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People share the 16 signs that scream ‘your friend is in a bad marriage’

Here are the big red flags to look out for.

bad marriages, divorce, relationship advice

A couple having a hard time with a therapist.

When you’re single, your best friend is often your wingman or wingwoman when you go out looking for a partner. They’re great at giving an honest take on whether someone is right for you or not.

They can also be an important sounding board for determining whether you’re in a healthy relationship. They know you and your spouse, so they can see it when things aren’t going right. Whether they are comfortable telling you or if you really want to know their honest opinion is another story.

A Reddit user named Anita recently asked the AskReddit online forum about the obvious signs that a friend is in a bad relationship or headed for a divorce. “What are some signs that your married friend doesn’t have a good marriage?” Anita asked, and the question received nearly 2,000 responses in just 3 days.


Evidently, there are a lot of dead giveaways that people in bad relationships broadcast out to the world.

The major takeaway is people know their friends are stuck in a bad relationship or headed toward the end when the couple openly makes snide comments in front of each other at social engagements. Another big red flag is when one partner goes out of their way to avoid the other by working later, surrounding themselves with friends, or sleeping on the couch.

Here are 16 of the most prominent signs that scream “your married friend doesn’t have a good marriage.”

1.

"When my husband died, some friends admitted that they were a little jealous." — EmmyMcD

2.

"Never wants to go home, doesn’t like bringing their spouse as plus one, speaking poorly of spouse, future plans sound more 'I' than 'We,' and lack of excitement around the holidays." — Peaceatthebeach

3.

"An occasional joke at their expense is one thing. My wife and I do it, but you could really insert anyone's name in the joke. But when they criticize their SO for the same, personal thing nonstop, it starts to get telling. Like constantly telling everyone your wife is a shitty cook." — CaptainAwesome06

4.

"They continually complain about their spouse in front of others. Or disparage them." — Mahaloth

5.

"When they advise their single friends to stay single." — Deneenxo

6.

"Ummm, his wife came into the office one day and he introduced her to me as 'his future ex-wife' with a sly smile. Yeah, they're divorced now." — HibouWho

7.

"Look at their face when they get a cell phone call and see that it's from their spouse. Tells you everything." — No-Conclusion8653

8.

"Just... bickering. Passive-aggressive little digs and being generally annoyed with one another. It is WEIRD to me that so many couples I know just kinda pick at each other constantly. They just don't seem to enjoy each other's company at all." — Lizard Possum

9.

"I promise, when you learn this, you’ll see it everywhere and you’ll realize how f**ked up most people in relationships are. Contempt. The one thing to look for in bad relationships is contempt. This comes from Malcom Gladwell’s 'Blink,' where he talks about Dr. John Gottman’s work on relationships and marriage. I’m not going to say much on these two gentlemen’s qualifications, as I can’t really speak to them, but I can tell you that the takeaway has impacted my perspective and experience profoundly.

Gottman came to believe there are 4 horsemen of the apocalypse when it comes to marriage: criticism, stonewalling, defensiveness, and contempt—and contempt is the most powerful one. Contempt means more than just being annoyed with someone. It’s deeper than disrespect. It is complete disregard to the level of disgust for the other's attempt to be. Contempt means you feel yourself superior to your partner and feel no obligation to care about them. You’ll see it in these examples: a wife who won’t let her husband care for the children. A husband who insults his wife’s housework while redoing it. An eye roll behind their back. Passive aggression. Sarcasm. Jokes at their expense. Gottman’s research indicates that contempt can predict divorce with about 90% accuracy. This jibes with my experience." — PAdogooder

10.

"When one of them is out and their spouse does not stop calling them." — BansheeShriek

11.

"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." — FlatulentDwarf

12.

"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 shitty. It’s such a gross personality, and it’s relatively common. It shouldn’t be common at all." — SpacemanPete

13.

"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." — wildlowerwolves

14.

"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." — Non_Clever_User_Name

15.

"He games all day and the boys are always over. She sits in the bedroom and is on her phone all day. Because they are both so glued to the screens. I was the one that saw their daughter take her first steps (didn't even realize it until my buddy saw his daughter standing next to him and went nuts). But hey they have been together now almost for 10 years and still haven't broken up, but at the same time I wouldn't call that living." — RootlessForest

16.

"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." — LucyInTheSky

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