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8 Signs your marriage is unraveling

Life is too (damn) short to be unhappy.

I’m sure we can agree that this post is not Instagram Story or Pinterest Pretty material. Can anything discussing a deteriorating relationship ever be? Nope. And I’m ok with that. If you are reading this, you might be wondering if your marriage or long-term relationship is on the rocks and trying to read the mile markers and in hindsight, ignored red flags that led you here. I’m not a licensed psychologist, but after my still recent divorce, here are my take-aways on red flags and signs that my marriage was unraveling.

The red flags or signs

[Note: If you are experiencing emotional distress, please reach out to the appropriate professional resource(s).]

  1. That spell. He doesn’t look at you that way anymore. You know that look – the ‘your eyes are the window into your soul’ look. If you aren’t getting that from your spouse or partner, something likely is up.
  2. Not Keeping Up Appearances. No longer shave your legs, polish your nails, get a nice haircut, or wax your brows. Huh? Sounds trivial and superficial, but most likely if you don’t give a shit about your appearance, you probably aren’t getting much action in the boudoir. Your self-esteem has likely taken a hit.
  3. ‘Incompatible ‘drive.’ This concern has been voiced more than once and your partner refuses to address it or gives a bullshit response. You start to wonder if he’s having an affair, or has he changed sexual orientation? And let’s talk about sex for a moment. It’s more than just the act of fusing bodies. It’s a spiritual connection between two souls. If this isn’t happening and your marriage has become a platonic platitude, it’s time to re-evaluate if that isn’t making you happy. Mainstream media talks — no, chatters–about women not having the energy or drive and often attributes this to multi-tasking work/life and/or hormonal imbalance, but what if your man has zero interest and zero mojo? Good question–if you have any suggestions that go beyond wearing sexy lingerie and other Sex in the City scenarios, please do tell. Is it be ‘male menopause?’ A case of the 7-year (or whatever year) itch? If he isn’t willing to discuss and work through on the lack of intimacy, it’s time to consider what life would be like after {insert lover’s name}.
  4. Stupid arguments or disagreements. Pardon my French, but we’re talking about all the stupid shit. Maybe it starts out about household chores or rehashing resentments about one partner’s lack of (insert the applicable gripe: ambition? emotional investment? attention? — yada yada….). Once you go down that rabbit hole of disillusion, the tunnel never ends. You might feel trapped and as if you are suffocating. Or the opposite which is just as toxic–complete apathy and no energy left to disagree about anything.
  5. No future. Your spouse’s future plans do not include you, or if they do, you just aren’t feeling it. You might be asking, “What the h3$l is she talking about?!” Well, here’s a concrete example. How would you feel if your spouse announced that they had plans to return to their home country in the upcoming year and it was a ‘When I return’ with no hint of ‘we’ in the future? Having lived this conversation, let me tell you, despite the hit to the self-esteem, once you come out from the other side of this….and live to tell….well….most likely that relationship will take a hit (read: end). Mine sure did.
  6. These dreams. You have dreams but cannot share them with your spouse. You want to travel, accomplish this, cross that off your bucket list, etc. He has no such aspirations or ambitions. He just hides in his man-cave or some version of it and makes no plans for the future. Or maybe he does, but you aren’t in his plans. This harsh reality should be a wake-up call, my friend. Don’t compromise — you only live once — follow those dreams.
  7. ‘Natural woman.’ He doesn’t make you feel like a natural woman. Yep, the queen of soul nailed it on the head as far as how loves feels when two souls connect. If you don’t feel it, then it’s time to step back and reflect. Let’s say he does not make you feel special. For example, your spouse can’t f@cking remember your wedding anniversary. In this day and age of electronic calendars and Facebook reminders, there’s no excuse for that. Or even better yet, he has the wrong wedding anniversary date listed on social media. That is ‘totally’ a red flag, a Freudian slip of sorts if he can’t damn well remember it….Or maybe he does nothing special for your milestone birthday (or any other birthdays, for that matter).
  8. No spontaneity. He never does things just for the heck of it. There’s no spontaneity, like, randomly bringing home a nice bouquet or making surprise travel plans sans family. As the Sting song goes, ‘So lonely.’ You feel lonely all the time–your spouse just isn’t ‘there’ for you. Conversations are mundane and uninspiring. There’s zero creativity.

I wish I could tell you what the solutions are if you see yourself in any of this, but after a few months of cognitive behavior-based therapy, I finally saw the writing on the wall and opted out. Multiple times on a daily basis I asked myself, “Where the h3ll is my life going?” or  “Why am I accepting life with no dreams and no future plans.”

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

That song lyric ‘Should I stay or should I go?” suddenly resonated. Up until I decided ‘ciao ciao’ and ‘enough of that,’ I was asking myself this question multiple times a day. When you realize there is no way ‘on God’s green earth’ your path includes your partner, it can be frustrating and downright depressing. Constantly over-compromising and not leading a fulfilling life will suck the life and your soul right out of you.

Not worth it. You deserve more.

What’s a woman to do? I guess the first step is to acknowledge the problem(s). Yeah, I know that sounds like the beginning of a 12-step program, but it’s true.

Then seek a confidant, whether it be a friend, a trusted someone, or a therapist. Even if they don’t have the solution or refrain from giving advice, just being able to vent is helpful. One of my close friends said that since she couldn’t offer productive feedback or advice, she wasn’t going to comment at all. That in and of itself was tremendous feedback.

Self-Love: Work on Yourself

Next, this will sound ‘new age-y,’ but work on yourself. Accept yourself for who you are. Love yourself.

Yes, you.

You can never go wrong if you work on your personal growth, self-love, and self-acceptance. Identify your strengths and celebrate them. Take inventory of your weaknesses and do the work to dig back and identify vulnerability triggers. Depending on your ‘stuff,’ you might need a third party to help you work through this.

In the time since I initially set out to write this post, I have discovered an inspiring relationship ‘expert’ on Instagram, Mark Groves who posts @createthelove. He drops some brilliant truth bombs or gems. Another resource I’ve just started tapping into is Hay House Publishing, and its founder’s work (Louise Hay) to work on removing negative blocks. I’m in the midst of reading You Can Heal Your Life.

Last, but not least, this will sound corny and trite, but give yourself grace.

Finally, Cut Yourself Some Slack.

Marriage or any other serious relationship is a two-way street (cliche but true). The onus is not just on you to make it work. He needs to look in the mirror too (figuratively speaking) and as they say in French ‘mettre de l’eau dans son vin’ (put some water in his wine, literally translated, but in essence, compromise and recognize his role in your partnership).

Repeat: Cut yourself some slack!

I’ve come out from the other side of the rabbit hole of disillusion, maybe not unscathed, but definitely for the better.

I wish you well and hope you are able to find a path towards reconciling your expectations without compromising your happiness.

Granted, it isn’t always easy, but life is too (damn) short to be unhappy.

Life is too (damn) short to be unhappy!

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