Everyone's entitled to an "off" day. But if your partner's been acting weird for a while now, it could be a sign they're not entirely happy in your relationship. This can happen for any number of reasons, including an underlying issue that they just don't know how to talk about. So while there might be a relationship-ending issue afoot, their weirdness doesn't necessarily mean you two are doomed.
"Weirdness very often signals anxiety and fear in relationships, so when a partner is acting weird they may be telling you indirectly there something wrong but they are not comfortable coming out and saying it," Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle.
If you notice that your SO is acting differently, go ahead and point it out. "They may not even logically be aware they're feeling unhappy," says relationship expert David Bennett. "Let your partner know you've been noticing some subtle signs of unhappiness, and express your concern, and ask them to be as honest as possible. And, if they give you honest feedback, address it in a way that is understanding, as opposed to defensive."
Below, a few things people do when they're not entirely happy in their relationship. If your SO is doing these things, it's likely more than time for a chat.
1. They'll Say Things Are OK, But Their Body Language Will Say Otherwise
If your partner isn't happy, it'll likely come through in his or her body language, most often in the form of contempt. "Contempt is shown through sneering, sarcastic comments, and facial expressions of disgust," says Bennett. "Even though your partner may say they're happy, if you see a lot of signs of contempt, they likely aren't really that happy."
2. They'll Seem Incredibly Stressed
While everyone gets stressed from time to time, it's not a great sign if your partner is that way 24/7. "Relationship researcher John Gottman found that he could successfully predict whether married couples were going to divorce by taking certain physiological measurements," Bennett says. "Couples headed toward divorce entered a 'fight-or-flight' response around their partners: increased blood flow, higher heart rate, and increased sweating."
3. They'll Start Projecting
If your partner is so unhappy that they've got a bit of a wandering eye, they might project that onto you. So watch out for random bouts of possessiveness and/or jealousy.
"New research on 96 heterosexual couples concluded that when participants experienced higher attraction to alternative partners, they assumed their partner was also interested in other people and exhibited more anger and negative behaviors towards them," Sarah Hunter Murray, PhD, a sex researcher and relationship therapist, tells Bustle. "So, if your partner is acting jealous or accusing you of being interested in other people, it may be a sign they are interested in being with other people themselves."
4. They'll Start Getting Philosophical
If your partner gets all weird about love and relationships in general — and it's out of character for them — it could be their way of downplaying the significance of your relationship. As Klapow says, "They'll start asking you questions like, 'What does it really mean to be in love?' or 'What are relationships really about anyway?' When they get philosophical and they are not philosophical, it is quite possible there are problems."
5. They Might Suddenly Find You Annoying
When you're happy in a relationship, it's possible to look past your partner's shortcomings and love them in spite of their quirks. But that becomes a lot harder to do if and when the happiness dries up.
"The things they used to love about you, now become annoyances," says dating and relationship coach Rosalind Sedacca, CLC. "The expression on their face, their body language, and voice tone unmistakably convey your partner isn't happy with you or their situation."
6. You Might Become The Third Wheel
In the same vein, it might become difficult for your SO to keep treating you like their partner. This can show up in social situations, where you feel like you're just tagging along, without much attention from your SO. As Sedacca says, "You start feeling like a third or fourth wheel with your own partner."
7. They'll Start To Snoop
If your SO hasn't been feelin' great in your relationship, they might start doing a little "research," in the form of snooping, in an effort to figure out if they should stay or go. As relationship counselor Julienne B. Derichs, LCPC tells me, you might catch them digging through your apartment, your phone, or your emails.
8. They'll Start Stocking Up For The Future
In a rather extreme reaction, your SO might even start buying things for their future — and not one they see with you. "They start to buy sheets, dishes, pots, and pans for a house or apartment... things that you already own," Derichs says. "This could be a sign that they are stocking up on things they need for when they (sooner rather then later) are no longer with you."
9. They Might Take Up Residence On The Couch
Lots of people nod off in front of the TV after a long day. But if your partner seems to spend every night there, take note. "Your partner may be tired from their day but this may also be a sign they don't want to spend time with you," says therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW.
10. They'll Get Really Into Their Hobbies
If your partner is usually pretty extroverted, or at least down to spend time together, take it as a sign if they suddenly want to spend time alone. "They might pull away and do things on their own, such as play video games, listen to music, read, watch TV — really anything to isolate and not interact with their partner because they are so unhappy," says psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez, in an email to Bustle.
11. They'll Do Whatever They Can To Pick A Fight
Since nobody wants to fight, it might indicate a problem if your SO seems to be itching for an argument. As Martinez says, "They'll do whatever they can to blow things up and highlight the fact that they are so unhappy."
Again, if you notice your partner doing these things, it may seem weird, but they're likely trying to tell you something. So sit down together and have a chat. An honest convo might be just what you both need to clear the air, and figure out what's wrong.
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