Body Language Of Unhappy Married Couples – 13 Cues Your Marriage Is Not Working

body language of unhappy married couples
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Did you know you could find out if there’s trouble in paradise by looking at a couple’s body language? If not all, then most marriages go through a loveless phase which makes the body language of unhappy married couples very apparent. A research paper on body language talks about how important and effective body language is while connecting with other people.

The research says, “Body language is a significant aspect of modern communications and relationships. Body language describes the method of communicating using body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, verbal language.”

Body Language Of Unhappy Married Couples — 13 Cues Your Marriage Is Not Working

Body language simply means the use of nonverbal cues, gestures, eye contact, appearance, and touch to convey your thoughts, feelings, or state of mind. It’s how your body reacts and communicates to people around you. For example, looking at your partner’s eyes and smiling at them is one of the signs of positive love language. Below are some indicators of the negative body language of unhappy married couples.

1. Sighing all the time 

One of the signs a woman is unhappy in her marriage is when she sighs at everything her husband says or does. Likewise, when a husband sighs all the time, it is one of the tell-tale signs a man is unhappy in his marriage. Body language can also be found in a partner’s intonation as well. Sigh is a physical manifestation of suppressed frustration and vexation. It comes out audibly when someone is annoyed, disappointed, or tired. 

Rachel, an interior designer from New Jersey, says, “I knew it was over when I stopped hearing him talk without a sigh. It was depressing. When I pointed it out to him and asked if he wasn’t in love with me anymore, he changed the topic.”

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2. Avoiding eye contact

Eye contact is sensual, intimate, and lets your partner know that you are there for them. A study by body language experts says that looking into someone’s eyes will make you significantly more aroused than looking at someone whose gaze is averted.

Lack of eye contact is another prominent aspect of the body language of unhappy married couples. This doesn’t mean you and your partner have to spend time staring at each other. But when you talk about something and they aren’t looking you in the eye, then they are deliberately failing to meet your gaze. This suggests they are either hiding something or are emotionally disconnected from you. 

Related Reading: First Year Marriage Problems: 5 Things Newly-Wed Couples Fight About

3. Being physically distant from each other

When you’re in love with your partner, you want to touch them. Not just sexually but also as a way of creating physical intimacy by holding their hand, grazing their thigh, or rubbing their cheek. Touch symbolizes closeness in a relationship. When you or your partner make it a point to avoid touching each other, it’s one of the stages of a dying marriage

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This is also evident in the body language of unhappy couples in photos when they are sitting on the same couch but far away from each other or their bodies are pointing in different directions. 

We’ve all seen how cripplingly awkward Donald Trump and Melania’s body language is as a couple. There are so many iconic incidents where Trump attempts to hold Melania’s hands. Her hand swat became a viral sensation. While we don’t know the full context, neither of them seems happy in the relationship. 

4. Not being open to hugging each other 

Another significant indicator of body language of unhappy married couples is when a partner locks their elbows when the other is trying to hug or embrace them. There are ways to tell if a hug is romantic. When you look at a couple who are hesitant or resist themselves from embracing each other, it’s one of the signs they are not happy in their relationship.

A Reddit user shares how their partner’s body language made them realize they aren’t happy in the marriage. The user shared, “Over the years my husband’s affection has been dwindling to the point where he outright rejects me touching him and vice versa. If I want to hug him or kiss him, he pushes me away, not in a mean way, just doesn’t seem to want any affection from me at all.”

When we embrace someone, our body produces endorphins. They are chemicals that help us destress. It produces feelings of happiness and euphoria. Hugging also releases oxytocin, which is commonly known as the “love hormone”. If a married couple is unhappy, they will barely hug each other. 

5. Furrowed eyebrows conveying disdain

According to a journal on facial expressions, a furrowed brow and a lifted chin conveys a mix of anger, disgust, and contempt. These emotions are used to show negative moral judgment. This body language of an unhappy married couple hints at criticism and contempt toward a partner. 

The next time you are looking for the body language of unhappy couples in photos or up close, look at their eyebrows. If either of them has furrowed brows, then there is some kind of hostility between them. 

Related Reading: 33 Most Romantic Things To Do For Your Wife

6. Crossed arms that convey you’re being shut out

If your partner crosses their arms frequently around you, then it’s a sign of stress. When you are in love with someone, you will rarely cross your arms when you’re with them. An open posture is a sign of trust. If a married couple is unhappy, it is not uncommon to see either one or both partners cross their arms, especially during an argument or conflict. This is one of the top unhappy marriage signs that you need to know.

Natalie, a software engineer from Chicago, says, “Whenever my partner and I would have an argument, he would always cross his arms. I later found out that crossing arms is a sign of putting one’s guard up, which is not a good thing in an intimate relationship.”

7. Eye-rolling signals contempt

Eye rolling is another non-verbal body language of unhappy married couples, which indicates disapproval, annoyance, contempt, and cynicism. All these things poison a relationship. If you say something and your partner finds it annoying, they may roll their eyes at you. 

If a married couple is unhappy, this tendency to roll eyes at each other becomes far too common. According to renowned psychologist John Gottman, contemptuous behavior like eye-rolling, sarcasm and name-calling is the number one predictor of divorce.  

8. Leaning away indicates emotional distance 

When you feel attracted to someone, you often tend to lean in their direction. Emotional intimacy is reflected by physical closeness. A partner leaning away from the other when talking to them or when watching a movie together is one of the signs a woman is unhappy in her marriage or a man is feeling emotionally distant from his spouse.

9. Biting or pursing lips a lot

Biting lips are often a sign of anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. By biting their lips, a person is trying to stop themselves from saying something or holding their feelings back. The body language of unhappy couples in photos as well as in real life can be noticed by the way they bite or purse their lips.

According to Changing Minds, “Pursed lips are a classic sign of anger, including when it is suppressed. It is effectively holding the mouth shut to prevent the person from saying what they feel like saying. This may also be an indication of lying or withholding the truth as the person stops themselves from telling the truth.”

Related Reading: 11 Signs You Are Single In A Relationship

 10. Unhappy couples walk out of sync

When you’re in love with someone, you catch yourself mirroring their habits. You unintentionally pick up their way of saying certain words or their hand gestures. When you and your partner are walking out of rhythm, it’s the body language of unhappy married couples.

Tania, a dietician in her early 30s, says, “My partner and I used to have this indescribable connection where we would walk together, feet side by side. He suddenly began to either walk faster or slower, never in sync like we used to be. When our walking pattern got disturbed, that’s when I knew we were heading toward the end.”

On failing marriages and more

 11. Comforting touch is missing from the equation

Let’s say you have just shared concern or you’re upset over something, instead of consoling you and comforting you by grabbing your hand or rubbing your back, they just sit there, listening to you talk. When any or all kinds of touch are terminated, that’s when you know your relationship is doomed. It’s one of the signs you are in a one-sided relationship. If one person in the relationship isn’t reciprocating your efforts, feelings, and love, then it’s a glaring sign they don’t want to be in the relationship.

 12. Smirking at them 

There’s only a thin line between a smile and a smirk. A smile is genuine, whereas a smirk is a smile disguised as offensive smugness. When your wife smirks at you every time you say something, it’s one of the signs a woman is unhappy in her marriage. Likewise, a scornful look from a man is considered an insult that expresses arrogance, disdain, and mockery. It screams maliciousness. That’s why body language and its role in healthy relationships shouldn’t be taken lightly.

 13. You are always distracted

One of the stages of a dying marriage is when you find yourself distracted. When your spouse is talking to you, you find your mind wandering away. Or you are on your phone scrolling through social media and you don’t seem to remember the things they tell you. This tendency to be distracted and distant can be seen in both partners who are unhappy in their marriage.

Key Pointers

  • According to research, body language is a significant aspect of modern communications and relationships
  • Leaning away from a partner, sighing, and eye-rolling are some of the body languages of unhappy married couples
  • It’s important to notice and pick up body language cues to determine how strong and harmonious your relationship is

Verbal communication isn’t the only kind of communication that takes place in a relationship. You need to read between the lines to acknowledge what’s actually happening, listen to your partner’s silence, and pay attention to their body language. By understanding your partner’s body language, you can easily comprehend their moods and emotions. If you are picking up signs that your significant other isn’t happy in the relationship, then it’s time to improve your communication skills and work toward repairing the relationship. 


1. Are all married couples unhappy?

Not at all. There are many couples who do everything they can to keep the marriage alive. They go on date nights, spend quality time with each other, shower words of affirmation, and even get experimental in bed. According to statistics, 64% of Americans say they are happy in their relationships.

2. I sit okay to be unhappy in a marriage?

Feeling unhappy or bored in a marriage is normal. Every marriage has its ups and downs. But what matters is how you deal with it as a couple. You need to ask yourself if you want to make it work. Marriage is harder than you think. It takes a lot to keep it going. 

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