Have things been feeling a bit cool lately? Take a guess: it’s not that chilly winter breeze we’re talking about, but that air of indifference when your partner brushes past you. We all have our ups and downs in our relationships with our significant others, but you know something’s not right when conversations stop taking off and jokes start falling flat. Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know that something isn’t quite right. No one might be cheating, or hiding something – there are plenty of reasons why relationships seem to stall. Instead trying to tackle the problem head-on, first read about these 4 relationship red flags.
- Be wary of single-word responses
Nothing spells trouble like responses that aren’t longer than a syllable. And unless you’ve just asked your partner a direct question, you shouldn’t be getting such a direct answer. When your conversations can’t last longer than a minute, you should be wondering what’s going on.
But don’t ask right out, “Is everything okay?” That’s most likely to push them into stony silence. What’s worse, you might get hit with “Everything’s fine,” (when you clearly know it’s not). Try asking open-ended questions to draw them gently into a discussion. By asking, “Where are you standing on your project at work?” or “Which character did you like from yesterday’s movie?” This way, you’re giving them a conversational springboard to bounce off, while also sneakily preventing them from giving you a one-worded answer.
- Avoiding eye contact
Remember discussing body language in psych class or during team-building exercises at work? Everyone always mentions how important it is to maintain eye contact during conversation. It’s the way your subconscious shows that you’re interested. That’s precisely why a lack of it from your partner, even during chit-chat or small talk, should tell you that something is off.
Next time you’re talking with your significant other, put your phone away, drop that pen and turn both eyes to them. Show them that you’re tuned into them 100 per cent. If you’re doing it, they’ll follow suit and it might just be enough to get the ball rolling to help them express themselves.
- Things are a little too mundane
Our days are packed, juggling work, play and wrangling kids in between. But following the same schedule for weeks on end can be draining, leaving no energy or brain power for being creative. Even weekends can become tedious, lacking in passion and spontaneity. If your partner seems fine going through the same motions day after day, your alarm bells should be ringing. They may be stuck in a mental rut, which can cause people to “grow apart.”
Well, they don’t say that “variety is the spice of life,” for no reason. Don’t hang around waiting for them to take the initiative, get up and do something about it. Plan a fun night out – yes, even on a school night. Instead of dinner at the table, have a picnic in the living room. Pop in to see them at work on their lunch break, sushi and smoothies in tow. Doing something out of the ordinary can set that little spark alight again.
- Energies are invested elsewhere
Does your spouse seem quiet, tired or bored around you, but jumps up excitedly when someone mentions basketball? Do you start talking and they cut you off, going on at length about someone’s round the world trip or big night at the casino? Disinterest in you, contrasted with heightened interests elsewhere, should strike you as awfully fishy.
Now’s the perfect time to renew and reinvest your energies in your relationship. Carve out some quality time for each other and make it something to look forward to. It can be as simple as a quiet cup of coffee together, every night after the kids are in bed, or as extravagant as a monthly date night. Use your time together to have an adult conversation and discuss dreams and hopes for the future. It’ll let you get to the bottom of what’s eating them and then you can work together to get there.