Women who are secretly unhappy in their relationship but suppress their needs usually display these 7 signs

Are you feeling unhappy but afraid to confront it or tell anyone? Maybe you feel alone in your marriage or relationship. Or are you worried that someone you know is feeling that way?

It pains me to see friends of mine who I know are not happy but feel trapped or as if they can’t speak out. Power begins with knowledge. So that’s why I’ve written this article. 

Read on to find out more about the signs to watch out for.

1) They get strange illnesses

Now hear me out, because this one can take a lot of time to show up. And it requires a wholistic concept of health and the body:

When a woman (or anyone) is very unhappy in her relationship for a long period, this takes its toll on her body. Especially when she doesn’t feel that anyone is looking out for her needs.

Dr Gabor’s research shows that, over time, this can manifest as autoimmune conditions, back pain (think literally here – eg not feeling supported!), fatigue, and higher rates of diseases such as cancer.

Lungs are thought to be connected with the expression of grief in Chinese medicine. Not enough expression equals higher rates of sickness.

According to a study by Dr Gabor Mate, unexpressed emotions can lead to five times higher rates of lung cancer than those who are in touch with their feelings and needs. Even when some of those people are smokers!

2) Resentment seeps in

A lot of people who give without ever receiving anything in return have a lot of love to share.

But eventually, the self-sacrifice of always putting someone else first can spill out into resentment.

An unhappy woman who constantly suppresses her own needs may find it hard not to resort to passive-aggressive behavior like snarky comments, or even the silent treatment.

Resentment in turn becomes a real love and passion killer making this a potentially vicious cycle unless both partners are willing and ready to change.

Here are some examples of passive-aggressive and resentful comments

  • “It’s fine, do whatever you want.” (Said in a curt or dismissive tone, implying that it’s not actually fine)
  • “I don’t care, you never listen to me anyway.” (Expressing frustration about not feeling heard)
  • “Oh, so now you want my opinion?” (Implying that her input is rarely considered)
  • “I guess I’ll just do it myself, as usual.” (Suggesting that she feels overburdened and unsupported)
  • “No, no, you go ahead and relax. I’ll take care of everything, like I always do.” (Hinting at feeling unappreciated for her efforts)

These are cries for help so if you hear these kinds of things in your relationship it’s time for some open and honest communication, and maybe even the help of a relationship therapist.

3) Problems in the bedroom

Despite what conventional pop wisdom tells us, both men and women have differing levels of sexual desire. 

I’ve known both male and female friends who have not had enough sex in their relationships and this can cause a stressor that then shows up in their lives in different ways.

For example a manic focus on work, (I had a colleague who distracted herself for years that way) depression, a feeling of lack of connection.

And yet another side of the issue is that some unhappy women may also not feel like sex because they feel unsupported. TikTok influencer @itsme_abbye says that foreplay begins at breakfast.

And that a large part of creating intimacy (especially when there are children and work to take care of!), is making the woman feel loved and supported. 

Teamwork makes the dream work but feeling unsupported leads to two lonely people.

4) Her friends and family know

So this isn’t always the case, but on the whole, women are better at communicating than men. And since not all communication is verbal, without having to say much, their loved ones can read between the lines. Or maybe the woman can tell her troubles to them but not her partner. Maybe things fell apart with their relationship long ago but they keep going on until friends are like ‘breakup already!’

Here’s the thing. The partner doesn’t know because communication has broken down. When the woman has tried to express her feelings and needs, her partner has shut her down, and got angry. Or replied with their own needs “Well what about me?” to deflect attention back to themselves. Instead of hearing and validating what she has to say.

And so the women turn to their support network, sometimes meaning that the partner is the last to know about the depth of their lady’s unhappiness.

5) She withdraws from social situations

Picture this: you’re at a dinner party with your partner, and everyone’s laughing and having a grand old time.

But there’s one woman who seems to be in her own world, barely cracking a smile. When someone tries to engage her in conversation, she gives short, vague responses before retreating back into her shell.

Chances are, this woman might be secretly unhappy in her relationship. 

I know when I’ve felt unfulfilled or unheard at home, it was hard to muster up the energy to socialize and put on a happy face. I started declining invitations, making excuses, or simply going through the motions when I did show up to social events.

And let’s be real – sometimes being around other happy couples just serves as a painful reminder of what we’re missing out on.

So if you notice a friend or loved one consistently opting out of social gatherings or seeming checked out when they do attend, it might be worth gently checking in to see if everything’s okay.

6) She feels she’s losing her sense of self

When we’re constantly putting our partner’s needs above our own, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are and what we want. We might find ourselves molding into whatever shape we think will make them happy, even if it means sacrificing our own passions, opinions, and dreams.

Over time, this can lead to a serious identity crisis. We might look in the mirror and not even recognize the person staring back at us. So many lost opportunities and broken dreams. And for what?

I’ve seen it happen to the most vivacious and ambitious women I know. They enter a relationship as a force to be reckoned with, but slowly start to shrink and fade away. They stop pursuing their goals, give up their hobbies, and let their own needs slip into the background. It’s awful to witness.

If you find yourself constantly deferring to your partner’s preferences, biting your tongue instead of speaking your truth, or feeling like you’ve lost touch with what brings you joy or contentment, it might be a sign that you’re sacrificing too much of yourself for the sake of the relationship.

7) Her physical appearance changes

When we’re chronically unhappy, it can start to take a toll on our physical appearance as well as our well-being. We might start neglecting self-care, dressing differently, or even experiencing changes in our weight or skin.

I’m not talking about the normal fluctuations that come with age and life circumstances. I’m talking about a noticeable shift that seems to coincide with the decline of the relationship.

Maybe we stop putting effort into our appearance because we no longer feel seen or appreciated by our partner. What’s the point in dressing up or doing our hair if they barely glance our way? 

Or maybe we start overindulging in food or alcohol as a way to numb the pain or fill the void.

On the flip side, some women might start overdoing the gym or obsessing over their looks in an attempt to win back their partner’s attention or prove their worth. They might think, “If I can just lose those last 3 kilos or get that perfect beach body, then they’ll finally love me the way I need to be loved.” 

The reality is this – no amount of external change can fix an internal problem. If you find yourself drastically altering your physical appearance in response to relationship troubles, or neglecting your health, it might be time to pause and reflect on what’s really going on beneath the surface.

In conclusion

Unhappiness in a relationship can manifest in countless ways. And when we’re in the midst of it, it can be hard to see the signs for what they are.

So if you’ve been nodding along with any of these points, please know that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. It takes a great deal of courage to admit when something isn’t working and even more strength to do something about it.

Whether that means having some tough conversations with your partner, seeking the guidance of a therapist, or even walking away from a toxic situation – trust that you have the wisdom and resilience to do what’s best for you.

And to those watching a loved one suffer in silence – don’t be afraid to reach out and offer your support. Sometimes just knowing that someone sees us and cares can make all the difference.

Love should never come at the cost of your own happiness and well-being. You are worthy of a relationship that uplifts, inspires, and brings out the best in you.

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter: @StormJewel

5 signs you’re a high quality person, according to psychology

If you can’t remember the last time you felt at peace with yourself, say goodbye to these 8 habits