Not every day in your relationship has to be fireworks and rainbows. But when a number of them lead to discontent and even unhappiness, you could be past the point of steadfast-but-boring comfort and smack in the middle of a marriage rut. Here are seven expert signs you're stuck.
1. You feel resentful and unenthusiastic about spending time with your spouse. "For example, if you feel like your attempts at rekindling the romance have been rejected, you may stop trying," says Malibu-based licensed marriage therapist Alisa Ruby Bash, "and that's a sign of a rut."
2. You're running through the motions. "Experiencing the same routine, feeling bored or disconnected in your relationship, and not engaging with your partner," describes Janet Ong Zimmerman, relationship coach and creator of Love for Successful Women, "can signal a marriage rut."
3. You're going through something difficult outside your married life, and your partner has retreated in response. "Your spouse may not want to rock the boat," explains Bash, but the distance between you can lead to a rut.
4. You want things to change. You're unhappy with how your marriage looks and feels, but "you're also not doing anything about it," says Zimmerman.
5. You feel like you have to walk on eggshells to be near your partner. "If one feels like they are walking on ice, or that they feel somewhat defeated in their relationship, they may start to look for emotional intimacy and closeness through other outlets," says Bash. "Friends, coworkers, children, and of course social media and online connections can take priority over their spouse."
6. You're blaming your partner for your own unhappiness. And no matter the situation, "you're seeing your partner in a negative light," Zimmerman describes.
7. You feel as if you haven't grown together. "When the couple is not growing together, providing emotional support for each other, and fueling their relationship with a passionate sex life," Bash says, "a rut can develop."