Marriage isn’t easy but no one ever walks down the aisle expecting to regret it, right?
Not everyone jumps straight from regret to divorce of course. On average a marriage lasts 8 years before a divorce. And some people, regret getting married but never admit it. Instead, they end up showing it through certain behaviors.
Today we’re going to reveal 9 of those behaviors that are often tell-tale signs that someone regrets getting married but they just can’t admit it.
Keep an eye out for these signs, they’ll give you insight into what’s really going on behind closed doors.
1) They’re short-tempered and easily frustrated
Arguments and frustrations are normal in any relationship and some conflict is healthy.
However, when someone is unhappy and starting to regret getting married, they tend to snap more at their other half over little things. They’re more easily irritated which means arguments erupt over trivial things.
Here’s the kicker: they’re not annoyed about the thing that seems to have caused the fight.
In reality, instead of admitting how they feel, they’re expressing their resentment and regret about getting married through these behaviors.
2) They’re not showing physical affection
Physical affection is very important in relationships. Numerous studies have found that couples who touch more, tend to be happier.
Do you and your partner still show affection through touch regularly?
When someone is feeling regret about their marriage but can’t admit it outright, they’ll show less and less physical affection until there’s none between the couple.
This may include sex but I’m also talking about simple things like hugging or holding hands. It’s like the spark has gone out and they’re no longer interested in being that close to their partner.
3) They spend more time away from their partner
When my partner and I got together first, we wanted to spend every minute together. He’d take an overnight bag to work and come to stay with me for 3-4 days in a row, just to do normal mundane things together.
Was it the same for you and your partner in the early days?
There’s no sign of this desire to be together with someone who secretly regrets getting married. Instead, they find excuses to spend as much time as possible away from their spouse.
They might work late multiple nights per week or plan weekend trips away with friends more regularly. Even in the same house, they might just choose to lock themselves away in another room, just to get away.
Quality time is important for relationships and when someone is eager to spend less and less time with their partner, it’s not a good sign.
Spending more time away from their partner goes hand in hand with our next behavior.
4) They’re emotionally distant
Have you ever been in a relationship where you start to feel the other person slipping away? They’re still physically there and in the relationship but they seem less engaged.
If you have, I’m sorry about that as it’s not a nice feeling at all. And unfortunately, it’s a common behavior for people who regret their marriage and are in denial.
When someone becomes emotionally distant it might feel like all of your interactions are transactional, logical, or necessary. It doesn’t feel like you’re emotionally connecting and you don’t have any heart-felt moments together anymore.
Emotional distance like this can indicate that someone regrets getting married, they’re mentally checking out of the relationship, even if they’re not leaving physically.
5) They’re withdrawn when communicating
Communication is the heart of a relationship, right? And still, even the best relationships have breakdowns in communication from time to time. But there’s an important distinction.
When communication breaks down in otherwise happy relationships, both parties want to get it resolved and get back on track.
People who secretly wish they weren’t married are often withdrawn and even unresponsive. They shut down and say almost nothing, making it difficult to talk about anything important.
Research suggests these kinds of passive-destructive responses are harmful to relationship satisfaction but this person is sadly, beyond the point of caring.
6) They’re more secretive and guarded
If someone is hiding things or being secretive in a relationship, it’s often a sign of trouble ahead. My friend Claire, found this out the hard way.
After 3 years with her partner, she noticed he was a lot more guarded.
He didn’t share stories about his friends’ lives anymore. When she’d ask who he was messaging he’d shrug and say “Nobody important”. He also changed some passwords he’d previously shared. Unfortunately, not long after that, he ended things with her.
Trust and honesty are essential for any marriage to work so when a spouse is guarded and more secretive than before, it’s a telling sign they’re keeping parts of their life hidden from their husband or wife.
Marriage is built on trust and honesty; this deliberate secrecy suggests they’re regretting getting married and rethinking their choices.
7) They’re less playful and fun
How important do you think it is to have fun in your marriage or relationship?
Here’s something interesting: having fun can increase relationship satisfaction. Some studies even find that having fun is the greatest influence on overall marital happiness.
As Esther Perel, relationship therapist and author, says “Playing as adults is about pleasure, connection, creativity, fantasy—all the juicy parts of life we savor.”
When both partners are happy in a marriage they’ll be playful with each other and enjoy lots of fun together.
There’s little to no laughter and fun with a partner who regrets getting married. They’re too busy wishing they’d made other choices to enjoy the relationship they have. A lack of fun and laughter may be an early warning sign the marriage is in trouble.
8) Nostalgia for how things used to be
Do you ever think back to the good old days when you were young, free, and single?
Everyone enjoys a bit of nostalgia from time to time and it’s good for you. Not only does it feel good to reminisce, but a 2014 study found that nostalgia also promotes personal growth.
However if you notice a married man or woman constantly talking about how good life used to be, before they were married, it suggests they wish they could go back to their previous life.
A little bit of nostalgia is good but a constant longing for the past could be a sign of regret about marriage that they’re just not willing to admit.
9) They show contempt, stone-walling, defensiveness, and criticism
Do you know what the biggest predictors of divorce are?
According to John Gottman, renowned psychologist and author, the presence of contempt, stone-walling, defensiveness, and criticism during arguments is the no. 1 predictor of divorce, with contempt being the worst offender.
All of these things boil down to one thing, a lack of respect. Someone displaying these disrespectful behaviors might roll their eyes at their partner, use sarcasm to belittle them, and constantly nitpick for faults.
If these behaviors consistently show up in a relationship, over time, it can mean one or both parties regret getting married and are on the fast track to divorce, they just haven’t admitted it yet.
The bottom line
If you observe these 9 behaviors in someone, it may suggest that they regret getting married but can’t admit it.
It’s important to remember that these behaviors could happen for many reasons and aren’t proof of regret. But they do suggest that someone is having a tough time with their relationship.
If you notice these behaviors in your relationship, it’s probably time to have an honest conversation with your partner because one thing’s for sure; addressing and resolving these issues is essential to building a happier relationship.