There’s nothing more devastating than your partner begin to pull away from you.
He may just be having a hard time at work, or worse still: he may have mentally checked out because he doesn't want to be with you anymore.
But how do you know for certain whether this is the beginning of the end or not?
“Relationships break up for many reasons,” Relationship Therapist & Sexologist Isiah McKimmie tells Be.
“Sometimes people realise they want different things, circumstances change and little differences you had that didn’t seem that big are now more obvious.”
Here are some ways to know whether he’s subconsciously checking out:
He’s become increasingly critical
Criticism is a tell-tale sign of difficulty in a relationship and is shown to be one of the predictors of a relationship breaking up.
“When we focus on what we don’t like about someone, we tend to find more of that leading to great distance and disharmony,” says Isiah.
You only talk about practical things together
Your conversation becomes limited to practical things like the kids and running the household.
“When we’re caught up in the daily grind, we can lose closeness and excitement in our relationship,” says Isiah.
“We become more like mates than lovers and without some attention and effort, it can be hard to re-establish connection and spark.”
He’s highly defensive
Frequent defensiveness is one of the signs experts believe leads to a relationship breaking down.
“If he often responds defensively, it’s likely he’s not feeling appreciated, valued or respected in the relationship and could be distancing himself further,” Isiah reveals. “Talk about your concerns together.”
He’s reluctant to make plans for the future
“Planning ahead shows that we’re interested and invested in a relationship and excited about spending time together. We quite naturally plan a lot at the beginning of a relationship.”
He spends more time with friends or people you don’t know
While it’s really healthy to have friendships and support networks outside of your relationship, it’s also important that you have a balance and are included each other’s lives.
“If he’s being increasingly reliant on someone else for emotional support and intimacy, it may be a good idea to voice your concerns and a desire to spend more time with him,” Isiah admits.
He is emotionally disengaged
While your partner may always have been a bit coy with his feelings, you may feel him deliberately distance and disengage.
It’s a struggle to feel close and connected to someone when they’re not willing to share what’s happening for them.
He’s lost interest in sex
While disinterest in sex isn’t always a sign that your partner has checked out, it is often a sign of tension or distance between partners.
“Being physically intimate with someone helps our bodies release hormones and endorphins that help us feel close and bonded to our partner,” Isiah says. “This can be a sign that things are getting off-track.”
He’s not interested in talking things through
Although it can be tough, talking about your relationship challenges together is actually a sign that you’re both still hopeful and willing to work on it.
“Talking together or deciding to see a therapist is a really positive sign that you’re both committed to making your relationship the best it can be,” Isiah admits. “When you stop talking about how to make things better, it may be a sign that he’s already checked out.”
“I see a lot of couples who take their relationship for granted - as they slip into a routine together, they forget to make the effort they did at the beginning to keep the relationship strong,” adds Isiah.
“Maintaining good communication and a willingness to be flexible can certain help your spark stay alight.”