11 Things To Do if You're Drifting Apart In Your Relationship, According To Experts
If you're in a relationship, and things haven't been working lately, you may start to see signs that you're growing apart. You might notice that you're slightly less excited to see each other. Or that you've been spending less time together. It can be an unnerving phase of a relationship, and you might even worry that you're heading for a breakup. But the situation can improve if you know what to do — and what not to do.
The first step? Don't assume the worst. "It's normal to go through periods of drifting apart from each other," sex and relationship educator Kait Scalisi tells Bustle. "The most important part is that you notice it, take steps to course correct, and come back to each other." This is something all couples have to do, since it takes work to maintain a healthy relationship. But it's even more crucial for partners who seem to be drifting apart.
If you can both make a few changes, and put some effort into reconnecting a little bit each day, your relationship has a chance of getting back on track. But, during the process, you'll also want to avoid certain bad habits, since they might make getting closer difficult. When things are rocky, you might not, for example, want to blame each other for the disconnect you've been experiencing, since doing so can drive a wedge further between you.
With that in mind, here are a few things you should do, as well as a few things you shouldn't do, if it feels like you're drifting apart, according to experts.
1. Share What You're Feeling
While you don't want to have a super serious, heavy conversation every single day, you should find time to reconnect and chat about how you've both feeling. Is your partner noticing the disconnect, too? If so, discuss what you're both willing to do to make things feel better. "It may not work with only one of you at the helm," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. He says you'll both want to be on board to make changes, if this is going to work.
2. Spend More Time Together
Once the honeymoon phase of your relationship is over, you might have to put in a bit more effort to keep that spark alive. And that's totally OK. "Commit to carving out at least 15 minutes a day to really communicate and connect with your partner," therapist Hilary Cobb, LCSW tells Bustle. You might want to snuggle up to watch a movie. Or make dinner together. Or kiss more often. All of these things will make a big difference in bringing you closer together.
3. Something Special And Unexpected
In the same vein, you might want to up your game when it comes to showing the love. "Go out of your way to do something unexpected and nice for your partner," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "Plan a romantic evening, leave love notes, send flowers just to say 'I love you.'" Or whatever else your partner might like. If you can remind your [significant other] how much you care, it can help bring you back together.
4. Touch More Often
How often do you and your partner touch, outside of having sex? If you sort of sidle around each other in the kitchen, or sit far apart on the couch, it may help to get a little closer. "I encourage couples to touch as they talk," couples therapist Theresa Herring, LMFT tells Bustle. "Human beings are wired to connect and touch is a big part of that." By simply making an effort to touch again (because I'm sure you did in the beginning of your relationship) you're pretty much guaranteed to feel closer.
5. Say Hello And Goodbye Every Day
If you live together and you're both in the habit of rushing out the door each morning and ignoring each other when you get home, now's the time to make a change. "Greet each other (and say goodbye) with a hug and a kiss. It's an easy way to start prioritizing the relationship again," says Herring. And if you don't live together, shoot a "good morning" and "goodnight" text their way. It may sound so simple, but it really is the easiest way to feel more like a couple, and less like roommates.
6. Reminisce About What Brought You Together
To change the negative mood in the room, make an effort to remember why you got together in the first place. "Pull out the photos or the falling-in-love texts and spend some time with them," relationship expert Patty Newbold tells Bustle. "Or write about something wonderful you did together." It really can help to shift the mood to ones that's positive again.
7. Don't Make Other Things A Priority
Right now, one of your main focuses should be repairing your relationship — not necessarily going out with friends, or giving attention to somebody else. "It takes time to reverse drift," says Newbold. "Give your relationship the time and attention you’d give a brand new relationship." And things should start to feel better.
8. Don't Complain 24/7
Of course your partner is there to support you, and you should feel comfortable venting in front of each other. But if you're drifting apart, Newbold says it may be smart to pump the brakes on the complaining sessions, and instead try to keep things light and fun for a while.
9. Don't Argue Constantly Or Put Each Other Down
Now is not the time to point out all each other's flaws, or pick little fights. "Even if your partner does things that drive you crazy, resist the temptation to complain or argue with them," Rappaport says. It's certainly not up to you to fix things all on your own, but focus now on reconnecting and keeping things light and fun. And arguing has no place in that.
10. Don't Blame Each Other
If the mood has been weird between the two of you, you might be tempted to blame each other, or argue about whose fault it is. But try to focus on the positives. "In the end who started drifting away first, or who caused who to drift away are useless arguments," life coach Kendra Davies tells Bustle. "If you both want the relationship, focus on solutions."
11. Don't Ignore the Elephant In The Room
If your partner is doing something that indicates they're drifting away — like, maybe they are sulking off to another room, when usually you'd be hanging out — say something about it. "If you and your partner are drifting apart, ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away will not only make the situation worse, at some point down the road, things may blow up into an argument, which could also increase your problems and speed up the termination of your relationship," Rappaport says.
So speak up. Let your partner know you'd like to reconnect and put more effort into making things as they once were. If you'd both like to feel closer, it certainly is possible.