10 Obvious Signs Of An Unhappy Marriage

10 signs you're in an unhappy marriage

Marriage can be a rollercoaster ride sometimes and it is really challenging for most couples.

Some days you’re so in love that you can’t get enough of your spouse. Other days you’re struggling not to tear each other apart during a heated argument.

This type of on and off emotional connection is normal for a lot of married couples.

When you’ve been married for a long time, it’s not unusual to feel as if you married the wrong person when you get into a rut.

Every marriage has ups and downs that couples experience on a regular basis. You’re not alone if you feel like your marriage is not as rosy as you expected it to be.

Great marriages don’t happen by chance or by accident. A good marriage is the result of rock-solid commitment, hard work, open communication, and constant forgiveness.

It takes looking back at the commitment you made to each other on your wedding day and realizing that you’ve both changed but still choosing to love this version of yourselves even if it’s difficult.

Many couples enjoy being in a relationship for companionship and intimacy.

It’s exciting because you have someone special to share your inner world and explore the outer world with.

But what happens when you’re in a marriage but still feel like something is missing in your life?

What’s the difference between a happy marriage and an unhappy marriage?

Many people have different definitions of a successful marriage and it’s up to you to define yours based on your relationship needs.

Even though it seems difficult to know exactly what a good marriage looks like, the most important thing is that you’re supportive, kind and loving towards each other.

In this post, I’m going to highlight some common signs of an unhappy marriage to help you identify the traits of a toxic relationship.

Reading this article will help you know if you have an unhappy marriage and the right steps you can take to build a healthier marriage with your spouse.

10 signs you're in an unhappy marriage


Being in an unhappy marriage feels devastating especially if you used to be a happy couple who had lots of fun together.

There are many reasons for unhappiness in marriage. Some of them include stress, negligence, abuse, prolonged illness, addiction and a low sex drive.

It may not be your fault that your marriage isn’t what you expected it to be but you owe it to yourself to live a fulfilled life and that involves giving yourself the chance to enjoy a happy marriage.

Most of these signs of a toxic marriage can be felt by you or your spouse so if it’s not happening to you, make sure that it’s not affecting your partner either.

The tricky part is knowing whether you’re simply going through some unexpected rough patches in your relationship or if you’re actually in an unhappy marriage.

Looking for a quick answer to determine if you’re in a toxic marriage? Take this short unhappy marriage quiz to help you know your current marital status.

An unhappy marriage doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of unhealthy patterns to get to that stage where you can’t stand each other anymore.

If you want to prevent your marriage from falling apart, identify the toxic traits that I’m going to outline in this post and nip them in the bud before they consume your relationship.

The reality is that a truly happy marriage only occurs if both partners are happy and fully committed to making it work. Not sure if you have an unhealthy marriage?

Take a look at these obvious signs of an unhappy marriage and what you can do to save your marriage from falling apart.

Unhappy marriage signs

1. You feel lonely all the time

Does it seem like you’re living with a stranger who feels distant and cold? Do you miss your spouse even if he’s right there with you?

When you’re alone together, do you often do your own thing and not actively engage with each other as a couple?

The first sign of an unhappy marriage is that you feel lonely even when you’re with your spouse.

In a healthy relationship, couples enjoy spending quality time together and they rarely allow themselves to get lonely when they’re in the same location.

It’s understandable if you’re both working full-time jobs that require your constant attention but as a couple who is interested in building a life together, quality time should be a priority in your marriage.

If you often find yourself alone with a partner who seems distant, that’s a sure sign that you’re an unhappy couple and your marriage is not working out well.

Lack of quality time is one of the major reasons why couples fall out of love with each other or cheat in a marriage.

If you’re lonely, it’s because you’re emotionally disconnected from your spouse and this can happen if couples are not intentional about carving out some alone time for bonding.

When you barely spend time together as a couple, you’re going to find it difficult to maintain your emotional bond or stay connected in your marriage.

According to Dr. John Gottman, “Lonely people in relationships are not attuned to each other. They’re talking at one another, blaming and finger-pointing rather than showing empathy and making connection the goal.”

The best way to deal with loneliness in marriage is to talk to your spouse about engaging in bonding activities for couples on a regular basis and creating the time to reconnect with each other even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.

Doing fun things together like going out on a date night or playing games at home can help to increase your emotional intimacy and keep the love alive in your marriage.

Unhealthy marriage signs

2. You’re not the best version of yourself

Do you like this version of yourself as a married person? Has your life become more fulfilled since you got married?

When people get married, they’re excited to start a new chapter of their life with someone special and this makes them feel like they can conquer the world.

For most couples, they find it easier to excel in their jobs and work on improving their self-image because of their spouse.

What does your spouse do when you make a mistake or fail at achieving a goal? Does he encourage you to try again or does he laugh at you?

In a healthy marriage, couples are each other’s best friend and biggest fan.

They motivate, encourage and support each other to keep pushing until they achieve their goals.

If you’re battling with low self-esteem, lack of confidence or mental health issues because of your marriage, that’s not a good thing.

Even though your spouse is not solely responsible for your happiness or success in life, he should be supportive enough to make you dream bigger and crush your goals.

If your partner mocks you or belittles you every time you make a mistake, that’s an obvious sign that you’re in a bad marriage.

It’s a good idea to calmly let your husband know that you’re not okay with him criticizing you or laughing at your failures and that you would love to get some encouragement from him even when you’re not at your best.


Lack of communication in marriage

3. There is little or no communication

Great communication is the foundation of every successful marriage.

When there is a lack of communication in a marriage, it would be nearly impossible for couples to express their feelings, thoughts and emotions which can lead to resentment, anger and emotional disconnection.

Does your partner feel distant even when you’re in the same room? Do you feel unseen or unheard whenever you try to communicate with your spouse?

There can be no emotional connection in a marriage where open and honest communication is non-existent.

If everyone refuses to be vulnerable with each other and express their feelings, how would they know when something is wrong in their marriage?

As a married couple, you’re supposed to be able to talk to your spouse freely about anything and everything that goes on in your life at the end of the day.

Your spouse should be the first person you share any good news with and he should also be the one you go to when you want to talk about something awful.

Research shows that in healthy marriages, couples celebrate each other’s successes and mourn each other’s failures.

If you’re turning to someone else in good times and bad, then you’re gradually replacing your spouse emotionally and avoiding addressing what isn’t working in your relationship. 

When talking to your partner seems more like a chore or a difficult task, that’s a clear sign that your marriage is not healthy.

A lot of married people only seem to talk to each other when the topic is kids, bills, house chores or family issues and this is why they break up when they encounter relationship problems.

How often do you communicate with your spouse without fighting? When was the last time you sat down with your partner to discuss a real problem that was troubling you?

If you’re unable to have meaningful conversations as a couple and you feel like nothing seems to change no matter what you say, that’s a big sign of an unhealthy marriage.


Obvious signs of an unhappy marriage

4. You don’t feel loved, wanted or appreciated

The key to maintaining physical intimacy in marriage is to speak each other’s love language and show appreciation for the little things.

Even though it’s not compulsory to say thank you for any physical affection you receive from your partner, it’s important that he regularly finds different ways to remind you of his love.

Happy couples often remember to make each other feel loved, wanted and appreciated by doing the little things that really matter in a long-term relationship.

Does your partner appreciate you when you keep the house tidy even though it’s your responsibility? Does he remember to say thank you when you prepare dinner?

If those little displays of affection are minimal or non-existent, you may find yourself feeling unloved, unappreciated and unhappy.

In most cases where couples go from being best friends to loveless enemies, there is often a pattern of poor communication, unmet expectations, unhealed resentments and unresolved conflicts.

When you’re in a loveless marriage, you’ll feel sad because your partner doesn’t make any effort to show you love.

And you have every right to experience these feelings of unhappiness but you don’t need to let them pull you down.

The first step in getting the love and appreciation you deserve is to explain to your husband that you would feel happier if he could be a little bit more appreciative and loving towards you.

Signs of an unhappy marriage

5. You’re hoping for your spouse to change

Do you often find yourself wishing that your husband would change so your marriage can get better?

Do you silently hope that he would come home from work one day and be a totally different person?

One of the biggest warning signs of an unhappy marriage is that you have a strong desire to change your spouse.

This is even more concerning if you accepted and married your spouse just the way they are with the hope that they will change along the line.

Most married people do this and end up unhappy a few years after marriage when they find out that their spouse hasn’t changed a bit.

But, it would be a different story if your spouse was a nice and responsible person who has suddenly turned into a reckless and nonchalant partner.

Whether your reasons are justified or not, the moment you want your spouse to change, your marriage could be heading for the rocks.

Expecting your spouse to change means that you don’t accept him for who he is and if you can’t accept your partner, there is no way you can love him with all your heart.

There is always going to be a part of you that secretly resents this person that he has become and you’ll struggle to have a happy marriage together.

The only way you can fix your marriage at this point is to seek professional help and get couples therapy.

If you try to save your marriage by yourself, things are going to get a lot worse than they are already.

For the sake of your mental health and the future of your relationship, opt in for marriage counseling to find a solution for your troubled marriage.

A marriage therapist can help you identify the root cause of your marriage problems so you can work on getting a solution that is uniquely tailored to your needs as a couple.


Lack of intimacy in marriage

6. You’re uninterested in romance and intimacy

Lovemaking is the best way for couples to express their love for each other.

Whether you have sex once a week or twice a month, as long as physical intimacy is present and mutually satisfying in your marriage, you’re in a good place.

But, if you notice that the frequency of sex is gradually reducing, you may be headed towards a sexless marriage if you’re not there yet.

Lack of intimacy is a big sign of a loveless relationship because you can only make passionate love if you’re in love with your spouse.

According to sex and relationship therapist Megan Fleming, “If you’re having sex less than 10 times a year, that’s a sure sign that you’re in a sexless relationship.”

If you have no desire to get intimate with your spouse and he doesn’t seem interested in making love with you, something is definitely not right in your marriage.

Having no desire to work on your appearance or to look attractive for your husband is an indication that you have a low sex drive or you’re not making any effort towards maintaining physical intimacy.

Your spouse could also be the reason for the lack of intimacy in your relationship and you need to talk about this.

In a healthy marriage, couples make out time to get intimate with each other even if they don’t have as much sex as they would like.

Aside from having intercourse, there are so many other things you can do to keep the passion burning in your marriage.

Kissing passionately, giving each other erotic massages and bathing together are some of the ways couples can stay physically connected to each other.

When a couple stops trying to get intimate in any way, it could be a signal for bigger marriage problems that are yet to be resolved.

A healthy couple is supposed to crave intimacy and desire each other sexually.

It may not happen as frequently as it used to during the early years of marriage but it’s important to have an active sex life as a couple.

If this is not the case for you, talk about it with your spouse and consult a sex therapist to help you get your groove back.

Sad couple hugging each other

7. You feel inadequate or not good enough for your spouse

Does your husband criticize you all the time by attacking, blaming, and pointing fingers at you with negative statements like “You’re always late,” or “You never do anything right?

Does he call you names or make hurtful, sarcastic remarks which imply that he’s superior to you?

Another sign of an unhappy marriage is that there is excessive control, constant criticism, harsh judgment and emotional abuse.

When your spouse constantly sees the worst in everything you do no matter how hard you try, you may end up doubting yourself or even hating the fact that you exist.

Research shows that people in bad marriages usually have low self-esteem, anxiety or depression, and struggle to maintain a strong immune system than those who don’t.

When there is constant criticism or verbal abuse between couples, this means that the feelings of love and affection have been replaced with judgement.

If you’re not sure if you should be concerned about your marriage, ask yourself some specific questions like:

“Do I feel safe to express myself? Do I feel respected enough by my spouse? When was the last time I was really happy?

If your answers are all negative, you’re definitely in an unhealthy marriage.

Couple fighting in the kitchen

8. There is constant bickering, heated arguments and ugly fights

Do most of your conversations turn into heated arguments?

It’s normal for couples in a romantic relationship to argue or fight occasionally but when it becomes consistent or violent, it’s no longer normal.

When healthy couples fight, it can lead to deeper intimacy and a closer connection if they both work on repairing the relationship.

If there’s a fight and the couple doesn’t talk about what happened or work on fixing the problem, it could lead to resentment and unresolved conflicts.

And if the fights go on for too long without resolution, the couple will stop fighting and eventually give up on each other.

This is the stage where they also stop communicating with each other or connecting emotionally.

When both partners find themselves trapped in unhealthy patterns like constant bickering and verbal abuse, they’ll eventually detach from each other because they’re just too exhausted to argue anymore.

In a case where physical abuse and domestic violence is involved, you’ll experience a high level of fear and anxiety whenever your spouse is around.

Do you feel like running away from your spouse so you can have peace of mind and enjoy a better life?

If you’re tired from constant fighting with your spouse and you’ve maxed out your ability to keep fighting for your relationship, this is a clear sign of an unhappy marriage.

Your relationship has some traces of unhealthy habits that you need to work on with the help of a marriage therapist.

Common signs of an unhappy marriage

9. You feel hopeless and trapped in your marriage

Most married couples go through rough times, but if the challenges last more than two years, with no sign of relief, you’ll start experiencing some signs of an unhappy marriage.

Does your marriage make you feel sad or depressed? Does it seem like the distance between you keeps growing every day and you’re waiting to get help?

If you’re in an unhappy marriage, your instincts may have been warning you all along but you’ve refused to acknowledge it because you’re expecting things to change.

When things don’t get better in your marriage, you’ll begin to feel trapped and hopeless with no solution in sight.

This hopelessness makes you long for something more exciting. It feels like you’re waiting for something magical to rekindle the spark in your life and make it more passionate.

You silently pray that someone will come and rescue you so that your nightmare will be over.

When you’re in an unhappy marriage but can’t leave, you can become frustrated with your life as a whole.

If you often imagine a happy future without your spouse or you’re suddenly flirting with other people, that’s a major sign that your marriage is in bad shape.

According to relationship therapist Jamie Turndorf, “This is a part of the emotional detachment process, during which you try to convince yourself that you don’t care anymore so that the eventual separation feels less painful.”

Daydreaming about having an emotional affair or making plans for the future that don’t include your spouse can all be signs that you’ve fallen out of love.

If this is happening to you, seek professional help to get back on track in your marriage instead of hoping that these unhappy marriage signs will go away on their own.

Being excited or relieved about a possible future without your partner is a huge sign that there are serious problems in your marriage that need to be worked on before it’s too late.

10. You regret being married to your spouse

It’s common in unhappy marriages for one partner to feel like they’re missing out on life because they’re tied down to someone or feel like they were pressured into marriage before they were ready.

Even if this is not the case for you, if all the other signs of an unhappy marriage are present in your life, you may start to regret the decision you made when you married your spouse.

The main reason why you feel this way could be because your marriage didn’t turn out the way you expected or your spouse is not meeting up to your relationship expectations.

Feeling sad or angry about getting married to your partner is an indication that you’re unsatisfied with your marriage.

This can be your cue to go your separate ways or put in more effort to make your marriage work. If you’re willing to save your relationship, here are 10 ways to survive in an unhappy marriage.

Subtle signs of an unhappy marriage

Every marriage will get boring after you’ve been together for years especially when the kids come.

Love isn’t a feeling; it’s a commitment to love each other every day no matter what happens.

People tend to quit when a relationship stops being fun and they go to look for someone else because the spark is gone. That’s not how it works for successful couples!

A successful marriage is when two people make a commitment to love each other unconditionally and never give up on their love even when it seems insane to stay together.

The difference between a happy marriage and an unhappy marriage is that the love isn’t one-sided.

Married couples in a healthy relationship work together to make each other happy so they can become the best version of themselves.

I’ve given you 10 subtle signs of an unhappy marriage and if you notice some of these red flags in your own relationship, don’t wait until you get to the point of no return to work on your marriage.

Staying in an unhappy marriage can have long-term effects on your mental and emotional health,” says Carrie Cole, a relationship expert and couples therapist.

Take the right steps to build a happy relationship with your spouse by working on improving your marriage or getting in touch with a marriage counselor.

It’s not going to be easy to fix your relationship but it is possible!

The most important things that can bring positive change are working to improve your physical connection, rebuilding mutual trust and learning how to communicate better as a couple.


Recommended Reading:

9 Terrible Marriage Mistakes To Avoid

How To Prevent Divorce In Your Marriage

10 Best Tips On How To Fix A Sexless Marriage

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi
 | Blog

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

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