Nobody says “I do” and expects a failing marriage. Despite the fact that only seven out of every 1,000 couples walk down the aisle; there are many failing marriages out there. There are numerous signs that a relationship is on its way out; people simply fail to recognize them in time to save their marriages. This is bad news because research confirms what everyone who has gone through a divorce already knows; divorce causes psychological distress and a decrease in life satisfaction.
Every marital relationship is unique. But there are some common red flags and warning signs that could show that your marriage is in trouble. If you have these concerns, don’t ignore them in the hope that they will simply go away. They usually do not, and if left unaddressed, they can worsen.
Instead, you should have an open, honest, and respectful conversation with your spouse about your marriage’s problems. It can be a challenging conversation to have, but it is necessary. What are the symptoms of a failing marriage? What can you do if your marriage has failed? Is there anything you can take away from this? This article will teach you everything you need to know.
Common Symptoms of a Failing Marriage
Every relationship will have ups and downs, but there are some signs to look for to see if they are the result of something that isn’t working well in your marriage. Here are some warning signs of a failing marriage.
1. You’re constantly criticizing each other.
Sure, some constructive criticism can be beneficial. However, if you give out more criticisms than compliments, you’re doomed. According to research, it takes five (or more) positive interactions to counteract each negative one in order to keep a relationship on good terms.
2. You No Longer Have Sex
Everyone experiences ups and downs in the bedroom. There’s no need to panic if you don’t want to rip your partner’s clothes off every night. But if you’re both physically healthy enough to have sex but go months or even years without it, it could be a sign of a deeper problem, such as a lack of emotional intimacy or romance.
Sex isn’t everything, but it is an essential component of a happy, romantic relationship. According to a 2015 study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, happy couples had sex once a week on average.
3. You keep making the same argument.
Every marriage, even the healthiest ones, has disagreements. According to research, couples who argue effectively are ten times more likely to have a happy relationship than those who brush difficult issues under the rug.
However, if your time together is plagued by endless reruns of the same argument with no resolution, there is likely a major schism between the two of you. You’ll soon start avoiding each other out of fear of starting another fight.
4. You No Longer Argue
In contrast to the preceding point, a lack of arguing can also indicate a failing marriage. If your high-conflict relationship suddenly transforms into a no-conflict relationship, it may appear to be a relief. However, if the healthy debates have ceased, it may be a sign that one or both of you has given up.
Sure, a lot of arguing is concerning. However, not arguing at all could indicate that the two of you don’t believe there is anything worth fighting for in your relationship. Remember that the polar opposite of love is indifference, not hatred.
5. You dislike spending time together.
Another sign of a failing marriage is when you realize you would rather spend time with anyone but your partner. It is beneficial to your relationship to spend time apart. If, on the other hand, you’re constantly making excuses to spend all of your free time away from your partner, you’ve already started the breakup process.
6. You Begin to Keep Secrets
It’s natural to want to keep some things to yourself. However, keeping secrets on purpose—say, having dinner alone with a coworker who finds you attractive, casually hanging out with an ex, or buying the expensive shoes you said you wouldn’t—is a clear sign that your marriage is failing.
Keeping secrets in a relationship only sows the seeds of distrust. It is difficult to rebuild trust once it has been broken.
7. You Consider Having an Affair
According to relationship experts, it’s completely normal to find someone other than your partner attractive from time to time. After all, getting into a relationship does not disable your normal biological functioning.
What isn’t acceptable? Imagining yourself with that person. If you’re constantly thinking about someone other than your partner who you find attractive, you’re clearly missing something in your current relationship.
8. They Aren’t The First Person You Contact
In a healthy marriage, you see your partner as the person to turn to for emotional support in both good and bad times. Though you may confide in family and friends, it is usually not to the same extent that you do with your partner. After all, your partner is your “person.”
If your partner isn’t the first person you turn to when you’re down or to celebrate your victories, it could be a sign that something isn’t right.
The Most Common Causes of a Failing Marriage
A failing marriage can be caused by one of five factors. Identifying these five common reasons for marriage does not imply that it is a bad thing. In fact, I am a firm believer in marriage. I also believe that most marriages can and should be fought for. Every couple will face difficulties. There will be times when you and your partner don’t like each other or can’t even have a civil conversation, but there will always be some underlying love. The reason you met in the first place.
The following are the five most common reasons for a failing marriage:
1. Inadequate intimacy and sex
This has been the number one cause of divorce or couples filing for divorce in my practice. If there was a libido booster pill for women, I believe most of us would take it. Men typically have a higher libido than women, which can lead to problems in relationships. (There are some women who have a higher libido than their male partner, but this is uncommon.) The counseling and solutions, however, would be similar.)
Often, the woman will first come for therapy. She will be convinced that something is wrong with her and that she is not being a “good wife”—or sexual partner for her husband. She’ll have even had her hormones tested to see if anything is wrong. Normally, nothing is out of balance.
As we progress through therapy, we will discover that it is not her hormones that are the issue, but rather the relationship itself. Solving the issue usually requires the couple to come for counseling together. We then work through a program specifically designed for couples with “desire discrepancy” – the term we use when one partner has a higher libido than the other.
2. An affair, either emotional or physical
The effect on a relationship is the same whether it is an emotional or physical affair. Many people believe that a physical affair is ‘worse,’ but the resulting trauma is identical. Betrayal destroys all of the bonds that hold a relationship together: emotional, physical, and spiritual.
Trust, respect, loyalty, and communication are all so shattered that many couples decide to divorce because they can’t get past the betrayal. I often see situations where the unfaithful partner leaves their marriage because they truly believe; that they will find more happiness and fulfillment with the other person.
When a couple who has been betrayed wishes to overcome it and is committed to working on their relationship, it is a very powerful and life-changing process. The key is for both partners to recognize that the betrayal was a symptom of their relationship’s other problems, not the cause of them.
Rebuilding a relationship after an affair is difficult, but the new relationship is often stronger, happier, more loving, and more fun than the old one. This is why I believe that an affair does not have to be the end of a relationship.
3. A lack of clear relationship boundaries
Another issue that appears to divide couples is the issue of boundaries and expectations. We all understand what boundaries are, but we don’t often discuss or verbalize them. Boundaries and expectations differ from person to person in a relationship. Boundaries are influenced by your own experiences, background, faith, and the examples you’ve seen in life.
Having close friends of the opposite sex may not be a problem for one person. It could be a complete no-no for someone else. Because we rarely verbalize our boundaries and expectations in relationships – instead, we often expect our partners to be on the same page as us – we become frustrated and resentful when these boundaries are crossed.
4. Growing apart – no shared interests
This is especially true in long-term relationships. Couples who have been together for a long time may find themselves looking at each other down the line, wondering, “What do we have in common anymore?”
People evolve over time. It’s entirely natural. Life circumstances, children, work, and discovering new hobbies can all broaden our horizons and enrich our personalities. The most important aspect of a long-term relationship is to grow together and to make a concerted effort to maintain an intimate connection with each other. I try to encourage my patients to start a new hobby or work on a project together in order to spend interesting, quality time growing as a couple.
One of the most serious issues I’ve seen in my practice is an increase in emotional and physical affairs among couples in which one partner is extremely active while the other isn’t. Training for the Ironman, Argus, or running the Comrades requires a significant amount of effort and dedication. While this is an admirable accomplishment, couples should be aware of the impact that something like this could have on their relationship and take precautions to avoid it.
5. Compulsive sexual behavior or sex addiction
This is often one of the most traumatic events in a relationship because it usually involves multiple affairs and constant betrayal. As a sex addiction therapist, I’ve dealt with a number of cases like this, and I’ve seen many relationships reconcile. It is like other addictions such as drugs and alcohol, is ultimately not about sex.
Sex addiction is not defined by a high sex drive or a desire to have a lot of sex. It is also a way to cope with feelings of rage, loneliness, sadness, boredom, or exhaustion.
The chase is central to sex addiction. It usually begins with the person becoming preoccupied with sex-related thoughts. Dopamine is released by the brain’s prefrontal cortex or pleasure center. Dopamine is what makes us “feel good,” and it is what sex addicts crave. However, they end up going to increasingly extreme lengths to experience this ‘high.’
There are many unhealthy behaviors that result from sex addiction, and they not only cause the addict extreme hurt and pain, but also the addict’s partner. Both can, however, find healing with the right treatment.
Quotes on Failing Marriage
Enjoy reading and sharing quotes about Failing Marriage with your friends and family. Here are some quotes about a failing marriage:
1. Our marriage has always been an island, a safe haven from sea dragons and monstrous creatures. Now we’re letting them in, gnashing our teeth, and failing to protect each other. — Nina Lane.
2. The thing was the present, work to do, and someone to love. But not to love too much, for he knew the harm that a father or a mother can do to a daughter or a son by becoming too attached to them: after that, out in the world, the child would seek the same blind tenderness in the marriage partner and, failing to find it, would turn against love and life. — F Scott Fitzgerald.
3. I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus until I met my nanny, who assisted me in navigating a failing marriage and raising my two boys in a New York City apartment. She demonstrated to me what it was like to be able to talk to Jesus and bring all my cares and concerns to Him. That was back in 1990. — Alexis Kim
4. Men loathe the feeling of failing at the relationship. — Shawn T. Smith.
5. She remembered… how he never made her feel insane, even when she was acting insane, and how he never made her feel like a failure, even when she was failing. — Rowell, Rainbow
6. For nearly a century, science’s moral relativism has given faith-based religion the unrivaled claim to be the only universal framework for moral wisdom. As a result, the world’s most powerful societies waste time debating issues like gay marriage when they should be focusing on issues like nuclear proliferation, genocide, energy security, climate change, poverty, and failing schools. — Samuel Harris
7. Like the market, conjugal society (marriage and family) is not a product of the state. It is a pre-political institution based on gender differences and procreation. Given conjugal society’s pre-political nature, the state regulates it correctly by recognizing it as a natural fact with its own norms and purposes. The state should not treat conjugal society as if it were its own creation. The state may intervene if there is evidence that parents are failing in their duties to each other or to their children. However, in the absence of this, the state should leave conjugal society, which is based on the union of one man and one woman, alone. — Jean Bethke Elshtain
8. Whether it’s repairing a failing business, fighting corruption, combating disease, or rebuilding a marriage, the most difficult problems defy simple solutions. Indeed, putting on a Band-Aid when surgery is required usually makes matters worse. — Carl Honore
9. She would first try to kill him, but if that failed, she would give him food and her body; breastfeed him back to childhood, and possibly even feel affection for him. Then, as soon as he fell asleep, he cut his throat. The ideal marriage’s synopsis. — J.G. Ballard
10. Someone who has been in a bad accident will be very careful not to speed through a yellow light… When you have a failed marriage, you learn so many valuable lessons. — Amy Grant’s
Related Articles: MARRIAGE PROBLEMS: Common Causes, Problems & Effective Solution
11. My mother set me up with Jesus Freak in an attempt to help me move on from my failed marriage. In fact, the stoner hadn’t even finished packing when she assured me that she had someone better lined up for me. I was just lonely and desperate enough to put up with a four-month celibate long-distance relationship with a guy who read 15 chapters of the Bible and prayed for two hours every day, expecting me to do the same. He wanted us to name our hypothetical children after Bible characters and to relocate to Korea to serve as missionaries. — Kate Madison’s
12. I know what it’s like to be replaced after three failed marriages. So that’s how Joey Harrington must be feeling today. A former first-round pick appears to be a bust in Detroit, in my opinion. — Terry Bradshaw’s
13. Margo and my mother did not place a high value on cleaning up after themselves. They’d both recovered from cancer scares, failed marriages, and hopelessness; dirt, in their opinion, could wait. Alice Hoffman is an author.
14. It’s all added up to a burden that I’m getting tired of carrying. It becomes so complicated. It’s the three failed marriages and having children who grew up without me, as well as the personal criticism: of being Mr. Nice Guy or divorcing my wife by fax and all that other nonsense; the journalism, some of which I find insulting. — Phil Collins’s
15. Mom also hinted a few times that it was a good thing I was going to college because, with one failed marriage behind me, I’d have a hard time finding a good husband and would need something to fall back on. “A package that has only been opened once does not have the same allure.” — Jeannette Walls
How to Save a Failing Marriage
After the cake has been consumed, the photographs have been framed, and you have long forgotten your wedding hashtag. It’s time to deal with the stresses that often accompany marriage. “Marriages are complex entities with many moving parts that require constant care, attention, nurturing, assessment, and adjustment,” says licensed mental health counselor Landis Bejar. “No matter how many quizzes you take on the internet, no one test with a specific grading system can give you a 50 percent or lower and determine your marriage is failing.”
So, how do you save a marriage when things aren’t going well? Continue reading for expert advice.
1. Pay Attention to the Signs
It’s critical to remember that every marriage is unique, even when it’s failing. “There is no single version of a failing marriage,” Bejar says. Relationships have conflict, but how those conflicts are handled can indicate whether the relationship is healthy and happy. Bejar cites Dr. John Gottman, a relationship expert, and his research on the types of behavior that can predict the end of a relationship. Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling are what he refers to as “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
- Criticism entails attacking your partner’s core character rather than specific behavior.
- Contempt is demonstrating moral superiority over your partner by treating them as inferior or with disrespect, such as through name-calling, sarcasm, or ridicule.
- Defensiveness in a relationship means not accepting responsibility for your part in the relationship’s problems and blaming your partner entirely.
- Stonewalling occurs when a partner completely withdraws from a conversation, as opposed to taking a break from a conversation and revisiting the issue later. These are signs that you and your partner need to work on issues in your marriage.
2. Consult with Your Partner
If you’re unhappy in your relationship, talk to your partner about your feelings and problems; don’t assume they’re aware. “I am strongly opposed to the old relationship myth that ‘if my partner truly loves me, they should just know how I feel,” Bejar says. “This encourages mind-reading and hazy communication, which is detrimental to relationships.” She advises you to write down your feelings, thoughts, and concerns and to ask your partner when they have time to talk about something important.
Discuss in a neutral location where you can both focus on the conversation and avoid distractions. “It’s similar to when you have something important to discuss with your boss or a coworker at work,” Bejar says. “You don’t just show up at their desk while they’re working on something – and start yelling and blaming them for something.” No, you make time on your calendars to prepare your thoughts and present them as neutrally as possible so that you can begin to work on a solution rather than getting caught up in a cycle of blaming, shaming, and withdrawing.”
3. Think about Marriage Counseling
If you believe that having these difficult conversations and implementing changes in your relationship would benefit from the assistance of a neutral third party, you should consider marriage counseling. “It’s a safe, non-judgmental place where you can learn your patterns and where you miss each other, and then; set goals to try new ways of relating, build skills you may not have had before, and have a safe space; discuss potentially ‘taboo’ subjects you have been hesitant about,” Bejar says of couples therapy. Make your partner a part of the search for a marriage counselor from the beginning so that they feel actively involved in the process.
It’s important to know what to expect if one or both partners are hesitant or nervous about marriage counseling.
Every counselor is different, but the first session usually consists of the therapist getting the “lay of the land”—learning about your history and the issues you both believe are prevalent in the relationship. Many practices provide a free consultation session so you can learn more about the type of counseling they provide. The counselor will devise scenarios in which both partners can express their concerns and feelings. It’s important to remember that a marriage counselor will never take aside and is only interested in the couple. Bejar claims that in marriage counseling, you will learn communication, conflict resolution, and emotional processing skills that you can apply in your marriage.
4. Have Check-Ins
After discussing your issues and the changes you both want to see in your relationship, Bejar recommends setting a time to check in to discuss your feelings about the relationship, such as a month after the first conversation. Check in again to see if any improvements have been made and if a different plan is required, and then evaluate the relationship. A counselor may also establish check-in points if you are in therapy.
“With check-ins, you’re simply giving yourself permission to do the work without the pressure of a deadline or the expectation that you’ll wake up one morning and things will be different,” Bejar explains. “You can let go and be present in the process, knowing that your check-in date/reminder will ensure that you do not wander aimlessly on an eternal path with no direction.”
The Various Stages of a Dying Marriage
So, here are the four stages that will allow you to diagnose your marriage right away. Stages, if widely known, have the potential to change the entire relationship world.
- Disillusionment: You realize, “Uh oh, I think I’m going to be unhappy in this relationship.” I’m just going to sit with it and see if it’s serious or just a phase.”
- Erosion: You reach the conclusion, “It IS serious.” This could result in a divorce… Oh, wait, I’m not divorcing because (place your many reasons here). I’ll just have to accept it and move forward.” Your partner may notice signs of your unhappiness in the form of snide or sarcastic remarks or passive-aggressive behavior.
- Detachment: “My dissatisfaction is worsening!” I’ll find a way to survive and find happiness for myself by detaching and involving myself in activities that take me away from him/her, such as reading (put your activity here … it may be an affair, going back to work or school, travel, working out, etc). Outsiders may notice your dissatisfaction because you are more likely to express it now.
- The Straw, also known as the point of no return: (You know, the one my friend described years ago as the straw that broke the camel’s back?) It’s the moment of clarity that will come one day… we don’t know when, how, or if it will be over something big or small, but it will come…
Treating relationship issues seriously and dealing with them quickly and directly could drastically reduce divorce rates in the United States, which is my personal goal. I recommend bringing up issues with your partner as soon as you realize you are in stage two; this is a good place to start, as is not being afraid to go to therapy and ask for help.
How to Leave a Failing Marriage Peacefully
Memories are made, times cherished, only healthy and uplifting conversations and no small talk; all of it is expected and forced to fade away so quickly and so easily. Without a doubt, the parties who once shared the bed are supposed to distance and disassociate themselves from each other.
The losses incurred during the process cannot be overlooked. For example, loss of an intimate bond, loss of relying on someone regardless of the circumstances, loss of financial security, and loss of comfort, to name a few.
However, it is far preferable for them to drift apart and go their separate ways; thus, filing for divorce is an entirely appropriate thing to do.
Here’s how to leave a failing marriage peacefully:
1. Do everything with love and affection.
When it comes time to make rational decisions, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Asset distribution, decisions about children, and possessions/belongings must be done with care. Sit down, take a deep breath, and talk it out like responsible adults. Don’t let your relationship’s negative feelings get in the way.
Allow your brain to take control of your heart. Be logical rather than emotional. This is an extremely helpful tip for leaving a failing marriage peacefully and without causing too much emotional damage.
2. Self-care is critical.
If either of the two parties is suffering as a result of the divorce, make an appointment with a psychologist or therapist right away. Exercise, meditate, or practice yoga if it helps you focus and clears your mind of stress or post-traumatic stress.
3. Discontinue communication
It’s not easy to be cut off from the person who knew you to the core, as difficult as it may sound. It takes time, effort, and a lot of energy, and that’s fine. At the end of the day, we are human, and humans aren’t supposed to be flawless and perfect. Do whatever you can to avoid that person, but that doesn’t mean you should harbor ill will toward them, because doing so will have a negative impact on you, which is unhealthy.
Wipe the slate clean and distance yourself from the significant other who was once your closest companion.
4. Focus on what you do best.
Try to divert your attention as much as possible. Indulge in things that you are obsessed with. Catch up with old friends you haven’t seen in a long time, plan family dinners, attend weddings, and do whatever brings you peace and serves as a lovely distraction.
Work on your self-esteem issues, take an online course, start a TV series, or go on that trip you’ve always wanted to take. There are countless things you can do to distract yourself and make peace with it.
By following this marriage advice, you can learn the warning signs that your marriage is on the verge of failing so that you can try to save it sooner. You can even keep your next relationship from falling apart by learning the root cause of a failed marriage. A failed marriage does not rule out the possibility of finding love; however, it is critical to learn from the mistakes of previous relationships.
Marriage is beautiful, but it can also be ugly and messy. Knowing how to leave a marriage peacefully can make the process less painful. Unfortunately, society despises it when a couple intentionally or unintentionally shows their ugly side. Not all marriages end happily ever after, and this should be accepted. People change over time, so give them the space and time they require.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you give up on your marriage?
The only time I believe in abandoning a marriage is when one spouse dies, remarries after a divorce, or continues to engage in an activity that makes the marriage impossible. Otherwise, I believe there is a possibility of reconciliation. The first two possibilities – death or one of them marrying someone else – are self-evident.
At what year do most marriages fail?
According to studies, 20% of marriages end within the first five years, and this number rises to 13% within ten years. However, the rate only rises by about 8% between 10 and 15 years, implying that this is one of the safest stages of your marriage.