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Basic Trope: A marriage that sucks.

  • Straight: Alice and Bob are always bickering, while not engaged in passive-aggressive shenanigans, as are living in a nearly Sexless Marriage.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Even though they don't really go on "date night" or have sex too frequently anymore, neither Alice nor Bob seem to be unhappy or regret their choice to marry.
  • Justified:
    • Alice and Bob married for the wrong reasons, and/or rushed into marriage.
    • The challenges of day-to-day life and raising three kids have started to take a toll on the marriage.
    • Alice and Bob have personal problems that are starting to affect their marriage.
    • Alice and Bob's relationship has stagnated, but they don't believe in divorce, or deny that they have problems, or whatever.
    • The work is a period drama set at a time when divorce was heavily stigmatized or difficult to obtain.
    • Alice and Bob don't have the money for a divorce.
  • Inverted: Alice and Bob are Happily Married.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice and Bob have the occasional foible, but it all works out in the end.
    • The couple try couples' therapy, and it works quickly.
    • The two are in a relationship, but not actually married.
    • Alice and Bob divorce or break up.
    • Alice and Bob complain about each other, but they seem to be more or less happy together.
  • Double Subverted:
    • But one or both of them is still unhappy.
    • But the therapy only brings out more hurt feelings, which proves too much for them, leading to even more fighting.
    • They try the therapist's suggestions, only to fall right back into their old patterns.
    • The relationship is still an unhappy one, and the couple fight over every little thing.
    • But it takes them an insanely long time before they decide to do so.
    • The divorce or breakup doesn't stop them from fighting.
    • Alice and Bob get back together and still haven't resolved their issues. They keep breaking up and getting back together repeatedly.
    • Publicly, that is. In private, they're always fighting.
  • Parodied: Slap-Slap-Kiss.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice and Bob are married, then they start fighting and cheating and whatnot, then get divorced, then get back together. Rinse and repeat.
  • Averted:
    • Alice and Bob are Happily Married.
    • Alice and Bob are not married or living together.
  • Enforced: Rule of Funny.
  • Lampshaded: "Why did I ever want to get married, again?"
  • Invoked: Alice and Bob have a Fourth-Date Marriage and find incompatibilities cropping up everywhere.
  • Exploited: Charlie is in love with Bob, and he points out their marriage problems to break them up.
  • Defied: Alice and Bob don't let that bother them, and treat each other with respect and set healthy boundaries. Their relationship improves.
  • Discussed: "I heard Alice and Bob fighting again last night."
  • Conversed: "I don't know why they don't just get divorced. Really, I think Charles is a better match for Alice, anyway."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice and Bob are unhappy, and that may affect their families. Plus, it puts a lot of stress on Alice and Bob themselves, leading to more bickering and more stress. Rinse and repeat.
    • Seeing their parents so miserable and constantly fighting makes the kids miserable in turn, and leaves them with no idea of how healthy relationships are supposed to be like.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob treats every interaction with his wife as a Faux Horrific Mundane Made Awesome battle.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Alice and Bob have affairs.
    • The relationship is portrayed as very dangerous.
  • Implied:
    • Alice is offered vacation time, and her boss suggests she go on a trip with her husband. Alice does not seem very excited by this idea.
    • Alice and Bob divorced before the work takes place, but one/both of them mentions that they had a good reason to break up with each other.

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