Love is the most important reason for two people to get married. Marriage is a lifetime commitment, and it needs a lot of love, among other things, to work. But sometimes, couples commit too early without understanding why they love each other, or the love fades away after a few years of togetherness. Without love, there are just two bickering adults, trapped in an unhappy relationship, without a clue about what to do.
If you are reevaluating your relationship or wondering if marriage is all you need to be happy, then the chances are that you’re in a loveless marriage. But how can you be sure about it?
Read this MomJunction post to learn about the signs of a loveless marriage, and what you can do to bring the love back into the relationship.
Is ‘Love’ The Missing Ingredient In Your Marriage?
You do not wake up one day and realize that you are stuck in a loveless marriage. No, it does not work that way.
You end up accumulating all the small and big things that start to drain you mentally. And before you know it, you may find yourself questioning the relationship. Couples might not drift apart deliberately, but when things in life, such as kids, job, etc., start to catch up, the relationship tends to take a back seat.
Eventually, in an attempt to raise the kids in a peaceful environment or accumulate sufficient wealth, you do not realize that you are losing something more valuable than any of the material things you’re after — the love in your marriage.
Signs You Are In A Loveless Marriage
In a loveless marriage, you will not find happiness, peace of mind, or passion. If you’re feeling lonely in a marriage or a committed relationship, these signs are an indication that there is no love left in the marriage.
- You’d rather speak to your friends than your partner. If you prefer talking to others more than to each other, chances are you are not as intimate or comfortable as you’ve been before. You could have the nastiest of fights, but that must not make you hate each other or turn towards other people for love and support. And if you find yourselves harboring negative feelings towards each other after every argument or fight, then take it as a sign of the absence of love.
- You ignore each other during difficult times. The beauty of being in a loving relationship is the trust that you will have in each other, even during turbulent times. But, in a loveless marriage, you will end up handling the difficult things all by yourself. Trying to reach out to your partner could only result in you being called overly dependent or overbearing. Ultimately, you conclude that your significant other is not worth relying upon during difficult times.
- You keep fighting over the same things. Another glaring sign of a loveless marriage is that both of you cannot agree on anything. You fight on and on about the same issues and end up hating each other. This steady toxic flow could be a symptom of deep resentment towards each other. Such negative feelings will ultimately erode your marital relationship.
- You both do not respect each other. Respect is as important as love. When you respect someone, you are cautious about how your actions affect them. You have positive feelings for them, and this pursues you to make compromises and amends for your partner.
However, in a loveless marriage, the stocked negative feelings make it impossible to think positively of your partner. Even when they show unconditional love, you are wary of their behavior.
- You try to avoid instead of addressing the issues: In a loveless marriage, the issues are like the elephant in the room. Both of you know you should address them, but neither of you wants to, probably because of previous failed attempts to discuss rationally. You try to distract yourselves with other things. You try to distract yourselves with other things.
If you find yourself always running errands or taking up mammoth tasks for others just to keep yourself busy, it is time to pause and acknowledge the elephant in the room.
- Communication goes wrong. When love is lost, communication becomes almost impossible. The lack of respect will lead to a disinterest in listening to the other person, followed by blaming and arguing.
For example, when your partner forgets to take the trash out, you would probably yell at them things like “you never listen to me!” or “how many times should I tell you,” when you could say the same thing politely. They may seem trivial, but such simple everyday things are enough to cause huge fights. There is no kindness or courtesy when you talk to each other because you do not love or respect them enough to make that effort.
- You grow apart and not together. As the relationship progresses, both you and your partner learn from mistakes and grow together. In a loveless marriage also, there is growth, but independent of one another. Both you and your partner have a world of your own. At one point, you become so independent that you no longer feel the need to stay connected with each other. Uncomfortable silence prevails in the house, with no one trying to break it.
- Physical intimacy doesn’t excite you anymore. Sex, coupled with love, is the ultimate expression of intimacy in a relationship. Without love, physical intimacy will lose its appeal. You still might be intimate with your partner, but the voice in your head constantly nags you that this is not right. Physical signs of affection such as hugging and kissing disappear, leaving physical intimacy a mere chore.
If these signs are evident in your relationship, then you, your partner or both will soon have second thoughts about staying in the relationship.
Does it mean you should walk out of a loveless marriage?
Should You Stay In Or Leave A Loveless Marriage?
The answer to this question lies within you, as you are the one in the relationship and know about the issues first hand. To determine whether or not you should stay in the relationship, you can take two approaches.
Goal-based approach: In this, you work towards a goal – to make the relationship work. Everything you do will be for promoting that single goal. For example, you decide to stay in the relationship for your kids or because you want to give it your all before calling it quits. Here, both the partners must be willing to put in the effort to bring back the love into the relationship.
Emotional approach: If your primary reason to stay in the relationship is the fear of being alone or the financial dependency on your spouse, then the chances are that you fear the future and are holding on to what you have.
Among the two approaches, the goal-based approach is more likely to work. When you want to live together, you are motivated to put in the effort to fall in love again. The emotional approach is based on specific emotional needs, and such feelings are strong only until the needs are left unfulfilled.
What if you discovered that you could get a job and support your kids independently? Then your financial dependence on your spouse will vanish. With this, the emotions linked to it will also die, which can make you go back to feelings of disappointment and resentment towards your partner.
The decision to stay or not stay in a loveless relationship is not an easy one. So, it is best not to rush things. Take as much time as you need to dig deep and understand what you want. Are you at a stage where you simply cannot stand each other? Are you one hundred percent sure that you cannot be happy together? Or, do you think that with a few adjustments, you can live happily with your partner?
What you should do next will depend on the answers you give to these questions.
How To Add The Love Back Into Your Loveless Marriage
If you still have feelings for each other, then do whatever it takes to get things back on track. To help you, we bring you eight ways to bring the love back into your marriage.
- Forgive first and then start loving them. Just like falling out of love didn’t happen overnight, falling back in love also would take time. And if you both have made mistakes, then loving each other again is not going to be an easy task, although it won’t be an impossible one.
To fall in love with your partner again, you have to lower your expectations and look beyond their imperfections. This becomes easy when you forgive them. Forgiveness helps you calm your inner voice, and makes you less critical of your partner. But before deciding to forgive your partner, make sure that they are genuinely sorry for what they’ve done and are aware of the damage they have caused.
- Change your communication pattern. If the relationship is stuck in a vicious cycle of one partner pursuing and the other avoiding, then there will be no chance of a real conversation. In such a pattern, the pursuer will actively complain and always communicate more than what needs to be said, whereas the other person will avoid the conversation, going into a defensive mode.
To change this, the pursuing partner should learn to focus more on using a kind and understanding tone, while the other partner must try to be more open to looking at things from a different perspective.
- Show each other love and respect. To bring back the lost love and intimacy, you both need to treat each other with love and respect. This should not be hard, considering you did begin the relationship with love and mutual respect.
Try to treat each other with love and respect, by choosing to do things that make the other person happy and avoiding those that make them uncomfortable. This will help to bring back positive feelings for each other. And when positive feelings come back, it will not be long before you begin to fall for each other again.
- Spend more time together. Once you are comfortable with each other, and can communicate better, make plans to spend more time together. Make it a point to spend at least an hour or more talking about your day and exchanging ideas, but be careful not to slip back into old habits of communication.
Go on dates, dress up to impress each other and most importantly, say nice things to each other, like “you look beautiful today,” or “I missed our date nights so much.” Also, make sure that when you’re together, you’re entirely there and not thinking or talking about work or other things.
- Bring back the excitement in the bedroom. If both of you have been unhappy for quite some time, then your sex life might have taken a big hit. Sex has the power to bring two people close to each other. While it should not be used as an excuse to run away from troubles, it can definitely help to seal the deal faster.
If you successfully push back the negative feelings, then reconnect with your partner using the power of touch. You can also try to be physically intimate outside the bedroom. Try random hugs, a smile across the room, or a cuddle on the couch.
- Adopt a healthy way to fight. Falling back in love doesn’t mean you will not fight at all. There will be disagreements, but you will handle them with newfound wisdom and find a healthy way to settle arguments. When you take time to think, and not react, you may find that reason for fighting was silly, but how you communicated it might have sparked the fight.
So, the next time you want to put your point across, do it with a smile, and use kind words. For example, when the chores are piling up, you can say ‘dear! The house looks like a mess, would you please help me clean up?” Even if your spouse responds negatively, try not to blame them immediately. Give it some more time and see if they respond differently.
- Make yourself a priority too. Trying to make a relationship work and falling back in love is not easy; it takes lots of patience and commitment. So, it is natural sometimes to feel lost or overwhelmed. That is why it is essential to take out some time for yourself. When you are happy as an individual, you will be able to bring joy into the relationship.
So do things that will make you happy now and then. Go out with your girlfriends, take up a favorite hobby, or spend some alone time if that is what you want to do. Also, remember that ‘me time’ is not being selfish; it is a necessity for your well-being.
- Give your everything but do not water a dead plant. While it is important to put in all the efforts to save a relationship, there is no point trying to breathe life into an already dead relationship. So make sure that both you and your partner’s intentions match before you try falling back in love. If you don’t see any progress despite all that you are doing, take a second look and see if this is really what you want.
If you can make things work, then nothing like it. But if, unfortunately, things do not work, decide what is best for both of you.
No one deserves to be in a loveless marriage. Everyone needs to feel loved and supported in a marriage. So, if your partner is also willing to work things out, put an effort together, and bring back the happiness and love into the relationship.
What is your take on a loveless marriage? What’s the best way to deal with it? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.