The Marriage.com Editorial Team is a group of experienced relationship writers, experts, and mental health professionals. We provide practical and research-backed advice on relationships. Our content is thoroughly reviewed by experts to ensure that we offer high-quality and reliable relationship advice.
If a marriage is tumbling, usually, both partners have a mutual desire to fix things up. Sometimes, it will require an expert to help them wade through the cracks.
You have every opportunity to find happiness with your spouse – especially if you are just going through a rough spot at the moment.
On the other hand, there is a possibility that you might have been in an unhappy marriage for a long time. The body language of unhappy married couples can help in deciphering if their marriages are happy or not.
So, let’s understand what cues can tell if a married couple is unhappy and how you can work on it.
What is body language?
Body language is how your body responds to people or situations in a non-verbal way. Your gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, and body movements will convey your feelings, thoughts, and emotions to others.
Look at a happy couple’s body language, for instance. They look into each other’s eyes and smile a lot at each other.
The body language of unhappy couples is the opposite. There is minimal eye contact with your partner, and you tend to keep your distance from them as much as possible.
How do you know if a married couple is unhappy?
The body language of unhappy married couples often reveals underlying discontent. Typically, these couples may exhibit minimal physical contact, such as avoiding holding hands or sitting far apart.
Their lack of eye contact, especially during conversations, can be a telling sign of disconnection. Tense facial expressions, like frowns or scowls, are common, as are closed body postures, such as crossed arms, indicating defensiveness or discomfort.
Additionally, they might engage in negative nonverbal cues like rolling their eyes or sighing heavily, which can signal frustration or contempt. Overall, their body language tends to lack the warmth and closeness observed in contented couples.
17 cues for the body language of unhappy married couples
Unhappy married couples often exhibit distinct body language cues that subtly reveal the strains in their relationship. These cues, ranging from subtle changes in interaction to overt expressions of discomfort, can provide insights into the emotional state and dynamics of the relationship.
Here are some cues for the body language of unhappy married couples:
1. No longer make eye contact
The avoidance of eye contact is not just during arguments but also in regular, everyday interactions. Persistent avoidance of eye contact can indicate deeper issues, such as a lack of trust or emotional disconnect.
It might also suggest that they are hiding something or are no longer interested in maintaining an emotional connection, making this a concerning sign in any relationship.
The unhappy body language of married couples shows up in their gestures and eye contact when they no longer feel love or care about their partner’s welfare.
Even in a crisis, you might expect your partner to take notice and be there to comfort you. But someone who doesn’t feel the love anymore and is living in a loveless marriage might even be very noticeably absent during times like this.
3. The hugs are cold and non-yielding
Sometimes, a partner will behave almost like a child when an unloved relative or stranger tries to gush over them – they lock their arms to their sides and won’t hug back.
If you notice your partner is showing this negative body language in relationships and your own, like when you try to hug them, it can be a sign that they are not happy with you.
Did you know that, according to research, the oxytocin hormone gets released when we hug someone we love? This hormone becomes rare and inactive when a couple is no longer happy.
4. You talk to your partner, and they roll their eyes
Rolling their eye is one of the telltale cues of body language of unhappy married couples. All you have to do is roll your eyes at someone or let people see you rolling your eyes at someone, and they will know you are disapproving of that person.
Rolling eyes is a non-verbal cue that tells you you basically don’t like someone because you might be jealous or disapprove of them. Seeing your partner rolling their eyes at you in front of friends and family can be extremely hurtful.
5. Sighing while talking to you
The body language between couples in a happy relationship will show up with plenty of listening and smiles while interacting with each other. If you or your partner continually sigh in each other presence, it can mean you both are bored and unhappy with each other’s company.
Your partner may wish that you weren’t there. Are you familiar with the above? Maybe the writing is on the wall for you, but you don’t want to acknowledge the signs.
6. Not walking in sync
Take a look when you are out walking with your spouse. Remember when you were in love; you would walk together, holding hands. In negative body language in relationships, you will notice they are walking several feet behind or in front of you.
There’s a deadpan look on their face – no smiles today! And then suddenly, they veer off without even telling you – into a shop or across the road. No signaling or communication; their body language shows they will do their thing, and you do yours!
7. You keep a physical distance from each other
Usually, when you love someone, you want to be physically close to them. You try and find reasons to touch them, and they find reasons to touch you. You want them to notice you.
Physical touch is a symbol of someone who is attracted to you. If one partner or both are avoiding physical contact and sex with each other, this can be the body language of unhappy married couples that all is not well on the home front.
Couples who are in love usually lean toward each other all the time. They want to be as close to their partner as they possibly can. Leaning toward your partner while talking to them or when you’re sitting with them is a symbol of emotional intimacy.
It is a positive sign of relationship body language where love and respect reign.
If you see that your partner moves away from you and doesn’t want to come close to you lest he touches you, this is a warning sign. It indicates that your partner is emotionally distancing themself from you.
8. Distracted when they are with you; not mentally present
You long to connect with your partner, but they act distracted when you are near them. They look like they just want to escape; they actually can’t even look at you. This can be very hurtful to experience.
It can be because you just don’t count (sorry to say) anymore, or they are thinking of someone else. Happy couples’ body language will show them making the most of the time spent together; they engage together and talk things through with each other.
9. Kissing with hard, closed lips
Kissing intimately and long is a sign that you are in love and attracted to someone. But say now your friends are watching you with your partner. They see you clamp your lips shut with no yielding.
They’re going to think you were having a fight, right? Especially if there are no smiles and only frowns around.
10. Lack of shared smiles
Smiling together is a strong indicator of happiness and connection in a relationship. When a couple stops sharing genuine smiles – those spontaneous, warm expressions of joy and affection – it’s often a sign of underlying unhappiness.
In a strained relationship, smiles may become forced or absent altogether during interactions. This lack of shared smiles suggests a significant emotional distance.
Genuine smiles involve not just the mouth but also the eyes, and their absence indicates that the couple is no longer finding joy or amusement in each other’s company.
The shift from shared happiness to a more somber interaction is a subtle yet telling clue of the health of the marital bond.
11. Shift from smiles to indifference
The transition from genuine smiles to a display of indifference is a telling body language of unhappy married couples. Initially, couples often share spontaneous smiles, signaling joy and contentment in each other’s company.
However, when these smiles fade and are replaced by expressions of indifference or forced, tight-lipped smiles, it suggests a significant emotional shift. This change often indicates growing unhappiness or dissatisfaction in the relationship.
The absence of authentic smiles, especially those reaching the eyes, reflects a loss of warmth and affection. It may not always signify permanent trouble, but it’s a clear indicator that the joy and ease once present in the relationship are diminishing, possibly giving way to feelings of disconnect or apathy.
12. You shudder when you talk to each other
Nothing is quite as telling as a shudder when you hear it from your partner. It’s like telling you that you give them the shudders.
If your partner does that around you, it might not be a temporary situation that will likely improve – this could be a sign that they no longer care a hoot for you anymore. It can be as if the relationship is finished already.
13. No longer show empathy in difficult circumstances
If your mental state is generally not up to par, and your partner shows no signs of concern, it could well be that they are no longer happy with you and the marriage. Have you taken note, sometimes, of the body language of unhappy married couples yourself lately?
You might have noticed how one partner no longer expresses empathy when the other is going through tough or sad times. They seem irritated and don’t want to be involved or interested in helping their partner through it.
With you, your partner might seem to deliberately not want to grasp that you are upset – they don’t make any signs of offering you comfort.
In the body language of lovers and a happy relationship, a partner usually steps into their partner’s shoes and tries to feel the experience of what they are going through. The pain is shared.
Your partner is so not into you anymore that they smirk at you in front of you as well as behind your back. When you smirk at your partner, you show them you think you are better than them. In reality, you and your partner should be equals.
If you want this marriage to work, you both must get off your high horses and wipe the smug looks off your faces.
15. You mimic one another but not in a friendly manner
You know when something is mimicking you ‘cos they think you’re cute. They look back at you and smile in a friendly fashion, and you nudge each other in a friendly way.
But when you’re already treading on rough ground in your marriage, you will know how, even in front of other people, your partner will copy what you just said exaggeratedly or mimic your actions.
It’s to embarrass you in front of others or when you are alone – Not very nice. The body language intimacy that you once knew is gone.
Watch this TED Talk to learn about healthy relationship habits and how you can make your relationship successful:
16. Frequent interrupting or talking over
A strong indicator of disrespect and frustration in a relationship is when partners frequently interrupt or talk over each other.
It shows a lack of consideration and interest in what the other has to say, leading to feelings of being undervalued and unheard. This behavior can exacerbate the emotional divide between them.
17. Avoiding shared decision making
In happy relationships, couples often make decisions together, valuing each other’s opinions and reaching consensus. However, in unhappy marriages, one or both partners may start making significant decisions independently without consulting the other.
Shifting from a collaborative to a unilateral approach in decision-making signifies a breakdown in communication and partnership, reflecting deep-seated issues in the relationship.
To help manage the complexities of relationship dynamics, particularly regarding unhappiness within a marriage, here are some popularly asked questions about unhappy married couples’ body language:
How do you know if your couple is unhappy?
You might notice a lack of communication, affection, and shared activities. There may be increased arguments, emotional distance, or indifference toward each other’s needs and interests, signaling underlying discontent in the relationship.
How do you tell if a man is unhappy in his marriage?
An unhappy husband may become withdrawn, show less interest in family activities, and avoid conversations. He might express frustration or indifference more frequently, and there could be a noticeable decrease in physical and emotional intimacy within the marriage.
How do you deal with a spouse who is never happy?
Address the issue with open and honest communication. Seek to understand their perspective without judgment. Encourage professional help if needed. Maintain empathy, but also set boundaries to protect your own emotional well-being. Patience and a supportive approach are key.
Why does my husband always seem unhappy with me?
Unhappiness could be due to unexpressed expectations, unresolved conflicts, or personal issues unrelated to the marriage. Initiating a candid conversation is crucial to understand your husband’s feelings. Consider couple’s therapy for a structured approach to addressing and resolving underlying issues.
When couples are in love, they show love, and their bodies speak their love language. But the way they live in the years after that, the way they speak, eat, and respond, all comes out in their body language.
The body language of unhappy married couples speaks volumes about the state of their relationship, not only with their partner but with everyone.
In a world where most stuff is on social media and where people want to be noticed and popular, they can end up disappointed in people, which also means their partner.
The question of unhappy couples’ body language has led to much research from experts, where years have been spent studying body language and what differentiates happy couples from unhappy ones.
That is why marriage couples counseling therapy is available to help you and your partner if you want to save your marriage. Because they might have come to realize that the –
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – Peter Drucker. You can’t get truer than that!
The Marriage.com Editorial Team is a group of experienced relationship writers, experts, and mental health professionals. We provide practical and research-backed advice on relationships. Our content is thoroughly reviewed by experts Read more to ensure that we offer high-quality and reliable relationship advice. Read less
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