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 ups and downs of life’s journey. 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 realising when the distance crept it. Every couple goes through rough patches in their marriage. It’s normal and natural. However, there is a difference between fleeting troubled phases 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. You need to see these signs in time and work together to reverse the damage if you want your marriage to survive.
Signs Of A Failing Marriage Cast Their Shadow
You both see each other every day. He assures you that all is well but your gut feeling tells you otherwise. 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. Mentally and emotionally, he seems distant.
These are clear signs of a failing marriage that should jolt you out of your slumber of security and push you to take corrective measures to salvage your married life. 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.
What Does It Mean To Emotionally Check Out Of A Marriage?
When a spouse emotionally checks out of a marriage, it means that they disconnect from the relationship. The person becomes indifferent toward their partner and the future course of the relationship. Such a partner loses interest in making the relationship better and restoring its robustness. They start behaving as if there is no hope left for the relationship and give up on it as if it were a terminally ill patient.
These manifestations of being emotionally absent from the equation are among the first signs of a failing marriage.
An emotional distance is created between the couple, 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 realisation that their needs are not met, their desires not understood, their expectations not fulfilled.
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.
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12 Signs Of A Failing Marriage
If this nagging 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:
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’re 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.
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.
2. He is sharing things with others, instead of you
As a wife, you expect your husband to share his dreams and hopes, concerns, and desires with you. You should be privy to his most private thoughts and be the first person to 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. This is an emotionally distant husband sign.
3. He gets upset if you don’t comply with his wishes
A former colleague had once organised a get together for people from her and her husband’s offices. He 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 in front of guests in his own home.
When your husband continuously makes you feel that you are not fulfilling your share of responsibilities, it is a sign that he doesn’t feel content or happy in the relationship. 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.
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4. He has become extremely intolerant
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. This query we received from a distressed woman dealing with an emotionally distant husband describes what intolerant behaviour looks like – she says that her husband picks on her on small things and blows them out of proportion. The relationship has reached a stage where they can’t talk about anything without getting into a fight and this led to a lot of stress in the relationship.
This intolerance can be one of the first worrying signs of a failing marriage.
5. There is a lack of playfulness in your relationship
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.
Even if you do make an effort 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. If there has been a steep and consistent decline in such gestures from his end, it is a sign that the connection between the two of you is weakening and your husband has emotionally checked out of the marriage.
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 behaviour is pointing toward signs of a failing marriage, take a moment to analyse whether this behaviour has become the new normal in your relationship or is just a passing phase. The former is a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
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7. Your sexual encounters are uncomfortable
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 who once looked for ways to score some action between the sheet 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.
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8. He has become self-centered
His focus has shifted for ‘us’ to ‘me’. Instead of thinking about you two, his thoughts and actions have 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-centred attitude is for sure an indication of an emotional disconnect in the relationship.
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 of issues begins to take root. When that happens his being emotionally distant in the relationship can pave the way for other signs of a failing marriage.
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.
He is distant and distracted, and that is taking a toll on the health of your relationship.
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.
12. He seems unhappy and depressed
A lack of emotional connection in the marriage must be as distressing from him as it is for you, if not more. If you find your life partner is perennially unhappy or exhibiting signs of depression, it is certainly a sign that checking out of the marriage emotionally is taking a toll on his mental health.
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Once you are sure that your husband has checked out of the relationship, it becomes 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. here are some tips to develop emotional intimacy in a relationship.
5 Ways To Negate the Signs of a Failing Marriage
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 the 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 behaviour and eroded the emotional bond between you both. Could your actions be the underlying cause of this deterioration? Is he struggling with life situations that leave him to no mind space to shoulder his responsibilities in the relationship? Once you understand him, reaching out and course correction will become easier.
2. Communicate with him
More often than now 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.
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 the 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.
4. Do not nag or smother him
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 feeling 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.
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If working on the marriage on your own has put you in that classic one-step-forward-two-steps-backwards 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 either of you can’t articulate them properly without some outside intervention.
Work on your relationship slowly and steadily. Be patient. It may take time but your marriage can recover from the rough spell.