A healthy relationship is one where you and your partner are growing together. But if you feel like thatâs not the case with you and your mate, you could be slowly drifting apartâwhich is much harder to spot than when everything falls apart at once. If you can relate to these 12 subtle clues, you and your significant other could be headed in opposite directionsâso it’s time to figure out whether you really want to stay in this relationship.
Whether you just got great news or awful news, if your first call or text isn’t to your partner, that’s a major red flag, says sex and relationship therapistÂ Kris Shane. âNot wanting to share these moments can be indicative of distance or of beginning to already think of yourself as an individual, rather than as half of a couple.â
Clinical sexologist and certified sex coachÂ Dr. Stacy FriedmanÂ says that if you feel more lonely with your partner than when you’re alone, you’re obviously not feeling emotionally close. âWhen youâre together, you’re more depressed, bored, and have more bad times than good.âÂ She adds that you donât even have to be fighting to experience this. Date nights, celebrationsâ¦ nothing excites you. Itâs a sign that youâre headed in opposite directions.
When we’re bored or lonely in a relationship, we seek attention and intimacy in any form, says relationship coach,Â Chris Armstrong.Â âIntimacy can be emotional or intellectual. In this, it’s not uncommon for bored or lonely partners to unknowingly be more flirty or create moments of intimacy with strangers at the store, at the bar, or with coworkers.â
Maybe you’ve become a lot more obsessed with Facebook and Instagram, seeing what exciting things are happening with your friends and neighbors. Wish you were with them? âPerhaps, you’re on People or TMZ looking for hot celebrities and their relationship drama. It may even make you feel good to see posts about other people are fighting or struggling, because you’re in an unhappy place yourself,â says Armstrong.
Remember when you talked and texted all the time and even communicated by just cuddling? Now there might be a sense of emptiness when you’re together. âYou watch TV together in the evening or go to dinner, but you donât talk, relate, share anything about yourself and neither does your partner,â says psychotherapist and relationship authorÂ Dr. Jill Murray.Â âYou may find yourself on your phone scrolling through social media or texting friends rather than engaging with your partner in conversation.â
You may be doing it more often without even realizing it. âWhen a relationship starts to fizzle, we may become insular and thus rely on our own body, our own sense of need and want, and our own imagination to find ways to fill the gap,” says Murray. “Masturbation and self-touch can be intimate and fun but when we do it out of loneliness, it can leave a fleeting and unfulfilled feeling.â
You often say things like, âIâm just going to stay over at my friend’sÂ tonightÂ rather than come home late,â and your partner might say, âIâll be with Matt and Taylor all weekend anyway.” If you are your partner have exchanges like this regularly, andhave gone from spending every minute of the weekend together to both making plans that donât include the other, youâre clearly drifting apart.
Every relationship has disagreements and even major blowouts, but as long as you and your partner fight fair, this can be very healthy for a relationship. âIf you notice that you and your partner have stopped fighting completely, it might seem like a good thing at first. However, it may very well be a sign that one of you no longer feels like fighting, and working through the problems of your relationship, is worth the effort,â saysÂ James Anderson, a dating expert and coach.
Shane says that this may mean one or both partners is no longer as interested in engaging in playful, adventurous, energetic sex as they once were, or it may mean that one or both partners is more focused on their own pleasure. âIn some cases, sexual positions may change during times of emotional distance, such as preferring positions where one side gets more enjoyment than the other or when positions remove opportunity for eye contact or ability to see each other’s faces at all.â
How often you crack up with your partner is often a good litmus test of how healthy that relationship is, says Anderson. âEven when you’re going through hard times, it is important that you can enjoy each otherâs company and have a sense of humor. Once the laughter dies away it can be an important sign that the two of you are no longer on the same page.â
You find yourself taking the longer route home, staying late at work for no reason, or spending a good deal of time working out. âYour partner, meanwhile, may go to the gym or meet colleagues at a bar after work many nights of the week and come home late,” says Murray. “The both of you may become defensive when this lack of time together is mentionedâ¦or you might just not care.” Either way, rarely looking forward to seeing your S.O. after a long day is a sign that you don’t feel very connected.
A relationship needs to be a partnership in order to grow and thrive. âOnce your future thinking shifts from what both you and your partner will be doing together to solely your goals, you need to reevaluate where you are in your relationship,” says Murray. “You may just be going through a phase where you’re focusing more on yourself, but you also may be at a point where you’re starting to consider your options outside of your current partner subconsciously.â Either way, it’s worth paying attention toânot ignoring.