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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)

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

Reference

More by this author

Jacqui Olliver

Psychosexual Relationship Specialist

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

“Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

1. Make a Gratitude List

In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.

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The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

2. Write in a Journal

Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

3. Meditate

Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.

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Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

4. Do Child’s Pose

Yoga Outlet says:

“Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.

     

    Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

    5. Try Positive Self-Talk

    Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.

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    When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

    Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

    When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

    When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

    Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

    6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

    Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

    You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

    It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

    Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

    If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

    7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

    “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

    If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

    You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

    When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

    If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

    Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

    Final Thoughts

    If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

    Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

    You can invest in yourself via self-care.

    You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

    More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

    Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

    Reference

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