1) You do not spend time together
Life happens; work, children, responsibilities, and pressures to make ends meet. We have all been there done that. But if this has become your lifestyle, rather than isolated incidences and occasional circumstances, this is a red flag. You may need to ask yourself at this point whether you don’t spend time together because you can’t, or because you won’t. And it doesn’t matter that you may be together in the same house a lot. Location does not mean sharing time and activities together. One may be on the computer a lot, while the other may be cooking, cleaning, or watching TV a lot, but whatever it may be, there is not much interaction or talking going on between the two of you.
2) You are not being intimate with each other as much
When I say intimacy here I mean sex, and everything that goes on in between: hugging, kissing, caressing, looking into each other’s eyes, listening, cuttling, or simply holding hands, etc…you fill in the blanks according to your style of expressing and receiving intimacy from each other. The point here is that you don’t do that anymore the way you used to. Or, you have simply boiled down intimacy to the actual act of intercourse and that is it. No other form of intimate expression is left between the two of you, you just perform the act of sex, as an obligation, or even a habit that two spouses should have.
3) You have unresolved negative feelings about your spouse
Whether it is anger, disappointment, betrayal, hurt, or simply lack of understanding, the bottom line here is that you cannot get passed it, because it affects the way that you relate to your spouse. You may not like him or her anymore, or simply avoid the mere sight or interaction with him or her, because it just leaves you with unhappy and unpleasant feelings. You just feel miserable around your spouse. And if the problem is not that obvious to you, you may just have ‘unexplainable’ negative words and attitude towards your spouse, your children, your work, or just life itself, because you have never addressed unresolved conflict with your spouse. You may have even turned against yourself and punish yourself for feeling unhappy in your marriage.
4) You lead separate lives
You may have separate friends, separate activities and social life, totally separate bank accounts, or even have separate beds. To an outsider, you look like roommates who happen to be legally married. Your spouse may have his or her family and you have yours, but there is not much of “us” in the sentence, as you do not share your families with each other much. He or she visits his or her family alone and you do the same. But there is not a common interaction between families here. I am not talking about instances where spouses do things with other people alone, I am rather referring to this as being a lifestyle, where the other spouse is not a part of.
5) You no longer protect your marriage
Your actions do not preserve and enhance the life of your marriage, but rather sabotage its very existence. You and your spouse have simply stopped caring for each other’s feelings, opinions, likes, or dislikes. You have become numb or indifferent towards each other. His or her opinion of you does not carry the same weight anymore. His or her thoughts do not mean as much to you anymore. The well-being of your spouse is no longer your primary concern. You may have mentally and/or emotionally ‘checked out’. You will not go out of your way to explain yourself for a misunderstanding that you just had with your spouse or to even make them feel better. You feel that you have just had enough yourself and you just need a break. There is not much left of yourself to give to your spouse anymore.
If you can relate to any of the signs above, you need to get help to heal yourself and your marriage. The pain will not magically go away with time. It may get worse, but it won’t go away unless you do something about it. The choice is yours to make.
By Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI