Sometimes relationship problems are obvious: you start fighting a lot, there’s a breach of trust, or maybe you’re just not feeling passionate anymore. But some relationship problems are much harder to spot. If your partner is acting distant, it can feel difficult to describe the change. And you can have distance in a relationship even when you have a strong connection.
“I think that there are many signs you can pick up on that suggest your partner is feeling distant,” relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. “You might instinctively feel like the connection is strong but it’s important to look at concrete actions as well as feelings.” That’s why it’s important to know the signs, so you can look at your relationship and make sure it’s really functioning properly.
Sometimes when two people really love each other — or even when they’re full-on obsessed with each other — there can still be shifts and changes that create distance. It’s not a terrible thing and there definitely ways to get close to your partner again. But you need to look at what’s actually going on in your relationship and make sure that the intimacy is there, rather than just letting passion carry you through. Here are the signs that your partner may be feeling distant, even when there’s a strong connection.
1. They Change Their Habits
The most basic sign to look for is any big change. “Has anything changed in your relationship habits and routine?” Hartstein asks. If the two of you normally have a flow of how you interact and patterns of behavior, a big disruption from those — without another explanation — is often a sign your partner is feeling distant.
2. You Spend Less Time Together
One sign of distance is a literal one. “Are you still spending as much time together as you had in the past?” Hartstein asks. If they are literally more distant from you — as in, you’re not in the same place as much — that can be a manifestation of how they’re feeling emotionally.
3. They Keep Their Friends And Family Separate
“Are they suddenly not inviting you out with [their] family and friends even though they previously had invited you all the time?” Harstein asks. When you’re intimate with someone, you share the most intimate parts of your lives — and the people you care about most. But if someone’s feeling distant, they may keep their people at a distance, too.
4. They Withdraw Sexually
Nora Dekeyser, matchmaker and dating coach at Three Day Rule, tells Bustle that your partner withdrawing sexually may be a sign that they’re feeling distant. Sex drives can change for a lot of different reasons, so it could just be that — but if they change sexually and seem withdrawn or distant more generally, that might mean something.
5. They’re Evasive
“Do you not know who they’re going out with or what’s happening at their workplace anymore?” Hartstein asks. When someone is feeling distant, they may not want to share with you or connect with you about their day. And it could be that they’re getting closer to their friends or family, so they’re getting the support from somewhere else.
6. They’re Ignoring Rituals
Not keeping up with your usual rituals like calling you before you go to bed, Dekeyser says can be a sign that your partner is feeling distant. Even though they’re little things, these rituals can come to have a lot of significance in a relationship. If they always make you coffee or always give you a kiss before they leave for work and suddenly that stops, it can mean something.
7. You Don’t Feel Yourself Around Them
If your partner is being distant, you might start to feel uneasy or stop feeling comfortable around them. “When you are comfortable with someone, you should be able to sit for an extended time period without feeling a need to chatter,” Samantha Daniels, professional matchmaker and founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, tells Bustle. If you’re not feeling like yourself, it may be that your partner has been pulling back and so your relationship foundation doesn’t feel as secure.
Even when there’s a strong connection, sometimes distance can form in a relationship. As Hartsein says, don’t rely on the gut feeling of connection — look at your actual relationship and make sure you’re both communicating with each other.
Originally posted on Bustle