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Is Your Marriage Over? 7 Truths You Need to Face

When you’re struggling with the “is my marriage over?” question, you may find yourself veering from “yes, our relationship is done” to “there’s still hope for our marriage!” in the space of minutes. How do you know if your marriage is over or if it’s going through a natural down cycle?

“In my work doing marriage coaching, I have noticed that very often the turning point in a marriage is when a couple hits rock bottom,” says marriage coach Mort Fertel. “It’s not until they’ve been through the worst that things start to get better.”

So, one way to know if your marriage is over is to ask if you’re at rock bottom yet. Are you at the lowest point of your relationship? How do you know? The truth is that you won’t find the answers you’re searching for in a blog post about marriage. The only place you’ll find the truth is within you, your husband, and your decision together as a couple to either commit to saving your marriage or ending it (hopefully, without waging a war that involves the whole family). But since you’re here, you might as well read the most common signs a marriage is over…

“I just want to put this out there for all the other women in unhealthy relationships and to the wives who are ignoring the signs their marriage is over,” writes Kara on 5 Signs You Should Give Up Hope in Your Relationship. “My mom stayed married to my dad for 36 years even though she kept asking me if their marriage was over. It was a terrible relationship and I kept telling her to leave, but she wouldn’t. So that’s why I don’t ask for or give relationship advice. Nobody listens. They already know the truth. I do know that if you’re seeing signs you should give up hope, then you shouldn’t keep hanging on to a dead marriage.”

Your first job is to figure out why you’re wondering if your marriage is over. What brought you to this point? What circumstances, decisions, behaviors, words and events led you here? That is more important than the signs of a troubled marriage below. You have more power and control over your life than you may think.

Is Your Marriage Over?

My research uncovered the 7 most common signs a relationship is over. Remember that even if your marriage contains every one of these struggles, you may not be looking down the barrel of divorce just yet. It depends on you, your husband, and your decision as a couple to pursue a healthy marriage or let it die a sad death.

Which will it be, I wonder?

1. Your husband doesn’t care about your relationship or life together

If your husband doesn’t understand (or care) how his actions, words or decisions are affecting you, then maybe your marriage isn’t as solid as it could be. If he has no interest in working with you to compromise or build a better relationship then your marriage won’t be easy to save. If you hit rock bottom years ago and both of you have no idea how or desire to get up off the floor and rebuild your life, then it seems to me that yes…your marriage is over.

When you ask your husband, “is our marriage over?”, what does he say? If he doesn’t bother to respond – or if he says yes – then you have your answer.

2. Your husband sees your marriage clearly, but doesn’t care

“Ironically, communication in marriage sometimes give people clarity that they don’t care what their spouse thinks or feels,” says marriage coach Mort Fertel. “They understand how their partner feels and thinks, but it just doesn’t matter anymore.”

Couples get tired of the fighting, of the emotional battles, of the constant bringing up of the past and going over the same tired territory over and over. One of the most difficult – and common – relationship problems is the simple lack of energy and motivation to continue to try to save a troubled marriage. You’re both too aware of the problems because you’ve been dealing with them forever…and it just doesn’t seem worth the effort anymore.

3. You don’t connect with your husband

When you first got married, you probably felt understood, heard, and connected with your partner. Time passes, and the stress of daily life and kids and jobs and money and house all take a toll…and you find that you’re not connecting anymore. You’ve drifted apart.

This isn’t necessarily a sign your marriage is over – it just means you need to make time and effort to reconnect. Of all the signs on this list, lack of connection is probably the easiest to fix. So if this is the only sign your marriage is over, then you can rejoice! And start reconnecting with your husband.

4. You have different visions of the future of your marriage

Your husband wants a four million dollar home on oceanfront property; you want to live in a cottage in the forest and write books about elves. Your husband wants six more children; you’d rather sit in a corner and daydream about forest cottages and elves. Your husband wants his grandpop and nana to live with him in his four million dollar home; you can barely pick up the phone when grandpop calls.

So, you tell me: is your marriage over because your goals, visions, and dreams are from different planets? Or, are you both willing to work together to find a happy middle ground that includes both forest elves and grandpop?

5. You’re not physically intimate

Different expectations about physical affection isn’t a sure sign your marriage is over – but it takes a toll on your relationship.

is my marriage overHow are you and your husband doing in the intimacy department? You’ve gone through stages of closeness and distance in the past…how long did it last? Is this phase different? When was the last time you felt close to your husband? All these questions contain the answer you’re looking for when you ask “is my marriage over?” I don’t have those answers. You do.

I’m not trying to be flippant or cavalier about your relationship, because I know you’re in pain. This isn’t easy for you, and I’m sorry. I really am. My heart goes out to you, and I wish you weren’t struggling with this difficult question. But the answers you’re searching for are within you. You may not want to face the truth, and you need to find strength, courage, and wisdom.

6. You fight the “wrong” way in your marriage

Back to the signs your marriage is over…

If you and your husband can’t focus on one point of discussion when you try to resolve questions, then you need help focusing. You need to learn how to fight the “right” way in your marriage. The right way to argue means you stick to the topic at hand, and don’t bring up the fact that you’re still struggling to trust your husband after his affair three years ago.

The right way to argue in a relationship is to NOT bring up past mistakes or reopen old wounds. The more your past problems enter current arguments, the less healthy your conflict and communication style is. Fighting the “wrong” way in marriage isn’t necessarily a sign your relationship is over; you can learn how to fight clean if you’re both willing to learn.

7. You husband cheated on you and wants your marriage to be over

Enough said. If he had an affair and wants to leave you, then you need to face the truth.

Actually, the sad reality is that many wives – and husbands – refuse to admit the truth. Why? Because it’s painful. Actually, it’s not just painful…it’s devastating and heartbreaking for the whole family. That’s why so many relationships limp along for years or decades even when the cheating partner is unfaithful. It hurts to let go of a marriage, of the life you had together, of your dreams and hopes and plans.

You’re more likely to save your marriage if you and your husband have a common vision. What is your “why” for being married, for building a life together? One of the strongest, most courageous ways to heal your relationship is to focus together on your faith. If you and your husband can put your faith in and love for God above all else, then you have a much better chance at saving your marriage.

How do you feel? Tell me how you are, if your marriage is over, what you want to see happen next. Start planning your next steps, because it’s in your plans that action will begin.

Marriage Help

is my marriage overRead The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work- A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by Dr John Gottman. Besides knowing your own self – and your husband – this is an excellent way to know if your marriage is over! This book will show you what you need to do to save your relationship and restore your marriage.

Don’t give up on your relationship yet – it is VERY possible that the best is yet to come! Maybe you’ve hit the natural “rock bottom” life cycle of your relationship…and maybe you just need to start rebuilding your marriage.

The Gottmans provide vital tools – scientifically based and empirically verified – that you can use to regain affection and romance you lost through years of ineffective communication and bad fights. Yes, you can work through the resentments and problems…but you have to make the time and effort to commit to saving your marriage.

And yes, you CAN go from “Is my marriage over?” to “I thought my marriage was over, but we pulled through this together!”

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315 thoughts on “Is Your Marriage Over? 7 Truths You Need to Face”

  1. i am so confused about my marriage my husband came to me and sit me down and talked to me about the issues at hand, neither one of us cheated on each other i have been having issues with outside drama as i call it, coming into our marriage the whole time weve been together and its taken its toll on our 6 year marriage, he told me he was willing to give me one more chance but if i say one more thing about this outside drama again hes done he said i cant take no more of this, he said now if it doesnt work out between us he does want to stay friends with me, he told me he would stay and give me one more chance to change for the better he said i am not gonna be seeing other people, he said i am not gonna tell you what to do on my end but the problem is i said something he didnt like and took it out of context and its been going on for the past few years it didnt happen overnight, i dont blame him for being upset and angry with me he has that right to be mad about whatever he wants to, the problem i have with this is i seen a message he told a woman friend that i know as well that he feels our marriage is like the titanic and as i continued reading he said he was just staying with me cause of the sake of our son, now why is he telling me i have one more chance or hes done for good and going and telling another person that hes just staying with me cause of our son, he doesnt tell me he doesnt love me anymore if i say it to him he says it back, now that where i am getting confused on he tells me he loves me back only when i say it he gives me a hug back only when i do it, and he still lets me give him bjs if i want to he doesnt ask for them but he doesnt turn me down when i do it, he still talks to me even when our son isnt around and hes nice to me but not my noraml fun loving husband anymore, then today he told me i shouldnt change my look i dont quite understand if he doesnt want to be with me anymore which he clearly stated to that one person and didnt tell me then why does he care about how i look and why doesnt he just tell me he doesnt love me anymore and he wants out, why is he going to waste his time with me just because of our son, he could move out and live his life and we could co parent our son it wouldnt be hard, i want to regain my husbands trust and love but i dont want to waster his time and keep trying if thats not what he clearly wants i need advice i dont know which way to go anymore

  2. Me and my husband hasn’t had a home together in 2 years now and I have only seen him 1ce in 5 months. He still talks to me on the phone but he’s always “watching a movie” and when I ask him when is he coming back or what exactly are we doing cause it has been too long since I’ve seen him he just tells me to hush. He has possibly been with someone and still is for all I know. I don’t know because of all of the many different things he has told me but yet he has told me before he has never lied to me and that I can take everything he says seriously… He has used words like this marriage is dead in the water but has told me before he has never left me. I don’t know what to think or do. I have been trying to find work but that just seems impossible. I have even looked online to see if I could meet anyone interesting but nope. I mean I just don’t know what to do or where to go

  3. Chris,
    I am married to a woman just like you. You described my wife in your comments. She has childhood hurts that we’re never dealt with, and brought those issues into our marriage. She hates sex, gives little affections back, she has her own money and is ok living alone. She also has a son, who she cherishes as you do. I would say that she is angry inside, but can be very loving at times. But very few. We are separated right now, I left the home because of the emotional abuse I was receiving from her. I love my wife very much, and would do anything for her. But, in the end, I know it’s up too her to get help dealing with her hard heart. I pray to God that one day she chooses to get help, so her heart will soften, and see that life is good. I hope for her happiness, even if it’s with another’s man. I read your comment and see your hurt…..

  4. I have a problem. I dont give a flying fu… about my marriage. I just really dont care about my husband.
    We have been toghether for 25 years, married 15 and have a wonderfull son of 16 years. We dont fight, we dont talk a lot and not about intimate stuff we have no sex we have no physical intimacy at all. I hate intimacy, always have, I hate the fealing of someone wanting to know me and my life and then turning everything I trusted them with against me, so i dont give anyone the opportunity to do so. So it comes, Im detached and I dont care.
    I dont eaven know how my husband feals because we never speak about stuff like this. Im a good mother and good wife (I hate the word) I have a demanding job (Im an engineer), I make a nice chunk of money every month, I keep the home running (he does help) Im very indipendant and actually I dont need a husband, not for emotions, not for sex and not for money, ok my son needs a father and he is a good father. But I just want out and be by myself, I need my freadom! No I never loved him, I never loved anyone not eaven my parents, love is overrated, yes my son is my life and he is the only person in my life that I love as a parent with my whole heart.

  5. Is your husband gay? Maybe he married you because he wanted to prove to himself that he wasn’t. Then he blamed it on you when on your honeymoon he realized he was. So he made you feel like there was something wrong with you instead of being true to himself. You are probably there for people to think that he’s straight. Just a thought.

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