12 Huge Red Flags You're Drifting Apart From Your Spouse

If you're not as close as you used to be, should you worry?

depressed couple Maria Moroz / Shutterstock

If you're worried you may be drifting apart from your spouse, there are a few ways you can turn things around in your relationship and learn how to save your marriage.

The early stages of a romantic relationship are fun, exciting, exhilarating, mind occupying, feeling generating, smile making, can’t wait to see her, and can’t get him off of my mind experiences.

The attraction to be together is strong and drives your thoughts, actions, and plans. It is a wonderful feeling and you long to be with them and are unable to imagine that it will ever, ever be different.


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Fast forward seven, 10, or 15 years into the marriage, and for some, it feels very much different. The feeling you thought would never leave has not been around for a long time.

You still like each other — at least some of the time — and you do things together as a family, almost always with the kids. The spark that was there is gone. You might occasionally feel it a little, but mostly it seems far away and like it will never return.


In the beginning, these intense feelings draw a couple together, so they think it will always stay that way. At that time, it was easy and required almost no work to keep the feeling alive, so unconsciously, you think it will always stay that way.

There comes a point in time, though, when it takes intentional effort to do things to keep the spark alive. So, how do you know you're drifting apart?

Here are 12 signs you and your spouse have lost that 'spark' and are drifting apart — and how to get it back and save your marriage.

1. You're experiencing a loss of affection.

Do you notice less touching, kissing, and hugging? While it was very natural and normal to be physically close much of the time early on, you now notice that neither one of you initiates or responds to signs of affection like in the past.

There is little to no hand-holding, and if you happen to be at a movie, event, or on the couch sitting relatively close; it's rare to move close enough to make physical contact or put an arm around your spouse to move closer.


2. You don't want to spend as much time together.

There still is a lingering thought that it would be nice to go on a date together, but little to no effort is put into making it happen. The topic is rarely talked about, and when it does come up, it feels like too much effort to address it with all the other responsibilities being faced.

3. You run out of things to talk about.

When you do think about spending some time alone as a couple, you have the feeling that it may be awkward. In the early years, you both had plenty to talk about when together.

There were times when the talk could go on for hours. Now, not so much. Your talk is mostly about the kids or maybe things going on at work. Conversations die down quickly and sometimes are hard to start up again.

4. It feels like you're living with a stranger.

There is so little time spent together as a couple that neither of you is comfortable with it when it does happen. It feels like there's so little you know about this person; they seem to have changed and you are not sure you know them any longer.


You often feel like you learn more about them when they are talking to someone else and you can listen in.

5. Neither one of you is invested in the marriage.

There was a time when you both did little things to take care of the other. You knew what would have meaning, and you did it to show your love. It was easy to do, and you were excited at times about the things you did to take care of your spouse.

Those days are long gone. It is hard to even remember the last time one of you made the extra effort to take care of the other.

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6. Other things all seem more important than your spouse.

During those times when you do make an effort to discuss concerns about the relationship, it doesn’t seem to register. When you make a request or a plan for time together, it seems to always get crowded out by something or someone else.


7. You've given up on trying to get close again.

The efforts you have made in the past year or two have yielded no change. It feels hopeless to even try any longer. You tell yourself, "it won’t hurt as much if I can just accept that this is the way life is now."

8. You don't feel attracted to or attractive to your spouse.

Your heart has not beaten faster nor have your eyes lightened up when your spouse walks into the room or you see your spouse after an absence. You are not repulsed by the sight of your spouse, but you know that neither of you is attracted to the other like it was in the past.

9. Your sex life is unsatisfying or completely gone.

There may be little or no time for sex, and it is rare that one of you makes the initiative for it to happen. It often feels like a chore or a duty.

You sometimes hear complaints that there is so little sex happening, but no efforts are made to speak to your needs so that you regain interest.


10. You're holding onto a lot of resentment.

The resentment for both of you has been growing because of the disappointment in the relationship. When you do hear a suggestion about what could be done to improve things, you get angry. It may feel like the responsibility is being put on you.

11. It feels like it's too late to save your marriage.

This has gone on for so long that you are worn out with it. You remember all those times when you tried to reach out, tried to make plans to be together, and attempted to discuss it.

All of those efforts felt ignored or not taken seriously enough to continue the discussion and work on it. Now you feel like you have no energy to address change in your marriage. You have given up on it ever being different or better.

12. You've noticed commentary from friends or family.

Others have noticed that things are not the same. You have heard from more than one person that the two of you don’t seem close any longer. Your children may have even made some comments about it.


You may have additional signs that are telling you that you have drifted far apart. If you're concerned about your marriage and the amount of distance that's grown between you, there are some choices you can make.

You can choose to do nothing, and hope for the best, or you can choose to let the marriage die a natural death and move on.

You can choose to address the issues and determine if you can reverse the drift and learn to regain a sense of closeness. If you feel desperate and know that it's almost too late, the two of you could make another decision.

You can choose to find the best help available, and, for a predetermined period of time, follow the direction of a skilled professional to find out if there is hope for rebuilding your marriage.


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David McFadden, LCPC, LMFT, is a couples counselor and relationship coach who writes about marriage and relationships.