32 Warning Signs Your Marriage Could Be Over & How To Fix It

Understand the subtle nuances to bridge the gap in expectations and overcome challenges

Reviewed by Dr. Dorothee Ischler, DMFT, LMFT, LP Dr. Dorothee Ischler Dr. Dorothee IschlerDMFT, LMFT, LP twitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA Gracia Odile MA Experience: 3 years

The idea of being with someone for life is beautiful. While every relationship has its ups and downs, certain relations may not just work. What are those signs your marriage is over? Everyone steps into a marriage with the dream of living happily ever after. Nobody wants to break their marriage. It takes continuous effort from both partners to maintain a healthy, long-lasting marriage.

However, sometimes, constant misunderstandings between the partners may cause the relationship to end. Differences can build in regardless of your efforts, and things may soon reach their endpoint. But how can you know for sure? This article lists the 32 warning signs your marriage could be over. Read on to know them.

protip_icon Did you know?
Unofficially, the world’s longest recorded marriage is 90 years 291 days between Karam and Kartari Chand from India, residing in the UK. They were married in 1925 and stayed together until Karam passed away in 2016 and Kartari in 2019.

30 Subtle Signs Your Marriage Could Be Over

1. You Are Living Life Like A Single Person

The perks of a single life are many and varied, such as low bills and fewer responsibilities. However, if you are married and still your life feels like being single, it is a major warning sign that things have gone downhill between you and your spouse.

Hanging out with your friends or spending some time alone is perfectly alright if it happens once in a while. But if you have been living this kind of life regularly, it may be time to view things from a different perspective.

2. There Is A Breakdown Of Communication

No relationship can flourish in the absence of healthy and open communication. This is especially true in the case of marriages. One of the key requirements of a happy marriage is having clear communication with your spouse.

Whether you both agree or disagree with something is a different matter. But you need to talk and share your views. At the same time, it is equally important to listen and understand what your spouse is trying to say. After all, communication is a two-way street. If there is a breakdown of communication, it is a clear sign that things are not working out between you two.

3. Miscommunications Have Taken Centre Stage

While it is important to have communications, miscommunications are a different subject altogether. Miscommunication between you and your spouse indicates that you both are not on the same page and cannot understand each other. Not just verbal communication, even misreading non-verbal signs can be equally harmful.

It is normal to have rough patches of miscommunication in marriage. But if things have spiraled out to such an extent that miscommunication has become the norm of your life together, it signifies a crack in your marriage.

4. Lack Of Physical Intimacy

There is no denying that physical intimacy between a couple nurtures lovingness, closeness, and a sense of belonging. It is an effective way for couples to express their feelings in a non-verbal manner. A loving hug, a gentle touch, a deep kiss, and holding hands are all different forms of physical intimacy. Sex is another powerful means of sharing physical intimacy with your spouse.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Experimenting with new activities or settings can add excitement to your physical relationship. You can try new things together, like a romantic weekend getaway or cooking dinner together, or even role-playing.

If physical intimacy is lacking in your marriage, it is one of the tell-tale signs that your marriage could be over. Sure, you both may not be having sex every night. But if the action is missing from your life for months on end, including the little physical acts, you need to accept the fact that all is not well in your marriage.

5. Absence Of Emotional Intimacy

More often than not, emotional intimacy fosters a strong connection between couples. Being emotionally connected to your spouse means you trust your partner and feel safe in their presence. You are also willing to share your deepest thoughts and emotions and know that your partner will not judge you.

In other words, emotional intimacy stems from unconditional love for each other and accepting each other as you are. When emotional intimacy is missing in your marriage, it means you need to introspect and accept the reality of the situation.

6. Dearth Of Respect

Respect is the foundational block of any relationship, including marriage. When a person cares for another one in a relationship, it becomes visible with the way they respect their partner. Respect is never a one-way thing. It has to be mutual. Also, respect must always exist in a marriage, even when you may be disagreeing over something, having an argument, or not talking to each other.

When respect goes out of a relationship, it leaves behind the cracks that are hard to fill up with anything else. If you do not have respect for each other, you may as well accept that the marriage is coming to an end.

7. No Enthusiasm About A Future Together

When you take your marital vows, you promise to be with each other forever. You envision your future with your spouse and feel enthusiastic about it. It is common to daydream about a future where you see yourself living with your spouse and future children, going on road trips, holidaying together, and more.

However, if you feel that your vision for the future does not include your spouse, it is time to sit back and consider your current situation. It can be a clear sign that you do not see yourself sharing a future with your partner.

8. Spending Time Together Feels Like A Chore

Everyone wants some alone-time even when they are in a happy marriage. But you should not confuse this with struggling to spend time together.

When in a marriage, being around each other should not make you feel uncomfortable. It is not normal to look for excuses so that you can spend time away from your spouse. Rather, you should be looking forward to spending time together. But if this is not happening and you feel that spending time together is nothing short of a chore for you, it can mean the marriage is over between you two.

9. You Both Are Keeping Secrets From Each Other

A happy marriage calls for transparency between the couple. If you are comfortable in your relationship, there should not be any reason to hide things from your partner. You must be able to tell everything without worrying about your partner turning judgmental.

However, if you are holding back things from your partner, there could be trouble. Either you do not trust your partner enough to share everything or you do not want to include them in your plans. In any case, keeping secrets from your partner is a sure sign your marriage is not working.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Initiate regular check-ins with your partner to discuss any concerns or thoughts on your mind. Ask open-ended questions instead of yes or no ones, and encourage open communication to build trust and transparency.

10. Every Conversation Turns Into An Argument

A marriage cannot survive in the absence of conversation between the couple. But if your conversations turn into fights, you need to read between the lines.

It is common for couples to have tiffs in their marriage. The trouble starts when every conversation ends in a heated argument or an ugly fight. It comes to a point where non-stop fights become a part of your daily life. If you experience such a major disconnect with your partner, there is no room left for denying that the marriage is headed for a dead-end.

11. Healthy Arguments Cease Between You Two

You can hardly find a couple that never argues. Some couples may argue more and some less. But everyone argues with their partner, and that is a fact.

When you notice that one of you has completely stopped arguing, it is a strong indication that things are moving in the wrong direction. If you do not have a healthy argument with your spouse about the things that matter to you, it means you have already given up on the relationship.

12. You Have Nothing To Share With Your Partner

One of the characteristics of a happy marriage is that you reach out to your partner whenever something significant happens in your life. Whether it is a long-awaited promotion, a health issue, a financial gain, getting passes for your favorite play, meeting an old friend after a long time, or something else, you would want to share the news with your partner. This is a way of keeping your spouse involved in whatever is happening in your life.

If any of you has stopped doing this, it means you do not feel the need to share anything outside the mundane things with your partner. Needless to say, this is not a sign that your marriage is working.

13. There Is Constant Criticism

Criticism is a tricky thing. Constructive criticism can help people grow and become a better version of themselves. But destructive criticism can break relationships.

If you face constant criticism from your partner about anything and everything you do, the warning bells are loud and clear. When you are constantly criticizing each other or take to name-calling, it means your feelings of warmth and love have taken a backseat. This is when you become judgmental about each other without even realizing so.

14. No Compassion Or Understanding

Having compassion for your partner is how it should be in a marriage, and there are no two ways about it. If your relationship lacks the qualities of compassion and understanding, it is a sign of a loveless marriage.

Often, in such cases, blame-game and shaming replace understanding and compassion. If something goes wrong, none of you feel like extending your hand for support. In such a case, it should not be hard for you to understand where your marriage is headed.

15. There Is A Change In Body Language

Your body language can reveal a lot about your inner emotions. When you are in a marriage, you instinctively know the body language your partner uses to communicate non-verbally. If that language changes drastically, you need to understand that things are not going well for you as a married couple.

Changes in body language can be something as simple as you both angling yourself away from each other while talking. You may even put your hands on your hip or cross your arms to adopt a defensive or dominating stand when communicating.

16. There Is No Feeling Of A Deep Connection

If you are not affected when you see, hear, or imagine your spouse with someone else, you can be sure that the curtains have fallen on your marriage act. If you feel a deep hurt somewhere, it means things are still alive somewhere in you. Else, you need to accept that this part of your life is over.

17. You Are Not Invested In Fixing The Marriage

Issues may crop up in a marriage any time and over any matter. It does not matter who is at fault – what instead matters is if you both are interested in fixing things and overcoming the issues together.

If none of you are ready to fix issues or take any proactive steps to prevent the situation from going worse, your marriage may already be over.

18. Refusal To Compromise Or Negotiate

Many couples consider compromise as a sign of defeat. But it is often a powerful means to make sure that things bounce back to normal.

Compromising may not always be easy, even when your marriage is going great. If couples want to rectify things, they may go out of their way to achieve their objectives. But when things start falling apart, and none of you are ready to compromise or negotiate, it means you both are no longer interested in making the marriage work.

19. Contempt And Negative Behavior

Your behavior speaks a lot about what you think and how you feel about your spouse. If you roll your eyes and scoff at your partner or end conversations with an irritating “whatever”, you are expressing contempt towards your spouse.

Contempt is a negative behavior that can destroy any healthy relationship. The situation turns murkier when you both are already struggling in the marriage. By displaying such negative behavior, you convey that you do not care about your partner.

20. Not Sharing Problems

A marriage is a partnership and a friendship between two individuals. When your marriage is going fine, you may not think twice before sharing your problems with your partner. At the same time, you are ready to listen to whatever is bothering your partner.

But things change when the marriage is not working. In simple terms, you are not ready to divulge your problems to your spouse. Also, you show no inclination to listen to your spouse sharing their issues.

21. No Sense Of Apology

It is often said that you do not have to say sorry in love. But the reality is an apology, sometimes, is needed to make a marriage work. A genuine apology can go a long way in making things right.

Seeking an apology from your partner means you are admitting your fault and want to rectify things. However, if you feel that this is the last thing you want to do, it is clear that you are not bothered either about your spouse or your marriage.

22. There Is Nothing Common Between You Two

Being in a marriage means you enjoy spending time together doing things that interest you both – like going on trips, watching a movie, playing board games, painting, capturing photos, or going for a daily walk. The list can be long and varied.

But when you feel there is nothing common left between you two, it could be a sign of your marriage hitting the walls.

protip_icon Pro Tip
Having differences can help explore new activities together and discover common interests. Try a new hobby, attend a workshop, or even take a class. Finding shared interests and experiences can strengthen your bond.

23. Lack Of Undivided Attention

Technology has invaded our life to such an extent that it can sometimes create issues in our relationships. These days it has become normal for people to check their smartphones now and then, regardless of where they are and with whom. But if you find that your spouse is constantly on the phone, you need to see the red flags.

This is particularly true if you find your partner more focused on whatever is happening on the screen than what you are saying. It is a clear indication that they value other things over their marriage.

24. You Feel Drained

A happy marriage often acts as a source of energy for couples. When you are in a happy space in your life, your partner can act as the wind beneath your wings. You feel energetic and enthusiastic about life in general and your partner in particular.

But what happens when you start feeling just the opposite? When you feel that the marriage is draining you out, it is a sign you should not ignore. If you feel physically, emotionally, and psychologically drained out when you are with your spouse, you need to accept that your marriage may be over.

25. You Have Unrealistic Expectations

Sometimes, a couple may imagine their life together to go in a certain way only to not have it happen. This is when a couple in a strong marriage try to adapt and make things work between them.

However, if one or both partners harbors unrealistic expectations and is not ready to adapt or change, things are sure to enter a dead alley. That is when disillusionment sets in and keeps things from moving in a positive direction.

26. You Take Major Financial Decisions Alone

Having separate bank accounts or buying yourself a new dress without the knowledge of your spouse is fine. But if you purchase a house or book an all-expenses-paid solo trip across the continent and do not even bother to inform your spouse, you could be stepping beyond the line. Being financially irresponsible can be a major reason for your marriage to break.

27. There Is Loss Of Trust

Trust is one of the biggest factors that can make a marriage work. Loss of trust means one needs to rethink about their marriage. If your partner has cheated on you once, choosing forgiveness is a call you need to take. But if your partner is a habitual cheater, it is high time you open your eyes and see the reality of your marriage.

28. There Is Emotional Abuse

Nothing can justify emotional abuse in marriage. If your partner makes you feel guilty or undeserving at all times, it is a sign that the marriage has hit rock bottom. Often manipulation, demeaning, and illogical arguments become the order of the day in such situations.

Rather than keeping your eyes closed or expecting that things will turn out for the better, you need to accept that things have gone out of control and take responsibility for your life. Sacrificing your self-respect to keep your marriage alive is not a good idea, especially when the damage is already beyond repair.

29. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a crime. But unfortunately, many people endure at least one instance of domestic violence in their married life. The sad part is that if you do not raise your voice against this menace, it is going to happen again.

Yes, in most cases, a single incidence of domestic violence is not the end of it. It may soon turn into a pattern. If you are being subjected to domestic violence, it means your partner is not capable of continuing a healthy relationship. You do not need any bigger sign to tell you that your marriage is on the rocks.

A study was conducted on 5557 military personnel regarding committing and experiencing emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. It was found that about 4.94% of personnel had become a victim of abuse and committed it. In comparison, 52.74% of people reported only carrying out the abuse while 38.61% had survived abuse.

30. You Are In Constant Denial

The thought of a marriage breaking down is not easy to accept. Sometimes people feel so overwhelmed at the thought of getting out of a marriage that they start living in denial. They refuse to acknowledge the negative patterns, no matter how unhappy their marriage may be.

31. Lack Of Appreciation

This warning sign starts manifesting when gestures, efforts, and contributions go unnoticed or unacknowledged. Partners need to feel valued and respected for their contributions to the relationship, whether big or small. A thriving marriage needs constant appreciation, but when this gesture slowly begins to trickle down and eventually becomes nonexistent, it’s a sign that there are cracks in the marriage.

32. Resentment In A Relationship

Resentment is a toxic emotion and a powerful indicator that your marriage is in jeopardy. This emotional distance can hinder effective communication and shake the foundation of the relationship. Having empathy and understanding is as important as having physical intimacy, but when this churns into the ugly emotion of resentment, it may be a warning bell for your marriage.

Being in a marriage does not mean you have to endure whatever it brings to you. Rather than suffer, you need to think about your future and decide whether you will be happy to continue in this situation. If you are in denial that your marriage is not working, it is time to wake up and face the issue head-on.

Though it may feel like that, the dissolution of a marriage does not imply the world’s end. Instead, it entails bringing a sad chapter of your life to a close to begin a new, hopefully, happier one. A lack of trust, companionship, physical intimacy and respect are some signs that your marriage is over. However, if you don’t want to let it go and instead make it work, you can seek counseling and have honest and deep conversations on this subject with your partner. If it doesn’t work out, you have to make the tough call of ending it. It may not be easy to do the right thing, but it will gradually pave the path for a happy and fulfilling future.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to call it quits in a marriage?

You can try to mend your marriage by communicating openly with your partner and putting in the effort to solve your problems. But, if you feel your partner is not ready to address the issue or mend the relationship, then it is best to call it quits.

Is it better to divorce or stay unhappily married?

It is better to divorce than to stay in an unhappy marriage.

Key Takeaways

  • Sometimes, relationships do not last despite the best efforts to maintain a healthy balance.
  • Constant misunderstandings, negative behavior, lack of intimacy, and respect are a few signs that the relationship might be over.
  • Living in denial can worsen the matter. It is best to end a sad chapter of life and move on.

Watch this eye-opening video to recognize signs indicating your marriage may be at a critical point. Explore key indicators, communication breakdowns, and discover steps to navigate through this challenging juncture.”

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Dr. Dorothee Ischler

Dr. Dorothee IschlerDMFT, LMFT, LP

Dr. Dorothee Ischler is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist with over three decades of experience. She is a seasoned professional in mental health and relationship coaching, and her comprehensive understanding of individual, relational, and family dynamics fuels her commitment to fostering lasting bonds. Dr. Ischler adopts a holistic approach to well-being and intertwines mind, body (somatic therapies,...read full bio

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