Reddit user AnitaDickenme123 asked: 'What are some signs that your married friend doesn’t have a good marriage?'
No matter how good it might be, no relationship is 100% perfect 100% of the time.
On the contrary, there are some relationships that seem pretty doomed to fail, and it's disheartening how many signs we can spot of the relationship coming apart, perhaps even before the couple themselves is aware of it.
But as clear as a sign of trouble might be, it can feel impossible to talk to a loved one about it when it's about their relationship.
Redditor AnitaDeckenme123 asked:
"What are some signs that your married friend doesn't have a good marriage?"
All Joking Aside
"Talking s**t about their spouse, even if it’s in a joking way, is a clear sign to me. I went to a bachelor party with a bunch of guys I didn’t know and they spent the entire time b***hing about their wives, and they all sounded miserable."
Desperate to Hide the Truth
"They are withdrawn or secretive. If your friend is suddenly withdrawn or secretive, it may be a sign that they are having problems in their marriage."
Weird Gestures to "Mark Their Territory"
"His hang glider now has a full-sized graphic of his spouse holding the cat on it. And he wasn't asked beforehand."
"They talk about divorce hypothetically."
"Okay, but what if, say, I am watching a lot of true crime murder shows, and he tells me we can just get a divorce instead of me killing him? Does that count? Lol (laughing out loud)."
"When they don’t care what the other person is doing or where they are. Basically, two people who live separate lives and live like roommates."
"My friend never says anything bad about her husband, but she also doesn't speak about him much at all. They’ve been married less than a year, but she's said things like not caring what he's up to a couple of times, and it made me wonder if that was normal in marriage. It feels wrong."
Fighting in Public
"I’ve known two different couples that off and on fought a lot around me at certain points, which isn’t obviously a great sign."
"The fighting stopped, but what I realized after a while that may be worse is that they didn’t interact at all unless absolutely necessary."
"I’m mostly oblivious, so it took my wife pointing it out to notice that both of these couples never really talk to each other besides mandatory stuff like plans or the kids."
"No casual conversations, no eye contact, no touching each other; literally no interaction that’s not necessary for the family to function."
"I suppose it’s better than fighting in public, but it’s kind of weird once you notice it."
Social Media Cover Stories
"If they're plastering social media with how HAPPY they are, and they're SO IN LOVE, and THEY'RE GOING TO BE TOGETHER FOREVER, that's a sure sign that things are in the process of going sideways."
"This confuses me SO much. I have two close friends (women) who have been texting me nonstop about how s**tty their significant others are, like going OFF about them, long voice messages, etc."
"Then between messages, I will open Facebook and see they just made a post about how much they love their partner with a cute picture and tons of hearts and s**t."
"Like... WHAT. I have never called them out, but what the h**l?"
"Gah, my BIL (Brother-in-Law) divorced after a short two-year marriage, and this was the prime indicator of knowing that they were doomed."
"They did this kissy cutesy schmoopy lovey-dovey thing in public, and the worse their relationship got, the more publicly showy they were about showing how in love they were. It was horrific to watch unfold."
Controlling and Jealous Behavior
"In my experience, going out with my old homie that was married, I couldn't ever post us out at the bar or anything. If his wife saw it, she’d blow her top apparently."
"We went out for my 23rd birthday a couple of years ago and merely his elbow was in the video of me sipping on whatever drink I had. In a panic, he urged that I delete it before his wife saw it for whatever reason."
"They’re divorced now."
Mean to Their Partner
"When their identity is the 'person who is mean to their spouse.'"
"I was at a party this weekend and there was a woman who just bad-mouthed her husband and talked about how nice it was to be away from him and the kids for the night. That’s like her shtick… she talks about how her kids and husband are s**tty. It’s such a gross personality, and it’s relatively common. It shouldn’t be common at all."
"They flirt a lot. A lot of unhappily married people I know are quick to flirt with anyone who seems interested because they want to feel that spark again."
"When one of them is out and their spouse does not stop calling them."
"I can't imagine living like that. I took a 10-day road trip to the beach alone, and all my husband asked of me was to keep my location turned on in case of an accident, and text a few times a day so he knew I was alive. That's trust."
The Depression or Glow Up Era
"If they suddenly seem really down on themselves or stop taking care of themselves for seemingly no reason, If their outlook on relationships and/or marriage had changed since getting married, If they have nothing good to say about their partner or just don't talk about them..."
"The list goes on."
"Or reverse, they start glowing up. They lose weight, focus on appearance more, it means they're getting ready to split."
"When my husband died, some friends admitted that they were a little jealous."
"My ex-husband responded, 'One can only hope,' and looked at me when he heard someone’s wife died."
"I would never say this to someone, but I understand the sentiment. I absolutely wished my ex-husband dead a handful of times. It's one of those things where you can't leave because I had very little money of my own and staying meant living with abuse."
Jealous of Working Relationships
"It's bad when you avoid or feel guilty talking about how happy you are or about the nice and thoughtful things that your partner does because you know your friend can't relate."
"Yikes. This is how I am with a friend group of mine. They’re always complaining about their husbands, and I stay silent. I don’t want to rub it in that I love my husband and he’s mostly awesome. In the past two years, one has gotten divorced and another is on her way there."
"It gets weird for me when people are like, 'Must be nice to get away from the wife' if I'm on a work trip or something."
"I don't understand. I sleep better when my wife's next to me, I feel better about the day when I get to see her and talk to her, she makes me smile all the damn time."
"Everybody on the planet is a very distant second on my list of people I want to be around, and even though we do plenty of things separately I don't see time apart as some sort of reprieve from her presence."
Wishing They Were Out
"I got married young and a lot of older guys gave me s**t for it, like they resented their wives for settling down too soon. It upsets me when men talk s**t about their wives. If you hate your wife, then leave, she’s probably better off without you."
"My wife is my best friend. Seven years later, our relationship only grows stronger over time. If you love someone and they love you back, be grateful for that and show it!"
There are many ways to tell that a relationship is in a downward spiral, especially when the relationship is not our own.
But these accounts were intense and ones that we can only hope are less common.
Reddit user ADTID asked: 'What screams "we are not going to last long" for couples?'
Whether or not we want to admit it, we'd like to believe in love lasting forever and happily-ever-afters.
But some couples are not destined to last forever.
And perhaps not surprisingly, there are some tell-tale signs that a couple is doomed to fail.
Redditor ADTID asked:
"What screams 'we are not going to last long' for couples?"
An Accidental... Engagement?
"A recent personal experience I witnessed."
"The entire immediate family of one side of a wedding said it was a bad idea and less than a month into the marriage one of them stayed at their mom's house for the night because they were fighting."
"Also, they got engaged as a result of a failed breakup attempt..."
"I had a friend that did this. He kept dumping her and the last time, she just told him she had enough."
"The next day, he came back, begging for her and swearing that he loved her more than anything in the world."
"And she told him to prove it."
"So he proposed. She didn't know what to do, so she said yes and it went downhill from there."
An Incompatible Future
"If they have strongly conflicted plans for their future. Either means they'll break up eventually or one or both of them will end up in an unhappy compromise."
"Do not get married if one of you wants kids and the other doesn't. It is a whole mess."
"I have an aunt and uncle who I love dearly. He wanted kids badly and she did not. They almost divorced over it, but eventually worked through it. Traveled the world, had beautiful properties, the whole nine yards."
"Now she is in her 60s, and every time she drinks, she talks about how she should have had kids, and my uncle gets this look on his face that is difficult to describe, but it's not good."
On Again, Off Again
"Breaking up every few minutes and then back together again."
"Especially in the first couple of months."
"When the dynamic is super obvious to outsiders early on, that’s a bad sign."
"Whatever is happening on the outside is always worse on the inside."
"I know a couple where the woman will just berate her man publicly. She’ll talk to him like he’s an actual child. She tells him how much he’s allowed to do certain things, but twists it so it doesn’t look as bad. It’s as if she genuinely thinks he’s mentally disabled or something, except she only does it when she’s being controlling."
"For example, she hates when he plays video games. She thinks it’s immature and a waste of time that could be spent hanging out with her or being productive. She thinks it’s embarrassing that he plays video games."
"So he has to sneak around to play video games at other people's houses so that he can play it off as if it’s the other person's fault that he was playing. Like, 'Oh, Mike wanted to play, and I just couldn’t say no at his house.'"
"Now, I have seen this couple having a semi-private fight. They’re very loud and literally go one room away from their guests to have fights."
"This woman will berate the way he talks during fights and literally mock him to his face in a baby voice like, 'Nanana, I’m a grown man and I still play video games,' instead of actually making real commentary on the argument. This breaks his spirit and he ends up just exhausting during the fight and succumbing to whatever she wants. And the things she wants are super inconsistent, so he can’t win there, either."
"The public thinks she doesn’t like video games and looks down on him for it. But privately she’s completely broken this guy's spirit and he can’t escape the cycle due to constant emotional exhaustion."
"And that’s not even TRUE privacy. That’s when I’m in another room. God only knows how bad it is when they’re completely alone together. I hear some of it because this guy has come to my house when she kicks him out for the night, and he vents to me (while we play hours of video games of course, lol (laughing out loud))."
"This is shockingly common. I know, like, eight people who have at one point been in a relationship like this. Whatever abusive behavior is seen publicly is always ALWAYS worse behind closed doors."
"I’ve told him blatantly that he should leave her."
"He always says things along the lines of, 'You’re right,' but then ends up back with her within a few days."
"They’ve been together for so long, I think it’s a sunk-cost situation for him."
"I am doing everything I can by being a place he can crash for the night and voicing my opinions. We’ve tried to talk to the woman before, too, but that ends up just making the guy’s life harder."
"Anyone who’s reading this and thinks it sounds familiar, if one or two friends say your SO (significant other) sucks, maybe it’s a fluke. If ALL your friends say they suck, or they think you might be in an abusive relationship, consider how you can’t see it as clearly through your rose-tinted glasses."
The Fatal Attempts to Fix
"When one person wants to 'fix' the other. If your relationship is a repair project, you didn't fall in love with who they are. You fell in love with what you want them to be."
Walking on Eggshells
"'Walking on eggshells’ around your partner in terms of what you can and can’t say. if you feel you can’t disagree with your partner and/or voice your opinion without it turning into an argument."
"That can be 'not going to last' or 'lasts several years too long.'"
An Audience for Their Arguments
"The way they speak to each other when they’re not alone."
"I noticed this after my divorce and I started dating again, because you speak to these new people with a lot of respect and kindness. Then we’d get around married couples and they’d say awful things to each other in nasty snappy tones, and it was jarring."
"Fast forward ten years and all those couples I noticed doing that are divorced now."
"When both make the atmosphere so uncomfortable when you are in their house."
Wedding Day Etiquette
"When he smashes her face in the cake at the wedding and she hates it."
"I did the manly thing and asked my wife. She said no, she was spending hours doing makeup and didn’t want to ruin it. So instead I gave her a tiny forkful to eat and it was great."
Very Public Relationships
"My cousin emptied out her bank account, her ex-husband's bank account, and borrowed from their relatives to fund a $25k wedding."
"They broke up about a year later. They were together for over 10 years before this."
"They also posted pictures the morning after while in bed still... It was just another sign they’re insecure about their relationship, over posting about how great it is all the time."
"A childhood friend posts five or six photos of her and her husband every day. The lighting is always magazine perfect, there is good composition and depth of field. It must take an hour of every day."
"I just want to be like, 'Girl, are you okay?'"
Lack of Communication
"Lack of communication."
"Discussing every disagreement means screaming over each other, exploding, shutting off communications, and/or running out of the room."
"So they won't be able to resolve anything in a constructive manner."
Arguing Too Much, or Too Little
"If all disagreements end in arguments."
"My partner and I disagree about a lot of stuff. But we can talk, discuss, and even sometimes agree with the other person's side."
"It'd be weird if you saw eye to eye on 100% of stuff too."
Open Marriage Solutions
"When they think opening their marriage will fix their problems."
"My wife and I had two different pairs of married friends who brought in 'a third' to spice up their marriage. We now have four separate friends who we can't hang out with together."
"I was at a party one time, and there was a marriage counselor there that had been working for 20-something years in couples counseling."
"I asked her what the number one sign was that the couple wasn't going to make it."
"Without hesitating, she said, 'If one person shows contempt for the other's feelings, it's over!'"
"This is the answer, well, one of them. John Gottman calls contempt, defensiveness, being critical, and stonewalling the 'Four Horsemen of Relationships.'"
"In other words, they are the signs that things are deeply not okay between the two people involved."
"Looking at past relationships, contempt is the big one. Once that entered the picture from either side, it was all downhill from there."
Adding a Child to the Mix
"Having a kid to 'fix' their relationship."
"Being a kid with divorced parents is bad."
"But being a kid with parents that should be divorced but aren't is way worse."
An Undeniable List
"In my experience:"
"1. Contempt / mockery."
"2. Lack of communication / respect / empathy for the other person."
"3. Glue babies."
"4. Having a wedding as opposed to making a marriage."
"With the exception of children, consistently and habitually prioritizing others over their SO (significant other)."
"Then there are the things that for me are default dealbreakers: any kind of abuse, cheating, financial dishonesty, violence, gaslighting. This criteria also applies to their treatment of my children where applicable."
There are always going to be relationships that aren't going to work out, but there are some that are literally doomed to fail, and that latter group is pretty obviously on the path to ending to everyone outside of the relationship long before the actual couple is even aware of it.