It's no secret that relationships can be tricky, especially if it's a long-term partnership. And, when it comes to maintaining that everlasting spark between two people, things can get all the more complicated. Sometimes, we may find ourselves stuck in a routine, and, as a result, we may forget how simple gestures can go a long way in terms of love and affection. That being said, if you've noticed
your partner has stopped doing common, loving gestures for you, your relationship may be at risk.
Although these gestures may seem subtle, they speak volumes, and can even
make your relationship stronger. They're small yet mighty ways your partner is able to show you they still care and express love.
"As a relationship goes on, you get to know a person," Jenna Birch, CEO of
Plum dating app and author of , tells Bustle. "Sparks die down some, life starts getting in the way, and you need to constantly put effort into maintaining that connection. Frequent small gestures show your partner that you pay attention, you care and you’re committed to their growth, happiness and well-being. When your partner stops maintaining your relationship, that spark can easily die out as dissatisfaction and resentment builds up." The Love Gap
Here are seven gestures that your partner may stop doing if your relationship is in trouble, according to experts.
They Stop Initiating Sex
While there are
a lot of reasons why your partner's sex drive may be waning, and sex drives can wane generally in a relationship over time, talk to your partner if something feels off. According to Birch, sex is a language in and of itself. "Partners have a need to feel desired and wanted, so your partner should be initiating sex some of the time — or if they have receptive desire, they should at least be open to sexual advance," Birch says. However, if you notice your partner seems to be closed off to all sexual advances, you may feel as though your partner is pulling away. If this is the case, Birch recommends having a discussion with your partner to find out the root of the cause.
They Stop Asking You If You Need Help
Let's say you've had a busy day at work and had to stay late. In turn, your partner should be attentive to this, and be willing to help you if you ask for it, Birch says. However, if your partner notices you're struggling and refuses to step up, it may be a red flag. "The little, helpful things make a relationship full, and promote a giving attitude between partners. If your partner isn’t doing little things to help you out, and you are, you may
start to feel resentful— and that’s not much of a' partner,' who is supposed to be your teammate," Birch says.
They Stop Asking How You Are
Your partner should be checking in with you and providing you with support when you need it. "If your partner isn’t asking how you are from time to time, you may feel like your struggles are going unnoticed," Birch says. "Especially if you’ve aired your grievances about a family spat or work problems, your partner should know that you’ve been having a hard time— and want to be there for you emotionally."
They Stop Calling Or Texting You
It's normal to want to hear from your partner, especially if one of you is away. "Talking on the phone when you’re not together helps maintain the connection, even when you’re apart; there is so much you can miss, like the inflection in a person’s voice, or even the emotions they are actually feeling," Birch says. Even if your partner just sends a simple text to let you know they're thinking of you, that can mean a lot.
On the other hand, Birch says, if your partner has no interest in talking to you, it’s a sign they may not be interested in relationship maintenance. Nowadays, "you have to go out of your way" to maintain a connection with someone — "but that’s part of building a strong relationship," Birch says.
They Stop Surprising You
Who doesn't love occasional surprises? These sweet gestures make us feel loved and valued. If you like being surprised, you might notice if your partner stops stepping up in this respect, Birch says. "Surprises warm you, and shake you from your routine in a good way; it’s a small moment to pause and remember why you’re glad you have your partner and how much you appreciate them," Birch says. On the other hand, according to Birch, "if you are never surprised in small, positive ways, you risk stagnating and your relationship may suffer from a lack thoughtfulness — which is really what makes you grow closer together, and stay there."
They Stop Reaching For Your Hand In Public
According to Lisa Concepcion, founder of
LoveQuestCoaching, every couple has their own energy that communicates that they are a partnership. However, when the non-verbal gestures wane and shift to a more individualized stance, it's palpable: And you'll begin to notice. "It's very important to feel the bond," Concepcion says. "One of our basic human needs is that of connection so when we feel a shift in energy that compromises connection we feel it." And, if you're not the touchy-feely type (and there's nothing wrong with that!), you may notice overall affection beginning to drop, and it could be a sign of greater issues.
They Stop Making Eye Contact
"Eye contact promotes bonding, openness and connection," Birch says. Think of all the things that eye contact can tell you about a person and their attitude. If someone's gazing all over the place when speaking to you, it may not seem like they're listening. "If someone isn’t looking you in the eye anymore, they’re not focusing on you, perhaps they’re hiding something or distracted," she says. When chatting with your partner, make sure you're both focused on each other while having genuine conversations, Birch says.
It's important to pay attention to even the smallest of gestures. It could give you some good insight to your relationship, and how your partner is feeling. But if you're noticing any of these things, and it feels off to you, be sure to talk with your partner. Communication is the first step to resolving
growing distance in a relationship.