Even the strongest relationships can go through periods of disconnect. After all, most couples have to cope with stress from jobs, other family members, and the general responsibilities of adulthood, which can easily eat away into your “couple time.” On many days it can be difficult to make time for a five-minute conversation, let alone a serious heart-to-heart. But even if there are obvious signs you and your partner are disconnected, it does not necessarily mean your relationship is headed for doom. By reading the signs and correcting your course, you can once again face life as a more united front.
Of course, communication is the absolute number one factor in any relationship, so if you’re feeling adrift, speak up! It may just take a few minutes away from distractions for you to reconnect as a pair. Or, on a less positive note, it may indicate that life is pulling you in different directions and you need to rethink the relationship. Whatever the case may be, a few moments of honest communication can only help you both clarify where you stand in the relationship, and whether your needs are being met. Hopefully, these signs of disconnect are just a temporary blip in your line of communication.
1. Conversations Are Only Transactional
If you stop discussing your shared interests or even what's happening on the news, then chances are you and your SO are drifting apart. As noted by psychologist Guy Winch in Psychology Today, when "conversations become purely transactional—'We need milk,' 'Your mother called,' or 'Did you remember to pay the cable bill?'" you can be in danger of a pretty lonely relationship.
2. You Snap At Each Other
If you're feeling less than close to your partner, then this may manifest in snippy, cutting comments. Psychologist Pepper Schwartz told WebMD that "if you treat each other with contempt, it's a warning sign. . . because people start to feel neglected, disappointed." Not being able to hold back the sharp comments is a sure warning sign.
3. One Person Withdraws
Everyone has an "off" day now and then and needs some time alone to recharge. But if one person in a couple regularly opts out of couple time without explanation, then this could signal some problems. The partner who wants more connection will get more vocal about their desire "to bring the other person in or let them know how distressed they are,” psychologist Robert Solley said in PsychCentral. And this could signal that both people are dissatisfied with the relationship.
4. You're Less Touchy-Feely
Granted, some couples are just not that handsy from the get-go. But if you and your partner have had a total drop-off of physical affection, then this may signal deeper emotional isolation. As Linda Kelsey wrote for the Daily Mail, "when my marriage was beginning to fall apart, it wasn’t the arguments or the lack of sex that caused me the most heartache, but the relentless erosion of intimacy." Things like holding hands and hugging can hold high importance for many people, and they may feel particularly disappointed when the touchiness disappears from the relationship.
5. You Think About Life Without Your Partner
Do you keep imagining a bright future without your SO? "This is part of the emotional detachment process, during which you may try to convince yourself that you don't care anymore so that the eventual separation feels less painful," relationship therapist Jamie Turndorf told MSN. It's a pretty clear sign that your emotional connection may be waning.
6. You Have Few Shared Interests
Whether you enjoy the same sport or similar TV shows, having common ground is an easy way to bolster any relationship. But troubles may arise when you no longer seem to have anything in common. "Couples who have very few shared interests or times that [they] enjoy being together" may be at greater risk for falling out of love," according to Psychology Today. "Conversely, rediscovering your old hobbies together, or even trying out something new, may help bolster that bond.
7. You Don't Spend Much Time Together
To keep a relationship strong, you need to spend time together. But it's easy to let work, parenting, and other demands on your time to take up all the attention — at the expense of your relationship. "When this happens, couples stop being friends and their emotional connection suffers," relationship expert Michele Weiner-Davis wrote in the Huffington Post. By prioritizing your time together, you can keep the connection alive.