No matter how much you think you love one another, the honeymoon period rarely lasts forever. When the desire to vicariously display your affection for each other fades away, your relationship may settle into a comfortable, long-term rhythm that’ll bring you a lot of joy.
However, for some people, the honeymoon phase could steadily devolve into an unfulfilling relationship – and they don’t understand how they got there.
Leaving a marriage or a long-term relationship is a difficult decision to make. No one wants to be alone or face uncertainty about their future, so many people settle for mediocrity instead – opting for a relationship full of low-level discomfort and disappointment instead of a divorce.
They think that having a relationship is better than having none – even if it’s loveless.
The hard part is figuring out if you’re merely going through a normal marital bump on the road or if you’re in a loveless relationship. Keep reading for the signs that’ll help you know for sure.
1. You’re no longer physically intimate.
Everyone’s sexual urges vary, but if you and your spouse go from having sex countless times a week to once every couple of months, the partner with the stronger libido is more likely to feel discarded and undesired.
The blend of emotional and physical connection reserved for only the two of you is what makes your marriage wonderful. Passion is what makes your marriage unique – so when the zest for romance begins to wane, the resulting lack of passion can sting like a bee – and lead to bitterness that can pull the couple apart.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sex life, check out these 13 surefire tips!
2. You fantasize about divorce.
Dreaming you’re married or single isn’t necessarily something to be concerned about.
However, if you find yourself daydreaming about a life without your partner or comparing your current life to one in which you’re hitched to someone else, it’s an indication that you’ve lost interest in some or all of the traits that originally drew you to your spouse.
If the notion of a life without your spouse appeals to you, it’s a clear indication that you’re stuck in a loveless marriage.
3. There’s an imbalance of respect.
Dysfunctional relationships are frequently the result of power imbalances in which one partner believes they’re better than the other and dismisses their opinions. This is a major no-no because it undermines the concept of equal collaboration, which is important in marriage.
If you find yourself continuously trying to one-up each other while about something, you might want to meet up with a therapist one-on-one to work out why you don’t respect what your spouse has to say (or vice versa) and how this is affecting your marriage.
4. You feel alone all the time.
If you feel alone even when you’re in a room with your partner, it can be a sign that your marriage is no longer on a stable footing and that the cracks of despair have started to appear.
If you tell them about an important thing that happened at work, and they’re just scrolling through their phone, it means they have lost interest in what you have to say.
5. The laughter has left the marriage.
It may seem obvious, but having a sense of humor can affect the happiness and longevity of a marriage. With all the everyday conflicts and sacrifices that come with marriage, couples must find humor when things become tough because laughing is wonderfully therapeutic.
If you and your spouse can no longer joke and laugh when the going gets tough, you’re likely stuck in a bad cycle that needs to be broken – and one that’ll cause you both harm in the future.
6. They’re no longer your confidant.
Transparency is necessary for the longevity of any relationship. Of course, you don’t have to be an open book – but the big changes in your life should be shared with your partner.
If you find yourself telling your friends more about your life than you tell your own partner, you may have some trust issues to tackle.
7. You feel neglected.
Feeling neglected is a very real aspect of being in a loveless marriage. You might feel like you see less and less of your partner, who is either too busy saving the world or too busy saving themselves.
If you’re in a marriage where you need to beg to be noticed, you need to start wondering why you need to do so in the first place.
8. Everything they do annoys you.
Let’s face it, there are annoying things that all men do. However, when minor irritations become major annoyances, your perspective of your spouse may be shifting. There’s always something more personal and profound going on in these situations.
This is where seeking help from a counselor can truly help. Whatever the reason behind your annoyance, you could use a private session to figure out why you’re unexpectedly shaking your head at every action your partner does without embarrassing them in front of your counselor.
9. Everything turns into a big fight.
Often, couples dismiss conflicts and differences as “typical couple stuff” when it’s actually pretty evident that the couple can no longer be together.
There comes the point where this quarreling couple needs to take a seat and think their relationship through. They should assess what they’re fighting over, whether or not they’re getting into fights to conceal their pain, and why they keep having the same fights and dismissing them as “everyday marriage things.”
This couple may soon discover that they’re merely going with the flow of marriage and are no longer suitable for one another.
10. You don’t even argue at all anymore.
Fighting all the time with your partner can seem like an obvious sign of trouble, but what if you never fight anymore? Does that mean your relationship is struggling? Surprisingly, yes, it does.
If you guys no longer fight with one another, it means that there’s nothing left to fight for. Instead of bickering like little kids, your loveless marriage has made mutes out of both of you.
Instead of devolving into a cycle of anger and frustration, you and your spouse should come up with an alternate approach to resolve this silent fight – such as penning down your thoughts and feelings so that you can better communicate them to each other.
11. You’re suddenly afraid of commitment.
Monogamy isn’t for everyone, and might not be for you – despite what you might think at first. In loveless relationships, one partner may feel as if they’re losing out on life because they’re locked up with their partner or that they were pushed into a marriage they weren’t ready for.
12. You feel like you’re under a microscope.
When two people live together and spend the better part of their time together, there are bound to be things that get under each other’s skin. However, if criticism becomes constant, sharp, or sarcastic, it may be a sign that you’re in a loveless marriage.
At first, this critique can seem harmless – when in fact, the truth is very sinister. Someone seeing every single little thing about you as “annoying” or “too much” is a sign they don’t want to be around you that much.
Marriage, relationships, and partnerships are all about being loved for who you are – so when this respect vanishes, you’ve got a problem.
13. One of you cheated.
Even if you and your spouse believed you’d move on after an illicit affair, you both could still be harboring bitterness for each other and could find it hard to heal from infidelity.
Slow-healing wounds can cause pain in a variety of ways, including resenting your partner for something you “forgave” them for and finding it difficult to love them.
If you and your spouse still can’t seem to get past the problem even after you’ve given it your all, it may be time to accept that you can’t heal what’s broken anymore.
14. Your partner seems more secretive than usual.
Excessive secrecy can also be another indication that your marriage is headed for the rocks. If your partner is more secretive about where they keep their phone or why they came back home late, they might not trust you completely or they may actually have something to hide.
While you may have no clear answer to the question of whether or not your partner is cheating on you, you do get the hunch that they are – and that’s troublesome enough.
A partner who is evasive to hide an affair or drug addiction is a great source of strain in all relationships, and if this situation is not handled sensitively and directly, it may cause you and your partner to split up.
15. They’re always defensive.
Speaking with someone in denial can make you feel like slamming your china plates on a concrete floor. A partner who refuses to understand your concerns about the relationship or shows no remorse for how they’ve made you feel is extremely aggravating because their ignorance is a huge impediment to healing the relationship.
A loving relationship needs compromise, attentive listening, and a genuine attempt to see matters from your partner’s perspective – but more than anything else, marriage needs compassion.
It may be time to move on if your spouse doesn’t care about you or when you’re in pain and refuses to seek help to improve his behavior.
16. They don’t see a problem with the current state of the relationship.
If both partners refuse to acknowledge that they’re contributing to the toxicity of their marriage, there’s very little chance the marriage will survive.
If your partner doesn’t see anything wrong with your marriage, there’s a good chance that you’ll be living happily ever after.
17. You’re attracted to strangers.
There’s a good chance that you’ve already accepted the fact that your marriage was doomed long before you signed the divorce papers.
If you feel like meeting new men or women again or find yourself falling a little bit in love with each new person you meet, it’s a clear sign that your partner at home isn’t enough for you.
If you feel attracted to people other than your partner, there’s a good chance that you’re looking for something in them that you think is missing from your relationship.
18. You both want different things.
Many couples marry young and hope the giddy romance of youth lasts them a lifetime. However, as marriage evolves and transforms, so do the both of you.
For instance, you may be looking forward to starting a family, but your partner might not be ready for it. If neither of you is willing to compromise, it can be a sign that you’ve both outgrown your marriage.
19. Date nights are a thing of the past.
Can you remember the last time the two of you went out on a date as a couple? If you can’t, you should be worried.
Marriage is hard work and needs to be nourished like a plant. Make an effort to organize a few outings, and check out these 30 Unique Dates That Will Add Spark to Your Relationship for some inspiration.
20. You’re no longer each other’s top priority.
If you’ve stopped prioritizing the person you promised to put above all else and love for the rest of your life, it may be a sign that you’re in a loveless marriage.
Losing someone who previously meant a lot to you can be tough, and the emotional and mental turmoil that a divorce takes on a couple and their family is no joke.
It’ll be difficult to be a strong unit if you don’t make your partner a focus in your life or if they don’t make you theirs. If you want to salvage the love left in your marriage, try valuing your time together, each other’s emotions, and each other’s hopes and dreams.
The Bottom Line
Because all marriages (even the best ones) have conflict, counseling can help with some challenges. However, once a professional points out the flaws in your relationship, you might discover that some of them aren’t always possible to fix.
Whatever the conclusion, when you try to take a more active role in resolving the issues in your marriage, you’ll have a better chance of finding joy with your spouse. Here are 19 Best Ways to Rekindle the Spark in Your Marriage – but, if you find that there’s still no joy to be found with your spouse, the best thing for you might be separation.