. And if you look to someone else to address your unmet needs, you’re definitely dealing with an unhappy marriage and could even be on the slippery slope toward divorce.


12. You or your spouse have unreasonable expectations and/or make unrealistic comparisons.

Do either of you have unreasonable expectations that the other simply can’t meet? Do either of you make comparisons to “happy couples” and other marriages in an effort to apply pressure or guilt?


`13. You have stopped fighting.

Obviously, there is a fine line between healthy fighting and fighting all the time. But fights have the potential to lead to greater intimacy if they are processed and repaired with commitment and compassion.

If you have stopped fighting, it is often a sign you’ve stopped caring.


14. You don’t feel heard, respected or valued.

Listening — true listening — is the greatest tool in building intimacy. When couples truly care about one another, it shows in how they communicate, and especially in how they listen.

Conversations, even arguments, have little to do with the topics themselves, and everything to do with listening for the underlying emotions and feelings.


15. You feel controlled by your spouse or your spouse feels controlled by you.

For example, one spouse may impose financial control over the other, limiting that person’s freedom and inclusion in decision-making regarding money.


16. Ego and superiority issues that leave one or both spouses feeling disrespected instead of part of a team.

If you truly believe you are better than your spouse, then you aren’t in a happy marriage.


17. No interest in spending quality time together.

Date nights have gone by the wayside, and there is no interest in creating opportunities for connection, much less romance.


18. Infidelity.

Many marriages survive infidelity, but their success comes from the uncompromising commitment to repair the marriage and the issues that led to the infidelity.

If you or your spouse is unfaithful, and you want to fix the unhappiness in your marriage you’re both looking at a lot of work to save your marriage from infidelity.


19. Abuse.

Abuse in a relationship involves deeper issues and requires specialized professional help for both the victim and perpetrator. There can never be true intimacy when one person lords over another through abuse, intimidation or control.

And abuse is one of the issues that often necessitates divorce.


20. Addictions.

As with abuse, addictions involve deeper issues and require specialized professional help. Addictions require an enabling environment in order to survive, and both the addiction and enabling are blocks to intimacy.

Yes, addictions that remain untreated despite requests to do so are another issue that often necessitates divorce.


21. Your relationship is riddled with criticism, blame, defensiveness, contempt, sarcasm and/or emotional shut-down.

If these behaviors are the norm in your marriage, you have reached a critical point. Behaviors like these are definitely at the root of many unhappy marriages. And if left unchecked, they can lead to the annihilation of your marriage.


We started this article by asking, “What does an unhappy marriage look like?” You may recognize one of the above symptoms, or you may recognize many. And there are certainly others you may be able to identify, that aren’t on this list.

The questions for you to consider now are: What would your marriage look and feel like if it were happy? And if it doesn’t look and feel that way, what are you going to do to address the problems and choose a direction for your life?

Looking for more information about how to escape an unhappy marriage? You’ll find what you’re looking for in Unhappy Marriage.

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Dr. Karen Finnhttps://drkarenfinn.com
Dr. Karen Finn is a personal life and divorce coach as well as divorce survivor herself. She works with clients who are looking for support and advice to decide whether they should stay or go. You can join her newsletter groupfor free advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with Karen directly in her Time Trade calendar.
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