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Somehow in the course of managing a life together, you lost focus on one another and now you find yourself underappreciated. Underneath your busy day, you are probably wondering” “Is he losing interest in me?”
“Is this what it means to be married?” “Is this what I can expect for the future?”.
If you really want to find out whether the emotional bottom has fallen out of your relationship you first need to be willing to look, really look.
The place to start is to let go of your attachment to a particular outcome. Before you even start, accept the possibility that he is taking you for granted…or worse.
Below is a list of common signs that he is, in fact, losing interest and what you can do about it.
When you are together, you’re both focused on other things.
Maybe you’re in the house, and doing things in the same room but not really together. You’re reading, he’s watching Netflix.
You’re in bed together with your backs turned to one another. When you are doing the same thing it’s because you picked it and maybe needed to guilt him into coming along.
Sometimes you make plans and he bows out with an excuse about work or not feeling well.
What It Means: You have slipped into the parallel lives trap. One or both of you has been seeking fulfillment in your individual lives and your relationship has been taken for granted- set on the back burner.
When we start getting most of our personal satisfaction and support outside of our relationship, we unconsciously check out.
What To Do: Take more interest in what is going on with him. Reinvest in the relationship by giving what you want to receive.
Explore what he´s doing. What is it about what he´s doing that he enjoys?
Get the details of who he is working with. What are the personalities he is encountering?
The more you take interest in his life, the more he will want to share it with you.
If he is not a complete narcissist, he will not only appreciate your interest but show some in you and what you are up to and need.
How you are living is not even close to when you were dating.
He no longer does special things for you. He rarely if ever brings you flowers.
You wish he would speak encouragement into your life- but he doesn’t. There is little or no special time together. The only physical touch you are getting is when he wants something from you.
These are all indicators that the romance has fallen out of your relationship and that he may, indeed, be losing interest.
What This Means: This could mean his attention is elsewhere, or that he himself feels like he is not being loved the way he should be.
If you are married, it might also mean that you both have slipped into an idea of marriage you inherited from your individual parents- which is super common.
What You Can Do: Read The Five Love Languages. Encourage him to do so as well.
Both of you take the love languages quiz. Work at filling each other’s “love tanks” daily.
Consciously work at rebuilding the romance in ways that you can both receive and appreciate.
It is clear to you that you are no longer a priority.
He is rarely home when you are, and when he is, his mind is completely elsewhere. He has time for work, his friends, his personal pursuits, but rarely if ever for you.
This is in contrast to when you were dating and he would do anything for you.
What This Means: He is cheating on you.
There are a lot of ways to cheat. He may be emotionally cheating, he may be “doing the deed”, he may be cheating by replacing you with other kinds of satisfaction through work, and/or other pursuits.
He is doing this because he no longer believes his needs can be fulfilled at home.
What You Can Do: Your relationship as it was is no more. You will need to let go of what was.
Depending on what he is doing and how you feel about it, you either need to walk away or build a new relationship together.
Either way, you will want the help of someone who has a roadmap you can follow.
When you were dating, you made plans all the time. Now having a conversation about taking a weekend together is like pulling teeth.
He just can’t seem to commit. When he does there is a last-minute excuse for not going, or he poisons the experience by having to work while you are away.
What This Means: This may be a symptom of being put on the back burner.
More likely it means he either unconsciously or consciously does not want to spend time with you alone. He is unwilling to personally invest in the relationship. He´s losing interest.
What You Can Do: This is a serious wake-up call for your relationship.
Remind him of trips you really enjoyed together. Ask him what he appreciated about those trips. Help him remember why that time together was important to him so that his interest in spending quality time together can be reignited.
Every time you want to talk about your relationship, he sighs, looks at you with a blank stare, and does not really engage. You accuse him of not listening and he parrots back a sentence of yours, but you know he did not really hear you. Maybe he just changes the subject before things get too close or uncomfortable for him. Perhaps he says yes too quickly and you know he is never going to follow through.
What This Means: He is a man? Small joke- Though it is true that men are notorious for being goal-oriented and not as strong relationally, contrary to popular belief, they can talk about relationships and even feelings.
When your man is avoiding talking about the relationship, it means he is outright uncomfortable, perhaps even angry about the relationship itself. He may be feeling that he has either done something wrong, done everything he can, or both. He is probably feeling very stuck and wants to focus on things he feels he can actually control.
What You Can Do: Try couching your feelings in “I” statements when talking about the relationship:
I feel X (mad, glad, sad, afraid)
when Y happens (a triggering event)
because of Z (en expectation or hope you have)
Can we A?
For example: “I feel frustrated when I try to talk about our relationship and it goes nowhere because this relationship is super important to me. Can we talk about this now/in an hour/ at dinner?”
Notice how we did not make it about him in the example? Do your best to make it about your feelings and hopes without laying it at his feet as his responsibility.
How he responds or does not will tell you a lot. Most men will go to trying to fix the problem. Some will go defensive. Others will simply shut down. The more enlightened will simply acknowledge your feelings with empathy.
He was super decisive when you first met, and over time, he has turned into a bowl of jello when it comes to making decisions.
In the past, he had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with you, and now he’s all “whatever you want”. He can’t even seem to help pick a restaurant to go to, much less engage in major relationship decisions.
What This Means: He is avoiding confrontation. He either is invested in a different future than you, or there is something about the kind of confrontations that you have been having that he wants to avoid.
What You Can Do: Since he is avoiding confrontation, it may be difficult to unpack this with him without the help of a professional.
In instances like this, the relationship may appear OK because of a lack of fighting, but it’s not.
Avoiding confrontation can be as destructive as all-out war. Suggest to him that you are concerned about the relationship and ask him what he thinks you both should do.
If the answer is “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure”, ask him how much does the relationship matter to him. What is he willing to explore to grow it? If the answers are positive, suggest getting help.
If not, you may want to consider legal options or get help for yourself on the next steps.
He used to call you and text with you all the time when you were “in love”. Over time, it has become less and less, until sometimes he is even late and not letting you know (frustrating!).
You wonder what is so important that he can’t even text you to let you know what is going on? “Maybe he is losing interest?”
What This Means: Your man clearly has his priorities upside down.
He thinks he is doing everything he can to support the family, when in fact by prioritizing other things over communication, he is unconsciously tearing down his partnership and therefore the family.
What You Can Do: Tell him why communication is so vital. That you miss him. That knowing when you will see each other and being aware of what one another does is important because you care about him.
Suggest to him that he set some calendar reminders, or to at least respond with “I’m in a meeting, I’ll check in later” so you know that he is receiving the message.
You find yourself doing all the heavy lifting in the relationship.
He never manages your calendar, you do. You do all the calling and texting, he is barely engaged. You make arrangements to go out with him, and he balks, or he is totally distracted, barely in the room with you.
You´re initiating sex even though you would like him to take the lead occasionally and when you do, he is all about himself.
What This Means: He is either distracted by a deeply personal and/or work problem, or he has emotionally checked out of the relationship.
What You Can Do: Go with the former first, assume it’s something at work or the like.
Tell him outright that you have been carrying the relationship because you see that he is somewhere else AND you would really like to know what is going on with him?
If he won’t talk about it, something big is happening and it’s time to consider your options.
While you started out with a warm and loving relationship, now it’s lukewarm.
When you talk it’s small talk. “Is it going to rain today? Better check the gutters…”
Not that there’s anything wrong with small talk. It’s just that it’s ONLY small talk. Maybe your binge-watching together without any conversation whatsoever.
Everything seems pleasant enough, It’s just that it seems like someone came and sucked the passion out of your lives….
What This Means: You have both lost sight of what brought you together. You have lost the dreams you had for your lives.
Perhaps you have achieved the dreams, the house, the car, and neither of you was dreaming big enough.
Possibility number two is that he is leading a double life, there is someone else fulfilling his dreams and he is just going through the motions at home.
What You Can Do: Revisit your dreams together. Are you living just for the kids? Do you share in world-changing dreams? Is there a cause you are passionate about? How about him?
Take some time to explore bigger dreams together. We have a great online course for this called “The Promise of New Future”. Check it out and see how it can help you in your relationship!
If he can’t or won’t engage in this conversation, there is a good chance that something else may be up
No matter what you say, he takes it as an attack.
He is often sarcastic with you know when he once was loving and gentle. Fights erupt over the littlest things after relative silence characterized by the tension of waiting for the “other shoe to drop”.
When you do fight, the fight never seems to get resolved. It feels like you are growing apart and not together.
What This Means: This is a common pitfall in relationships. The two of you have slipped into a comfortably uncomfortable pattern.
What’s comfortable about it is there is a release of anger and it’s familiar.
What’s uncomfortable is that it sucks. It’s a living hell. One or both of you has thought about, or even threatened to leave at least once.
What You Can Do: See our recent blog post on “overthinking getting a divorce”. This outlines step by step how you can stop fighting and create a new dialogue based on empathy, understanding, and mutual respect.
Things used to be steamy and not your hardly ever having sex, and your not talking about why, the chances are there has been a breakdown in intimacy.
Even if you suspect he is going elsewhere, the root cause is the breakdown in intimacy and the ability to feel free in expressing needs.
What It Mean: Intimacy is contingent on your relationship having empathy, trust, and caring conversations. A breakdown in any of these areas will impact your sex life together.
What You Can Do: Explore what’s in the way of one or all of these factors.
The starting point is always a conversation. If he can’t trust enough to be completely honest, get a third party involved to help it feel safer for him.
You are having sex all the time. In fact, that’s all you do.
Maybe you both want it, maybe he is pressuring you and you feel you need to in order to preserve the marriage.
Regardless of the reason, relationships are about so much more than sex. While the novelty of good sex will inevitably wear off, the value of a real partner never will.
A relationship founded on friendship has a much better future than a relationship founded on sex.
What It Means: A sex-based relationship indicates a fear of true intimacy. True intimacy means exposing who you are, warts and all and finding out that you both still care about each other- warts and all.
What You Can Do: Don’t discount great sex, work on building more. Look for time to talk, share ideas and feelings. Look for ways to connect outside of bed.
If that’s not possible then your partnership possibilities are pretty much dead in the water.
Finding yourself in this type of situation where your partner is losing interest may seem overwhelming, particularly if you are not getting positive responses from your partner, no matter how hard you try.
If this is the case, getting a marriage therapist should be your next task ASAP, before it´s just too late. And remember, many people have been in your place before you, and many have reignited the relationship so keep your hopes up!
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