What are the signs your marriage is over for him? Do the stereotypical manifestations of him pulling away hold any weight? Or do all the subtleties in his behavior that you fail to see add up to make one big pile of trouble for your relationship?
Have you both completely stopped the cute morning rituals that felt sacred to you? Perhaps he just doesn’t talk to you the same way, or he’s getting a little too close to that new friend he made at work. Worrying about the health of your marriage is normal, but when a fleeting doubt turns into lingering suspicion, you’re probably looking for more concrete signs.
Now that you’ve found yourself reading this article and constantly wondering if you are in a healthy marriage, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction. With the help of psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, let’s take a look at signs he is unhappy in the marriage.
How Do You Know When A Man Is Done With A Relationship?
Even though your husband may not express it out loud to you each day, there are subtle micro-aggressions or behavioral cues in his demeanor toward you which can help you see if he is starting to feel worn out by this relationship. Maybe he used to always text you back earlier, no matter what hour of the day it was or what he was doing — and now he never seems to answer your messages the whole day. Or what used to be fun-filled anniversary and birthday parties at your house, now look like dreary evenings with an already opened bottle of wine. Here’s what it looks like, when a man is starting to feel done with his relationship:
- He never initiates spending time together: The only time you two actually spend any quality time together, is when you ask for it. For your husband, it really does not seem to matter anymore whether you two go out for movies or dinner anymore, or just lay in bed scrolling on your phones at the end of the day
- Your husband is constantly angry with you: He seems to be losing his temper over the slightest things. One day, he could not find his socks and lashed out at you for losing it in the laundry. Or another day, your alarm rang an extra time and he picked a fight with you over it
- Communication is almost zero: The way you used to gossip about all your family members after attending weddings, or make up theories about the universe after having one too many — that closeness seems to have vanished. Other than discussing your children’s school fees or what’s for dinner, you two do not seem to talk at all anymore and are never on the same page about anything
Signs Your Marriage Is Over For Him
Rushing here with thoughts like “My marriage is over, I don’t know what to do” is a natural response if the above factors are true for you. But before making any wider assumptions, let us look into some other signs your marriage is over for him.
First things first, rid yourself of any stereotypes you may have established in your head. “Men are like this, women are like that”, this way of thinking isn’t going to help you. I’ve seen women who are extremely career-oriented, aggressive, and physically abusive. I’ve seen men who are extremely quiet, shy, demure. “Before you try to catch any signs he has checked out of the marriage already, make sure you’re not going into it with preconceived notions of what it’s supposed to look like,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
The signs your marriage is about to be over, will differ from marriage to marriage. What your friend, Jenna, said about your husband looking more shifty might not be a cause for concern. What’s “shifty” to her may be normal to you, and what’s normal to you may be grounds for divorce for her.
Nonetheless, when something’s up, you can probably feel it in your bones. If that nagging suspicion of something being amiss just won’t go away, the following signs should answer that one question keeping you up at night: “Is my marriage really over?”
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1. Look out for signs of emotional cheating
When you’re looking for signs your marriage is dying, there’s no bigger sign than emotional cheating. Dr. Bhonsle explains how it may look in your relationship. “He may become unusually close to a friend who he refuses to introduce to his partner. This new friend who has come into the picture may suddenly appear to be more important than the partner.
“During emotional cheating, you’ll see your spouse doing stuff for this person that he typically did for you in the past. He will often hide under the caveat of “I haven’t had any sexual relations with this person, I’m not doing anything wrong”.
“I’ve seen way too many incidents like these where men in their 60s have fallen for someone younger, and have gone as far as buying this new friend houses, cars, and helping in any way they can. When confronted, they usually lash out at the partner.”
Since this form of infidelity may be harder to catch than sexual infidelity, partners can often hide behind a facade of “friendship”. In some cases, they may truly have gaslit themselves into believing they’re not as emotionally attached as the world clearly sees them to be. But for their partners, this is a deal-breaker.
2. If he’s spending more time away than normal, it could be worrisome
If your husband is the kind of person who’s all for solo trips and the wanderlust lifestyle, his going on a week-long expedition isn’t really a cause for concern. But if his idea of spending time away meant going to the grocery store alone and now he’s pitching his month-long solo trip to be away from you and the two kids, you’re probably not too thrilled.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be that intense. Dr. Bhonsle explains, “An inordinate amount of time spent outside the house without informing the partner is not usually the only sign that indicates a failing marriage, but it can be a sign to look out for. Late nights at work, staying at friends’ places, business trips that crop up out of nowhere; he’s trying his best to evade. In essence, it’s an attempt to get away, an attempt to create some sort of alibi to avoid spending time together.”
3. Reduced physical intimacy can be a sign he is unhappy in the marriage
So, is the old cliche true? If they don’t want anything to do with their spouses sexually, is it a sign your marriage is over for men? The answer is, it’s highly subjective. “While sex is one of the important aspects of a marriage, unfortunately, these things cannot be defined in absolute terms. The average amount of sexual intimacy changes from marriage to marriage.
“It depends on the shared frequency they might have established when things were better. When it feels like he is continuously refusing the partner’s advances to touch him, it can be seen as one of the signs he is unhappy in the marriage,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
- He does not initiate sex anymore: It does not even seem to cross his mind at this point. You’ve gone months without indulging in any kind of physical intimacy and he does not bring it up or suggest it. This is also one of the possible signs of cheating in a relationship
- When you make an effort, he evades it: Or worse, straight up refuses to get intimate with you. When you ask him why, he says it’s because he is not in the mood or overworked. That excuse might work the first few times but if this charade plays out for too long, this is one of the warning signs he has checked out of your relationship
4. “Nothing, never mind” is his staple reply
“Is my marriage really over?” Val pondered, talking to her friend about how her husband never seems to be able to talk to her. “He’s visibly distant, visibly zoned out. Every time I try to ask him what’s going through his mind, it’s like he snaps back to reality, dismisses me, and walks off. My marriage is over and I don’t know what to do about it,” she adds.
“There may be no issues with sex, but the husband may seem distant when it comes to conversation. He may be physically there for all the family functions and formalities but he may not have opened up about his feelings in the longest time,” says Dr. Bhonsle. Sometimes, a bad marriage can be as inconspicuous as that. When someone bottles up their feelings from the person they’re supposed to spend the rest of their lives with, you know something isn’t right.
- Lack of communication: In any relationship, effective communication is often the glue that holds everything in place. Take that away from the equation, and you’ve got yourself an unbalanced and potentially dangerous concoction
- Even simple niceties have gone out of the window: Asking a ‘”Hey, how was your day today?” is also something that you have stopped expecting from him. Even though he is not mad at you, you two just do not have that equation anymore where you sit and discuss your lives or spend time together
Related Reading: 5 Signs of Jealously In Marriage & How To Overcome It
5. Is ‘alone time’ a thing of the past?
“He may always bring your child into the room, or he may find reasons to invite the family over, often without telling the partner. Essentially, these are subtle ways to avoid spending time alone with his spouse,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
When was the last time you asked each other how you were really doing and had a productive conversation about it? If it seems like you’re living with a roommate you occasionally have sex with, it might be one of the signs he is planning to leave you.
- You both don’t go on vacations anymore: Try to recall the last time you two went out of town for the weekend or took a week-long trip together. If it has been over a year, it is one of the signs your marriage is on the rocks
- He ignores you at family events too: Instead of putting his arm around you and proudly kissing you in front of everyone for being his spouse, the two of you usually drift away from each other in social situations. They only time you actually speak with each other is when you need to decide when to leave
- On Sundays, he usually has somewhere to go: Taking his partner out to brunch on a nice sunny day or making time to spend at home with the family is all a thing of the past. On days when he is not working, he usually has other plans. It’s like you do not even see him around the house anymore
6. Has his phone suddenly become off-limits?
Does he slyly lock his screen the minute you walk into his room? Does he freak out if you grab his phone, even if it’s just to Google something? Though it isn’t necessarily one of the signs he is planning to leave you, he is definitely hiding something.
“When couples constantly try to snoop on each other’s phone to find some kind of evidence that incriminates the other, it’s usually a telling sign that the relationship isn’t in a happy place. It reeks of trust issues and the lack of a healthy marriage. Being very secretive about your phone could mean you have something to hide. Just the fact that you can’t trust each other isn’t the healthiest thing anyway,” says Dr. Bhonsle, commenting on what a bad marriage can start to look like.
7. You’re always at fault, no matter what happens
As discontent and negative thoughts grow in the marriage, you’re not exactly going to speak to each other with the most endearing terminology. If all he does is blame you and find flaws in you, it may be one of the harshest signs a marriage cannot be saved.
“From their weight, their clothes, to how often they go out, to the kind of person they are, how much money they spend, he’s going to have a problem with all of it when it comes to his spouse. It’s like he’s trying to tell them to modify themselves or vacate his life. It could be one of the signs your marriage is over for men, at least psychologically. The theatrics of going to a courthouse and getting a divorce may put some off from the whole process, but they may already have emotionally clocked off,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
- Constant jibes: He might just be trying to poke fun at you, but it feels hurtful to you to hear him mock you
- Rude comments: Phrases like “Why are you like this?” or “I expected you to do such a thing” start rolling off this tongue every time you make a mistake
- Lack of forgiveness: Forgiveness is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, but he seems to have forgotten all that. Even about the smallest things, it feels as if he is unforgiving and can never let things go. A mistake you made eight months ago will suddenly crop up in a conversation today
Related Reading: 5 Ways Blame-Shifting In A Relationship Harms It
8. The strength of your marriage is constantly joked about
Human beings cope with pain with the help of humor. Other times, they may use humor to point out things they may not be ready to have a conversation about. The next time you see something held up by a string and your husband says “Oh look, it’s our marriage”, it’s one of the common signs that things are getting worse in your marriage.
“If there are too many jokes cracked about the marriage being over, there may be a few things you’d want to read between the lines. There’s a little bit of truth behind every joke. Instead of letting out a nervous chuckle, thinking “Well, he’s not wrong”, try and think about what it may signify,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
9. Your view of the future couldn’t be further apart
If he is in an unhappy marriage, you’ll notice how his plans for the future drastically change, and your views don’t seem to be aligned anymore. Forget that quaint duplex in the suburbs you planned on buying when you’re retired, now he suddenly wants to be an entrepreneur.
Try to have a conversation with your husband about the future. If he vaguely responds without ever having a productive conversation about it, it may be one of the signs he has checked out of the marriage already. Perhaps you both always wanted two kids to expand your family, but now he seems to ignore the possibility entirely. Or you would like to relocate to a new neighborhood, but he always ignores calling that realtor he promised he would speak with. It leaves you constantly wondering if he even wants to stay married to you anymore.
10. There’s financial infidelity
Financial infidelity in marriages can creep up on you without even realizing it. Before you know it, he may be taking big financial decisions without keeping you in the loop, essentially telling you he doesn’t respect you too much.
- He makes bad financial decisions: A sign a marriage cannot be saved is when one half of the relationship has no control over the finances. If he comes home with a car you two decided you don’t need, he’s either going through the biggest case of a mid-life crisis or never respected you in the first place
- He chooses not to consult you anymore: From making lavish purchases to buying groceries for the house, it appears as if your husband is not interested in asking you what you might need. This can also feel like a deal-breaker
11. There’s a severe lack of effort
When the sparks and the infatuation all fade away from what used to be a healthy marriage, it’s not a burning desire for love that keeps two people together. What keeps a decade-long relationship steady is effort, a lot of it. Whether that is in the form of physical intimacy, cute surprises, trying to spend time with one another or having a baby, your husband seems to not even know where to begin.
One of the biggest signs your marriage is dying slowly is when he can’t be bothered to bat an eye at the problems you two go through. He’ll actively avoid responsibility, and he’d much rather ignore the problems you present, making you feel like he does not want to stay married to you.
Related Reading: 21 Controversial Relationship Questions On Dating And Marriage
12. He is busier with other people and things
And also, a lot happier around them. When he is visibly perturbed around you, you may assume it could have to do with something about him personally and is unrelated to your marriage. Maybe he is stressed or starting to slip into depression. However, one of the ways to know that your marriage is really over is when you note that he’s only a Debbie downer at home, but when he is around other people, he is usually the life of the party.
This is one of the more common signs. He seems to be going out a lot with his friends, coworkers — even those cousins who lived across town who he said he hated now suddenly seem to be in his weekend plans. Everyone gets his charm, attention, and affection but all you get is his emotionally drained side.
13. He never asks you what’s going on with you
Remember when he knew all about your feud with Katelyn from work? Or when he actively made an effort to be involved in all your projects when you decided to start working with a mental health cause? At this point in your marriage, he can’t even recall who Katelyn is and does not bother to ask how your side-project is going.
Your concerns, life, and passions are all too distant from him. It’s like you do you, while he goes out and does what he needs to do.
14. He always resorts to stonewalling
One of the warning signs he has checked out of the marriage, which is unmissable, is if he stonewalls you. Dr. John Gottman also calls this one of the four predictors of divorce. If your husband is constantly angry with you and then starts ignoring you after lashing out at you, he is stonewalling you. Or if he withdraws emotionally to the point where it does not even matter if you two interact or work on your relationship, it is also a case of stonewalling.
- He ignores your advances: You might approach him to make things up after a relationship argument or apologize to him, but he could not care less. He goes about his own day minding his business without wanting to fix the problem
- He gets defensive: Even if he does actually mutter words to you, there is no sense of guilt from his side. In fact, he gets defensive and continues to blame you
Be Careful While Catching The Signs Your Marriage Is Over For Men
On the surface, it may seem like all you have to do is catch a couple of signs he has checked out of the marriage already, tell a few friends about it, and be convinced that your marriage is now irreparable. In most cases, it’s not as open and shut as that. No, do not let the high divorce rates make you assume that all is lost. There is still a lot you can do and evaluate before you call it quits, and let all your negative thoughts get the better of you.
Dr. Bhonsle explains the things you must look out for, “The way I see it, you cannot look for signs and arrive conclusively at the idea that your marriage is a shambles. Losing interest has multiple manifestations. Every time he refuses sex or every time he invites family over without telling you, it doesn’t mean he’s trying to get away from you.”
“It could also mean he’s interested but he also has a strong sense of independence and his idea of love is different. These signs your marriage is on the fence do not actually guarantee that things are awry. It’s like saying “He plays video games, he must not be focused on his career” or “He has a collection of antique knives, he must definitely be violent”.
Don’t jump the gun
“None of these signs come without accompanying factors. Every situation is multi-faceted. Just because he didn’t give you a bouquet on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. Love is manifested differently, depending on the decade of the life you’re in. Love in the 20s is different from love in your 30s. When you’re younger, all you’d want is sex, nice gifts, and making Instagram reels together. When you’re older, investing in a mutual fund together is romantic.
“Since how you express love keeps changing, and there’s more than what meets the eye, you’ve got to be cautious. Instead of jumping to conclusions while being on the lookout for signs he is planning to leave you, try to reverse-engineer them to understand where they’re coming from. Instead of pondering over since when he has been displaying these signs, figure out the ‘why’ behind it,” he concludes.
You’ve been trying to catch and analyze the many signs that your marriage needs help and it seems like it’s getting just a bit too confusing. It’ll be helpful to reach out to an unbiased professional counselor who can help the both of you. If you want to stop wondering what may be going on and need a solid answer to what you should do next, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists is just a click away.
- You might assume he is feeling depressed or is emotionally drained about something else, but if it seems like he is a riot around other people and boring around you — it could mean that he is losing interest in the marriage
- Your life together is a distant reality and it feels like you two exist in parallel worlds that never intersect
- Spending time together, having good sex, or even going out to a nice dinner once every two weeks, is something you have not done properly in months
If you’re worried about your husband having clocked out internally and don’t think you are on the same page anymore, hopefully, these signs have helped you get a better idea of what’s going on. The sooner you realize there’s something wrong, the sooner you can get to fixing it.
This article was updated in December 2022.
The reasons for a man to give up can be plenty. Perhaps he no more feels an emotional connect with his partner, is looking for something else in his life, or is falling for a new person.
It is entirely possible that he has lost faith in the concept of marriage completely. Or that he is falling in love with someone else. If the routine and mundane-ness of being married is draining him, he might feel like not wanting to be married anymore.
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