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Signs you’re in a loveless marriage (and how to cope with it)

Signs you're in a loveless marriage (and how to cope with it)

2. Stop Blaming Your Partner – and Inspire Them Instead

Stop blaming your partner for your lack of connection and take action steps each day to reignite attraction. As well as paying attention to how you look and feel, this includes lifting your partner up with appreciation and gratitude for their contribution.

It’s important to inspire your spouse to invest in your marriage because someone who invests in something expects it to work. For instance, you can ask for his/her help once in a while, so your partner feels that they are wanted and needed by you. Then appreciate their effort.

When your partner is contributing to your life, and you are showing your appreciation, the emotional connection between you naturally becomes stronger.

3. Create Shared Experiences and Show Your Love Passionately

Secondly, create more shared experiences with your partner. This can be a date night once a week. It can also be having a holiday for two weeks once a year. Or several romantic weekends away. Don’t let your marriage become boring and predictable after the initial excitement of your wedding.

Lastly, show your love passionately. In life, you don’t get what you want; you get what you give. Hence, you should show your love first. Tell your husband/wife how much you love him/her and then see how things change. This is the Law of Reciprocity. [1]

Sign 2 – You Are in a Marriage Without Intimacy

Marriages without intimacy are more common than you would assume. This can be due to sexual dysfunction issues, one’s sexual technique doesn’t fulfill another, or the couple simply has no time, energy or mood for sexy time. For many reasons, there are many couples who stop having a sexy time in the bedroom a few years after getting married. It’s one of those secrets that people just don’t talk about and keep hidden behind their bedroom door.

Know that if you are in a marriage without intimacy, you are not alone. There are many others in a similar situation.

Now you may wonder, “What happens in a marriage without intimacy?”

The honest answer is that a marriage without intimacy is a sure sign of relationship breakdown. Your marriage is just not healthy without intimate relations. Along with emotional connection, sexual intimacy is the glue which holds your relationship together. While one partner may imagine they can live without sex, it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect their partner to be ok with it.

In most healthy marriages, sex results from the combination of closeness, intimacy, and emotional connection. Even as you age together, sex and intimacy remain a vital and loving component of a healthy and happy relationship.

While some marriages can sustain a lack of intimacy, usually one partner is not happy with this arrangement.

When encountering sexual function or other intimacy issues, [2] it’s imperative to maintain a strong emotional connection and/or build mutual benefits in your marriage. Sadly, many couples who are in marriages without intimacy fail to build strong emotional connection or mutual benefits, so they end up in loveless marriages.

How to cope with it?

Fix the problems in the bedroom and work on other areas outside the bedroom. When you are in a sexless marriage, you need to fix the issues in the bedroom first. The best solution is to look for professional help in this regard.

Remember that in a marriage you need to work together as a team. If one partner is suffering from a sexual function issue, then support them by providing emotional support and encouragement and get professional help. No one likes to feel like they are failing as a human, and most sexual issues can be corrected with the right knowledge and technique.

Your marriage is very important to you, so you may want to invest in professional consultation and improve the situation as soon as possible.

Has the spark really dwindled?

Every relationship has its highs and lows, good days and bad days but what if you sense your relationship has fizzled out? When a relationship goes cold, it is a big indicator that you’re in a loveless marriage. Saving a loveless marriage can be extremely difficult, especially when your relationship has been in trouble for a long time. If you’re trying to figure out whether you should be trying to fix your marriages or not, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is: Do I want to save this relationship or do I want to leave it? Here are eight signs you’re in a loveless marriage.

You stop communicating your concerns.

Communication is key in ever marriage. One of the biggest signs of a loveless marriage is when you and your spouse stop communicating your concerns with one another. If your relationship has gone cold, it’s important to confront the underlying issues that brought the relationship to the place it’s in. There could be a number of factors interfering with passion in your relationship: medication, stress and financial issues are just a few. If there is something that’s interfering in your marriage, it’s time to have a talk with your partner. Voice your concerns and listen to your partners concerns as well. Open communication is a huge step towards bringing your relationship out of the pit.

There is no spark.

While many couples get caught in the same old routines, love can still be very present. A big sign that love is missing from your marriage is when there is no spark anymore. You don’t feel anything for each other, you may even think negatively of each other. If you’re caught in a daily routine with your romantic partner, it’s easy for things to get stagnant and when boredom ensues, it can manifest itself in every area of the relationship including intimacy. One way to bring passion back is by switching up your everyday routine and creating fresh experiences. Go out. Go to places you’ve never been before. Surprise your significant other with a night out somewhere special. Going the extra mile can go a long way and is just the newness you may need to get things back on track.

You withhold affection.

Withholding affection can cause irreparable damage in a relationship. Whether affection means being really touchy-feely, asking each other intense questions about meaningful things, or helping each other through obstacles, being absent and unaffectionate hurts the person you’re with and can really hurt your relationship. If there’s an intentional lack or even absence of affection, then it can cause serious doubts to show up in the relationship that are big enough to devastate it. If either of you is doing this to the other, it’s important that you get to the heart of the issue. You and the person you’re with should always feel loved, valued and appreciated.

You are condescending.

Only staying because it’s convenient.

Staying in a marriage only because it’s convenient is a major sign that love is missing. Good marriages always have a level of convenience, in that they aren’t disruptive to your everyday life, but convenience becomes very problematic when the relationship has no sparks whatsoever. At this point, you don’t think of love anymore, just the benefits. Whether it’s because you don’t want to disappoint your family with a breakup or because you have a big trip planned in the next few months, staying together just because you feel you should only leads to bitter resentment and an excessive amount of fighting and heartbreak, when there was a chance you might’ve been able to remain friendly.

Always using defense mechanisms.

Another big reason some marriages are loveless is because one or both partners don’t know exactly how to cope with their feelings. When we most need to connect, we’re apt to feel vulnerable and withdraw or put up a wall that goes where we go. As a result of this, defense mechanisms will show up in the relationship. Defense mechanisms are manners in which we behave or think in certain ways to better protect or defend ourselves. They are one way of looking at how people distance themselves from a full awareness of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In short, these are ways of keeping ourselves protected from getting hurt. Unfortunately, while trying to protect our heart, we push away love.

Your relationship lacks intimacy.

Many people automatically think there are issues in the marriage when you’re no longer being physically intimate with each other, but it can be more than the absence of sex. Not wanting to be close to your partner or show signs of affection is a big sign that you’re in a loveless marriage. If physical affection has declined in your relationship, it’s unrealistic to think you can automatically jump back to the way things were. However, it’s important to reestablish it. A lack of intimacy in a relationship, whether physical or emotional, is not only frustrating but also unhealthy. This requires you to let down your walls and let your partner in, in ways you may be afraid to. This is a gradual process which often starts by reestablishing trust. The more you build on it, the stronger the relationship will be.

Refusing to let go of the past.

Many marriages stay loveless because one or more parties in the relationship refuse to let go of the past and ultimately end up holding on to the hurt. Hanging on to old grievances is part of the intent to protect. Often, we will blame our partner for our pain rather than taking responsibility for whatever choices we made that resulted in our unhappiness. But continuing to hold on to the past pain will drain you of energy, take over your thoughts and prevent you from moving forward. Letting go of your past hurt is vital in moving forward in your relationship and in life. This often begins with forgiveness. Offering forgiveness can help you let go of past hurt. When you forgive someone, it’s about releasing yourself from the pain someone else caused you.

These things might not seem too big in the very beginning but the longer they are present, they more they damage your marriage. Committing these offenses not only signal a loveless relationship, but also are especially harmful to the well-being of those involved. These seven things truly have the power to implode your relationship. If your marriage is worth fixing, it’s important that you deal with these things with all that you have.

Signs you're in a loveless marriage (and how to cope with it)

In This Article

Every couple dreams of marital bliss.

From the moment they started planning their wedding till death do them part, they are hoping to live a happy married life.

Like most hopes and dreams, only a lucky few get to achieve it. It takes a lot of sacrifices, hard work, and a lifetime of grinding to reach the finish line.

Most couples start their married life in high spirits.

Starting their own family, making their own decisions, doing everything together, and so on and so forth sounds like a lot of fun.

Apparently, all of the above is harder said than done.

Stress builds up, and romance takes a back seat. Even responsible couples find it challenging to find the time for each other.

It doesn’t happen overnight, but their marriage is turning into a loveless marriage slowly.

Signs of a loveless marriage

As the story goes, if you put a live frog in boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put a frog in lukewarm water and heat it up slowly, it will not perceive the danger until it’s cooked to death.

A majority of loveless marriages are similar to a boiling frog. The relationship degrades gradually, and the couple does not notice it until it’s too late.

Here are signs that your marriage is already in hot water.

1. You stop saying “I love you” to each other

One of the most apparent loveless relationship signs is the lack of affection when you talk to each other.

Do you still remember when your relationship was new and you couldn’t stop saying sweet nothings to each other?

The moment it stops completely is a red flag.

2. Every little thing turns into a huge fight

If the first sign is a signal of an unhappy marriage, this sign means that your relationship is in a critical boiling point.

If little things about your spouse irritate you to the point of madness, it’s time to step back and reassess your relationship.

3. You turn to others for comfort

The moment your spouse becomes a source of animosity, some people turn to something, such as alcohol , video games, or someone else for support, if this happening to you then your marriage is in jeopardy.

A marriage without love is troublesome, but the moment partners start to love someone/something else , then it’s a sign that the marriage is at its last leg.

4. You find staying at home stressful

A person should view their own home as a refuge.

It doesn’t matter if the person lives alone or with a big family. The ideal home life is a place where one rejuvenates and gets away from worldly problems.

The moment your home, and in particular, your spouse, becomes a source of stress, then your relationship is not working out.

The moment you find yourself making excuses to avoid going home, including really working overtime, it’s a sign of a loveless marriage.

5. You avoid sex

A sexless marriage is already a red flag in itself, but if you or your partner is purposely avoiding it, then that’s not just a threat to your relationship, but it could also lead to depression.

It’s a typical pattern for long-term couples to tone down sexual activities as they get older, but avoiding sex is a whole different issue altogether.

6. You regret marrying the person

One clear sign of being stuck in a loveless marriage is when you blame your partner for not achieving all the things you could have done if you hadn’t married them.

Regretting your decision to marry your current spouse shows you subconsciously believe you made the wrong choice.

7. Historical-hysterical

You and your spouse fight a lot, and when you do, it never ends with a constructive conversation.

It always starts with shouting, finger-pointing, name-calling, and eventually a list of all the wrong things each partner did since time immemorial.

It then ends with one partner walking out in anger or violence.

If your relationship has gone from unicorns and rainbows to hellfire and brimstone, then you’re not only in a loveless marriage, you’re in a dangerous one.

Fixing a loveless marriage and getting back on track

If your relationship is exhibiting more than a few loveless marriage signs, it’s time to think about moving forward with your marriage or divorce.

If you want a divorce , then prepare yourself with what’s to come.

Keep your nose clean and don’t give your spouse ammunition in case the divorce arbitration becomes messy. Some examples are getting caught cheating, neglecting your children, or irresponsible spending.

Do your research about divorce and what to expect, also run a calculation on finances to see if you can afford being separated from your partner. This is especially true if you are not the breadwinner of the family.

If you are looking to reconcile , then you may need the help of a marriage counselor to restart constructive communication.

If you are still willing to fix your relationship, don’t sabotage it by getting into more fights.

A loveless marriage isn’t really loveless

Unless it’s a modern arranged marriage for money or power, most loveless marriages are just a couple having a rough patch.

The romance is gone, and responsibilities just got in the way. Rekindling your relationship takes a lot of work, that’s why you have to be determined about doing it yourself.

Just like how it took time to turn your dream marital life into the cesspool it is now, it will also take time to put it back together.

Over time, you will know if your partner is also willing to fix your marriage.

Agreeing to go to a marriage counselor is a good sign. One or both of you may have committed infidelity as an escape. Discuss it privately with your therapist.

Laying your cards on the table can help regain trust, or it can damage it beyond repair.

Signs of a loveless marriage are symptoms, not a disease

All those signs are just manifestations of deeper problem/s in your relationship. But one thing is for sure, you and your spouse need to be partners again.

In love, sex, and marriage. Only then can you resolve problems as a couple, and the symptoms of the disease will go away.

You’re unhappy in your marriage, but you’ve decided to stay. It’s been a gut-wrenching decision, and you’re beginning to wonder how you can stay and keep your sanity. You alternate between wanting to leave and praying that it will get easier.

This article shows how to make the best of an unhappy marriage. It takes a lot of soul-searching to make this decision. When you’ve been together for several years (or longer) and there are kids, making this choice can weigh heavily on your heart.

Despite being in an unhappy marriage, there are reasons you are willing to stay.

Common reasons to stay in an unhappy marriage:

  • For the kids (the most-reported reason)
  • Fear of financial insecurity
  • Not wanting to be alone
  • The stigma of divorce
  • Not wanting to start over
  • Wanting to avoid the hassle

It’s a very personal decision but once you make up your mind to stay, you have some choices to make.

You can learn how to create an amicable home despite the relationship failing. Sometimes, these tools lead to reconciliation but if not, you can still keep your home a safe haven for everyone involved.

*Note: If you are in an abusive relationship, these suggestions will not be enough to keep you and your kids safe. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. They have the resources to help.

Practicing detachment to cope

When a marriage isn’t working but you’re not ready to leave, detachment can be a lifesaver. Detachment is letting someone be who they are while protecting yourself from their consequences. Often this concept is associated with addiction, but it also helps create distance from certain behaviors that drive you nuts.

Detachment works when there is:

  • Drinking or drug use
  • Verbal abuse or criticism
  • Annoying habits
  • Problems that you cannot resolve
  • Behaviors that you want to change
  • Aggressive behavior

Every marriage has annoyances that create tension. Detachment provides that emotional space between you and the annoying behavior. It gives you a chance to walk away and take care of yourself instead of trying to fix it.

Detachment is letting other people be who they are without trying to change or fix them. Often, the relationship improves because when you detach, you argue less.

It’s letting go of the expectation that your partner will change. Accepting them for who they are relieves frustration.

When you focus too much on someone else’s behavior it’s easy to lose yourself. Trying to control someone else’s behavior is exhausting. You get derailed from your own life because you are obsessing about theirs. Hoping they will change or finally “show up” for you.

What does detaching look like?

  • Treating your spouse as a kind stranger would
  • Stop giving advice or trying to change them
  • Letting go of the small stuff
  • Not commenting on their behavior
  • Letting them make their own choices

Doing these behaviors encourages goodwill. Maintaining pleasantries such as please and thanks sets a powerful tone for the entire family. The kids see how to be respectful while you’re hurting.

Detaching means be light and polite

Being polite helps avoid those same old arguments. The home becomes less stressful. As you start make these positive changes you realize that you have the power to end the war — or at least not participate in it.

The Benefits of Detachment:

  • You have more energy to care for yourself and the kids
  • Not interfering helps you keep calm in the moment
  • There is less arguing because you’re not trying to change your partner
  • You stop expecting your spouse to meet all of your needs
  • Letting go of what isn’t working keeps expectations realistic

Find New Ways to Connect

Finding neutral ways to connect is important. When couples are unhappy, family rituals go out the window. Make an effort to keep a few going such as having breakfast together or checking in after work.

You can choose to stay and be miserable or find a way to be pleasant. That’s the power you do have which can open the door to healing. If not, at least you’re not living in a relationship war zone.

Neutral Ways to Connect in an Unhappy Marriage:

  • Make an effort to enjoy your kids’ events
  • Have some meals together
  • Watch a movie as a family
  • Talk about safe, neutral topics
  • Make daily conversations pleasant and light-hearted

This may or may not lead to reconciliation. Either way, you can co-exist in the midst of an unhappy marriage by creating new ways to connect.

Get Your Own Life Going Despite the Marriage

Part of coping with an unhappy marriage is redefining your own life. How you think determines much of the outcome. By focusing on the problem, the problem grows, but when your mind shifts to the solution, anxiety and hopelessness decrease. You start to have hope again.

Instead of expecting your partner to fulfill your needs, find alternatives. Getting enough support is another aspect of growing your independence. Join a support meet-up group to increase your social circle. Feeling more connected makes you feel less alone.

A Happier Self Heals You in an Unhappy Marriage

Starting to take better care of yourself is the next step. Join a gym or start to go out with friends. Show genuine interest in your partner’s day without resentment. The kids will be happier, and you’ll be less stressed. Your spouse may even become more amiable.

Stop fighting over what you cannot change and learn to focus on what you can. In the long run, even if the marriage fails, creating a happier connection means that everyone wins.

Last medically reviewed on September 21, 2017

Signs you're in a loveless marriage (and how to cope with it)

In This Article

Your spouse used to be the highlight of your day. They made you feel safe, special, sexually desired and loved. But now you find yourself in an unhappy marriage and spending time with your partner is one of the last things you want to do.

What is the source of your unhappiness? What is the state of your emotional and physical intimacy with your partner? Have you and your spouse drifted apart, or is there something deeper that’s affecting your marriage? These are important questions to consider when coping with an unhappy marriage.

If your marriage has turned into a relationship you don’t even recognize, it can be difficult not to feel hopeless – but don’t give up. Studies show that there may be a good reason to stick it out with your mate, even if you are in an unhappy marriage.

Common signs of an unhappy marriage

You’re always arguing: While it’s normal for healthy couples to argue every now and then, it should not be a regular part of your daily life. Studies show that consistent arguing can have a negative effect on one’s psychological well-being.

You feel lonely: One of the many benefits of getting married is that you get to be with your best friend every single day. This should not be something that makes you feel lonely. If it does, you are likely in an unhappy marriage.

Your Sex Life is Non-Existent: One of the biggest predictors of an unhappy marriage is an invisible sex life. Of course, raising children , working full-time, or working opposite shifts than your spouse can all get in the way of making love. Studies even show that sexual history has a big impact on marital happiness.

But many find that their sex life will take a hit when there is marital discord . Either you desire to be with your partner and they aren’t giving you the time of day, or you have completely lost interest in being intimate with your spouse.

If it is the latter, it is likely that you no longer feel a deep emotional intimacy in your marriage and a deeper issue is the cause.

Money is always on your mind: One study reveals that couples in a low-income marriage are more likely to be hurt by mental health issues or other stressful life events than couples from a higher socioeconomic level.

You don’t like being alone together: When you and your spouse are alone together it doesn’t feel romantic, it just feels awkward. You constantly find yourself inviting other couples over or planning solo outing just so that you can have someone else to talk to.

You’re talking to someone else: This is a giant red flag of marital unhappiness. If you have kept in touch with an ex or are pursuing a “friendship” with someone you are attracted to, you may be trying to fill your spouse’s shoes with someone new.

How to fix an unhappy marriage

No matter what issue you are dealing with in your relationship , you cannot fix your marriage overnight. But, there are some steps you can take to start healing today.

Have an honest conversation

They say communication is the key to a happy marriage. Your partner can’t read your mind, nor can they try and fix your relationship if you are employing the “silent treatment”. Communicate openly and honestly with your spouse about how you are feeling, about the problems in your relationship, and genuinely express to them that you want to be happy with them again.

Think as a team

Part of escaping from your unhappy marriage is being willing to make the first move and start from scratch with a clean slate. This means thinking of each other as a team. True partner’s – not enemies.

Part of thinking as a team is showing consideration for your partner. You can do this when making decisions by consulting your spouse about them first. Look for ways to be kind to one another each day, and approach arguments as a team by attacking the subject at hand and not each other.

Also watch: How to Find Happiness in Your Marriage

Look for ways to connect

One way you can heal your relationship is by spending more time together.

They say husbands and wives should never stop “Dating” – each other, that is! During the dating portion of your relationship, you were constantly getting to know one another. Figuring out your favorite food, pastimes, and hobbies seemed fun and exciting. You were connecting like never before.

Over the years you’ve stopped trying to get to know one another. You’ve stopped “dating”. You rarely plan fun outings, you don’t have romantic dinners , and you’ve definitely stopped talking to each other as friends or even lovers.

If you want to escape your unhappy marriage you need to take the initiative to get to know one another again. Act as though you just met. Ask your spouse about their favorite things, their hobbies, dreams, and goals. You may be surprised at what you learn and how much you actually like this “new” person.

Stop blaming each other

If you have been together for a long time, or have been unhappy for a while now, you likely have some built up anger and resentment toward your spouse. It’s easy at that point to blame your spouse for everything that has gone wrong in your relationship but don’t.

Avoid pointing the finger at your partner. Playing the blame game is a surefire way to put your spouse in defensive-mode instead of giving them an open space to communicate about your issues. Instead of focusing on past mistakes, acknowledge that both of you have played a part in the decline of your marriage and it will take both of you to fix it.

Focus on the positives

Your spouse isn’t romantic, they’re not interested in your hobbies, or they aren’t much of a talker, but what are some of their positive qualities? Perhaps they are a trustworthy partner, a wonderful provider, or they always know how to make you laugh.

Don’t let negativity overtake what was once a wonderful marriage. Instead, focus on the positives and choose something to be thankful for every day.

Stick it out

All couples go through peaks and valleys in their marriages. Sometimes it’s great, other times you wonder what you were ever thinking saying the words: I do. But if you truly want to be with your spouse until “death do us part”, science is suggesting that you stick it out*.

New research reveals that couples who stick out the tough years in their marriage end up happier for it. The study sheds light on findings from 10,000 parents. Results reveal that of th e 70% of couples wh o were unhappy after the birth of their first child, a whopping 68% reported being anywhere from happy to “Extremely Happy” 10 years later.

A marriage, in many ways, is like a rollercoaster. It’s an amazing experience, but it has its ups and downs . Many couples go through periods of unhappiness, but that is no reason to give up on trying to change your relationship. Life is what you make of it. Coping with an unhappy marriage is all about changing your perspective.

* This advice excludes those who put themselves at risk by staying in an emotionally, physically, or mentally abusive relationship.

Signs you're in a loveless marriage (and how to cope with it)

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Learn more about bipolar disorder and relationships by reading our relationship blogs.

Bipolar disorder wears many faces. There are as many experiences with bipolar disorder as there are people with bipolar. These experiences run the gamut from wonderful and exciting to confusing, disappointing and devastating. This article addresses some of the issues that can arise when dealing with a spouse with bipolar disorder.

Like all individuals, people with bipolar disorder have many good attributes, but at times, they also display less desirable qualities, such as being withdrawn, irritable, moody, and depressed. They may be affectionate and loving sometimes and then cold and distant at other times. The person may welcome and enjoy sex one day, while rejecting affection the next day. These erratic behaviors can be quite challenging for all concerned, especially spouses.

At times the person with bipolar disorder may experience manic or hypomanic episodes (manic but more controlled and less extreme) during which they can be fun, interesting, talkative, upbeat and full of energy. At other times, the person may experience depression that effects them physically, spiritually and soulfully. The spouse might feel confused, not knowing how to deal with certain behaviors.

The tricky part comes up when neither you nor your spouse knows bipolar disorder may be behind the tension and trouble between the two of you. Often the individual doesn’t even know she has bipolar disorder. People can go years and even decades without a diagnosis or treatment. It might take you to get them in for a diagnosis.

If your spouse has experienced debilitating periods of sadness, followed by periods of high excitement and activity, he or she may have bipolar disorder. Below, you’ll find a list of typical behaviors exhibited by those with bipolar disorder. If your spouse or significant other has been unusually excited or active for a week at a time and displays three of the symptoms listed below, talk with your healthcare provider about bipolar disorder.

  • Racing thoughts, rapid speech
  • Easily distracted, can’t concentrate well
  • Exaggerated optimism and self-confidence
  • An inflated perspective about abilities and qualities
  • Impulsive and reckless behavior
  • Poor decision making, rash business decisions
  • Shopping sprees, excessive money-spending
  • Irresponsible driving choices
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Delusions (holding untrue beliefs)
  • Hallucinations (seeing and/or hearing things that aren’t there)

Another way to determine if a person has bipolar disorder is to consider his or her childhood. The lives of teens struggling with mood disorders can be marred by poor decisions and/or ineffective, misguided attempts to cope. Teens with mood disorders may experience the following symptoms and/or behaviors:

  • Academic struggles
  • School suspension or expulsion
  • Destruction of property
  • Social isolation
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Frequent misunderstandings
  • Inability to finish projects
  • Reckless behavior (speeding, unprotected sex, over-spending)
  • Extreme defiance
  • Poor social skills
  • Disconnection
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Keep in mind that adults with bipolar disorder may have experienced a childhood in which they were aware that their moods and behaviors were different from their peers, resulting in a sense of being different, disconnected, or outcast. As a result they are likely to develop poor coping skills that do them an injustice as adults. Some of these coping mechanisms include:

Disconnection: When young people with bipolar can’t understand or predict others’ moods and behaviors, they may cope with feeling disconnected by withdrawing, usually interacting with one or very few people who can meet their needs.

Controlling Behaviors: When you can’t predict someone else’s behavior, one way to feel safe is to learn to control others. Control is a subtle art, and often controlling people have been practicing it for decades. A portion of the bipolar population becomes “controlling.” This at first can show up as a talkative and outgoing, but soon suggestions and discussions become manipulative. Examples of controlling statements include:

  • “Why would you do that?”
  • “Does that really make sense?”
  • “Only an insecure person would think that way.”

These habits can be so ingrained that they are difficult to change without professional help.

Drug/Alcohol Abuse: The feelings someone with bipolar disorder experiences can be so overwhelming, they might think the only way out is with street drugs. A significant proportion of those who abuse alcohol and narcotics have an underlying mood disorder, particularly bipolar disorder and depression.

Overspending: During mania or hypomania, someone with bipolar disorder can find all sorts of reasons to rationalize spending gobs of money on whatever their hearts desire. Some people who know they struggle with this choose to let their spouses control the money, particularly when they recognize a manic episode coming on. This may involve the other spouse keeping the credit cards or even the car keys.

Irritability: People with bipolar disorder and even those with depression can experience uncontrollable irritability. A spouse often serves as an outlet for their overwhelming anger, but so can children, other drivers and other family members.

Grandiosity: The imbalance of chemicals in the brain can cause those with bipolar disorder to have an inflated images of themselves. They may feel they’re more talented or more psychic than most. They may think that they’re needed take care of governmental or world-wide problems.

Try to remember that the person suffering from bipolar disorder does not directly control most of these behaviors (although they can learn to work on them in therapy). They are influenced by the balance or imbalance of chemicals in their brain.

What Does It Mean for Our Marriage if My Spouse Has Bipolar Disorder?

There are two answers to this question. If you spouse fully accepts the diagnosis and resolves to get treatment, you could begin working together and make the marriage stronger than ever. Many people with bipolar disorder have happy, successful marriages.

If, on the other hand, your spouse refuses treatment, you must learn to protect yourself from abuse. Abuse can take the form of

  • Verbal abuse (rampant blaming)
  • Financial abuse (spending money; taking on massive debt)
  • Emotional abuse (controlling, cruel behavior)
  • Physical abuse (when irritability spins out of control)

Read our article on Encouraging a Loved One to Get Help for tips on discussing bipolar with your spouse. And see our article on Finding a Good Therapist for when they are ready to take that step.

We offer a variety of resources to help those with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. One of these is our free e-book, Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder, which covers all of the basic information you need to know about bipolar. View a list of the rest of our programs here.

Marriages, especially ones that have lasted for decades, take work. Every day will not be a honeymoon. Arguments, compromises, and sacrifices will no doubt be daily currency. While the give and take in a relationship is normal, there are instances when staying married is not a sustainable option.

It can be terrifying to end a decades-long marriage and start over in your 50s, 60s, and 70s. For this reason, many older women stay with their partner, even if it is not in their own best interest.

But how do you know when it is time to leave your marriage, versus staying in it? Every woman’s situation is different, but if you are in any of the following situations, regardless of how long you have been married, it may be time to consider your options.

There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s when it comes to abuse. It is wrong, you do not deserve it, and you need to leave that situation as soon as you can.

For years, our culture has told us that running the household and making the marriage work is our duty. As a result, we put this enormous pressure on ourselves to keep the marriage intact, even if it is harmful or dangerous to us.

Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse, or the threat of abuse, you do not deserve it. There are resources out there to help you leave.

It does not matter how many years you have invested in a relationship. You may have even told yourself, “I may as well stay since I’ve already invested all this time and I’ll learn to cope.” But please, for your sake and for those who love you, do not stay. It’s time to realize you deserve to be safe and respected.

Anyone who is married for more than a few years understands that there will be ups and downs. However, if you are not being treated as an equal partner in the relationship, that’s a problem. If your wants and needs are ignored or mocked, that’s a problem. If you are being cheated on, that’s a problem.

These actions are symptoms of a larger problem. They show that your partner is not valuing you in the way that you should be valued. Never forget for a second that you are a queen and that you deserve to be with someone who will love you and respect you and treat you right.

If you find yourself continually justifying your partner’s disrespectful behavior, or, even more alarming, you have become numb to it, it might be time to reconsider the value of that marriage.

If you justify, and continue to justify, everything over your own happiness and mental health, there is a problem. You, a woman over 50, are a part of a resilient group. Women of your generation demanded more for themselves. They broke out of what society told them they should be and how they should act.

You have made a lot of sacrifices along the way, especially when it came to balancing the demands of marriage, motherhood, and career. During those years, you probably had dreams of your own deferred.

It’s common for most women to have made that type of sacrifice. However, the red flag starts to wave if keeping your marriage together is at the expense of your own happiness and mental health. If you are continually discouraged from pursuing your own dreams and happiness, it’s time to consider if staying in the marriage has been a reason for that neglect.

Perhaps you feel like nothing will change for the better, and your spouse is unwilling to try. If you are in one of the above situations, where you are mistreated and disrespected, it may be time to stop. This holds true if you continue to justify your spouse’s misbehavior towards you, or continue to prioritize everything over your own mental health and happiness.

You may have the opportunity to work things out with the help of a good counselor or other professional. These types of services can be a godsend for some, but there are times when it’s not a cure-all.

It takes both partners to make a relationship work. Perhaps you do not want to leave and have done everything you can to try to make the relationship work. Yet if your spouse is still unwilling to work on it, he is sending you the message that you may not want to hear – you deserve better.

Ending a marriage is a messy and complicated process. It can be terrifying to take that leap – the one where you go from having a predictable but unhappy existence to one that is full of uncertainty and stress. But remember that there is a whole new chapter of your life that awaits you if you decide to do so.

Recognizing that you deserve to feel safe and free from abuse and harm, that you deserve to be treated with respect regardless of how long you have been married is important.

Knowing that you deserve to have your own independence and happiness despite years of sacrificing for others, can be the motivation that gives you the courage to leave a relationship that is no longer healthy for you – even after age 50.

Do you find yourself easily agitated and frustrated most of the time? If you find that your personality changed over the years and you are mostly angry with your partner, then it’s possible that the environment has become toxic and it’s time to make a change. Sometimes the change means leaving the relationship.

Sometimes it’s neither abuse nor flagrant disrespect but little things that your partner does that annoy you and that are not conducive to a healthy and loving relationship. You have the right to be happy and to live in a nurturing environment that promotes your happiness and unique personality.

Has your marriage ended? How did you know it was time to leave? What advice would you give other women who are struggling with the decision to stay or go? Let’s have a conversation and support each other!

The term loveless marriage can describe several situations, ranging from a loss of initial feelings of love to the experience of violent abuse. (In the case of spousal abuse, the abused spouse should seek help through legal and emotionally supportive avenues. Physically removing oneself from the situation is often necessary while ongoing therapy takes place. An abused spouse should never resume living in the same house with a former abuser who has not proved his or her trustworthiness.) For the purposes of this article, we will define loveless marriage as one in which no physical abuse takes place but in which one or both spouses have lost all affection for each other and live as silent roommates.

God’s design for marriage was revealed in the Garden of Eden when God created a woman for Adam and brought her to him as a helper (Genesis 2:21–24). The word translated “helper” comes from a Hebrew word that is also used in describing the help God gives (Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 33:20). So a wife’s God-given role is to assist her husband in the tasks God has given him and provide support, wisdom, encouragement, and sometimes deliverance just as God gives us. The husband’s role is clearly laid out in Ephesians 5:25–33. Loving his wife is not a suggestion for a husband; it is a command. Any husband who is not working to display selfless, Christlike love toward his wife is in direct disobedience to God’s Word. If a husband fails to do this, his prayers will be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

Sometimes a loveless marriage is the result of being unequally yoked together with an unbeliever (see 2 Corinthians 6:14). The unbelieving spouse couldn’t care less about obedience to God’s Word. In those cases, the apostle Paul gives instruction: if the unbelieving spouse consents to remain in the marriage and is not abusive, the Christian should stay and demonstrate the love of Christ (1 Corinthians 7:12–16). The first fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22–23 is love. When we have no human love to offer, we can call upon the Lord and ask that the Holy Spirit love the spouse through us. It is doubtful that Jesus felt warm, emotional affection for the men who were nailing Him to a cross. Yet He asked the Father to forgive them, and He died for them anyway (Luke 23:33–34; Romans 5:8). Jesus’ demonstration of love can be an inspiration for us all, even in regards to our marriages.

If counseling is available, loveless marriages can benefit from the wise, objective viewpoint of a biblical counselor (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22). Sometimes a marriage grows stale through neglect and ongoing, inconsiderate behaviors of which a couple may be unaware. An outside perspective can quickly spot problem areas and call attention to them. If the couple is willing to work, a loveless marriage can quickly return to loving. Even if one spouse refuses to cooperate with counseling, the willing spouse can benefit from going alone. An objective viewpoint can sometimes help one spouse see things differently and therefore respond in better ways to the unloving spouse.

Like a rock thrown into a pond, changes thrown into dysfunctional cycles create new patterns of response. Here is an example of the way one spouse can change the course of a loveless marriage: if Sue no longer screams at John when he is rude, he must react to her gentle response in a different way than he has previously done. Instead of escalating the anger, he scales back his boorish behavior to match her more mature attitude. Her quiet smile and refusal to engage showcase his own selfishness, and he often responds with less hostility. The fight cycle is interrupted, and a new cycle begins with less stress and more kindness (Proverbs 15:1). Over time, that new, healthier cycle can evolve into affection, and the couple learns to enjoy each other once more.

There are several things a Christian can do to reinvest in a loveless marriage:

1. Set healthy boundaries. Learn when to walk away, disengage, or reject hurtful words or patterns. Refusing to engage in fights that lead nowhere is one way a boundary can strengthen a marriage.

2. Pray for each other. The best way to forgive and love someone who has hurt us is to lift him or her up before God (Ephesians 4:32). God is for the marriage, so we know we are praying in accordance with His will when we pray for restoration of love and hope (1 John 5:14–15).

3. Watch your words. We tend to believe what we speak. If we find ourselves regularly bashing our spouse or complaining about the marriage, we will start believing it. Wisdom dictates that we practice controlling our tongues and speaking only that which is “true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable” (Philippians 4:8).

4. Pay attention to the little things. When a couple first falls in love, they notice every little thing and are eager to please each other. However, if we are not intentional about continuing those practices, we fall into a rut and take each other for granted. Restoring love to a loveless marriage is done one little thing at a time. Discover the spouse’s love language and work to meet that need every day.

A Christian should respond to a loveless marriage by refusing to participate in the behaviors causing the problem. Even if one spouse shows no interest in reestablishing an emotional connection, a Christian should do what is right. We are not called to retaliate or return evil for evil, but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). We are called out from the world to be light-bearers (Matthew 5:14), the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), and a chosen priesthood (1 Peter 2:9–10). Our mission is not to please ourselves but to please our heavenly Father (1 Corinthians 10:32). He is pleased when we endure difficulties with patience and do whatever is within our power to revive a loveless marriage.

You want to fix these before it’s too late.

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Signs you're in a loveless marriage (and how to cope with it)

The concept of a loveless marriage sounds terrifying, conjuring images of two people who are forced to live out their years together in spite of the obvious contempt they hold for each other. Like those depictions of rich couples in cartoons who sit at opposite ends of a very long table and only speak to one another with the ring of a butler’s bell. But the truth is almost more sinister and more devastating. A loveless marriage doesn’t necessarily mean a marriage in which love has been supplanted by hate. Instead, it’s more often a marriage in which love has simply ceased to exist, replaced by a sterile, anodyne sense of complacency and routine. It’s the roommate phase, but taken to a whole new level of disinterest. What’s worse is that couples stuck in this loveless phase will often remain there because the alternative is too painful to consider.

“A loveless marriage is a marriage that is more so for necessity then for pleasure or desire,” says relationship coach Jenna Ponaman. “This kind of marriage is sustained out of fear; fear of failing, fear of having to start over, fear of being alone.”

Needless to say, if fear is the driving impulse of your marriage, then it is in serious trouble. Here are some warning signs that you might be heading down the loveless path and attempt to correct.

  1. You’re Just Too Comfortable
    In pajamas by eight, on the couch by nine. You and your partner have fallen into a routine that has removed all the connection from your relationship. Neither of you has any real ill will towards the other, but you’re just kind of stuck in a rut. You’re a pair of warm bodies to each other and little else. “Some couples find their way into a comfy (but not very hot) companionship, and need to relight the flame,” says Rachel Zamore, a relationship expert and couples therapist.
  2. You Have Become Independent of Each Other
    To the outside world, you both seem to be a happy and loving couple, but at home, you are both living your own lives. You’re more roommates than you are partners. This is the first warning sign of lovelessness creeping into a marriage.
  3. Your Partner No Longer Appeals to You
    If your partner no longer seems attractive to you or if you’ve lost the effort to want to change things or making things different, you may have slipped into this dark territory. You will know if you were in a loveless marriage…if you feel like you have given up even if you have not said the words ‘I love you’ out loud,” Ponaman says, “you feel no motivation to work on the marriage, you daydream of how things should be different, and are more focused on staying to not be alone rather than dwelling on the good times and what could be again.”
  4. You Begin to Resent Your Partner
    Parenthood represents a turning point in any marriage, and usually that’s a good thing. However, the stress and commitment that comes from raising kids can also lead to miscommunications, arguments, and slow-burning resentment. And, if left unchecked, that slow burn can become a full-on conflagration. “Desire does not coexist well with resentment,” says Zamore, “and many couples lack the tools to navigate the emotionally difficult terrain that can come with feelings of scarcity about time and affection.”

If you’re trapped in a loveless marriage, it doesn’t mean that you have to stay that way. There are a number of ways that you and your partner can bring some of the heat back into your relationship. Communication is where it starts, experts agree. Try and talk to one another about the things that brought you together in the first place. What were the things about your partner that excited you in those early dating days? Can you get back to that in some way? Make time for things like date nights and morning quickies, things that bring spontaneity and excitement back into the relationship.

And, Zamore says, don’t be afraid of delving into couples therapy. Peeling back the layers of your relationship to find out why it’s stalled can be painful, but the results will be very rewarding. “ Whether it’s a rough patch or something deeper, there’s usually some part of what’s going on that is within each person, and some part of it that is in the relationship field, or the ‘space between,” she says. “Through the process of couples therapy (if both people are interested in healing), or discernment counseling (when one person is leaning out, and one leaning in — wanting to get clear about the next best step for the relationship), most couples can learn more about themselves and how they got to this point in the relationship, and find their way forward with greater ease and confidence.”