No one is happy in their relationship all the time. Even if you're generally content in your relationship and only feel noticeably unhappy when you're fighting, your partner has annoyed you somehow, or you've hurt or disappointed one another (all of which happens at least on occasion), you're still not happy all the time. And in periods of unhappiness, you might notice that you or your partner act differently than you would otherwise, so these weird things men do when they aren't happy in their relationship just might look a tad familiar.
When you're unhappy with a person or situation, it's only natural that you might switch up your behavior to do something that makes you feel better, avoid things that further upset you or that you temporarily find difficult to deal with, or otherwise try to take care of yourself. When you're in a relationship, however, it can sometimes be difficult to act weirdly, differently, or out-of-character without your partner taking serious notice.
"I believe that these can be hints," Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist of KW Couples Therapy, tells Romper in an email exchange. "Of course, all relationships are different and each relationship should be assessed individually. But I would encourage anyone to further evaluate when changes occur in their relationship to make sure the other person is not unhappy. Trying to take action when it is still salvageable is important."
If the man in your life seems to be sending signals that they're not happy in their relationship, talking about it or seeking out assistance from a qualified professional might help. At the very least, it'll give you a better idea of whether their unhappiness is temporary or something more permanent.
1. They Avoid You
"When a man is not happy in the relationship, the frequency of their interaction with you completely changes," Jackson says. "They speak to you less or are short in their responses, they do not spend as much quality time with you as previously, or they completely ignore you." This could be because they know that addressing their unhappiness is potentially the beginning of the end or because it's just difficult to have the hard conversation about what's made them unhappy because they don't want to hurt you — even if it doesn't result in the end of your relationship.
2. They Get More Frugal
If he was never particularly frugal, but now spends less on a variety of things, there could be a number of different reasons for the change. Maybe his financial situation has changed, for instance. But it could also potentially be a sign that he no longer wants to financially invest in the relationship because he's not happy with the way things are going, as Rori Sassoon, CEO of matchmaking service Platinum Poire and a relationship expert, tells Romper by email.
3. They Get A Little Passive Or Pick Fights For No Reason
"Many people assume that when men aren't happy, they become angry and argumentative. While this is true at times, I would consider a man becoming passive just as troubling," David Bennett, a certified counselor, relationship expert, and co-author, tells Romper by email. "If a man is really unhappy, he's likely to take a 'checked out' mentality where he stops asserting himself or caring enough about the relationship to take an active role in it."
If they seem disinterested it might be because they're no longer all that emotionally invested.
But some men will be more argumentative when they're unhappy and you might notice that they're quicker to pick fights or start to fight to win, not to resolve anything. "That dissatisfaction can be placed onto their spouse either directly or indirectly (you don’t care about me so I’ll show you that I don’t care about you either), or sabotaging their relationship as a result of feeling so angry and contemptuous towards their significant other," Dr. Vijayeta Sinh, PhD, a relationship expert, psychologist, and the owner of NYC Family Therapy, tells Romper in an email exchange.
4. They Stop Wanting To Go Places & Do Things
There are probably times when you've had to convince your partner to go somewhere or do something (and times you've had to be convinced yourself), but if it seems out-of-character or like they never want to go anywhere or do anything anymore, it could be a sign that they're not all that happy in the relationship.
"If he never wants to do anything 'couple-related,' and has to be dragged to every couples event like he's a stubborn child, then he's definitely unhappy (and dragging him there is likely to make him even unhappier)," Bennett says.
5. They Make Excuses
"When [men are] not happy in the relationship, they will make excuses about why there are changes in the relationship," Jackson says. "They will say they have to work late, family issues came up, or they had planned engagements with their friends as to why they are not as present as usual." If the excuses seem to be coming more and more frequently, it could be a sign that things aren't going as well as you think they are and that he's not actually happy, even if you thought he was.
6. They Find Distractions
Distractions like new hobbies can also potentially signify that a man isn't happy in his relationship because they allow him to focus on those things instead of their unhappiness. Sinh says that things like video games, TV, friends, or even work can all give them something else to pay attention to when there are potential problems in the relationship so that they can avoid those problems.
7. They Don't Talk About You As Much
"The partner no longer becomes the topic of discussion with family or friends," Jackson says. "It completely changes from always bringing up the partner to discuss how exciting the relationship is to almost nothing at all." If you're never a topic of discussion or his family asks you about what's going on because they never hear about you anymore, that might be a sign that he might not be happy with how things are going.
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