Things aren’t quite right between you and your husband and you sense it.
Maybe his behavior has changed, and you don’t recognize the man you married anymore.
He’s acting strangely, but he won’t admit anything is up, even if you ask him straight out.
If you’re worried your husband’s unhappy in the marriage, you want to know the signs to look out for.
How do you know if he regrets getting married? Here are 15 strong clues he does, and what to do next…
Do guys regret getting married? 15 signs your husband is unhappy in your marriage
1) He accuses you of nagging
Has your husband been telling you to “get off his back”, or accuses you of always “nagging”?
Technically nagging is considered as repetitive behaviour in the form of pestering, such as continual faultfinding or complaining.
Let’s face it, nagging is one of those marriage cliches, that according to The Wall Street Journal women are more guilty of doing than men.
“It is possible for husbands to nag, and wives to resent them for nagging. But women are more likely to nag, experts say, largely because they are conditioned to feel more responsible for managing home and family life.
“And they tend to be more sensitive to early signs of problems in a relationship. When women ask for something and don’t get a response, they are quicker to realize something is wrong. The problem is that by asking repeatedly, they make things worse.”
Experts say nagging often arises in a relationship whenever we set arbitrary expectations on our partners. For example, expecting certain tasks to be completed on our timetable or wanting things to be done in a particular way.
If you can’t live up to your other half’s exacting standards, you may feel downtrodden or unappreciated.
Whether you think your husband’s accusations of nagging are founded or not, it’s a sign of simmering tensions in the relationship.
2) He’s spending less time at home
Wanting to spend time with your partner should be a given, so if your husband never seems to be home anymore you’re quite rightly going to wonder why.
Perhaps he’s choosing to work more, always at the gym, or going out for drinks after his shift.
If it seems like he’s finding any excuse to get out of the house or spend less quality time with you it can be a symptom of the strain on your marriage.
3) He no longer sticks up for you
According to a psychological theory called the hero instinct, a man has a natural drive to want to protect those in his life he cares about most, particularly his wife.
The term was first coined by relationship expert James Bauer in his bestselling book ‘His Secret Obsession’. (I’d really recommend watching this free video to learn all about this fascinating concept).
It says that men are genetically programmed to want to provide and be respected in relationships. If they don’t feel valued in this way, they may become withdrawn, less committed and dissatisfied in their marriage.
Being protective over his partner is a natural by-product of a man’s hero instinct being triggered. So, if he doesn’t take your side, doesn’t stand up for you, and seems unconcerned about your safety, it’s a sign that something is amiss.
The good news is that you can reignite his hero instinct so that your husband feels loved, wanted, and so that you get the best version of him in your relationship.
Watching that free video on the hero instinct will tell you everything you need to know about how.
4) His body language is cold
Very often it’s less what someone says and more how they act around us that offers us strong clues as to how they’re feeling.
We give away a lot through our body language, and it’s a powerfully silent giveaway as to whether a man wants you or wants to get the hell away from you.
Avoiding eye contact, crossing arms, hunching shoulders, turning away from someone — these are all signs of defensive and closed body language.
These signs might indicate he is slowly falling out of love.
5) He barely talks to you
If you ask him how his day was, he just mumbles something inaudibly under his breath.
Getting him to look up from his phone and engage in human conversation seems like an impossible task.
Maybe it feels more like you’re living with a teenage boy rather than a fully grown man.
If you’re not talking, even about the little seemingly unimportant things, it means there’s a breakdown in communication.
6) He is impatient with you
Do you feel like you’ve been tiptoeing around the house and walking on eggshells to avoid triggering one of your husband’s bad moods?
Sadly, life stresses can mean that we all unfairly take our frustrations out on those closest to us from time to time — and you are likely to be one of the first in the firing line.
But if your husband has been particularly grumpy or snappier towards you lately, then it could run deeper than just a bad day.
7) He makes “jokes” about your marriage
They say that there is a grain of truth in every joke.
Joking around about things that have been actually weighing on his mind can be a passive-aggressive way of airing secret grievances.
Watch out for knocks he makes about you or your relationship, especially in front of other people, which he tries to play off as teasing or lighthearted joking.
Whatever he is masquerading as humour may have truth behind it.
8) He reminisces about his single days
We all have a habit of thinking the grass is greener on the other side.
But if your husband has been looking back on his single days before you got married with rose-tinted glasses, it might be because he’s unsatisfied with life right now.
Keep an eye out for stories about “the good times” before you got hitched, the days when he had his “freedom” or talking about the past with a tinge of sadness about something lost.
9) He seeks attention elsewhere
Seeking attention isn’t the same as acting upon it, so this doesn’t mean him having an affair.
But does your husband seem to crave attention? Perhaps he’s been acting more flirty with friends or even strangers when you’re out together.
He clearly wants to be desired and is looking for validation. Attention-seeking behaviour in adults can be a sign of low self-esteem, loneliness or jealousy.
10) He seems defeated
If he sighs a lot, rolls his eyes, or says he can’t even be bothered to argue with you, he could be feeling defeated in the relationship.
Does your husband complain that he can’t win no matter what he does? Perhaps he’s been acting downbeat, and disengaged.
Feeling like your partner doesn’t appreciate, or only notices the things you do wrong can leave you feeling deflated and fed up in the relationship.
11) He’s always moaning about his life
Complaining is quite common to some degree, but persistent complaining rewires the brain for negativity.
If your husband seems to moan constantly about the life you share together, he may have lost sight of his blessings.
Not only might this feel insulting to you, but it also suggests he’s struggling to value what he has.
12) He’s distant
One of the earliest and clearest signs something is wrong in a relationship isn’t quite so easy to define, but we usually just feel it.
Your husband doesn’t seem present anymore, it’s almost like he’s checking out and you don’t know where his head is at half the time.
He doesn’t seem to listen when you speak, he dodges any important conversations and finds ways to avoid even hanging out together. In summary — he’s distant.
This much is clear, but what isn’t is the reason why he’s become so cold. That’s why it’s imperative to understand what’s going on with him before you can go about fixing your marriage.
I learnt this (and much more) from Brad Browning, a leading relationship expert. Brad is the real deal when it comes to saving marriages. He is a best-selling author and dispenses valuable advice on his extremely popular YouTube channel.
Watch his excellent free video here where he explains his unique process for mending marriages.
13) You’re arguing all the time
Whilst some men may go quiet and withdraw when they’re problems in the marriage, others will get defensive and fall into fight mode.
Your husband might be losing his temper, getting angry, or shouting, even over the little things.
It might feel like you can barely get through the day without snapping at each other or ending up in a blazing row.
14) He’s always hanging out with single friends
It’s tempting to hide from problems at home by seeking comfort in pleasant distractions.
Maybe one of those distractions happens to be going out with his single friends, perhaps even to bars or clubs.
If your husband has started to behave more like a single guy than a committed married man, he might be trying to run away from his responsibilities.
15) He’s gone off sex
Sex isn’t the be-all and end-all in a relationship, but a healthy sex life is often an indicator of the overall health of a relationship.
They call it a honeymoon phase for good reason, and once those feel-good hormones that you experience when you’re falling in love die down, you’re less likely to be at it like rabbits.
Not making an effort to have sex with one another shows that desire is dwindling.
Whilst shifting libidos are normal, if your husband seems totally disinterested in sex or never initiates anymore, it could be a sign of problems elsewhere in your marriage.
What to do if you think he regrets marrying you
1) Realize all marriages go through rough patches
All married couples come to understand that real marriages require work and will experience problems that need to be overcome.
External factors totally out of your control can influence your marriage, like money problems, losing a job or general daily life stresses. Emotional struggles are also bound to appear from time to time, with all relationships going through their ups and downs.
But even if your marriage is going through a difficult stage, it’s still by no means over. As therapist Becky Whetstone told the Huffington Post, you need to give it time:
“A marriage crisis is likely to shift wildly between wanting to leave and wanting to work it out over a period of one or two years. I tell clients we need time for the crisis dust to settle so we can ascertain what their honest and true desires are.”
So first things first, remember that rough patches are normal, and can be overcome.
2) Trigger his hero instinct
Once a couple is married, it can seem harder to keep that spark alive as routine sets in. You may feel like he takes you for granted.
There could be a good reason for these very common relationship challenges that actually link back to a man’s DNA.
I mentioned the hero instinct earlier. It’s a term that was coined by psychologist James Bauer. It says that in order for men to feel happy and satisfied in a relationship they need to have this primitive drive fulfilled.
In a nutshell, they need to feel like your hero. But far from flying capes or Thor-like Gods, feeling like your hero is a lot more humble than that.
As a man, it’s in your husband’s DNA to want to care for you, feel like he makes you happy, and be respected by you. He needs to feel like a vital component in your life in order to feel valued and essential to you.
When a woman triggers this powerful drive, it makes a man more attentive and passionate towards her. When it’s missing, men can pull away suddenly and stop communicating with their partners.
You can quite easily trigger his hero instinct through little actions and the things you say to him. Here are just a few:
- Asking for his help
- Boosting his confidence
- Encouraging his goals and interests
- Showing your appreciation
I’m just scratching the surface here. Learning about this silent biological drive in men has helped countless couples, so I’d really recommend watching this free video on it.
It will show you the things you can do to trigger the hero instinct in your man right away, including the exact phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can make. (Here’s that link again)
3) Talk to him
It’s important to voice fears and concerns in any relationship. If you are having doubts, or feeling insecure in your marriage, your husband needs to know about it.
We can end up keeping things to ourselves, worried about the reaction of our other half or concerned about being rejected.
Creating healthy communication lets both partners share their feelings, opinions and expectations.
4) Make a plan to work on your relationship together
If you feel like your husband has started to check out, or fear he even regrets getting married, it’s not something you can “fix” alone.
Ideally, both couples will be on board with making positive changes to improve the marriage.
That may mean coming up with a plan to move forwards and get things back on track. Talk openly about your needs and wants from your relationship, and find practical ways to make sure it is reflected in your marriage.
Whether it’s a better sex life, more quality time together, going out for romantic dates, creating space to sit down and communicate with one another, more emotional intimacy, etc. — identify areas where you could both do better and commit to putting more effort in.
Be sure to focus on the things you can change in the marriage, as well as remembering your strengths as a couple.
When going through difficulties there can be a tendency to become fixated on the negatives, which it’s easy to get lost in. Reframe and focus on what you have going for you, and what brought you together in the first place.
5) Seek outside help
Getting outside support from an impartial third party can work wonders for relationship problems.
Far from there being any shame or stigma attached to couples therapy, it can be one of the smartest things to do if you want to save a struggling partnership.
Research shows that couple therapy positively impacts 70% of couples receiving treatment.
If you are finding it difficult to improve your marriage on your own, couple’s therapy can give both you and your partner better tools to successfully communicate with each other and navigate challenges.
In conclusion: How do you tell if a man is unhappy in his marriage?
Ultimately, you are the best person to judge whether your husband seems unhappy. As his partner, you know what is his usual behaviour and when something gives.
Your intuition is a powerful signal that will tell you of problems in the relationship, so if your alarm bells are ringing, then listen to them.
You may have even identified a few of the signs on the list that your husband is having regrets about your marriage — but don’t despair.
Marriages aren’t a bed of roses, and experiencing problems is natural.
Even if you and your husband are having some problems right now, it does not mean that he regrets getting married.
With honesty, commitment and patience, it’s perfectly possible to make even unhappy relationships happy again.
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