10 Major Signs Of A Loveless Marriage And How To Deal With It

Lack of communication and time are a few signs of a loveless marriage you should look out for.

Reviewed by Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., LMFT
By Harini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Marriage is a beautiful bond, and love helps sustain it. But a loveless marriage can be a troublesome journey. It may not stand the test of time as you don’t have the power of love to back you, which is a must for any relationship to succeed. Love is the glue that bonds two individuals in maintaining a happy and fulfilling marriage. In this article, we have listed 10 signs that point towards a loveless marriage and ways to deal with them. Continue reading to understand more.

Signs You Are In A Loveless Marriage

Here are a few loveless marriage signs that will give you a better idea of the state of your marriage:

1. No Dialogue Between You And Your Partner

Do you feel you and your partner do not communicate about your wants and needs anymore? Does spending time together feel lonesome and non-engaging? If so, there is a possibility that you are headed toward a loveless marriage. Communication is a core element of a healthy, blossoming, and love-filled marriage. Common marriage stressors like children, financial issues, sexual expectations, etc., should be discussed in honest conversations. But, if you and your partner do not keep up this communication or even lack having fun conversations, chances are that you and your spouse are falling out of love.

2. Gaslighting

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If your partner keeps telling you that you are overly sensitive or makes you question your sanity, chances are you are being gaslit. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where a person tries to control you by making you doubt and question your own actions, emotions, judgment, etc. Such manipulative patterns are observed when control, and not love, is a predominant element in your marriage. Partners who are in love will usually be empathetic, try to understand your perspective, and work toward mutually benefiting solutions.

3. Attempting To Pursue A Third Person

The involvement of a third person in a relationship is the biggest red flag of a loveless marriage. Sometimes, people form relationships with other people because they do not feel satisfied or content in their marriage. If you find yourself or your partner invested in other people, forming sexual connections outside marriage, cheating, lying, etc., it is time to consider working with a therapist, to determine if the only answer is going your separate ways.

4. One-Sided Love

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Marriage is a two-way street; there is no place for one-sided love. Both partners need to meet in the middle to make it work. When there is no reciprocation of love and effort by one partner, a healthy marriage cannot be sustained.

The lack of motivation to work on issues and put an effort into making the marriage work is an early sign of a loveless marriage. If one or both partners are finding it exhausting to make an effort or feel no love toward one another, you are in a loveless marriage.

5. Lack Of Sex

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Your sex life is another indicator that you may be locked within a loveless marriage. Sex is a form of intimacy that helps to bring couples closer to each other, emotionally and physically. Studies also show that sex releases hormones, such as oxytocin, that promote a feeling of happiness, which leads to a pleasurable and satisfying marriage. Shutting down sex from your bonding activities is likely to create distance and leave you without intimacy and love.

6. No Future

None of us can look into the future, but if you or your partner cannot foresee a future with each other, it may be that your long-term goals have shifted, and you have not discussed this together. Marriage without any future plans becomes difficult to continue, it is hard to feel like a team and enjoy current life, without hopes for the future. Take note of whether your partner is avoiding conversations about the future or refraining from making any commitments.

7. Constant Disagreements

Disagreements and fights are part and parcel of every marriage, but when they become the dominating part of the marriage, it is a concerning issue. Often, these arguments among couples take some form of blaming, passing judgment, or one partner not meeting the expectations set by the other. Though disagreements in a marriage are inevitable, they are acceptable only when you resolve them in a healthy manner. Usually, a couple stuck in a loveless marriage keeps having the same arguments over and over again.

8. Losing Yourself In The Process

A marriage is a success when you can be your true self with your partner. If you start feeling that you are losing your authentic self, it may be time to re-evaluate your marriage. Losing yourself can feel like you are wearing a “mask” of their expectations, which makes you feel uncomfortable, sad, and frustrated. Not being yourself in front of your partner can prove to be toxic in the long run.

9. Constant Thoughts Of Breaking Up

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Do you often think about leaving your partner for different reasons? Or, do you keep fantasizing about being single again?

This could be the starting point of you becoming aware of your marital problems. Once you have taken the time to become more understanding of the problems, ask your partner to meet with you to discuss, when you both have the time to give this full attention. Communicating your feelings can help you both to gain a deeper insight into your problems. But if it makes it worse and the thoughts of separation persist, you could be stuck in a loveless marriage.

10. Giving Up Easily

When your bond is not based on the foundation of love, trust, support, and respect, giving up on the person becomes easy. If a conflict arises in such couples, instead of brainstorming solutions, they leave the situation as it is. They are no longer interested in anything their partner says or does. This behavior originates from heavy unresolved conflicts between the couple – is there even love anymore?

11. No Quality Time

A marriage should feel easygoing and light but will have serious times of discontent that needs full attention. If you find yourself struggling to add sparkle to your dim marriage, your relationship needs help. Not spending quality time together can drag a marriage to its grave.

The signs mentioned above will help you get clarity on whether you are in a loveless marriage. If you are wondering if you should stay in this marriage, read the next section.

​ Should I Stay In A Loveless Marriage?

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Should I Stay In A Loveless Marriage?

Marriage is challenging, and when trapped in a loveless marriage, it becomes even more difficult. The choice of staying or leaving a loveless marriage depends on you and the circumstances surrounding it.

1. Marriage Involving Abuse

No one should consider staying in an abusive marriage. A spouse that uses physical and emotionally abusive methods to solve problems is not someone to build a life with. There is no justification for abuse, not mentally or physically. Prioritizing your safety and mental health will help you pursue opportunities that will help you grow. If the abuse has become physical and threatening in nature, do not shy away from planning your leave with the help of a trusted friend or family member, and reporting your partner to the concerned authorities.

​ 2. Marriage Involving A Mentally Struggling Partner

A marriage involving a mentally struggling partner can turn loveless. A person who struggles with mental health issues may find it difficult to live up to your expectations. It may seem like your partner does not love you enough to invest their time in you, but in reality, they are fighting with their own battle. Hence, giving them the right kind of support and encouraging them to communicate and seek professional help can allow you to improve the situation together. Staying and supporting your partner in such situations is important and needed. At the same time, do not ignore your own mental and emotional health, be sure to take time out for yourself.

3. Marriage Involving Children

Parenting young children and dealing with a loveless marriage can be overwhelming. Individuals who are trapped in such loveless marriages often stay for the sake of their children. Decisions you make about staying with your partner or separating from them should be made keeping your children’s wellbeing in mind.

As separation and divorce are taboo in some cultures across the world, many people give in to the abuse and silence of loveless marriage. But children should not have to be subjected to abuse, and staying in the marriage is not an option. Also, putting up with a loveless marriage at the cost of your mental health will also worsen the situation. However, if your marriage does not involve abuse there are ways to revive the love that has been lost. Find out more in the next section.

How To Revive The Love In A Loveless Marriage?

Rekindling love and passion requires time and willingness from both sides. The first step to adding the love back in a loveless marriage is figuring out your issues and countering those issues together.  Here are a few ways on how to survive a loveless marriage:

1. Seek Marriage Counseling

The concept of a picture-perfect marriage that you see in movies and TV shows does not exist in reality. The reality of relationships is that they require time, energy, and a level of commitment by both partners. All couples deal with issues and disputes, but issues like a loveless marriage need the attention of a professional counselor. Marriage counselors are able to help couples get back on track by addressing their deep-lying issues and consider alternative perspectives. A marriage counselor is an unbiased third party that can help each partner look at the other with perspectives they may not have considered previously. Changing perspectives and creating new understanding will help you and your partner come to know each other better. This not only helps you address the issues in a more sympathetic manner, but it also trains both of the partners in how to have productive arguments that acknowledge both of their grievances.

2. Appreciate Your Partner And Their Company

Doing something as simple as expressing words of gratitude can help ignite romance in your love life. The secret to a happy marriage is appreciating your partner for who they are and recognizing their efforts. By doing so, you are creating a positive environment – the person who is at the receiving end will feel valued and encouraged to continue to invest in the relationship.

3. Communication

Communication bridges the gap between confusion and clarity. Keeping your partner in the dark about your needs, wants, and expectations is never helpful in a marriage. Try practicing expressing what you feel – this will help you both understand each other better and be able to express love in a manner that serves both of you well. Communication does not only involve putting your thoughts across, but also in building the right space for and a willingness to hear your partner’s thoughts without judgment. It is one of the most successful ways to grow in a partnership and can ignite a spark you may have never felt in the past.

4. Making Quality Time For Each Other

A commitment of having happiness in marriage requires spending ongoing periods of time together to be certain that you continue to learn about each other. Finding ways to spend time with each other will make you both bond over things of similar interest and see the unknown sides of your partner. Spending quality time can look like cozying up for a movie date night, visiting a new cafe, or traveling across the world together. Investing time will pave the way for love as your partner will feel valued, prioritized, and happy.

5. Pour In Intimacy

Spice up your marriage with more physical intimacy. Physical expressions of affection like kissing, holding hands, touching, cuddling, hugging, etc., can bring out passion and love among couples. Couples that choose to work on intimacy in the same manner that they address other issues in their relationship are bound to succeed – intimacy is a huge part of a happy and successful marriage.

6. Avoid Holding Onto Control At All Times

Do not forget that although marriage is a bond between two people, in the end, you are both individuals. If you or your partner are in the pursuit of controlling the other person, one of you is likely to get fed up with the relationship. Partners should be showing trust and not needing to monitor every action, along with allowing for individual space and time. Distancing yourself when required from your partner is healthy and builds more love and care for each other.

7. Take A Trip Down Memory Lane

Do you remember what activities you and your partner used to enjoy doing the most during the early days of your marriage? It could be watching movies or surprising each other with gifts. Bringing back your early loving days can rekindle the romance with your partner. These gestures will bring out the affection and intimacy you had during your honeymoon days. It also adds more perspective to the journey you both have had and will help you appreciate the bond you have shared over the years.

8. Practice Forgiveness

Marriage has its ups and downs, and arguments are a normal part of it. As normal as it sounds to have such hurdles in marriage, it can also be extremely toxic if you or your partner hold onto grudges over these fights. Holding onto grudges builds resentment between you both. To avoid this, find ways to forgive your partner and bury your grudges.

Forgiving releases any negative space occupied by your emotions and fills it with more love for your partner. Accepting or making a sincere apology is one of the keys to a good marriage.

9. Have More Sex

Your bedroom can be the perfect place for bringing back passion and romance in your loveless marriage. Initiating sexual activities, talking about fantasies, being emotionally vulnerable, and trying different forms of sex can reignite the flame in your loveless marriage. As mentioned earlier, sex helps in building a deeper connection and creates a physical and emotional bond that strengthens a marriage.

10. Prioritize Working On Yourself

It is not selfish to work on yourself within a marriage – working on a loveless marriage can be exhausting. And, sometimes, you need to light the spark inside yourself to bring out the spark in your marriage. Working on yourself can include: identifying your triggers, improving how you react to situations, understanding better your weaknesses, and strengthening your spiritual core. Remember, you can only bring joy and happiness to other people when you feel it yourself. By building up yourself, you will build up your relationship.

11. Change The Way You Fight

Changing the way you fight requires using words and statements that do not trigger you or your partner. If you feel you are on the verge of bursting out in anger, take a moment to cool down and then talk it out with your partner. Try to maintain your cool and shake off your anger before discussions get very heated.

A healthy marriage does not avoid conflicts but solves them so that they do not become unresolved issues in the future.

You will be surprised to learn that multiple couples out there are struggling with a loveless marriage. For most, their marriage remains lackluster because they accept that the romance has run its course, and marriages are meant to turn stagnant after a while. They fail to realize that a lamp has to be regularly oiled to burn with uniform intensity. Your marriage need not turn loveless and boring just because a lot of time has passed. Talk to your partner and express your intentions of reigniting the sparks in your relationship; maybe they want the same but don’t know how to bring it up. You could still indulge in all the romantic things you did together as newlyweds. It might seem like extra effort at first, but you would not mind it when you see how gratifying it is for both of you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common are loveless marriages?

Loveless marriages are pretty common. Sometimes the passion and affection shared between a married couple tend to decrease over time, leading to a loveless marriage.

Key Takeaways

  • If there is a constant silence between you and your partner, one-sided love, gaslighting, and no quality time together, it can indicate a loveless marriage.
  • Many bear with this kind of marriage for the sake of their children’s well-being.
  • If you decide to continue in a loveless marriage, counseling, understanding, appreciating your partner, and transparent communication can greatly help.
  • Spending quality time and forgiveness should be highly considered.

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Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill

(Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist )
Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Family Business Consultant. She holds degrees in Marriage &... more

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