9 subtle signs your marriage is in trouble even if you think it’s healthy 2023

Updated: February 4, 2023

All relationships go through highs and lows, but if you become a repeat offender of certain negative actions, it could mean you’re sabotaging your bond with your partner without even realizing it — and that could hurt your marriage in the long run.

In addition to more obvious breaches of trust like cheating, subtle yet harmful habits like hiding emails and texts or telling white lies could diminish intimacy, which is a key to successful marriages.

Read more: The 5 steps all couples need to take if they want to repair their relationship after cheating 

Here are all of the subtle signs your marriage isn’t as healthy as it could be.

You pick fights with your partner

concerned couple at home You’re putting your relationship under constant stress.
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Arguing with your partner is a normal part of being in a relationship, but fighting about nearly every indiscretion could lead to unsolvable tension.

Similarly, bringing up a single point of contention over and over again without coming to a compromise (or simply agreeing to disagree) could put your relationship under constant stress.

If you catch yourself picking apart your partner’s actions or lack thereof, clinical psychologist Linda Firestone recommends looking at the actions from their perspective.

Read more: The 2 types of fights that can end your relationship, according to therapists

“We can be open to the idea that we might not be seeing our partner accurately and approach them with curiosity and fresh interest,” she wrote in Psychology Today.

You sweep your negative feelings under the rug

If you prefer to hide your feelings in an attempt to avoid tough conversations, it could mean you need to work on your communication skills in order to stay on the same page with your partner.

Communication is vital for a relationship to succeed,” Jonathan Bennett, a counselor and author of the site The Popular Man, previously told Insider. “However, if you never make an effort to communicate with your partner, or, worse, actively shut down communication, you’re a big part of the problem. This means that the issues plaguing your relationship will never be resolved in a healthy way.

couple arguing serious If you aren’t feeling satisfied in the bedroom, you’ll have less sex overall.

You don’t talk about what you want in the bedroom

Hiding your physical wants and needs can also be detrimental to your marriage. Chances are, if you aren’t feeling satisfied in the bedroom, you’ll have less sex overall. But sexual intimacy is a key component of a healthy relationship, and advocating for what you like will make sex more enjoyable and potentially more frequent.

“Your partner may feel more like you do about sex than you think, but you’ll never know that unless you’re willing to express your own feelings and listen to them,” Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist and author of “How to Be Happy Partners: Working It Out Together,” previously told Insider. 

You’re always on your phone

Phone addiction may not seem as serious as other substance-based addictions, but it could be sabotaging your relationship.

Read more: 4 steps couples can take to prevent conflict when one partner is a spender and the other is a saver

Think about it: Time spent scrolling through Instagram or responding to emails is time you could be using to act in the present moment. If you’re doing these things during quality time with your partner, you’re not really reinforcing your connection or building new memories.

Even being tied to your cell phone while you’re with your partner can be problematic: A July 2014 study found that couples who had conversations in the absence of their cell phones reported those talks being “significantly superior” than conversations they had when their phones were present. 

You choose Netflix over sex

When you’re enthralled by the latest Netflix Original, it can be difficult to tear yourself away from the screen, even to have a moment in the bedroom. But choosing television or other entertainment over sex all the time could lessen the intimate bond you have with your partner.

couple watching tv popcorn Choosing television or other entertainment over sex all the time could lessen the intimate bond you have with your partner.

Frequent sex releases hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, which both play a role in creating physical and emotional attachment between two people. If you’re forgoing sex often, these bonds can’t form as easily.

You tell a lot of white lies

Telling white lies can feel harmless, but using them on your partner is an easy way to break trust. Even if they don’t find out you lied, your actions suggest you feel you can’t be open with them.

As your white lies pile up, they could lead to bigger relationship problems down the line, like your partner realizing they can’t trust you at all.

You hide your texts and emails from your partner

Keeping parts of your life private may seem natural, but if you’re hiding texts or emails that you receive from certain people, it could mean you’re emotionally cheating on your partner.

Read more: How to know if you’ve fallen out of love — and if your relationship is salvageable

“Text messaging provides an opportunity for wandering hearts, hearts not fully committed to their spouses, to seek pleasure from someone other than their spouses when their relationship grass may be losing its color,” Zack Carter, a professor of interpersonal, intrapersonal, and family communication, wrote for Psychology Today.

You spend more time than necessary with coworkers 

coworkers talking Your heart could be in a different place than your marriage.
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Another subtle way to emotionally cheat involves spending more time than necessary with coworkers at the expense of your partner. And if you start to lie about your whereabouts or only talk about work friends with your partner, it’s a sign your heart is in a different place than your marriage.

“You’re allowed to have your own friends, but there’s a difference between secrecy and privacy,” psychotherapist Tammy Nelson previously told Insider.

You’re constantly jealous

Feeling a pang of jealousy from time to time is normal, but if you constantly question your partner without a specific reason or act possessive over them, it could hurt your marriage.

Read more: How to know if your partner is emotionally cheating — or if you’re just jealous

In these cases, being honest with your partner about your insecurities and making an effort to personally work on them through therapy could help prevent your jealousy from ending your relationship.


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