Stages Of A Dying Marriage

Are you also stuck in a problematic marriage? Do you also feel disconnected, disrespected, and disheartened from your partner? Well, it happens sometimes in every marriage.

Marriage is a journey of ups and downs with a beautiful lifelong bond tied with love, affection, and care. But sometimes, it gets affected due to certain things that make some marriages hard to live. 

It is hard to detach from the person you have built a life with. So, if you also feel such things, do not worry.

This article will expose the different stages of a dying marriage so you can identify them and do things to fix the damage to make your marriage happier, stronger, and beautiful again. Read on!

11 Stages Of A Dying Marriage

Marriage does not become unhappy in a single night. It is the outcome of many factors, such as fights, not giving time to each other, etc, that are ignored for many days. If you are struggling in an unhappy relationship, it can be a sign of a dying marriage.

Dying marriage consists of various states ranging from seriousness to terribleness. To give a second chance to your marriage, we are mentioning the dying marriage stages to help you save your marriage by fixing these stages. 

Stage 1: Recognition of Being Unhappy

The first stage of a dying marriage is the realization of unhappiness with your spouse. Over the years, married couples tend to forget the promises they made to each other and build a crack due to their not-so-good behavior.

The cause can be anything, such as something missing in your relationship or any small things running in your mind that you cannot share with your partner, you are bored with each other, or there is no excitement left. 

Every marriage has ups and downs; ask yourself whether you are unhappy in your marriage or with yourself, and discuss it with your partner. Disagreements on any plan, lack of communication, and financial problems can lead to unhappiness. 

What are the Solutions?

  • Avoid constant criticism.
  • Spend more time together.
  • Stop being defensive.
  • Share your wins and losses.
  • Consider yourself as one.

Stage 2: Like Isolation/Feel Lonely

The next stage of a dying marriage is when you start to feel lonely. In this initial stage, you recognize that you do not want to share your feelings, sentiments, and thoughts with your partner, making you feel alone.

This feeling can cause emotional pain because of your unrealistic expectations, family, and work.

You may feel separated from your partner even when your partner is around. Due to a lack of attachment towards each other, you think it unnecessary to talk, as it may lead to a fight.

You may start to find reasons to avoid your partner and allow yourself to get disconnected from your partner. This stage leads to misinterpretation, distance, or unresolved issues between you and your spouse, resulting in a dying marriage.

What are the Solutions?

  • Share your feelings with your partner. 
  • Limit the use of social media. 
  • Make your partner feel special.
  • Share your everyday life.
  • Stay physically connected.

Stage 3: Less Communication

Communication is the base of every relationship. Your spouse is your best friend with whom you can talk about anything, but if there is no communication, it becomes another stage of a dying marriage.

No communication accelerates the rate of getting closer to a divorce. Rather than sharing your talks and plans, you started to ignore each other, directly affecting your relationship with your partner. 

Communication can make or break a relationship. It affects your work, home, and sex life, along with your thoughts and feelings.

Poor communication arises from communication styles, unresolved conflicts, or underlying emotional issues leading to feeling you or your partner emotionally unsafe, building up misunderstandings, irritation, misinterpretations, and even the cause of divorce.

What are the Solutions?

  • Communicate more with your partner.
  • Be a good listener and know your partner.
  • Use love language with your partner.
  • Make plans that include We.
  • Consider counseling sessions.

Stage 4: Feeling of Detachment/Less Emotional Support

Another stage of a dying marriage is detachment. The romance between couples dims and pushes your partner away from you due to conflicts. In this stage, you may become less careful about your partner’s thoughts and behaviors and start noticing their imperfections and flaws. 

In other words, you feel less emotionally attached to your partner, and all the excitement gradually disappears due to factors like your daily life chaos and disruptions that build disconnection in a marriage.

You may not get emotional support or understanding from your partner, and you start to ignore them by turning out or acting busy. All these factors lead to isolation and unhappy marriages. 

What are the Solutions?

  • Identify the underlying reason.
  • Give yourself some time.
  • Improve emotional intimacy.
  • Spend more time with your partner.
  • Show affection.

Stage 5: Lack of Intimacy – Mentally, Emotionally, Physically

One of the components of a happy marriage is intimacy. Lack of intimacy is normal but not good. It comes and goes occasionally and depends on various factors such as health, stress, and work.

No intimacy can be challenging, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the marriage is over. Whether it is physical, emotional, or mental intimacy, if it goes down and you do nothing about it, it contributes to the stage of a dying marriage.

So, you may ignore your partner if you are not getting intimacy satisfaction such as support, love, or care. Also, no emotional intimacy is directly proportional to no physical intimacy, which can lead to stress and result in an unsuccessful marriage.

What are the Solutions?

  • Find ideas to surprise each other.
  • Have fun together.
  • Use love language and make eye contact.
  • Be emotionally available.
  • Take the chance to love and support each other.

Stage 6: Regular Criticization of Each Other

The next stage of a dying marriage is when you start to criticize your partner. Every marriage faces a difficult time, and criticism is a factor that develops quickly in any marriage.

This is the stage where your partner always finds your fault no matter what you do because you are unhappy with your spouse, which leads to a negative impact and marital breakdown.

Criticism hurts and assaults your partner, passing from valid complaints to harmful statements, which builds relationship dissatisfaction. 

Instead of understanding each other’s point of view, the partners spend more time criticizing and blaming each other, directly fingering out your partner’s character.

The bad habit of criticism can lead to the foundation of marriage. We unknowingly create a negative bias for our partner, leading to an unhappy marriage. 

What are the Solutions?

  • Don’t take their behavior personally.
  • Manage your anxiety and stress.
  • Look for the positives.
  • Develop an understanding of communication as a team.
  • Promote gratitude.

Stage 7: The Withdrawal

Marriage is a beautiful relationship connecting two hearts, giving comfortable and secure feelings. But if this feeling is not hiking on the top, there is something wrong in the marriage.

Over the years of marriage, the behavior of both people changes, creating an unsafe emotional wall, due to which they start withdrawing themselves from the relationship. This withdrawal can arise due to betrayal or personal and unresolved conflicts.

The withdrawal takes away everything with it: the fun, the support, and the connection presented in your marriage, and you start to ignore each other’s needs and do not like to be involved in any communication or intimacy.

What are the Solutions?

  • Communicate Constructively.
  • Build an emotional connection.
  • Practice forgiveness.
  • Boost up physical affection.
  • Work as a team and solve conflicts.

Stage 8: Conflict Escalates into Major Fights

The next stage of a dying marriage is when persistent conflicts escalate into a fight. It starts with small disagreements and reaches a heated argument.

The causes of escalation are accusation, blame, and oppression. Arguments and disputes directly impact the marriage life and increase the level of frustration. 

When you find yourself always surrounded by unresolved fights or unnecessary fights, it can signify a dying marriage, which leads to frustration, hopelessness, a difference of opinion and perspective, and emotional distance between partners.

The main causes of escalation are disagreement, blaming, and unresolved issues, which further contribute to stress affecting your health. These differences can make your marriage unhappy. 

What are the Solutions?

  • Determine the root of the problem.
  • Keep your voice down. 
  • Always be honest.
  • Defuse the situation. 
  • Maintain a calm and respectful conversation.

Stage 9: Takes Out Past Mistakes

This is the stage when your partner takes out your past mistakes in every fight or argument. No one has a clean slate, and your partner knows your emotional baggage, which they use as a weapon to hurt your feelings, leaving you upset and even angry. 

At this point, you feel like there is no positivity left in your marriage and no positive thing about living together. Every communication is passive-aggressive and related to your past mistakes.

What are the Solutions?

  • Work on compromise and understanding.
  • Practice forgiveness.
  • Focus on self-improvement.
  • Build trust and rebuild after infidelity.
  • Avoid grudges.

Stage 10: Last-Straw Moment/ Disagreements

Last-straw moments and disagreements can end your marriage. This is the phase when one becomes intolerable, and one spouse becomes hateful due to constant fighting and disputes over the same thing. The feeling of hopelessness and helplessness takes away all your interest from your partner. 

The last straws are the accumulation of problems that couples can not resolve, resulting in serious issues like divorce.

At this stage, you may start thinking that there is nothing left to continue your marriage, no love, no respect, no feelings towards each other, and an emotional realization that your marriage is over because none of you has put in the effort to save it.

What are the Solutions?

  • Be present for your partner.
  • Do not compare.
  • Avoid conflict and arguments.
  • Give time to each other.
  • Start dating each other again.

Stage 11: The Decision of Divorce/Separation

The final stage of a dying marriage is divorce. It is when you realize that you cannot live longer in your marriage and need to end it. Although ending your relationship with the one you love is very painful, you can choose this path if you can do nothing and think your life will improve after it. 

But before filing for divorce, always try to put some effort into saving your beautiful bond. The condition of divorce arises when couples do not solve their problems, get frustrated, and get separated emotionally, mentally, and physically; they do not see any hope in the relationship.

The couple is only left with issues, making them unhappy and unfulfilled in the marriage. To get a divorce, you can get the help of a qualified divorce attorney to understand your legal rights, help you in asset separation, and resolve custody matters.

What are the Solutions?

  • Communicate even if it is harder.
  • Spend more quality time together.
  • Get some accountability and support.
  • Understand the biggest issues in your marriage.
  • Bring back your little things. 


Marriage is a journey that is not so easy. Some of you may feel the luckiest to have your partner as a wife/husband, or sometimes it may worsen.

Over the years, marriage swings in a roller coaster of fights, disagreements, unresolved issues, and other daily-life chaos, leading to frustration.

All these factors make the couple helpless and hopeless, making each other least interested in each other, which is a sign of a dying marriage. From the above article, you know the stages of dying in a marriage. So, if you face any of these stages, there is still time to save it from breaking.

These signs indicate where your marriage stands, and with a little teamwork, you can revitalize your relationship. You can also reach out for counseling to resolve your marital problems.

These indications can lead to divorce if not taken seriously or ignored. So, explore ways to reconnect emotionally. You can put an effort into your marriage to reverse the damage. Remember, not everything is lost, and fall in love again with your partner.


1. What does a failing marriage feel like?

Ans: If one feels disconnected, lacking fulfillment and intimacy, and there is helplessness and hopelessness in relation, it may be a sign of a failing marriage. 

2. What are the four pillars of an unhappy marriage?

Ans: The four pillars of an unhappy marriage include criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

3. What is stonewalling in a marriage?

Ans: Stonewalling in a marriage means when one or both partners give up when feeling crushed during conflict. Rather than communicating or confronting the issue, it is an act of ignorance, such as tuning out or acting busy. 

4. What is emotional abandonment in a relationship?

Ans: Emotional abandonment means when one or both partners detach emotionally to ignore conflict, causing the other partner to feel unsupported, isolated, and rejected. 

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