13 Crucial Signs When Your Marriage Is Over & What To Do Next

Marriage can be a beautiful journey, but it often faces bumps that make you question if it’s worth continuing. One clear sign your marriage may be over is a lack of effort in making the relationship work—things like not spending quality time together or frequent arguments with no solutions. 1 When negativity becomes the norm, it poisons the bond until there’s nothing left. 2

As an expert on relationships and mental health, I know these signs well. I’ll draw from years of experience to deliver practical advice tailored for women facing marital struggles.

Ready to uncover crucial signs and actionable steps? Read on… 3

Key Takeaways

Lack of Communication and IntimacyDecreased communication leads to unresolved issues and emotional distance. Missing physical intimacy can signal deeper problems, often requiring addressing feelings to prevent further damage.

Continuous Conflicts Without ResolutionFrequent arguments without solutions indicate serious marital troubles. Destructive behaviors like yelling and negative patterns harm the relationship significantly, increasing divorce risks.

Emotional Distance and Growing Apathy: Emotional distance makes partners feel lonely, even when together. Feeling apathetic suggests deep-seated issues where both spouses stop trying, indicating severe marriage trouble.

Major Red Flags like Infidelity and Violence: Infidelity breaks trust and causes pain similar to PTSD symptoms. Domestic violence signals immediate danger; seeking help is crucial for safety.

Readiness for Change through Therapy: Considering couples therapy can provide new approaches to resolving conflicts. Both partners need a willingness to change for therapy to be effective in saving the marriage.

Identifying Clear Signs of a Failing Marriage

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A failing marriage shows clear signs. These signs can indicate deeper issues and need attention.

Decreased Communication

Lack of effective communication can lead to unresolved issues and misunderstandings1 Maybe your husband never says anything nice or compliments you. This creates a feeling of being unappreciated.

When partners stop talking, they also stop solving problems together. 2

Communication breakdown leads to emotional distance and habitual disrespect in a marriage. You might feel lonely because no one shares their thoughts or feelings anymore. Eye contact fades, and without conversation, intimacy declines too.

Missing Intimacy

Intimacy means more than physical contact; it includes closeness, cuddling, and a feeling of safety with your partner. Lack of sexual intimacy often signals a serious problem in the marriage.

Elizabeth Rozin-Golinder notes that couples without this connection may be headed for divorce. 3

Misunderstandings about intimacy can create emotional distance, leading to resentment and anger. Feeling unappreciated or hearing “my husband never compliments me” are significant red flags.

Such gaps make partners feel lonely and unattractive. Physical touch is crucial—absence strains love and trust.

near or complete lack of physical intimacy is one of the surest signs to know when the marriage is over.

Affairs or simply growing apart can worsen this problem. Address feelings before they fester into something more damaging like infidelity or chronic unhappiness. 4

Continuous Conflicts with No Solutions

Disagreements happen in all marriages. But, frequent arguments with no solutions can signal big problems. Yelling and insults can make things worse, leading to a drop in happiness and stability5 Studies show that destructive behaviors predict divorce within five years.

Patterns like demand-withdraw and negative reciprocity are also bad signs. These patterns mean one partner demands while the other avoids or fights back negatively every time. This behavior often leads to lasting unhappiness for both partners and increases the risk of divorce significantly for both Black and White American couples. 6

Growing Emotional Distance

Emotional distance happens when feelings fade. You feel lonely even when your partner is near. Communication breaks down, leading to isolation and hopelessness (Dr. Manly says). Talking less means sharing less about daily life or deeper thoughts. 7

Missing the connection makes everything harder—caring words, loving touches… all gone. This often leads to apathy, where neither person seems to care anymore about fixing things.

It can feel like living with a stranger in your own home. 8

Phases of Marital Breakdown

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Early signs of a failing marriage include feeling disappointed and unhappy… It gets worse as the misery deepens, causing more emotional distance. Later, detachment grows stronger until clarity is gained about what to do next.

Early Disillusionment

Couples often start with high hopes and dreams. In the early years, they see each other through rose-colored glasses. This period is called “early disillusionment.” 10 Partners notice small flaws more clearly over time.

Marital tension increases as reality sets in.

“Idealized notions fade as couples face everyday challenges.”

The disillusionment model shows how unrealistic expectations lead to stress9 Both wives and husbands feel this growing tension, but higher levels of stress among wives predict divorce more often than for husbands.

Deepening Misery

Early disillusionment leads to deepening misery. 11 Lack of effort in the relationship becomes clear. Quality time together fades, and negativity increases. The Magic 5:1 Ratio shows that one negative interaction needs five positive ones to balance out.

Issues like physical intimacy dropping off and continuous conflicts with no solutions contribute more stressors. Negativity creeps into every conversation, causing further distress…

Balancing love and resentment gets harder each day. 12

Increasing Detachment

During the phase of deepening misery, partners begin to feel trapped and unhappy. Increasing detachment marks a clearer sign that one person is feeling extremely unhappy and is starting to pull away from the relationship. 10

This stage involves pulling back emotionally. Daily communication may dwindle, leading to almost no interaction. The partner might avoid spending time together. Physical touch disappears completely—no holding hands, no hugs, or kisses.

Emotional distance grows as they spend more time alone or with friends than with each other… it’s like living separate lives under one roof. 3

Gaining Clarity

Gaining clarity means seeing things as they are. Ask yourself if there’s a lack of emotional connectioncommunication breakdown, or loss of physical intimacy. Notice if you and your partner have different goals or have lost trust in each other.

If your spouse refuses therapy and avoids you, it’s a huge signal. 13

“Trust is built in very small moments.” – John Gottman.

Quotes from relationship experts like John Gottman say couples can rebuild trust but need effort both ways.

Look into options like the Gottman Method Couples Therapy for help… consider discussing these issues openly with a marriage counselor to see the path forward.

Major Red Flags in Troubled Marriages

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Infidelity destroys trust and causes deep pain… it often means there’s a lack of loyalty. Domestic violence is never acceptable—it’s a clear sign to seek help immediately.

Issues of Infidelity

Infidelity happens in about a quarter of all marriages. 14 It causes deep hurt and can lead to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and divorce. For women, emotional cheating feels worse than physical affairs.

Victims show signs similar to PTSD—sleeplessness, flashbacks, intense stress.

Continuous betrayal breaks trust—a key part of any relationship. If your partner cheats again and again or lies often, this is a serious issue that needs addressing immediately for the sake of mental well-being and future marital decisions. 15

Incidents of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a major sign that your marriage may be over. Over 25% of couples get divorced because of it. 16 Physical violence, emotional abuse, and controlling behavior are all serious problems in a relationship.

Substance abuse often makes these issues worse.

If you experience domestic violence, seek help right away. You may need a protection order to keep yourself safe. Reach out to family therapists or support groups for guidance and support. 17 One survivor shared.

Leaving my abusive relationship saved my life.

Prioritize your safety and mental health above everything else.

Habitual Disrespect

Issues of domestic violence signal deep problems in a marriage—so does habitual disrespect. Lack of mutual respect stands as a severe red flag. 7 It can erode the foundation of a relationship quickly.

For example, if your husband hurt you emotionally by mocking your dreams or ignoring your feelings, it builds resentment over time.

Habitual disrespect also thrives on poor communication17 You might feel he never compliments your appearance or shows empathy towards you. These actions destroy trustworthiness and self-respect.

Resentment grows with each incident, making reconciliation harder each day.

Conflicting Life Goals

Some marriages face conflicting life goals. One partner might want kids, while the other does not. This leads to tension and resentment18 Common values become harder to maintain.

Couples may struggle with different career aspirations or relocation plans—leading to emotional distance.

Education also plays a part in these conflicts. 16 Differences in childrearing beliefs can create friction. Financial goals like saving versus spending cause disputes too, shaking trust in the relationship’s future stability.

Psychological Signs Your Marriage May Be Ending

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You might feel apathy or indifference toward your partner. There could be a lack of supportive conversation or constant unhappiness.

Feeling Apathetic

Feeling apathetic means you don’t care anymore. Everything about the marriage feels numb—like it’s lost meaning. You may start imagining a life without your partner and even avoid them altogether.

This lack of emotion can lead to refusing therapy or any effort to fix things, showing that the marriage might be over. 13

Apathy is a psychological sign of deep trouble in marriages. It often follows long periods of hurt and disappointment, like a husband who never compliments your appearance causing loneliness, or constant conflicts with no resolution leading to emotional exhaustion.

This state signals that both partners have stopped trying, indicating serious problems ahead. 3

Lack of Supportive Interaction

Lack of supportive interaction can harm a marriage greatly. If there is no empathy or compassion, partners feel isolated. This emotional distance leads to chronic stress and lower purpose in life19 It eats away at self-worth and increases the risk of mental health issues like depression.

Supportive communication becomes non-existent when partners stop encouraging each other. Disrespect grows, leaving both feeling unloved and undervalued. Issues escalate into conflicts with no resolution, often ending marriages. 3

Ongoing Unhappiness

Ongoing unhappiness in a marriage can wear you down. The constant feeling of sadness makes everyday life hard. Marital tension grows slowly but steadily, affecting both partners. Studies reveal that wives report more marital tension than husbands over time. 9

Misery increases and partners may start to act out, leading to harmful behaviors like contempt or neglect. Feeling trapped in this cycle triggers intense emotional pain and mental stress—sometimes even trauma.

You might notice your partner never compliments your appearance anymore, showing they have lost interest or empathy…

Such ongoing distress may signal the end is near for some couples. 3

Sensations of Being Trapped

Feeling trapped happens when you’re stuck in a marriage. This can come from disagreements, different goals, or feeling less connected. 13 Many women feel this way at times.

Disagreements about kids’ discipline, money issues, and lack of privacy make you feel boxed in. Partners may not support your personal growth or respect your real self. It’s vital to recognize these signs early for peace and mental health recovery. 3

Assessing Your Marriage’s Future

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Think about your willingness to change and seek help… it’s crucial to know where you stand.

Readiness for Change

Assess your feelings about staying in the relationship. If you feel constant unhappiness, it’s a sign to take action. Ask yourself if you want to work on fixing things or move toward divorcing. 3

Think about what needs to change for improvement. If your partner abuses you or never compliments your appearance, reflect on how much that impacts you daily. Seeking couples therapy can help find answers and get support from a marriage and family therapist.

It’s okay to admit needing help for conflict resolution and self-awareness—your well-being matters most20

Seeking Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can help save a marriage. A therapist offers a neutral view and new approaches. Research backs up its effectiveness. 21 Studies show it reduces relationship distress.

Many couples feel happier after therapy.

Therapy helps with fights, communication issues, and lost intimacy. It addresses serious problems like infidelity or domestic violence too. Both partners need to be open to change for success—therapy works best when both people want improvement. 3

Reevaluating Common Values

Married couples often find their common values drift apart over time. This can lead to conflicts and emotional distance. It is vital to reevaluate shared beliefs regularly. Identify mismatched goals, like differing parenting styles or life ambitions, which might conflict with each other.

Assess if these differences are negotiable or show a deeper division.

Evaluating your values helps in understanding whether you both are moving in the same direction. Marital quality affects not only psychological health but physical well-being too, as proven by many studies over the past half-century. 22 If conflicting life goals persist despite efforts at negotiation and empathy, it may signal a more serious issue warranting professional help like marriage counseling. 23

People Also Ask

What are some crucial signs that your marriage is over?

When your husband hurts you, never compliments your appearance, or shows disgust, these could be signs. Constant conflicts and lack of empathy also indicate trouble.

How can I cope with the end of my marriage?

Focus on self-care and grieving. Seek support from friends and family. Consider talking to a counselor about mental illness or disorder symptoms.

Should I get an attorney if I’m considering divorce?

Yes, consulting an attorney helps protect your rights during negotiations, especially regarding finances and custody issues.

What should I do if there are public displays of affection but no real connection at home?

This might show a toxic relationship where appearances matter more than feelings—consider reevaluating common values with your partner.

How can daydreaming about life without my spouse affect me?

Daydreaming may signal dissatisfaction in the marriage—reflect on these thoughts to understand underlying motives and fears better.

Are there risks involved when children are part of the breakup process?

Yes, adolescents may face school refusal or esteem issues due to parental conflict-resolution problems; seek professional help for child discipline strategies.

  1. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7856059/
  2. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4298140/
  3. ^ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/202302/13-signs-your-marriage-may-be-over-and-7-things-to-do-next (2023-02-21)
  4. ^ https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/signs-your-relationship-is-falling-apart-and-how-to-save-it/ (2024-01-31)
  5. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3777640/
  6. ^ https://www.marriage.com/advice/separation/signs-a-marriage-cannot-be-saved/ (2023-09-25)
  7. ^ https://xmartinelaw.com/signs-your-marriage-will-end-in-divorce/
  8. ^ https://happilycommitted.com/signs-your-marriage-is-over/
  9. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5644348/
  10. ^ https://marriagecrisismanager.com/the-stages-of-marital-crisis/
  11. ^ https://www.thecouplescenter.org/stages-and-signs-of-a-dying-marriage/
  12. ^ https://www.marriage.com/advice/save-your-marriage/stages-of-a-dying-marriage/ (2023-12-19)
  13. ^ https://www.onlinedivorce.com/blog/signs-your-marriage-may-be-over/
  14. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10002055/
  15. ^ https://www.getting-unmarried.com/signs-marriage-infidelity/ (2017-10-13)
  16. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012696/
  17. ^ https://www.verywellmind.com/warning-signs-troubled-marriage-2302132 (2023-03-27)
  18. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6663571/
  19. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8742630/
  20. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3091824/
  21. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10087549/
  22. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4275835/
  23. ^ https://www.marriage.com/advice/save-your-marriage/in-love-but-the-relationship-is-not-working/ (2024-05-30)




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

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