A marriage usually comes with its challenge, and almost every couple will confess that they have had a share of their problems at one point in their union. The most common arguments among couples are money, neglect by one of the partners, parenting, relationship with in-laws, and sometimes infidelity. When the satisfaction of the relationship is declining, it is common to wonder whether the union is heading in the right direction.
The following are some of the warning signs you are likely to spot when your marriage is not working and may need some help to get back on track:
- You don’t enjoy spending time with your spouse. Do you prefer spending time with other people more than your partner? Do you dread coming home? Would you instead visit family or go out with friends rather than staying at home with your partner watching a movie together? It is not an issue to spend time apart, but when you do so to AVOID your partner’s company, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
- You fight all the time. It seems like there is nothing that won't cause an argument any more. You try but it keeps ending in arguments, and you are getting tired of it.
- You used to fight, and now you don’t anymore. This is actually more dangerous than fighting because it is a sign that talking is so hard that it should be avoided. Once dialogue is shut off, problems cannot be solved.
- You can’t have conversations about your wants and needs. You don’t regularly fight, but when you want to talk about your dreams, wishes and needs, your partner either minimizes them, tells you are wrong, or gets angry, leaving you feeling like it was wrong for you to ask.
- Infidelity. Whether you are being unfaithful or just found out your partner is betraying you, infidelities are one of the leading reasons for divorce. It is possible to heal from an affair or betrayal, when both partners want to save the marriage and are committed to do so. Betrayals can be emotional, physical or keeping a secret from your significant other.
- You feel taken for granted. You feel you try to please your partner, but you don’t see that effort from the other side.
- Public embarrassment. When a partner talks down about their significant other in public it is a double blow. This creates two levels of issues in the relationship: not being able to talk about things intimately and a sense of betrayal for being embarrassed in front of others.
- Other people seem to know more about your spouse than you. You start realizing that others know more about your spouse's personal life than you. This is a sign that the emotional intimacy is suffering.
- Divorce is threatened regularly. Bringing up divorce comes out regularly, making you feel uneasy about the future of the marriage.
- Parenting Differences. We all have some differences with our significant others when it comes to parenting, but when it becomes a source of arguing in front of the children, it takes a toll in the marriage.
- Money issues. Money issues are one of the most common reasons spouses will have problems. It is important to be able to talk about money and how to create a budget that feels comfortable to both.
- Little to no more Sex: Sex has it’s ups and downs in relationships, however, long term little to no sex in a relationship can affect the satisfaction. Some medical conditions may be part of the quality and frequency of sex, but when sex is avoided it harms the intimacy relationship, even at an emotional level.
- You feel Lonely in the Relationship. A person may feel like he/she is not being heard or seen by their significant other, maybe because the loved one is quite busy with their job or business. Likewise, when your partner is not there for companionship and to support you emotionally, you are likely to feel lonely. Others will make it worse by side-lining their partner from significant decisions in their relationship. It is, therefore, essential to take a note on this and confront the matter.
- Hiding Sensitive information from your Partner. In every romantic relationship, friendship is one of the most critical components. Hiding crucial and sensitive information such as the loss of a job, or terminal illness from you is not healthy and may create a disconnection with your spouse. Not sharing your fears and reservations denies your partner a chance to listen and support you.
- Lack of Respect for your Privacy One of the partners may disregard the other’s right to privacy by snooping on their phones to check on the message without their consent. Some partners will go further to hack phones to listen to conversations or keep track of their spouse’s social media accounts to check who they interact with. As much as it is healthy to share things with your partner, there are boundaries to be set, and respect for privacy is one of them. This would show either there is trust that needs to be healed, or there are insecurities that need to be addressed. Checking on phones and emails is, however, necessary to do when an infidelity has occurred, to help create transparency. But it should be done openly and both partners should know that it is happening.
Every marriage has its issues, and after identifying the above warning signs, it is up to the couple to decide whether they want to fix their marriage or not. But with determination from both sides, nothing is impossible as I have witnessed many relationships that have hit rock bottom rekindle their love and become stronger together. All they have to do is pinpoint the problems and address them, and if it feels like they cannot be worked out, then seek professional help before giving it your all and calling it quits.
When there is a will there is away, relationships are complex, so if there is love and the will, relationships can also be resilient and heal.
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SOFIA M. ROBIROSA
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.