11 Things Your Partner May Do In Private If They're Falling Out Of Love
While many people pull it together and put on a good show in public, if your partner lets you down consistently behind closed doors, it may be a sign they're falling out of love. What you do in the privacy of your own home can say a lot about the health of your relationship. So if your partner seems extra distant, or has become less affectionate, take note.
Set aside time to talk about things with your partner if it feels like something's up. "We cannot be 100 percent sure what is in another's heart, [so] it is always best to ask them what's going on," Christina Vazquez, a psychotherapist and author, tells Bustle. "If you still feel the 'off vibe,' set your standards and communicate them clearly, firmly, yet lovingly. You deserve to be loved as you want to be. If they can't or won't deliver, then you may have your answer."
That said, try not to jump to conclusions or assume your partner is falling out of love just because they're a little quiet — as they may just have something on their mind. "Remember that your partner’s personal issues, your own issues, and the relationship itself all drive the emotional setting," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle. "Express your concern, ask what is going on, and express your desire to make things better. You may need therapy, they may need therapy, you may need couples therapy. You won’t know until you talk." Here are a few things experts say may be a sign of a problem, and one you'll need to talk about ASAP.
1. They Seem Way More Annoyed Than Usual
There are a million and one reasons why your partner may seem more annoyed than usual. They might be having a tough time at work, they may be feeling anxious, or they may be worrying about money. As a result, they may seem cranky, and that's OK.
If your partner seems annoyed with you, however, there may be something more going on. "Irritation is a sub-category of anger," Vazquez says. "Suppressing our truth or not being true to yourself can cause inner turmoil [to spill] over to our treatment of our partner. Is there something your partner is not being honest about with either you or themselves?"
By asking this question, you can get to the bottom of their irritation. If it's due to their job or their health, you can figure out ways to work through it together. But if it's due to a discontentment in the relationship, it may be a good idea to seek therapy.
2. They Can't Be Bothered To Argue
On the flip side, if your partner is checking out, they may begin to seem a little too sweet and carefree. "They'll move from emotionally connected with you to emotionally neutral with you," Dr. Klapow says. "They won’t get mad any more. They'll be 'polite' and 'cordial' with you, to the point where it it almost feels like a professional relationship."
People who are invested in each other tend to bicker and disagree, which is why it's considered healthy for couples to argue occasionally. If your partner is falling out of love, they may lose this desire to "fight" productively.
3. They're Way Less Affectionate
Every relationship goes through rough patches, and everyone has a bad day (or two) where they simply need some time alone. But if the level of intimacy and emotional connection in your relationship has dropped off steeply, take note.
"If you only interact with a partner like a roommate, then it’s a red flag," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "This could be little or no sex and a lack of general intimacy. If you look closely at your relationship and it screams roommate more than lover, there’s a problem."
4. They're Suddenly Sleeping In Another Room
Couples come up with all sorts of sleeping arrangements that aren't necessarily "typical," especially if they live together, and that's fine. One person may sleep in a guest room if they're a loud snorer, for example. Or a couple may sleep separately for comfort reasons, or due to opposite sleeping schedules.
But if a couple once happily slept next to each other, and are now spending more time apart, there could be a bigger reason. "One of the many signs that I see in failing relationships is when a partner decides to sleep in a separate room from their partner when they were originally sleeping in the same bed," relationship expert Jennifer Seiter tells Bustle. "If you notice your partner exhibiting this sign you should take a close look at the relationship and figure out what's changed."
5. They Seem To Be Avoiding You
When it comes to failing relationships, "avoidance is a red flag," Vazquez says. If your partner is leaving for work earlier in the morning, coming home later at night, or disappearing on the weekends, there may be a reason.
It could be their way of backing out of the relationship, she says, without having to have a difficult conversation about their unhappiness.
A drastic schedule change could also be "a sign that they may be wanting to be connected to others and other activities more than you," Dr. Klapow says. Whatever the case may be, it'll be important to talk about it.
6. They Spend All Their Free Time Alone
"We create time for what we cherish and love," Vazquez says. "In this case actions speak volumes to what is important to [your partner]. It's an automatic response to want to spend time with people who make us feel good." So if your partner no longer wants to snuggle on the couch, or cook dinner together, it may be a bad sign.
That said, it's important not to jump to conclusions. Sometimes people just need some alone time, and that's OK.
7. They Light Up Around Others
One way to know if the change in your partner is stemming from the relationship — and not work issues or depression — is how they act around others. Sure, some people feel obligated to be "on" around strangers. But you may pick up on a genuine level of happiness and lightness in your partner whenever they're around others.
"It may be friends, it may be ... children, it may be co-workers," Dr. Klapow says. "But you'll notice that they are happy with them, and not with you."
This should prompt a conversation. Does your partner need some space? Or are they truly unhappy in the relationship? Whatever the case, you'll need to talk about this ASAP.
8. They've Become Less Interested In Your Life
"Healthy relationships have partners who are engaged and interested in each other's daily lives, individual passions, and pursuits," Anna Gonowon, a communications strategist and relationship coach, tells Bustle.
So if your partner doesn't ask about your day, forgets to follow up regarding a problem you had at work, or fails to ask how you're feeling, take note. If they occasionally drop the ball, no worries. But this shouldn't become a pattern.
9. They Can't Stop Looking At Their Phone
Another sign that your partner's head is elsewhere, is if they can't stop distracting themselves whenever you're home together.
"If they are paying more attention to video games, online political discussion forums, television, or their phones — and doing so consistently, over a significant period of time ... there is a problem," Gonowon says. "Your partner has begun to switch attention from the reality of life with you to a reality of engaging in these other pursuits."
Don't read into it too much, though, until you've discussed the issue. "You should sit down with your partner, tell [them] that you miss all the fun you had when you did various joint activities, and suggest taking up these joint activities," Gonowon says. If they're still invested, they should be down to make a change.
10. They Have Closed-Off Body Language
Body language can tell you a lot about what your partner is thinking and feeling. "If your partner is consistently doing things such as not looking you in the eye when you speak ... crossing [their] arms when you speak, not facing you when you have discussions, [etc.] it can indicate that they are emotionally closing down," Gonowon says. Again, this can give you a clue but your best bet is to ask.
11. They Aren't Excited To See You After Time Apart
When two people are happy in their relationship, they're usually excited to see each other after a long day apart. So take note if your partner has stopped lighting up — or even noticing — when you arrive home, or if they don't seem too thrilled to see you after spending time away.
"While everyone gets busy, if your partner is home and doesn’t greet you in some capacity when you walk in the door, it’s a red flag," Bennett says. "While it might not always be a hug or kiss, if your partner can’t so much as muster a 'hi' it’s a sign [their] focus is far away from you."
Moments like this, if few and far between, are not a sign of anything negative. If they continue, however, it might mean your partner is checking out of the relationship — and maybe even falling out of love. In some instances, the relationship can be salvaged by talking, paying more attention to each other, or even attending couples therapy. But in other instances, it may be healthier to just go your separate ways.