Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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How do you know your marriage is really unhappy?

There's a big difference between a marriage that's going through a difficult time and one that's just generally unhappy. Difficult times can be endured and even help a couple grow. An unhappy marriage can ultimately stifle both people's lives and make them downright miserable.

So, how do you tell the difference? Here are some of the biggest signs that you're heading for "unhappily ever after" in your marriage:

1. You're keeping secrets -- or your spouse is

Maybe both of you are keeping secrets. Either way, if you find that you can't be honest with your spouse and share your innermost thoughts or feelings, that's a troubling sign.

2. Real conversations are less and less frequent

Do you find yourself saying less than ever to your spouse? Does it seem like a bother to even engage in small talk? Do you generally only communicate about necessities, like what to pick up at the store for dinner or what time one of the kids will be home? That's a big sign that you've emotionally blocked out your spouse and are protecting your feelings from harm.

3. You're avoiding intimacy

Unless there's a good reason (like illness), the lack of physical intimacy in a marriage is a serious concern. It basically signals a lack of desire to be close to that other person -- and an unwillingness to be vulnerable around them. That's not a happy sign for a marriage.

4. You feel frustrated and angry at everything your spouse does

If your spouse annoys you with everything he or she does and you no longer find yourself enjoying his or her company, it may be time to think about what's happening. Everyone should enjoy being around their spouse. If you can't remember the last time being around your spouse felt good, that's a sign that the marriage is probably over.

If you're thinking that it's time to end your marriage, take the time to find out more about your legal rights and options. There are likely more choices available than you realize.

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