17 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.
If you notice changes, set aside time to talk about them with your partner. "We cannot be 100% 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."
Try not to jump to conclusions or assume your partner is falling out of love, as it's OK for people to change, or to need some alone time. But do follow up with them. "Remember that your partner’s personal issues, your own issues, and the relationship itself all drive the emotional setting," Dr. Joshua Klapow, PhD, a 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 seems 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. They might be cranky as a result, 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 consider seeking 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. And that can mean your small, everyday arguments go away.
"They'll move from emotionally connected with you to emotionally neutral with you," 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" for your relationship.
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 the other is a loud snorer, for example. Or a couple may sleep separately for comfort reasons, or due to opposite sleeping schedules.
But if you once happily slept next to each other, and are now spending more time apart, there could be a problem. "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," Jennifer Seiter, a dating and relationship expert, 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, it could be their way of backing out of the relationship without having to have a difficult conversation about their unhappiness.
A drastic schedule change could also be a sign that they want to connect with others and other activities more than you, Klapow says, possibly as a way of getting ready for a breakup. Whatever the case may be, it'll be necessary to talk about it.
6. They Spend All Their Free Time Alone
As Vazquez says, we create time for what we love and cherish, which is why it's not a great sign if they're no longer spending time with you.
"In this case actions speak volumes to what is important to [your partner]," she says. "It's an automatic response to want to spend time with people who make us feel good."
Remember, though, not to jump to conclusions. Sometimes people simply need some alone time, and as long as you talk about it, there's nothing wrong with that.
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 notice a certain happiness and lightness in your partner whenever they hang out with others, Klapow says, that they don't seem to have around 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
You and your partner should want to catch up, and talk about your days. "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've been feeling, take note. If they occasionally drop the ball, no worries. But if it becomes a pattern, they may be emotionally checking out.
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'll 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, your best bet is to ask your partner directly.
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. Take note if your partner has stopped lighting up — or even noticing — when you arrive home, or if they don't seem 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."
12. They Stopped Listening
While everyone gets distracted from time to time, a partner who is falling out of love might listen less, engage differently, or seem disinterested when you speak, Alysha Perlman, LCSW, a therapist with A Good Place Therapy & Consulting, tells Bustle.
"Tuning you out may be a sign they are not as engaged or care as much about what you may be saying," she says. Your partner could be angry or upset, but it also could be a sign that they're tuning out of your relationship. If you're unsure, ask your partner directly about what's on their mind.
13. They Have New Hobbies
It's more than OK for your partner to pick up hobbies or try fun activities after work. Part of being in a healthy relationship is encouraging each other to grow together and as individuals.
Their new hobbies shouldn't, however, completely replace your shared time together. Their absence shouldn't feel unexplainable or leave you feeling ignored, worried, or confused. According to Perlman, a change in their schedule might mean there's something they want to tell you, or that they're subconsciously avoiding you in order to avoid confronting their feelings.
14. They Don't Seem Excited
If your partner seems apathetic, it doesn't necessarily mean they're falling out love — apathy can be connected to depression or anxiety. If this is the case, reach out to your partner about how they've been feeling, and ask how you can best support them.
If the apathy is directed at you, then it may be time to have a different conversation. According to Dr. Sylvia Buet, a psychologist and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist, your partner may be acting apathetically toward you if they don't display signs of "guilt, jealousy, or anger when you provoke" them.
15. They Aren't As Intimate
If you notice your partner has completely stopped hugging you, kissing you, or holding your hand, Samantha Heuwagen, MA, LMFT, ACS, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle that may be a red flag.
Of course, not all romantic relationships value physical touch the same way. But if you and your partner have a routine that's been disrupted, that may be cause for concern. For example, if you used to kiss each other goodbye in the morning, but haven't in weeks, it may be time to talk to your partner about it.
16. They Spend More Time On Their Appearance
There's absolutely nothing wrong with your partner getting a hair cut or switching up their go-to outfit. But if they seem absorbed in transforming who they are as a person, it might be worth starting a dialogue.
"If you’ve noticed your partner do a 180 in how they dress, style their hair, or change their appearance in any way, it could mean they’re looking for a new partner on the horizon," Heuwagen says. "Some people like to change up their look, but if they’re looking to leave a relationship, they’ll start to invest in their appearance in different ways."
17. You're No Longer Working On The Relationship
A healthy relationship is comprised of open and honest communication, compromise, and a foundation of mutual respect. So, if your partner is no longer willing to do the heavy-lifting required to maintain one of those facets, it might be time to have a talk. Building a relationship is a lot like constructing a house — each and every brick is pivotal to its ability to stand tall.
"Not all fighting is bad, because that allows for growth and things to be resolved," Heuwagen says. "But if you go from fighting occasionally and resolving issues, to very little communication, that’s not good."
Moments like this, if few and far between, are not necessarily a sign of anything negative. If they continue, however, it might mean your partner is checking out of the relationship — or perhaps even falling out of love. Before calling it quits, open up a dialogue about how each of you are feeling within the context of your partnership. But if you continue to feel unsupported by your SO, it's always Ok to go your separate ways.
Christina Vazquez, a psychotherapist and author
Dr. Joshua Klapow, PhD, a clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show
Alysha Perlman, LCSW, a therapist with A Good Place Therapy & Consulting
Dr. Sylvia Buet, a psychologist and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist,
Samantha Heuwagen, MA, LMFT, ACS, licensed marriage and family therapist
Jennifer Seiter, a dating and relationship expert
Anna Gonowon, a communications strategist and relationship coach
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