9 signs you're sabotaging your marriage without realising it

ShuttershockCheating isn’t the only way couples lose trust in each other.
  • Every couple deals with highs and lows in their relationship, but if you make certain actions into habits, it could hurt your marriage in the long run.
  • Even subtle mistakes like hiding texts or picking fights can lead to problems.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

All relationships go through highs and lows. But if you notice yourself becoming a repeat offender of certain negative actions, it could mean you’re sabotaging your bond with your partner – and that could hurt your marriage in the long term.

In addition to more obvious breaches of trust like cheating, subtle yet harmful habits like hiding emails and texts or telling white lies could diminish intimacy, which is a key to successful marriages.

Here are all of the ways you could be sabotaging your marriage.

You pick fights with your partner.

ABCToo much fighting could create unresolvable tension.

Arguing with your partner is a normal part of being in a relationship. But fighting about every single indiscretion could lead to unsolvable tension.

Similarly, bringing up a single point of contention over and over again without coming to a compromise (or simply agreeing to disagree) could put your relationship under constant stress.

If you catch yourself picking apart your partner’s actions or lack thereof, clinical psychologist Linda Firestone recommends looking at the actions from their perspective.

“We can be open to the idea that we might not be seeing our partner accurately and approach them with curiosity and fresh interest,” she wrote in Psychology Today.

You sweep any negative feelings under the rug.

kittirat roekburi / ShutterstockSome people prefer to avoid conflict as much as possible.

On the opposite end of the spectrum of people who constantly pick fights are those who are conflict-averse and would prefer to hide their feelings in an attempt to avoid tough conversations. If this sounds like you, it could mean you need to work on your communication skills in order to stay on the same page with your partner.

Communication is vital for a relationship to succeed,” Jonathan Bennett, a counselor and author of the site The Popular Man, previously told INSIDER. “However, if you never make an effort to communicate with your partner, or, worse, actively shut down communication, you’re a big part of the problem. This means that the issues plaguing your relationship will never be resolved in a healthy way.”

Tackle your problems head on. It may be uncomfortable at first, but will serve your marriage in the long run.

You don’t talk about what you want in the bedroom.


Similar to hiding your emotions from your partner, hiding your physical wants and needs could be detrimental to your marriage. Chances are, if you aren’t feeling satisfied in the bedroom, you’ll have less sex overall.

But sexual intimacy is a key component of a healthy relationship, and advocating for what you like will make sex more enjoyable and potentially more frequent.

“Your partner may feel more like you do about sex than you think; but you’ll never know that unless you’re willing to express your own feelings and listen to them,” Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist, and author of “How to Be Happy Partners: Working It Out Together,” previously told INSIDER.

You’re always on your phone.

Phone addiction may not seem as serious as other substance-based addictions, but it could be sabotaging your relationship.

Think about it: time spent scrolling through Instagram or responding to emails is time you could be using to act in the present moment. If you’re doing these things during quality time with your partner, you’re not really reinforcing your connection or building new memories.

“We’re very sensitive, especially in romantic relationships, about our prioritisation in the person’s life,” behavioural scientist Susan Weinschenk told Cosmopolitan. “The other person will say ‘I’m listening, I can listen, let me just check one message’ and it really becomes a symbol of how present somebody is at the moment.”

You choose Netflix over sex.

iStockFrequent sex releases hormones like dopamine and oxytocin.

When you’re enthralled by the latest Netflix Original, it can be difficult to tear yourself away from the screen, even to have a moment in the bedroom. But choosing television or other entertainment over sex all the time could lessen the intimate bond you have with your partner.

Frequent sex releases hormones like dopamine and oxytocin, which both play a role in creating physical and emotional attachment between two people. If you’re forgoing sex often, these bonds can’t form as easily.

You tell white lies all the time.

iStockTelling lies, no matter how small, is a bad idea.

Telling white lies can feel fun and harmless, but using them on your partner is an easy way to break trust. Even if they don’t find out you lied, your actions suggest you feel you can’t be open with them.

As your white lies pile up, they could lead to bigger relationship problems down the line, like your partner realising they can’t trust you at all.

You hide your texts and emails from your partner.

ShutterstockIt could mean you’re emotionally cheating on your partner.

Keeping parts of your life private may seem natural, but if you’re hiding texts or emails that you receive from certain people, it could mean you’re emotionally cheating on your partner.

“Text messaging provides an opportunity for wandering hearts, hearts not fully committed to their spouses, to seek pleasure from someone other than their spouses when their relationship grass may be losing its colour,” Zack Carter, PhD, a professor of interpersonal, intrapersonal, and family communication, wrote for Psychology Today.

You spend more time with coworkers than your partner.

ShutterstockIf you start to lie about your whereabouts or only talk abut work friends with your partner, it’s a sign your heart is in a different place than your marriage.

Another subtle way to emotionally cheat involves spending more time with coworkers than your partner. Although 4o-plus hour workweeks are a normal part of most people’s lives, extending the quality time you spend with colleagues could cut into the time you could be spending on your marriage.

And if you start to lie about your whereabouts or only talk abut work friends with your partner, it’s a sign your heart is in a different place than your marriage.

“You’re allowed to have your own friends, but there’s a difference between secrecy and privacy,” psychotherapist Tammy Nelson previously told INSIDER.

You’re constantly jealous.

ShuttershockFeeling a pang of jealousy from time to time is normal.

Feeling a pang of jealousy from time to time is normal, but if you constantly question your partner without a specific reason or act possessive over them, it could hurt your marriage.

“Jealousy in small or moderate degrees can be a sign of connection, commitment and even love,” behavioural psychologist Robert L. Leahy said.

If you can’t talk to your partner about these feelings or resolve them on your own, it could leave your partner feeling untrusted and resentful.

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