17 Unhappy Marriage Signs That Will Destroy A Marriage

By David Small •  Updated: 06/17/19 •  11 min read

After staying married for some time, you and your partner are likely to start growing apart.

Little by little, you will start to notice subtle signs that your unions are going over the rocks. But just how do you tell if you are in an unhappy marriage?

17 Unhappy Marriage Signs That Will Destroy A Marriage

Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

Sometimes it will not be very obvious. Like in any relationship, you should be able to point out some red flags.

These are what we refer to unhappy marriage signs. They are many and may come at different stages of the union and in varied intensity.

Depending on what the signs are, you can work towards strengthening your union.

Here is a detailed look at some of the most common unhappy marriage signs:

  1. Lack of Intimacy

One of the unhappy marriage signs is when you are going completely without sex. Also, if your relationship is defined by 10 or less sexual encounters in a year, then you have a reason to worry.

For you to say that you have a strong relationship, you have to increase the number of times you are intimate with each other.

When you are going for long periods of time without intimacy, then you are in an unhappy marriage. These are the views of Jane Greer in What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship. According to her, “the marriage is on the rocks if there is no hugging, kissing, and other visible signs of affection”.

  1. You No Longer Talk With Each Other

Major changes in your life, be it at work or another accomplishment, are worth sharing with your wife or husband. For the first few years you lived together, you are likely to have talked about anything and everything. When that stops, then it is a clear sign that the marriage is threatened.

It is even worse when you would rather talk with outsiders and not your spouse. One of the unhappy marriage signs is when you have no meaningful conversations but only talk about chores and routine household issues. With a little dedication, you should be able to rectify the situation.

  1. Lack of Connection

Did you know that you can be in the same room with someone but never really feel like you are together? This has been made worse by a large number of electronics creeping into households. People are often lost to television, laptops or smartphones.

When you try to have conversations, these gadgets always seem to get in the way. You say something to your spouse but he or she is deeply immersed in social media. That’s one of the unhappy marriage signs you need to watch out for. When in the same room, it is courteous for you to turn off all the gadgets including television. That way, you will have a deeper engagement.

Related article:17 Signs Your Relationship Will Last Forever

  1. You Have a Gut Feeling

Most of the time, trouble in a marriage doesn’t have to be obvious. Everyone has a deeper inner voice which points out to trouble in a relationship. Say, you keep asking yourself if you really still love your spouse. You have no rational reasoning or facts to rely on.

Yet, the feeling still persists. By prodding a little bit deeper, you will be able to pinpoint exactly what it is that’s ailing your relationship. If you feel unsafe to talk about these issues, then your relationship is truly under threat. So, don’t ignore that gut feeling.

  1. You Prioritize Other People’s Needs over Your Own

Are you staying in the marriage to take care of other people’s needs and not your own? If “yes”, then it is highly likely that you are in an unhappy marriage. One of the common unhappy marriage signs for women is working to take care of their spouses and children.

Over time, they lose their sense of identity and neglect their need for happiness. Perhaps all she wants is to avoid dealing with the bitter truth of trouble in paradise. What such individuals need is to step back and relook the relationship. If it can be salvaged, she should work towards it instead of trying to make other people’s lives easier.

17 Unhappy Marriage Signs That Will Destroy A Marriage

Photo by Vera Arsic from Pexels

  1. Widening Emotional and Physical Distance

After being married for a while, it is very easy for a relationship to slide into boring routines. Sex is no longer a priority. When that happens, you are either in a marital rut or an outright loveless marriage. If this happens only for a short while, then there’s hope that the marriage will eventually work.

However, if it persists, then you are dealing with one of the unhappy marriage signs. If it has been over two years, then you need help from a professional marriage therapist. If you wait too long, the marriage may just prove to be irreparable.

  1. Fantasizing About Life Apart

One of the major unhappy marriage signs is when you keep fantasizing about a “happy” future away from your partner. Over time, you have become uncaring and unloving. You are frantically struggling to detach yourself emotionally from your current relationship. Subconsciously, you are preparing for a less painful separation.

It doesn’t have to be anything major. Simple things like fantasizing about an extramarital affair are all it takes. Perhaps you are even planning for the future without involving your spouse. If you are excited about life without your spouse, it is possible you have reached a point of no return.

Related article:15 Warning Signs Of A Failing Marriage Relationship

  1. You No Longer Fight

It has been a while since you fought, yet, you have drifted further away from each other. As nasty as fights seem, they present the couple with the opportunity to deal with serious issues with finality. On the other hand, lack of fights means your issues remain unresolved forever.

For once, you have no opportunity to get your partner’s perspective on the issue at hand. Thus the buried and smoldering issues only breed anger and resentment. Even if you are still in love with each other, there’s no way you can tell. The thing about fights is that they result in greater intimacy.

  1. Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt, and Emotional Shutdown

How often do you criticize, blame, attach or find fault in your spouse? One of the unhappy marriage signs is always criticizing your spouse. Not only does it corrode the connection but builds distance between the two of you.

The same thing happens when you are always defensive and unwilling to take responsibility. It there was any goodwill and trust, it will quickly be eroded. Another thing to look for is when the two of you and contemptuous with sarcastic, stinging remarks.

Don’t forget emotional shutdown that may remove the ability to openly talk about issues. Apart from building distance, this removes love, communication, and openness from the relationship.

  1. Lack of Communication

Communication is two-way traffic. It is defined by one party talking and the other listening. If you find yourself in a situation where you are talking but not getting the response you expect, then your marriage is on the rocks. The same could be true about your spouse. He or she is trying to communicate with you but you aren’t listening.

Feel free to talk about issues in your marriage openly and effectively. Sit down and listen to what your spouse has to say. Otherwise, you risk moving from a love-filled relationship to one defined by unhealed resentment, poor communication, and dashed expectations. That’s one of the unhappy marriage signs to watch out for.

Related article:12 Best Proven Ways To Survive a Loveless Marriage


Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter from Pexels

  1. Thinking of an Emotional Affair

Whether you are a man or woman, there comes a time when you are no longer in love with your spouse. If you are a man, you may start prioritizing another female over your wife. The same for a man. An emotional affair may begin with a seemingly trivial activity such as online flirting.

As Dr. Wendy M. O’Connor says in Love Addiction, this may tempt you into taking the online relationship further. While you will be bolder in your online expressions, giving in to another man or woman may hurt the relationship further.

  1. Seeking Help from Friends Rather Than Your Partner

To whom do you run when you have exciting news to share? Is it your spouse or friends? If you are confiding more in your friends rather than your spouse, then your relationship is threatened. As subtle as it might be, it is one of the unhappy marriage signs you should look out for.

The ideal situation is where married partners celebrate each other’s achievements. If you keep turning to your friends, then you are alienating your spouse and avoiding to address what really matters. What you ought to do is try to put your spouse first, by all means.

  1. No More Quality Time Together

How do you spend your leisure time? What kind of relationship do you have at home? Do you always think about doing different stuff when at home? When hosting a party, does each one of you get engrossed in his or her own thing?

If you have answered these questions in the affirmative, then it is clear you are growing apart. Lack of quality time is one of the unhappy marriage signs. It means you no longer value the relationship to the extent of valuing quality time together. If you are always apart, you have every reason to get worried.

  1. You No Longer Go Out On Dates

When did you last go out on a date? Are you planning for a special or important event soon? If it has taken you long to go out and have no plans to do so in the near future, then signs are that you have a broken relationship.

However, you can change that by making plans for one or two outings in the near future. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. A simple dinner or movie night is enough to patch up parts of your relationship that might be broken. For the marriage bond to stand strong, you have to put in a lot of work. The time to start is now!

  1. You No Longer Prioritize Each Other

When in a marriage, the best thing you can do is make your partner a priority. If that’s no longer the case, then you are likely to lose the bond you once had with your spouse. Whether you are a man or a woman, you need to prioritize your spouse.

If you don’t, you will begin to drift away from each other. How can you stay together when you no longer make easy other a priority? Look at aspects about the time you spend together, feelings, and your goals. That way, you can start relating closely before you drift further apart.


Photo by Vera Arsic from Pexels

  1. You Feel Controlled

It is not uncommon for one partner in a relationship to try and control the other. When you begin to feel like your partner is over-controlling you, then there is a problem.

One of the biggest unhappy marriage signs is when one spouse feels like his or her words and expressions aren’t receiving the proper validation. For instance, one spouse may try to reign in the family’s finances and prohibit the partner from opening an account. If you are the one on the receiving end, then time is now you rethought the relationship.

related article:15 Warning Signs Of A Failing Marriage Relationship

  1. Unwillingness to Work on the Marriage

No matter how tattered a relationship is, there is always the hope of overcoming existing problems and making it stronger. It doesn’t matter if you or your spouse has been caught cheating.

So long as the two of you are willing to do something about it, you can still have a workable marriage. If one of both of you isn’t interested in getting help, then that could just spell the end of the marriage.

If anything, you can only work on the marriage if the two of you are willing to do something about it.


Are you afraid that your marriage could be headed for divorce? Before you reach a conclusion, first look out for any of the signs stated above.

While they indicate an unhappy union, they hardly mean you will eventually break up. With the help of a qualified marriage therapist, you should be able to rekindle the love you might have lost. Just start early!

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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