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Signs You’re in a Loveless Marriage (And How to Cope with It)

Signs You’re in a Loveless Marriage (And How to Cope with It)
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When you are unhappy with your marriage, chances are you may be in a loveless marriage without being aware of it.

Loveless marriages are more common than you think, and there are a variety of solutions to ease the dilemma you may find yourself in. In this article, I will share insights on 3 critical signs of an unhappy marriage, what happens in a marriage without intimacy and whether you should stay in a marriage without love.

Sign #1 You Question Whether Your Partner Still Loves You

Love is a very strong emotion. However, if you find yourself asking whether your partner loves you, it indicates there is a problem in your marriage.

Emotional divides that make you question a partner’s love, can be caused by a lack of communication, conflicting values, sexual incompatibility or too much time focusing on the less than pleasing attributes of your partner.

Some women ask me whether their husbands love them during their consulting sessions. These women had already spent many hours discussing it with their female friends: “He does this and that, but he never tells me he loves me. Does he still love me?”

Males tend to communicate their love more through their actions rather than their words. If his partner then questions his love, it can make him feel unappreciated when he thinks he is showing his love via his actions.

If someone loves you in a relationship, you usually know it, as it is obvious by their actions and overall attitude toward you. However, when you question or doubt their love, it can put a wall of resistance between you which puts you both on the defensive. This can become a vicious cycle, where you constantly trigger each other and stop noticing the qualities you originally fell in love with.

How to Cope with It?

Build emotional connection and enhance feelings of attraction with your partner.

Yes, I know this is easier said than done. But it can definitely be achieved with the correct knowledge and technique.

Remember: you are 100% responsible for your life and the outcomes within it. You chose to date your partner; you decide how you interact with them; you made the decision to marry your spouse. These were your decisions.

Your choices are your responsibility, but it doesn’t mean you should blame yourself or your partner when things aren’t going as they should. You just need to make a few adjustments to how you are showing up within your relationship.

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Your spouse is not responsible for your happiness. Only you are responsible for your happiness.

If you indulge in thoughts about being in a loveless marriage, you will continually trigger yourself emotionally and therefore feel unmotivated toward the very actions that would save your marriage.

Marriage is just one way to make your life happier, and that’s only when it is maintained with the right intentions and actions. How you maintain your marriage is up to you. It’s your responsibility to build a strong emotional connection with your partner and continue your efforts to enhance attraction over the lifetime of your relationship.

Start by Creating an Inviting Environment

First and foremost, create a more inviting environment for you and your partner. Pay attention to the way you think, act and dress.

Know that your thoughts will always directly influence how you feel. Start by changing your own thoughts, words and actions from being negatively focused to being focused toward your ideal outcome and, you will create a flow-on effect which directly influences your partner’s behavior.

I understand that your spouse plays a key role in your marriage, but you can only influence your spouse’s actions and feelings; you cannot control everything. In fact, being controling is the fastest way to experiencing an unhappy and loveless marriage.

Stop Blaming Your Partner – and Inspire Them Instead

Stop blaming your partner for your lack of connection and take action steps each day to reignite attraction. As well as paying attention to how you look and feel, this includes lifting your partner up with appreciation and gratitude for their contribution.

It’s important to inspire your spouse to invest in your marriage because someone who invests in something expects it to work. For instance, you can ask for his/her help once in a while, so your partner feels that they are wanted and needed by you. Then, appreciate their effort.

When your partner is contributing to your life, and you are showing your appreciation, the emotional connection between you naturally becomes stronger.

Create Shared Experiences and Show Your Love Passionately

Secondly, create more shared experiences with your partner. This can be a date night once a week. It can also be having a holiday for two weeks once a year. Or several romantic weekends away. Don’t let your marriage become boring and predictable after the initial excitement of your wedding.

Lastly, show your love passionately. In life, you don’t get what you want; you get what you give. Hence, you should show your love first. Tell your husband/wife how much you love him/her and then see how things change. This is Law of Reciprocity.[1]

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Sign #2 You Are in a Marriage Without Intimacy

Marriages without intimacy are more common than you would assume. This can be due to sexual dysfunction issues, one’s sexual technique doesn’t fulfill another, or the couple simply has no time, energy or mood for sexy time. For many reasons, there are many couples who stop having a sexy time in the bedroom a few years after getting married. It’s one of those secrets that people just don’t talk about and keep hidden behind their bedroom door.

Know that if you are in a marriage without intimacy, you are not alone. There are many others in a similar situation.

Now you may wonder, “What happens in a marriage without intimacy?”

The honest answer is that a marriage without intimacy is a sure sign of relationship breakdown. Your marriage is just not healthy without intimate relations. Along with emotional connection, sexual intimacy is the glue which holds your relationship together. While one partner may imagine they can live without sex, it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect their partner to be okay with it.

In most healthy marriages, sex results from the combination of closeness, intimacy and emotional connection. Even as you age together, sex and intimacy remain a vital and loving component of a healthy and happy relationship.

While some marriages can sustain a lack of intimacy, usually one partner is not happy with this arrangement.

When encountering sexual function or other intimacy issues, it’s imperative to maintain a strong emotional connection and/or build mutual benefits in your marriage. Sadly, many couples who are in marriages without intimacy fail to build strong emotional connection or mutual benefits, so they end up in loveless marriages.

How to Cope with It?

Fix the problems in the bedroom and work on other areas outside the bedroom.

When you are in a sexless marriage, you need to fix the issues in the bedroom first. The best solution is to look for professional help in this regard.

Remember that in a marriage, you need to work together as a team. If one partner is suffering from a sexual function issue, then support them by providing emotional support and encouragement and get professional help. No one likes to feel like they are failing as a human, and most sexual issues can be corrected with the right knowledge and technique.

Your marriage is very important to you, so you may want to invest in professional consultation and improve the situation as soon as possible.

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An expert who specializes in this area can identify the root cause of a sexless marriage and give you appropriate advice; thus, you will benefit from this new knowledge and reignite the passion in your marriage. Of course, you will need to reinforce the emotional connection with your partner as well.

Build Mutual Benefits

Meanwhile, you can look at various ways to build mutual benefits with your spouse. For a male partner, mutual benefits need to be intimately focused. This is because a man without sexual intimacy is like a fish without water! Giving each other a sensual and loving massage at least once a week, with the simple focus on giving enjoyment to each other without any other expectation, will help him know you are still attracted to him.

Outside of the bedroom, there are other ways to build mutual benefits. For instance, if you already have children with your partner, you and your partner can spend more family time with children. If you and your partner have built a business together, you can spend more time working together developing your business.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean mutual benefits can or should replace sexual intimacy in a marriage but working on other areas of your marriage will certainly help to enhance connection.

Sign #3 You and Your Partner Are Not Even Friends

This is the BIGGEST sign of a loveless marriage. Yes, you read that right.

If your marriage lacks emotional connection or intimacy, you can usually still fix it. However, if you and your spouse are not even friends, that’s a much bigger problem.

Let’s look at two scenarios in which the husband and wife are no longer friends:

  1. Anna and Ben were married for four years. The first year was exciting, positive and romantic. The second year was okay. The third year was boring and run-of-the-mill. The fourth year was best characterized by basic conversations about logistics in life only, for instance, who would buy toilet paper on their way home tomorrow, who would send jackets to the dry cleaners, etc. In other words, they only talked to each other when they had to.
  2. Cynthia and David were married for five years and went into business together. The first two years was great. The final three years was terrible. They developed conflicts of interest financially; consequently, they basically became enemies in their business transactions.

These two couples were not even friends towards the end of their marriages. Hence, of course, they both felt like they were in loveless marriages.

How to Cope with It?

Evaluate whether your marriage has the potential to give you what you want.

First and most importantly, you need to know exactly what you want from this marriage. Do you want love, intimacy or both? Do you want financial freedom or power? Sharing the same direction and values makes it easier to work together on your marriage.

Since you and your partner are not even friends in this scenario, I recommend you make two lists using the power of logic:

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  • List 1 – pros of staying in this marriage
  • List 2 – cons of staying in this marriage.

When there are more pros than cons, you can stay in this marriage because there is something worth fighting for. But when there are more cons than pros, you no longer love your partner and don’t feel inclined toward working together to resolve your differences, leaving may be the better option.

You really need to weigh up those pros and cons because there are huge emotional and financial costs involved in ending a marriage, especially when children are involved.

Please note that not every marriage is meant to last forever. When you end a marriage, it doesn’t necessarily mean your marriage has failed. Honestly, your marriage has probably helped you in tremendous ways when you think about it.

For instance, when Anna and Ben got married, it was right for them at that time. They moved to the city together and started their new careers there. But as time went by, both Anna and Ben evolved and became different people. Their interests dramatically changed as they were growing into different directions. It doesn’t mean something must be wrong with them. It just means their marriage wasn’t right for them four years later.

Have a Shared Direction in Your Marriage

It’s important to have a shared direction in your marriage that you are both working toward.

When Cynthia and David got married, they didn’t have any conflict of interest. They actually had a very good time in the first two years of their marriage. They traveled the world together. But after David’s adult children from his first marriage became involved in his company, things became complicated in terms of finances. Consequently, ongoing conflicts of interest became an issue in their marriage.

In other words, everyone only did what they could with what they knew at that time. It was nobody’s fault.

When you marry your partner, the love is real. When you divorce your partner, the absence of love is also real. Therefore, both decisions are right – both decisions are made according to the reality of specific circumstances.

Final Thoughts

There are three major signs of a loveless marriage, yet each problem has relevant solutions.

It’s important to try your best and then make peace with the rest. Good luck!

More About Marriage

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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Reference

More by this author

Jacqui Olliver

Psychosexual Relationship Specialist

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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