Many of us lead our lives this way, believing that love and marriage is nothing but a support system where you have someone to rely on, for emergencies and family gatherings. It’s just something we need, to fit within the rules of society.
It’s easy to see the signs of an unhealthy loveless marriage when we’re staring at other couples walking down a street.
But when we have to introspect, all we have are blind spots spread over all our flaws.
Even if you caught your partner cheating, there’s probably a good reason that led to the eventual betrayal *unless your lover is a compulsive philanderer or a strumpet*.
The beginning of the unhappy romance
An unhappy marriage is the slow accumulation of annoyances, pain, bitterness, ego and miscommunication that burdens the romance. And each time one or both lovers choose to ignore the signs and avoid communicating what each of them really feel, the relationship is only bound to get closer to the end.
You may be able to point to a particular circumstance that lead to the loveless romance, but almost always, the particular circumstance isn’t the real reason. In fact, it’s only the tipping point. In reality, all the other reasons led you to the unhappiness. Unfortunately though, most of us never care enough to pick the little flaws and rework on the marriage. It’s just so much easier to give up and walk away, especially when egos enter the picture. [Read: Affairs in a marriage and the games egos play]
12 subtle signs of an unhappy marriage
If you’re in a marriage or even in a long term relationship, keep an eye on these subtle signs. You may accept them as a part and parcel of every relationship, but in reality, they can tear your marriage apart even before you realize it.
#1 Emotional affairs. If you’re in a happy marriage, your partner should be your true confidant. You should be happy to communicate with them and share all the pleasant and the sordid details of your life with them. Do you feel more comfortable talking to someone else outside the marriage about your secrets? It may start off as an emotional release, but it would eventually come in your way of marital bliss. [Read: 18 signs you’re having an emotional affair already and don’t even know it!]
#2 The no-complaints relationship. There are a few relationships where the partners have no complaints about each other at all, because they completely understand each other and their individual points of view, and get along perfectly. If you’re experiencing this grand state of telepathy in your marriage, that’s awesome!
But if you’re in a marriage where you do find faults with your husband or wife, and yet, choose not to talk about it with them because it’s just not worth the effort, that’s just not good. When you lose hope of ever changing your partner or helping them see their flaws, you’re in the no-complaints relationship. Over time, these little annoyances could lead to huge frustrations in your marriage. [Read: The 80 20 rule in marriage and your love life]
#3 You have needs. And these needs aren’t satisfied by your partner. Almost all the time, you find ways to satisfy these needs yourself, be it sexual or emotional. But at the same time, you may constantly find yourself grumbling or whining within your own mind about how much better it could have been if your partner was more involved in satisfying your needs.
#4 You have too many needs. This is a contradiction to the earlier sign of an unhappy marriage, but this is a valid point too. Sometimes, two lovers just have different needs. And you may have needs that just can’t be fulfilled by your partner. So what do you do then? Do you compromise for the sake of your marriage or do you walk away? There’s a thin line between expectations and reality.
Communicate with your partner and talk to your friends. If your needs seem justified, you have a right to expect it from your partner. If your needs seem to be high-maintenance, you need to decide what holds more value to you, your needs or your marriage. [Read: Falling out of love – Why it could be happening to you]
#5 Individual lives. Both of you lead individual lives. In a happy marriage or a long term relationship, it doesn’t matter how distant both your career or life paths are, but both of you have to understand each other and be willing to offer a shoulder to each other. Many people don’t make the effort to understand more about their partner’s work life and their daily experiences. Always remember this, if you can’t offer the emotional support your partner wants, your partner may look to someone else to get that same support. [Read: The 10 big problems in a relationship and how to fix it]
#6 Lusty minds. You could be in a relationship with one person and still find yourself getting sexually attracted to someone else now and then. But do you talk about this little crush you have, or do you hide the secret, all the while spinning secret fantasies in your head?
If you have a crush on someone else or consider some person to be physically attractive, you shouldn’t have difficulty talking about it with your partner if you’re in a secure and happy marriage. Hiding this secret interest, on the other hand, could leave you annoyed because you’d feel guilty and at the same time, feel more distant from your spouse.
#7 Different life directions. If you’re in an unhappy marriage, you’d see a lot of conflicting differences in both your perspectives towards life and your goals in life. This is something most college sweethearts that don’t communicate well end up facing as the years pass by. When two people come together in a marriage, they communicate with each other and their goals too start to align to form one common goal. [Read: How to know if you’re not in love anymore]
#8 Your principles and your responsibilities. All of us have responsibilities when we’re in a relationship. But do you take your responsibilities too seriously and avoid looking beyond that? Do you believe that earning money for the family or looking after the house is the end of your responsibility? In an unhappy marriage, both partners rely too much on their responsibilities to determine if they’re doing their *job* as a spouse.
You know your responsibility in the marriage, and as long as you feel you’re doing what’s expected of you, you assume you’ve done nothing wrong and you never will. But in reality, responsibilities in a relationship are a yardstick of reference, nothing more. If your partner wants to communicate with you or picks a flaw, think beyond your responsibilities.
#9 Expectations and comparisons. You expect too much from your spouse. You subtly pressurize them or undermine them by comparing other marriages or people. You may think this would help your lover or spouse understand your wants better. But it won’t.
Don’t ever create expectations in a relationship based on comparisons. It’ll only pressurize and anger your partner instead of helping them understand your point of view. If someone feels they’re never good enough because they’re always being compared negatively, do you really think they’d ever feel good about it? [Read: The power of your words and how it can affect your partner]
#10 The blame game. Pointing a finger at your lover is easy. If you’re in an unhappy marriage, you’d find yourself constantly blaming the sorry state of your marriage on your spouse. It’s easy to point a finger, but have you ever wondered if you could perhaps, have a part to play in this blame game too?
#11 Addictions. An addiction can ruin any marriage, and end up leaving both of you bitter and angry. If you have an addiction, you may feel like your partner doesn’t understand you and is being unreasonable, even though you realize that you’re the bad one now and then.
And on the other hand, the other partner may feel helpless and depressed. Make an effort and deal with your addiction, by yourself or with professional help. You may not realize it today, but your addiction could kill your marriage very soon. [Read: The reason behind why men are so addicted to porn]
#12 The ego. The ego is a powerful tool in marriage. It doesn’t rear its head often, but when it does, it changes everything. Do one of you think you’re better than the other person? In a marriage, the two people involved are a team. Even if you don’t realize it, both of you almost always play an equal part in holding it together.
But if you ever assume you’re too good for your spouse, you may feel a tingle of minor annoyance to begin with. And eventually, you’d lose respect for your partner and someday, stray into the arms of a person you respect and consider an equal.
If you ever feel like you’re doing more of the work in a relationship, talk about it with your partner. The few minutes of silent treatment or anger which will eventually fade is way better than years of disrespect and ego clashes. [Read: The top 20 reasons for divorce that most couples overlook]
A loveless unhappy marriage is not worth experiencing. It’s painful and it can make your life feel like a complete waste of time. But if you think about it, it can all be fixed if you choose to fix it. All it needs is the initiative and the memory of the good times and the romance to bring all the love back into your loveless marriage.