The sad fact is that many couples deny that they’re stuck in an unhappy, loveless marriage, even though deep down, they are fully aware of their situation.
They stay together for financial reasons or their children or for some other very wrong reasons.
Even though it’s normal to recognize other benefits of your marriage such as the fact that it’s good for your kids or financially comfortable, none of that makes sense if you and your partner no longer love each other (or never even did).
You may think that it’s better for your kids if you stay married but the thing is that they’ll feel that something isn’t okay.
It’ll be worse for them to watch both of their parents unhappy every day or to listen to your fights and disagreements often.
All marriages go through rough patches and of course, before making any hasty decisions, you should both try to fix your marriage and rekindle the spark in your relationship.
Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how much both of you try, divorce is just the best option for you and your kids.
Sometimes you need to accept the fact that the love just isn’t there anymore and that it wasn’t meant to last forever.
You just need to let go of it and continue with your own lives separately.
Signs of a loveless marriage
According to one of the most famous marriage and relationship researchers, John Gottman, there are ‘four horsemen’ that can harm every marriage, which are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt.
We’ll talk about all four of them below but there are some more clear red flags that can indicate that you aren’t just experiencing some rough patches but that you’re instead actually stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage.
The distance between you is more than obvious
You are aware that there is an emotional distance between you and that it’s getting bigger and bigger.
You just hope that your significant other will realize it too and act in time to save your marriage.
You don’t communicate more like you used to, you don’t spend any quality time together and you stopped expressing your feelings toward each other a long time ago.
You can simply feel that you’re growing apart.
You aren’t sure if your partner loves you anymore
You can’t even remember the last time when your partner said that they loved you.
Maybe you tried a few times to talk to them about it but they avoided it or said that you’re exaggerating or imagining it.
This is only because they still love you as a person and don’t want to hurt your feelings by admitting the truth.
If you have any doubts about their feelings, it’s probably because they gave you a reason to do so and you’re probably right.
Try to express your feelings to them and wait for their response.
If they leave you without one or if they only smile politely, your doubts are justified.
You went from being best friends to almost total strangers
Your spouse has to be your best friend first, then your romantic partner.
If you feel like you’ve become just two roommates or total strangers, that’s not a healthy marriage.
If you aren’t comfortable about opening up to your partner or going to them first when you have any problems, there is definitely something wrong in your relationship.
You need to find the cause of your disconnection and then work on that to make your marriage work again.
Breakdown in communication
Good and healthy communication is an essential building block for a successful relationship.
If there is a lack of communication in your relationship, that’s probably the root cause of all of your problems.
Your partner needs to be there for you always, no matter how busy their schedule is.
If you have any problems or issues, you have to be able to tell them and find a solution together.
Unhealthy communication always leads to an unhealthy relationship.
Lack of intimacy
Intimacy is a very important part of every healthy relationship.
It builds a deeper connection between you and it also helps in building trust.
Even though it shouldn’t be the main part of your relationship, a lack of intimacy can bring many problems to your marriage.
No matter how long you have been married, the spark should never leave your bedroom.
If you aren’t pleased with your love life, you should talk about it to your partner and together find a way to spice things up.
Even the arguing stops
You don’t even bother to argue about the things you don’t agree about.
You’re rather avoiding any kind of conflict because you just don’t care about each other anymore.
You think that if you don’t talk about your problems, that’s how you’ll make them disappear but unfortunately, that’s not true.
All those unresolved conflicts will have to be cleared one day.
Don’t think that fighting is bad for your marriage because you can see things from your partner’s perspective when you do.
A constructive argument is good for both sides because if you listen carefully, you’ll be able to hear what’s bothering your partner and realize what you can do to help them.
You constantly criticize your partner and vice versa
We all have bad days, those days when no matter how much we try, nothing can be the way we want it to be.
Still, that’s not a reason for anyone to be cranky because as I already said, we all have some flaws and how would we feel if someone criticized us because of that?
The next time you start criticizing your partner, you have to remember why you fell in love with them for the first time.
The relationship has fallen into a boring routine
Your marriage has become stuck in some boring routine.
Every day is the same for both of you; you get home from work, watch TV and go straight to bed.
You never make any plans together anymore. You just feel bored in your relationship.
Of course, there is a way to break that routine but the thing is that both partners have to want it and both of you have to put some effort in to fix that rut and revive the romance in your marriage.
You started avoiding each other
Would you rather stay at work than go home just because you know your spouse will be there?
Or maybe spend an extra half an hour in the grocery store, wandering in-between the shelves for no obvious reason?
Then, once you finally get home, you rather sit alone in your bedroom than with him in the living room.
You go to bed before him or after him, just so you wouldn’t have to talk to him or spend any time with him at all.
This type of behavior is an obvious sign that you don’t find joy with your partner anymore, since you would rather be in the office or a parking lot or literally anywhere but with them.
Everyone and everything else is more important than your marriage
Your gut is telling you that something is wrong but you are trying to ignore it by making everything around you more important than your marriage.
Does a friend have the flu? You run to her to spend the night taking care of her and to get away from home.
Sister had a fight with her boyfriend? You are full of advice and will do anything to get them back together, while at the same time, your own marriage is falling apart.
In other words, you put everyone and everything in first place, instead of doing just the opposite, taking care of your own relationship first.
You doubt your partner’s fidelity
At the beginning of your relationship, you felt like the most desirable woman in the world, you received compliments on a daily basis and there was no reason for you to even think about your husband wanting some other woman.
Now, on the other hand, when you have obviously been driven apart from each other and your communication level is at a minimum, you start to believe that there is someone else who is occupating his thoughts.
When two people are in a healthy marriage, there are no doubts about your partner’s feelings toward you, let alone that he has feelings for someone else.
One of you is being controlled by the other
One very significant red flag of a loveless marriage is when one of the partners is feeling controlled by the other.
It doesn’t matter in which way, whether it is financially or emotionally; this feeling should not be present.
Also, this is a great sign of distrust and disrespect. How come?
Well, if you, for example, want to go out and have a girls’ night with your friends and he tries to forbid you to, it means that he doesn’t trust you and maybe even thinks that you might cheat on him.
Or it could be that one of the partners has full control over their finances and won’t let their significant other anywhere near them.
You’d rather be alone than with your partner
Anything is better than being with him. Of course, every marriage has these days and on a bad day, your partner annoys you but you still love him.
However, if this feeling is constant and a bad day turns into a bad month and a bad year, things are not good.
Any time you have some free time, you would rather spend it alone than with your partner because you feel better on your own than with him.
You would rather go to a mall alone, drink your coffee alone, watch a movie alone and do anything you can without him.
You’re the one who thinks about having an emotional affair
Your partner should be the one who occupies your thoughts and you shouldn’t be thinking about anyone else.
But sometimes this isn’t the case and you start to imagine how your life would look with somebody else.
By this, we’re not talking about you physically cheating on your husband but rather you thinking about some other male or trying to find emotional support in some other guy.
This could be a guy from work or some complete stranger who you met online.
If this is the case, and you are aware that it is wrong and it should not be happening, maybe it is time for marriage counseling.
Date nights are long-forgotten
Every couple, regardless of how long they have been together, should spend some quality time with each other.
There are numerous couples who tend to forget about one another once they are married.
Children, work and many other worries that life brings us makes us forget to take care of our significant other.
Date nights should be a kind of a tradition between you two and you should have them at least once every week.
If this is long-forgotten, you should do everything you can to get it back on track or otherwise be ready to slowly sink into an unhappy marriage.
Your partner is destroying your self-esteem
When you are in a happy marriage or any other kind of a happy relationship, your partner is the one who makes you feel like you are the smartest, the prettiest and the most desirable person in the world.
The trouble appears when not only does he not make you feel that way anymore but he is also killing your self-esteem and self-worth.
He is constantly criticizing you and you feel like you can’t talk to him because anything you say might be stupid to him.
It is normal that we are all sometimes cranky and that we complain about this or that but it is not normal if he is anxious all the time and everything you do or say bothers him and makes you feel miserable.
Any kind of abuse is a clear sign of a loveless relationship
This can apply to physical, emotional, sexual, verbal or any other kind of abuse.
If you are feeling abused by your partner and that you cannot talk to them and haven’t been able to, whether for a short or long period of time, then it is time for a change.
A loveless relationship has abuse as one of its most important elements because there are no people who love each other and abuse each other at the same time.
The first thing to do is try to talk to your partner and try couples therapy.
Professional help is always welcome and someone objective who will not take anyone’s side but really try to help you will lead to a better life.
You can’t remember the last time you had some fun together
As already said, date nights should be an obligatory thing in the life of every couple.
You simply have to find a way to have fun together and to keep things interesting.
Of course, there will be periods when things fall into a routine and become a bit boring but it is on you and your partner to keep the spark alive.
If you can’t remember when the last time you had fun with him was, maybe it is time to make some effort and organize a romantic evening or movie night or a weekend away for just the two of you.
Your partner doesn’t want to make any effort to fix your relationship
Every relationship requires two people who are willing to work on it and to put a lot of effort into making it successful.
If this is not the case and your partner absolutely won’t do anything to make things work again, then it is time to start thinking about if the relationship is even worth saving.
We’re not saying that you should give up immediately but if time passes by and things do not change and he is simply not there for you anymore, then think about what you need to do.
Unfortunately, you’re constantly choosing to ignore your gut
We all have that little bit of a quiet inner voice that always tries to warn us when things aren’t working.
Unfortunately, as couples therapist and co-author of The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, Susan Pease Gadoua, says, we all choose to silence it or completely ignore it.
You ignore everything your gut is telling you, even though deep down inside you you know the naked ugly truth.
It doesn’t matter whether your love is gone or your husband doesn’t love you anymore, you ignore this feeling that something is rotten.
Sometimes you do this because of the children, sometimes it is because you are afraid of what the people around you will think about you but whatever the reason is, it is wrong.
The most important thing is that you’re happy and content with your life.
Forget about everything else and focus on you and your significant other.
How to survive a loveless marriage
Of course, all marriages must go through some crises and all couples must endure some issues in their relationships.
If you both think that you are just going through a rough patch and really want to save your marriage, of course, it is possible.
You both just need to put some effort in and you’ll make your relationship healthy again.
It’s indeed possible to fall in love with your spouse again. Continue reading below for some advice on staying in a loveless marriage.
Ask yourself if your marriage is really worth saving
This is the first thing you have to do once you realize that you are dealing with this problem.
You have to ask yourself whether your marriage is something worth saving and you have to remember all the good stuff but also the bad and compare them.
It is very important that you are aware of all the good things your marriage has brought you and all the bad things that you had to deal with since you realized you were stuck in an unhappy marriage.
If the bad things and negative feelings are more present and overwhelming, then stop for a minute and think about how much your effort is really worth.
Recognize your issues
Go back and try to remember when your marriage started to fall apart.
Was it the time when you had some family issues or financial troubles or was it over something else?
Maybe you didn’t like the way your partner dealt with a certain problem, so you started to wonder if he had been like this all along but you didn’t see it or if he is revealing his true face just now.
Try to find the moment when your feelings toward your partner started to change, or his toward you.
Only this way will you be able to truly resolve all your problems and eventually start to love your significant other again.
Be ready to compromise
There is no my way or your way in a healthy marriage, there is only our way.
You have to be ready to compromise with your partner all the time.
Being stubborn and looking at the problems from only your perspective won’t bring you any good.
You have to be ready to put yourself in their position because by doing this you will be more able to understand how your partner feels.
Compromise is the only way for any relationship to work, especially when it comes to a relationship that is already shaken and not really solid.
Improve your physical intimacy
Physical intimacy is a very important part of every relationship and it is very important to keep this part of your marriage at the highest level.
If there is a lack of intimacy between your partner and you, it can also affect your self-esteem because you might think that you are not attractive to them anymore.
Try to organize a romantic evening that will end with physical intimacy and try to seduce your husband the way you did at the very beginning of your marriage because if you lose this side of your marriage, you might end up being just like roommates living together.
Remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place
Remember all those good things that you noticed when you just met your partner, like how kind he is to others no matter how he feels or how he is always willing to help those in need.
Go through some old stuff, like your old pictures, and remember all those good days you guys had together and all those memories will certainly encourage you to try to save your marriage because the man you fell in love with is certainly still somewhere around.
He may have changed a bit over the years but so did you. All you have to do is remind yourself why that man is worth your love and your precious time.
Give it time and be patient
Nothing in this life comes easily, especially if it is something as great as love.
Love is something you have to take care of; you build it slowly and don’t rush anything.
Be patient and if you and your partner are truly willing to make things work then you both most certainly will.
To make the marriage work again, it is not important just to say that you want it, you have to let time heal some wounds.
If you don’t think that you can work out your issues by yourselves, you can always make an appointment with a marriage counselor and save your marriage with professional help.
Unfortunately, it’s a fact that nowadays too many couples live in a loveless marriage and choose to stay in it for so many different wrong reasons.
They close their eyes to the truth and don’t even want to talk about it.
They procrastinate and put off ‘the talk’ about the future of their marriage for as long as they can, as if that’s going to solve their problems.
It definitely won’t. Avoiding talking about your issues will only make things worse.
However, there are also those couples who immediately agree on getting divorced before they even try to save their loveless marriage.
Before you decide or do anything, both of you have to sit down and have an honest talk.
You have to ask your heart if it still holds any love for your spouse and you have to be sure that your marriage is worth saving and fighting for.
Remember, the only reason to be in a marriage is to love and care for your significant other.
Any other reasons are definitely wrong. Keep this in mind while deciding about the destiny of your marriage.