Divorce

7 Signs Your Wife Is Unhappily Married

Experts share what your wife may not be telling you.
11/09/2015 07:42pm ET
Wavebreakmedia

Fairly certain that your wife is upset with you but not entirely sure why? Below, psychologists and marriage therapists offer seven common signs that a spouse may be growing restless in a relationship.

1. She makes subtle suggestions that you haven't been carrying your weight.

You both work and share responsibilities when it comes to cleaning, cooking and the kids. Still, when push comes to shove, your wife may feel that she shoulders a lot more responsibility for the emotional well-being of the kids, said Ken Page, a psychotherapist and author of Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy

"It's a subtle but powerful complaint I hear from married women who are co-parenting," he said. "On paper, it looks like they carry equal weight -- both spouses are pros at managing things like vacations and back-to-school night -- but it's the wife who's obsessively reading articles about child-rearing or talking to the kids at night when they finally open up about why they've been moody or grouchy all day."

To show your wife that you're equal partners, actively listen when she tells you about a new study she just read or the healthier lunches she wants to start packing for the kids -- and chime in with your own ideas. "As it is now, your wife probably figures if she doesn't pay mind to these things, no one will," Page said.

2. She rolls her eyes at your jokes.

You may think playful jokes to lighten the mood is the best way to respond when she shares something that's been bothering her -- but if she lets out a forced laugh or rolls her eyes, take that as your cue to stop.

"Women don't enjoy a constant stream of comedy, especially if they are trying to tell you something serious or emotional," said Samantha Rodman, a Maryland-based psychologist and author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Divorce. "When you can't stop yourself from making jokes, your wife likely feels dismissed and unimportant to you -- even if she actually thinks you're pretty funny."

3. She's not sexually satisfied.

You both may be satisfied with the frequency of sex but there still might be something missing in your sex life, said Page.

"Many patients have told me that although their husband tries to meet their needs in bed, there's an incredibly important 'something' they just don't get," he said. "Usually it's associated with foreplay: their husband just wants to get to the 'entree' but for lots of women, it's the 'appetizers' -- the foreplay -- that matters most. Sex without heartfelt foreplay just doesn't lead to the deep bonding experience that's so necessary for most women."

Alternately, it could be that you need to follow through with more post-sex afterplay -- "talking, cuddling and gentle touching and caressing after orgasm," Page explained.

4. She's constantly asking, "Are you listening to me?"

There's nothing better than having a spouse to talk to at the end of a long, draining day. If you're more interested in your smartphone than listening to her, you're chipping away at the connection you share, said Seth Meyers, a psychologist and the author of Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.

"It may sound small and trivial, but truly listening is actually one of the most important foundations to intimacy in a relationship," he said. "If you're married, you need to feel that your spouse wants to know what you did that day and how it went in order to feel happy and noticed."

5. You keep trying to solve her problems, when all she wants is for you to listen.

When your wife vents about how annoyed she is with her boss or a family issue, be the sounding board she needs, said Kristin Davin, a psychologist and divorce mediator based in New York City.

"You might instantly think, ‘She has a problem that I must solve' and start throwing suggestions out, waiting for one to stick," she said. "But most of the time, women solve their issues by simply talking them out. Wives need to remind their husbands that sometimes, they simply need to listen."

6. You make fun of her in public.

You may think it's cute to rib your wife over her mispronunciation of "forte" when you're at dinner with friends. Chances are, she finds your tendency to poke fun of her in public a lot less endearing, Meyers said.

"Never ever make sarcastic remarks or digs at your spouse when out with company," he said. "When a spouse makes verbal jabs or digs in the presence of others, it's passive-aggressive bullying and it will only lead to bitterness and unhappiness."

7. She never initiates sex.

You knew the hot-and-heavy honeymoon phase wasn't going to last forever, but for most couples, a healthy sex life is a vital part of their marriage. If your wife seems completely disinterested in having sex with you, you may want to find out why, said Rodman.

"Most women, even if their sex drive is lower than it was when you met, will try to initiate sex when they're in the mood or when they're feeling particularly close," she said. "If you can count on one hand the number of times your wife has initiated sex in the past few years, then there is likely some underlying resentment or anger that is stopping her from feeling excited around you."

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