Has Your Husband Checked Out Emotionally? 12 Signs Of a Failing Marriage

signs of a failing marriage

A marriage is a constant work in progress. It sure takes a lot of hard work and persistent effort to sustain this bond of love through the many turbulences in the journey of life. Before you realize it, signs of a failing marriage begin to surface and spread like termites, making your relationship hollow from within.

The everyday pressures of work, financial demands, raising kids, and keeping up with social obligations can take a toll on the surging love you once felt for each other. Slowly, you may even drift apart, without even realizing when the distance crept in. This may lead to the “my husband has emotionally checked out of the marriage” realization. When you finally see the first signs of a failing marriage, it may seem out of the blue. But if you look back in retrospect, you’d realize that little acts of everyday neglect are what compound into signs your husband has checked out of the marriage.

Every couple goes through rough patches in their marriage. It’s normal and natural. However, there is a difference between fleeting phases of trouble in paradise and sharing your life with a spouse who has checked out of the marriage. The latter is the harbinger of signs of a failing marriage. It is imperative to recognize these signs early on and work as a team to rebuild your relationship if you wish for your marriage to survive.

Signs Marriage Is In Trouble

You both see each other every day. He assures you that all is well but your gut feeling tells you that you are inching closer toward marriage troubles. There is a constant sinking feeling that something is amiss – he is not making earnest efforts to make the relationship work and neither of you feels happy in the marriage. The distance is beginning to increase, both mentally and emotionally. You can see the roommate marriage signs defining your relationship with your husband.

This is undoubtedly a cause for concern. This emotional distance, lack of connection, missing care and concern that you’re experiencing are all clear signs of a failing marriage. And these signs should jolt you out of your slumber of security and push you to take corrective measures to salvage your married life. Here are clear signs your marriage is in trouble to help you take some action before it’s too late: 

  • Lack of communication: Yes, you talk about finances and children, discuss who does what errands and chores and may even work like a well-oiled machine when it comes to managing your home, but real communication has dissipated from your relationship. If you and your husband don’t check in with each other anymore, ask the right questions that can build emotional intimacy or make it even stronger and are out of tune with how the other is feeling, it could be one of the first signs of a failing marriage
  • Too much fighting: You and your husband fight all the time. Even the smallest disagreements snowball into explosive arguments, followed by days of stonewalling and one of you giving the other the silent treatment. If you’re caught in the cycle of having the same fights over and over again and these fights only get worse every time, you’re clearly in an unhappy marriage that isn’t working out
  • Unhappiness: In an unhappy marriage but can’t leave – if this sentiment best describes how you look at your marriage, or your husband does, then the writing is pretty much on the wall. When the most important relationship in your life becomes a constant source of unhappiness, clearly something’s gotta give.
  • No connection: One of the most telling signs your husband has checked out of the marriage is a lack of emotional and physical connection. If there is no physical chemistry between you and your husband and you feel more emotionally in tune with your postman than your life partner, you can say with a fair degree of certainty that your marriage is standing on its last legs
  • Romance dying down: You don’t remember the last time you did anything couple-like. The date nights, the flirting, the romance have become more of a thing of the past that you remember with fondness and yearning. If you are sharing a life with your spouse without feeling any romantic connection with him, then the roommate marriage signs are written all over your relationship dynamic
  • No quality time: When was the last time you two just sat together talking about anything and everything under the sun? When was the last time you shared a glass of wine or two and poured your heart to each other? Or when was it that you last spoke to each other as romantic partners, not as parents or life partners with responsibilities and obligations to fulfill? If you can’t seem to recall, then that should be a red flag strong enough to tell you that all is not well in your married life
  • Secrets: You start keeping secrets in your marriage. From white lies to avoid confrontation to not sharing things that matter to you because you feel your spouse wouldn’t understand anyway, secrets often start small but can snowball into an intricate web of lies that can consume your marriage
Related Reading: 7 Signs Of An Emotional Affair That You Are Into (Without Even Realizing It)

What Does It Mean To Emotionally Check Out Of A Marriage?

Anyone who has walked down the path of marriage will attest to the fact that problems are an integral part of the journey. But if a husband checks out from the marriage emotionally, then the onus of making the relationship work often falls on one partner. To understand whether that is the case in your marriage, you first need to grasp what emotionally checking out means.

When a couple goes through marriage struggles, emotional distance creeps in between them, and this distance keeps increasing bit by bit, every day, to such an extent that the relationship becomes a bitter struggle for both the people involved. This also leads to a widening communication gap between the couple, as both of the partners live with this nagging realization that their needs are not met, their desires not understood, and their expectations not fulfilled. This realization can lead to a manifestation of signs your husband has checked out of the marriage.

The loneliness, the emptiness push the struggling marriage toward the cliff of a dramatic end. This is undoubtedly one of the stark differences that set a happy couple apart from an unhappy one. Before you make efforts for course correction, you need to be fully aware of the signs your husband has checked out of the marriage emotionally.

12 Signs Of A Failing Marriage

An “unhappy marriage but can’t leave” situation is all too common. And it is not just women who choose to stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children, owing to social pressures, or just because breaking up a marriage seems too scary and overwhelming. Men too can continue to stay in marriages and relationships even when their heart is no longer in it, for more or less the same reasons too.

When that happens, you will find the niggling “my husband emotionally checked out of the marriage but is still with me” feeling creeping up on you, slowly but surely. That can surely be extremely unnerving and may leave you scrambling to save your relationship and perhaps even rebuild it. If this feeling of distance and dissatisfaction hits too close to home for you, it may be time to put your relationship under the lens and look for these 12 signs of a failing marriage:

Related Reading: My Marriage Is Falling Apart – Expert Suggests 13 Ways To Turn It Around

1. He has become highly critical of you

In a marriage, both spouses are expected to not only accept their partner completely but also respect them for who they are and be generous toward them. Of course, some healthy criticism or honest disagreements are part of the parcel, but these are markedly different from unhealthy critique and are a sign your marriage is in trouble.

If your husband has become highly critical of you and gets triggered by the small things that never bothered him before, then something is wrong for sure. From the meals you prepare to the way you dress and the career you pursue, if nothing about you seems worthy of his praise, it is one of the first signs of a failing marriage.

The underlying reason may well be that your husband has checked out of the marriage emotionally. When that happens, you may find that your husband suddenly blocked you out of his life completely. In fact, the “my husband has emotionally checked out of the marriage” realization hits you most strongly when you realize that you no longer know anything about your husband’s life.

signs marriage is in trouble
Constant criticism is a sign of a marriage in trouble

2. If he shares things with others and not you, it’s a sign your marriage is in trouble

As a wife, you expect your husband to share his dreams, hopes, concerns, and desires with you. You should be privy to his most private thoughts and be the first person to know about any major changes in his life. Be it a big promotion or stress at work, his take on parenting, or his plans for himself and your family, you should be the one he turns to talk about all things big and small.

However, if you find your husband sharing his personal feelings with other people, then it is something you should think about. It can be an early sign of a broken marriage. When my best friend got divorced, she would often say how her husband stopped sharing things with her.

On a particularly emotional day, she once said, “I used to be his best friend. That was the foundation of our marriage. But over the years, he forgot that and I felt as if I was married to a stranger. Once, he was planning to leave his job and start a business. Isn’t that something a wife should know? And yet, I found out about it when his brother’s wife accidentally told me at a party. The entire family knew. But I didn’t. It was the first sign that our marriage was over.”

3. He gets upset if you don’t comply with his wishes

There is one incident that I can never forget. A former colleague had once organized a get-together for people from her and her husband’s offices. The husband had asked her to take out a particular set of whiskey glasses but she had laid out the regular Borosil glassware.

This caused the man to flip over in anger to an extent that he knocked the tray over, leaving the entire living room floor covered in shattered glass. And then stormed out, but not before telling his wife that she was good for nothing. This is in front of guests in his own home. Lashing out, name-calling and disrespect are all signs your husband has checked out of the marriage but is choosing to stay on because, for some reason, divorce doesn’t seem like a viable option to him, not yet anyway.

When your husband continuously makes you feel that you are not fulfilling your share of responsibilities, it is a sign of a failing marriage. He will stop depending on you and become more irrational and irritable in his attitude. Ultimately, such an emotionally distant spouse can lead to a breakdown of the relationship.

4. Intolerance is a sign of a struggling marriage.

There isn’t one couple on earth who doesn’t have marriage troubles. People recognize and overcome their problems with patience. But a clear sign your marriage is failing is when extreme intolerance creeps into the relationship. Anything and everything you do seems to drive him up the wall.

Even the things he once found adorable about you now seem to irritate him to no end. If he snaps at everything you say, rolls his eyes at you or simply gives you the silent treatment, it’s one of the biggest manifestations that he sees himself in an “unhappy marriage but can’t leave” situation.

This query we received from a distressed woman dealing with an emotionally distant husband describes what intolerant behavior looks like. She says, “My husband picks on small things and blows them out of proportion. Our marriage has reached a stage where we can’t talk about anything without getting into a fight. This has led to a lot of stress for me.” This intolerance can be one of the first worrying signs of a failing marriage.

Related Reading: My Husband Is Not Affectionate Or Romantic And I Am Tired Of Trying

5. Lack of playfulness is a sign of a failing marriage

Gone are the days when you both laughed together, joked with each other, teased each other, and enjoyed spending time together. These moments of playfulness and merriment that marked the beginning of your relationship are now a thing of the past. The gradual disappearance of friendly banter is an early sign of marriage struggles. 

You know your marriage is on the cusp of ending when even after persistent efforts to reach out and revive that chemistry that was once the source of happiness in your relationship, you’re met with fierce stonewalling. It’s abundantly clear that your husband no longer finds his happiness with you, which is why he remains emotionally distant from you.

6. He fails to keep a check on you

Earlier, he used to call or text you just to know what you are up to. But now, it may seem as if he couldn’t bother less about whether you’re dead or alive. Forget calling or texting, he can’t even be bothered to ask you what’s wrong if he saw you sobbing in front of him.

If there has been a steep and consistent decline in such gestures from his end, it is a sign that your marriage is failing and your husband has emotionally checked out of the relationship. Needless to say, this can leave you sick with worry over the “my husband has emotionally checked out of the marriage” thought.

However, a lack of communication from his end could also be brought on by his preoccupation with work or some other stressors in his life. So, before you jump to the conclusion that your husband’s behavior is pointing toward signs of a failing marriage, take a moment to analyze whether this behavior has become the new normal in your relationship or is just a passing phase. The former is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.

7. Uncomfortable sexual encounters are a sign your marriage is failing

The frequency of your sexual encounters has declined. Even when you do indulge, it doesn’t seem like the intimate act of making love but rather a more forced, awkward encounter that you’re both participating in just because that is what married couples ought to do.

If your husband once looked for ways to score some action between the sheets but now avoids being physically intimate with you, it is because he is emotionally absent from the relationship. When a marriage reaches this point of distance and disconnect, it is usually a cry for help. You should consider seeking professional help in the form of couples therapy to get to the root of the problem.

If you consider the sexless marriage effects on a man, this pattern of reduced intimacy can begin to seem more and more worrisome. The less often you’re intimate with each other, the more he will feel resentment, irritability and stress. The more he is overcome with these negative emotions, the further it may drive you apart. This can become a vicious circle that feeds itself, causing the signs your husband has checked out of the marriage to grow stronger over time.

Related Reading: Distance Taking A Toll On Your Relationship? Our Expert Speaks…

8. He has become self-centered

One of my cousins once came to my house at 12 at night. She had luggage in her hands and tears in her eyes. I sat her down and asked her what happened. She said, “I was out on a business trip and my flight was coming in late at night. I called my husband and asked if he could pick me up from the airport. His reply was that why would he ruin his sleep over me? I told him I felt uncomfortable taking a cab at this hour and all he said was that he also feels uncomfortable driving all the way.” 

Hurt and dejected, she came over to my house since I lived near the airport. If his focus has shifted from ‘us’ to ‘me’, it is a sign you are in a struggling marriage. Instead of thinking about you two, his thoughts and actions are becoming increasingly self-serving. The pursuit of his happiness and peace of mind has become a top priority, and sadly, he finds neither in the marriage.

So, he will not spend his weekends with you but will make plans with his friends or colleagues. This kind of self-centered attitude is for sure an indication of emotional neglect and disconnect in the relationship and is a sign of a marriage breakdown.

relationship advice

9. He evades responsibility

The success of any relationship depends to a great extent on the partnership between two spouses. Unless both partners operate like two parts of a beam balance working in perfect harmony, happiness is hard to come by. If your husband has detached himself from his responsibilities in your domestic life, it is bound to trigger a host of other problems.

From bickering over unfulfilled chores to resentment over lack of emotional and financial support, a whole lot of issues begin to take root. When that happens, his being emotionally distant in the relationship can pave the way for other signs of a failing marriage.

Besides, if he is not doing his part in keeping the household you’ve built together running, it just goes on to show his lack of investment in the marriage. When you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the entire marriage solely on your shoulders, you have at your hands one of the clearest roommate marriage signs. You may share a home with each other but that is the extent of your shared life.

10. He seems distracted

Does he keep checking his phone on a date night with you? Or does he keep himself busy with his laptop whenever he is home? Are Sundays and holidays now spent with him watching television and you doing your own thing? Are your advances to do something together met with annoyance and irritability?

If ‘can’t I just relax in my own home’ or ‘why can’t you just leave me alone’ have become common refrains in your marriage, then it means he is not paying attention to you. His distraction is the sign of a broken marriage. Anna, a 30-year-old single mother said, “He stopped paying attention to me. He stopped paying attention to our daughter as well.

“We became the epicenter of all his problems and the cause of his worries. Once, he was so busy watching his game that he didn’t even realize that our daughter had gotten out of the crib and was crawling toward the fireplace. That was the last straw. Before that, I had ignored all signs that our marriage was in trouble.”

Related Reading: Please Help Me Stop My Emotional Eating

11. You suspect he is cheating on you

There is a popular anonymous quote floating around the internet, “If a girl asks you a question, it’s better to tell her the truth. Chances are she’s asking because she already knows.” Women are blessed with a strong gut instinct that makes them foresee a coming crisis.

If you have been living with a constant gut feeling that he is cheating on you and you find his attention straying to other women, then he probably is. And that means he has already checked out of the relationship emotionally. A cheating husband essentially equals a husband emotionally checked out of marriage.

Irrespective of the nature of this relationship with the other woman, the fact that he has willfully betrayed your trust and disrespected the faith you had placed in him goes on to show how little he cares. If that’s not one of the most obvious signs your husband has checked out of the marriage, we don’t know what will be.

12. He seems unhappy and depressed

Once you are sure that your husband has checked out of the relationship, it becomes important to take stock of the seriousness of the situation. You cannot brush the signs of a failing marriage under the carpet. Now is the time to do everything in your power to make the relationship work if you truly love your husband.

The first order of business is to see if your relationship is worth saving. If you still feel that there is hope for you as a couple, then you must get to the bottom of what has caused your husband to have emotionally checked out of the marriage. If he has gone from being a happy and loving spouse to someone who’s in an unhappy marriage but can’t leave, there are bound to be reasons for it.

Do you notice that his general demeanor is beat and he seems to be losing interest in nearly everything? Does he seem dejected and unhappy? Have you noticed an increased reliance on alcohol or substance use? Then the signs your husband has checked out of the marriage could actually be a symptom of a depressed husband. If that’s the case, you must help him see the gravity of the situation and make him get the professional help he badly needs.

5 Ways To Negate The Signs Of A Failing Marriage

Coming to terms with the “my husband has emotionally checked out of the marriage” realization is not easy, but the longer you ignore this elephant in the room, the harder it gets to handle. So, instead of slumping into inertia over a fear of a failing marriage, choose to take proactive measures. You can counter the signs of a failing marriage and salvage your relationship with these 5 steps to make him emotionally invested in the relationship, once again:

1. Understand why he is doing this

It is easy to place blame when you feel wronged by someone. Taking an empathetic view of the other person’s circumstances is a challenging thing to do. When it is your marriage at stake, you have to be prepared to surmount any challenge. So, start by trying to understand what has brought about this change in his behavior and eroded the emotional bond between you both.

Could your actions be the underlying cause of your struggling marriage? Is he struggling with life situations that leave him with no mind space to shoulder his responsibilities in the relationship? Once you understand him, reaching out and taking corrective measures will become easier.

Related Reading: I Am A Doctor, My Husband Shouts Like A Monster And In-Laws Are Greedy

2. Communicate with him

More often than not an emotional distance between a couple is triggered by misunderstandings, which are caused when two people fail to communicate with each other. Now that you have some inkling about the root cause of the problem, you must take an initiative to talk to him and find out what exactly has been weighing on his mind. If you can address his concerns and he yours, reconnecting will become easier and you can overcome your marriage troubles together.


unhappy marriage but can't leave
Healthy communication can help save a failing marriage

3. Rekindle the love and passion

Once the ice has been broken and communication flows smoothly, it is time to spend more time together and take a trip down memory lane. It’ll serve as a reminder of why you both chose to spend your life with each other. The happy memories of the past can act as a balm on the hurt of emotional neglect and allow you both to rekindle the lost love and passion and in turn, revive your failing marriage.

4. Do not nag or smother him

When you recognize the signs of marriage breakdown, it is also important to recognize the way forward. Acknowledging that your husband has checked out of the relationship emotionally can be overwhelming. But don’t let these budding signs of a failing marriage get to you.

Once you have decided to make your relationship work and brought your husband on board, it is essential to give him time and space to process his feelings and emotions and reach out to you with a clear mind. Do not nag him for attention or smother him with affection. This will only drive him further away and make him recede into a cocoon where you may not even be able to reach him.

Related Reading: 8 Benefits Of Silent Treatment And Why It’s Great For A Relationship

5. Seek professional help

If working on the marriage on your own has put you in that classic one-step-forward-two-steps-backward situation, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. Sometimes the issues fuelling disharmony in the relationship can be so deep-seated that neither of you can articulate them properly without some outside intervention.

Marriage is not a cakewalk. It takes constant effort to make a marriage work and maintain the sanity of you and your partner. When signs of your marriage failing begin to come to your notice, try to work on your relationship slowly and steadily. It may take time but your marriage can recover from the rough spell. After all, there were reasons you both were drawn to each other. You just have to remember how much you love the person in front of you and gradually your marriage will come back on the happily ever after track. 

FAQs

1. What are the signs when a relationship is over? 

You are no longer vulnerable and open with your lover, which is one of the biggest signals your relationship is ending. Both parties must feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions with one another in order for a good, healthy relationship to exist.

2. What are the warning signs of divorce?

There can be many signs that a divorce is coming your way. However, a few warning signs can be lack of communication, lack of intimacy, constant arguments, lack of mutual respect and understanding, etc.

3. How do you know if a relationship is worth saving?

You know a relationship is worth saving when your partner does not give up on you. They are still there to battle together, no matter how difficult things are, how alienated you all are, or whether the love appears to be diminishing. That’s when you realize you’ve got something valuable, and something worth fighting for.

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