How can you tell if you’re in a rough patch, or it’s something more serious? Look out for these 12 signs to know if someone is seriously wrong.
1. His friends come before you
At one time, you were inseparable and he always put you first. Now, he sees his friends all the time—and more often than he says you. “Some people never grow up,” says Cathy W. Meyer, the About.com Divorce Support Expert and managing editor of divorcedmoms.com. “They don’t move past that stage of needing to hang with the guys or girls and do things boys or girls do.” Friends don’t have to be ditched completely; balance is important in a relationship. She offers a warning about a possible red flag about spending time with buddies. “If he would rather spend time with his friends than you, then that can bleed over into other aspects of the marriage and relationship.” For example, Meyer says he may have problems handling finances or making long-term goals for your marriage. “The good news is that most people manage to grow up once they face the reality of being married,” say Meyer. “The bad news is that some people don’t ever grow up.”
2. He has a new obsession (and it’s not you)
Your partner once spent every minute making you happy (maybe even to the point of being obsessed!). Now, he spends his time exercising, golfing, playing video games, or pursuing other passions or hobbies. It’s perfectly normal to engage in activities that make you happy. But he may be using these activities as a distraction from your relationship. “When the passion becomes an obsession, resulting in him ignoring your relationship, spending less time with you and ignoring his marital responsibilities, then it’s a problem,” says Francesca Di Meglio, the former Newlyweds Expert for About.com and writer of the Italian Mamma blog. She suggests raising the issue with your partner. “Sometimes your spouse has no idea you’re feeling neglected,” she says. “Pointing it out can give your spouse the signal to pay more attention to you and better divide his time.”
3. You don’t cuddle anymore
People cuddle to feel close to one another: calm, safe, and connected. But it’s problematic if he brushes you off when you move in to snuggle or he says he isn’t in the mood for this sign of affection. “It’s also concerning if one partner’s attempts at physical connection are frequently rebuffed,” says Feuerman. Find out why he isn’t in the mood. “It’s important to investigate if he is under stress or unaddressed issues are in the relationship,” says Lesli M. W. Doares, a marriage consultant and coach with a private practice in Cary, North Carolina, and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After With More Intention, Less Work. “It also may mean that he is no longer interested in meeting your intimacy needs because he isn’t invested in the relationship any longer.” This could also be a sign that your partner is cheating.
4. He doesn’t ask about your day
“Hi honey! How was your day?” Been awhile since you heard those words? Before jumping to conclusions, try to find out why he doesn’t want to chat, says Meyer. Maybe he had a long day and needs some time to himself. “If, however, he shows a lack of interest in your day out of a lack of caring for what kind of day you had, then you have to decide how important your relationship is with someone who has no interest in how the day went for you,” says Meyer. “If he doesn’t care about that, there are probably more things he doesn’t care about that are much more serious.”
5. He won’t discuss what’s bothering him
You say, “What’s wrong?” and you get no response or a shrug—multiple times. You question the silence and his standoffish behavior, feeling you did something to cause it. “A lack of communication will keep you from fully connecting,” says Di Meglio. “If that constantly happens, you might lose touch. If you don’t nip that problem in the bud when it starts, you could grow apart.”
6. He doesn’t hold your hand
Hand holding once came naturally. But now if it feels like you always initiate the action, this could signal a deeper issue. He may no longer find this sign of affection appealing or necessary. “A lack of interest in touching and connecting physically is a sign that there are problems in the marriage,” says Di Meglio. She suggests that you initiate touch to see how your partner reacts.
7. He seems uncomfortable around happy couples
Your partner shouldn’t long for what other couples have. If he seems jealous of couples who are giddy and in love, it may be because he is unhappy with your relationship or worried that happiness is impossible for the two of you. “The last thing you want to see when you’re unhappy is a happy couple,” says Di Meglio. Seeing couples in that state can also take an emotional toll. “He may feel pressure to take your relationship to a new level that he isn’t on board with,” says Doares. “He may perceive that you have expectations that he isn’t ready to fulfill.”
8. He can’t look you in the eye
You used to stare into one another’s eyes. Now, he barely looks at you when you chat or seems uncomfortable when you do maintain eye contact. Is he hiding something? Or afraid you’ll see the truth through the windows to his soul? “If your husband can’t look you in the eye when communicating, especially if you’re attempting to communicate about problems in the marriage, he is either hiding something, like his true feelings, or he is trying to avoid conflict,” says Meyer. She suggests quickly getting to the bottom of it by asking him why he’s avoiding your glance. “He may be uncomfortable because his feelings for you are changing and he isn’t ready to say anything yet,” says Doares.