You have less in common

One of the most surefire signs that you’re no longer in sync with your partner is that you don’t have things in common. As far as small-scale things go, you might notice that your taste in books, movies or travel destinations has changed. More broadly though, you might see that your career goals, lifestyle priorities or need for relationship milestones are out of sync too.

They’re withdrawn physically

Every couple goes through periods of both more and less physical contact, but if you’ve noticed that things are on a steady downward decline with no chance of stopping, then it could be a sign that distance is creeping in. This applies whether you’re dealing with fewer forehead kisses, them pulling away when you hold hands or a lack of activity in the bedroom.

You have nothing to talk about

Couples who have been together a long time often joke about running out of things to talk about, but this shouldn’t be literally true. While it’s normal to end up having similar conversations about work, groceries and television day to day, you should still enjoy talking to your partner and find new things to discuss. If you can’t, it could be because you’re growing apart.

They never show up in your dreams

No matter how happy you may think you are while you’re awake, your dreams will tell the truth. If you’ve noticed that you dream of grabbing coffee by yourself in Paris, taking long walks on the beach with your dog, or partying the night away with a big group of friends, it could be because your subconscious has already realised you’re growing away from your partner.

You don’t want to share good news with them

One of the sweetest parts of being in a relationship is having someone to share all your good news with, as well as the bad. Your other half should be your hype man, your cheerleader and your biggest supporter, so if you feel unsure or reluctant to tell them when something awesome happens in your life, then that’s a pretty bad sign.

You’re stuck in a rut

Your emotional state and motivation level shouldn’t depend entirely on your partner, but there’s no denying that when your relationship is going strong and your other half is working hard to be their best self, it can inspire you too. If you feel sluggish, disconnected and lacking in momentum or passion, it could be because your relationship is similarly struggling to find its feet again.

There are no more butterflies

Every relationship starts out in a phase defined by butterflies, nervousness and uncertainty, that eventually settles down into something more steady, comfortable and reliable. With that said, you should still get a flutter when your partner surprises you with flowers, gets dressed up for date night, or is discovered dancing in the kitchen while they make dinner.

You’re daydreaming about other people

No one completely loses the ability to find other people attractive when they get into a relationship, but your partner should still be the only person you’re seriously thinking about being with. If you’ve noticed that your cute coworker or your handsome next-door neighbour has been sneaking into your daydreams, it could be because you feel abandoned in your actual relationship.

They never ask about your day

Life has an insidious way of messing with even the best of intentions, so it makes sense that in a long-term, serious relationship, your partner will sometimes forget to be perfectly attentive and curious. With that said, if your other half has completely stopped asking about your day, then that’s a sign that they’re pulling away from you.

You go to someone else for advice

No one should rely completely on their partner for everything they need, whether that’s comfort, friendship, advice or support. However, if you consistently go to your besties for all your advice, even when your problem is something that your partner should have insight into, it could be because you don’t trust them to be present and engaged enough to give you the help you need.

The little things annoy you

Everyone has not-so-idyllic habits, from leaving socks balled up on the floor to never shutting cabinet doors when you’re done in the kitchen. If you’re in a healthy relationship, your partner’s odd quirks should at best be endearing, but at worst be tolerable. If you are suddenly enraged by their habits, it could be because your rose-coloured glasses are gone.

They don’t listen when you talk

Everyone gets spaced out from time to time, whether due to a busy day at work or just because they didn’t sleep well the night before. However, there aren’t many things more heartbreaking than realising that your partner isn’t even listening to what you’re saying. If your other half is completely checked out consistently, it could be because they’re drifting away.

You spend your free time away from home

Being glued to your partner 100% of the time isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship, but neither is spending as little time with them as you have to. If you’ve started spending more time away from home because the vibes between you and your partner are cold, out-of-sync or just weird, then it could be that you’re growing away from them.

They don’t surprise you anymore

Outside of the honeymoon phase at the very beginning, no relationship should be an endless parade of candy, flowers, dinner dates and brand-new jewellery. With that said, there’s a massive gulf between being spoiled and being occasionally surprised. If you can’t remember the last time your partner brought home your favourite chocolate bar or ran you a bath, you could be dealing with relationship distance.

You’ve stopped asking them to change

Fighting and compromise might be unpleasant in the moment, but they’re actually a normal part of any healthy relationship. If you’ve stopped voicing your discomfort and asking for your partner to do better when their behaviour causes problems, then it could be that you have mentally withdrawn from the relationship to protect your peace.

They’ve stopped saying “I love you”

Not everyone expresses their feelings verbally, and your partner might say I love you by always bringing you tea in bed before work, by putting your socks in the dryer on cold mornings or by leaving your favourite chocolate on your desk. However they express the sentiment, if your other half has stopped saying “I love you” in their way, that’s a sign of growing distance.

You avoid talking about them to friends

No one wants to hang out with friends and spend the entire time talking about their partner, but you should at least want to tell your pals what your other half is up to when they ask, or share any funny or heartwarming stories from your life together. If you feel reticent to chat about your partner, it could be because you know things are drawing to a close.

They deny anything is going wrong

It can be uncomfortable and even scary to talk about relationship problems, but anyone who is actually invested in their partnership will be willing to do so. If your other half is completely in denial about the reality of your relationship despite plenty of communication on your end, it could be because they’ve completely mentally divested from the partnership.

You feel lonely even when together

A relationship is primarily about companionship, togetherness and teamwork, so one thing you should never feel around your partner is lonely. If you can sit next to your other half on the sofa and still feel like they’re a million miles away, then that’s a sign that distance is becoming a real problem in your relationship.

They stay silent for days

Being given the silent treatment after an argument feels awful, but at least it’s behaviour with an explanation and purpose. If your other half drifts around the house silently for days without speaking more than a couple of perfunctory words to you, then chances are they’re drifting away from you emotionally.

You’re in the “roommates phase”

The roommates phase is a common phenomenon in long-term or serious relationships, where the spark of physical intimacy snuffs out and both parties start behaving more like pals or housemates. It’s easily fixed with emotional closeness and intentionality, so if it’s an enduring problem in your relationship, that means there was probably some distance between you already.

They seem less ambitious

If your partner was once driven and excited about new opportunities, but now seems to be stagnating and uninterested in progression, it could be a mental health problem or a temporary period of stress. However, it could also be that your other half doesn’t see their current life and relationship as worth investing in or knows that it is coming to an end soon.

You pick fights on purpose

Picking fights on purpose isn’t a sign that you hate your partner or want out of the relationship, in fact, it’s often a sign of exactly the opposite. If you try to goad your other half into arguing with you, it could be because you’re trying to force them into engaging and facing the reality of the relationship, rather than sleepwalking beside you.

They spend way more time with friends

No one’s social life should centre entirely on their partner, but there’s a difference between making time for the other important relationships in your life and disappearing every evening to spend time with someone else. If you can’t remember the last time you and your other half stayed in and spent time together, it could be because you no longer find hanging out emotionally fulfilling.

You don’t know their current interests

Even after years or decades together, you probably still won’t know everything about your partner. However, you should have a good idea of what their hobbies, interests and priorities are at any given moment. If you’ve no idea how your other half spends their free time, either they’re retreating from you, or you’re not listening to them.

They don’t ask about your family

This point might seem like it’s just good manners, but it actually gets to the heart of any emotional closeness issues you and your partner might be experiencing. Your other half should care not just about your wellbeing, but about the wellbeing of the people you love and care for. If your other half never asks about your family after you visit them, that’s definitely a red flag.

You’ve no more inside jokes

Often, the healthiest relationships are ones where the conversation between partners is completely incomprehensible. It’s an informal metric, but couples with a lot of inside jokes, secret code words and made-up names for things tend to have a strong foundation of good humour, emotional closeness and insight into each other. In other words, lacking those things could mean you’re distant from each other.

They seem annoyed by your presence

Even in the most perfect relationships, there will be times when the love of your life gets under your skin. Maybe they’re sick and coughing loudly in the next room, or they’ve decided they have to run the dishwasher while you complete a very important work assignment. That aside though, your partner shouldn’t ever make you feel as though your very presence is unwelcome or disruptive.

You’ve stopped talking about marriage

Every relationship is different, and so every couple will have their own timeline and preferences as far as milestones like marriage go. Of course, if you and your partner used to be super excited about the idea of wedding bells, but marital talk has dried up in recent weeks or months, it could be because distance has crept into your relationship where intimacy should be.

They keep skipping out on dates

Life is unpredictable at the best of times, so in any relationship, there will be days when date night gets moved or cancelled altogether with very little notice. With that said, if your partner consistently cancels on dates with zero warning and paper-thin explanations, then they’ve already emotionally withdrawn from the relationship and don’t care about hurting your emotional bond.

You are embarrassed about the relationship

It’s a good rule of thumb that if you’re embarrassed about your relationship, it’s probably not functioning the way that it should be. If your friends have asked how things are going with you and your partner and you feel too ashamed to answer honestly, then you likely subconsciously know that there’s some serious distance building between you and your other half.

They seem cold or indifferent

There are countless times in every relationship where one person isn’t feeling their best, so they act grumpy, frustrated, disconnected or gloomy. With that said, one thing your partner shouldn’t consistently be is cold and indifferent. More than a temporary emotional fluctuation, that kind of attitude points to mental walls that your partner has erected to keep you, and maybe everyone else, out.

You have renewed focus on your career

Obviously, it’s not true that if you’re flourishing professionally your relationship must be on the rocks, as a good partner can make you feel confident and motivated to achieve your goals. However, if you’ve been diving into work with renewed passion because your life feels like it’s missing something, it could be because you’ve realised that your energies are not being reciprocated at home.

They don’t make you laugh anymore

Not every couple considers humour to be a foundational pillar of their relationship, but if your partner making you laugh used to be one of the things that made you feel closest to them, and that has totally dried up in recent weeks, that’s something to worry about. Humor is based on a shared connection between two people, and can’t survive distance.

You have “escape fantasies”

If you’re looking to figure out what you want, putting too much stock in your daydreams can definitely lead you astray. With that said, if you find yourself frequently getting lost in fantasies of packing up and starting again somewhere new, alone in a cottage in the woods or exploring a town where no one knows your name, it could be because you feel restless in your relationship.

They won’t tell you what they’re thinking

Needing to know what your partner is thinking at all times is definitely a relationship red flag, but it is possible for things to swing too far in the other direction too. If you’ve absolutely no idea where your partner’s head is at and they get aggressive or dismissive when you ask, then they have already emotionally retreated from you.

You wouldn’t call them in an emergency

Your partner doesn’t have to fulfil every need you have in life, but they should be someone you can trust and depend on. If you would prefer to call a close friend or a family member in an emergency, and not for any kind of logistical or practical reason, then that’s a sign that you’ve grown distant from your partner.

They deflect during arguments

Have you and your partner fallen into a pattern of you gently trying to raise something that’s making you unhappy in the relationship, only for them to turn around and point out every little thing you’ve ever done that has annoyed them, or for them to quickly pivot to needing to do something urgently? That’s deflection, and it’s a major sign of distance in a relationship.

You don’t do domestic tasks together

They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and this definitely goes for domestic tasks. While hovering over your partner’s shoulder while they peel potatoes isn’t efficient or helpful, it is a red flag if you and your other half never collaborate on any chores. Not only are you missing out on bonding time, but it also suggests a lack of trust.

They don’t text you throughout the day

No one can stop every two minutes throughout the day to hear about their partner’s lunch break, their walk to the shop, how cold their office is or how many minutes the bus is running late. With that said, it is nice to check in occasionally, so if you never hear from your partner until they get home, it could be a cause for concern.

You don’t miss them

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Think about the moment you fell in love and how happy it made you. It’s likely that in the honeymoon phase, you couldn’t bear to be apart from your significant other for longer than a minute. How does that compare to your feelings now? If you’re not concerned when separated from your partner you’ve already moved on mentally anyway.

You lose respect for them

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Losing respect for your partner could be a telltale sign the relationship is coming to an end. If you’re rolling your eyes when they discuss even the things that are most passionate to them, that means trouble. A healthy couple celebrates and respects their partner’s accomplishments, passions and hobbies.

You don’t want to solve arguments

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Having a desire to win arguments shows that you’re on different wavelengths. Worse yet, you’re not a team. And if you’re not a team, you’re bound to fall out and not feel the need to work together. A lack of negotiation serves as a reminder that you not longer see your relationship as a shared project, but instead as something adversarial.

You don’t want to be intimate in public

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It’s not problems in the bedroom we’re referring to here. We’re instead talking about the kind of intimacy that often blooms around new, young couples. Kisses, thigh patting, holding hands, hair stroking. If all that no longer appeals to you then the relationship is on the way out. If you don’t even want to hold your partner’s hand, why would you want to do anything juicier?

Their quirks lose their charm

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When your partner’s quirks become pet peeves, run for the hills, as it’s hard to recover when what you once found adorable is now annoying. This could be singing in the shower, putting the milk in before the cereal, or turning every light on and off five times. Whatever it is, it’s a sign the balance of your relationship has shifted.

You avoid making plans

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When you first get to know someone you often can’t move for plans, as you’re so eager to both spend time together and ensure that that time is special. It’s when the plans fade away that you need to start worrying. If you ask your partner what they think about a summer vacation and they tell you to get back to them… be concerned.

You don’t let them in

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Putting up emotional walls is one of the first symptoms of a failing relationship. You could be hurting and unwilling to let your partner get too close or know what you’re going through. In this situation, it’s best to get out of the relationship and be around people who are comfortable with your openness, or at the very least consider relationship counseling to foster connection.

You don’t feel like your old self

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Do you look back on pictures of your life before you met your partner with envy? If so, be careful: as that’s one of the brightest red flags there is. If it’s less about waning to spend your time chilling with friends, reconnecting with old hobbies, or working on yourself and more about wanting to live the single life again, then you may want to evaluate your relationship.

Your excuses come with dread

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Fearful of letting your partner know that you can’t attend an event, because you worry that your excuses might not be good enough for them? At best, this could be a sign of a toxic relationship. At worst, it could be a sign of an abusive one. Either way, you should break things off and take a break, either temporarily or permanently.

You question your love

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Are you in love? Were you ever in love? Or were you in love with the idea of being in love? Frolicking down the beach, going on vacation, watching films on rainy nights… all of this seems attractive and aspirational when you’ve been single long enough. If you doubt your own sincerity, it’s probably time to wrap things up.

Independence becomes more attractive

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In the beginning, incorporating your partner into daily activities and shenanigans is a lot of fun. Naturally, this wanes with time, but if that relaxation also comes with a strong desire to be independent 100% of the time, then the relationship has run its course. Try a week apart and see how you feel.

You don’t feel proud of them anymore

Remember when you first got with your partner and how you loved to show them off to family and friends? That’s because you were proud of them. One of the signs of a sour relationship is when you begin to feel embarrassed or outright ashamed to be seen with your partner.

You stay with them only to spare their feelings

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This is a toxic sign. You should want to stay with someone because you love them, not because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or incite an argument. Sit down and talk things out as best you can if you think things are done for, as your partner may appreciate the mature and honest approach.

You’ve stopped fighting

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Many people think a relationship without arguments is a healthy one, but it can actually be a dead one. No longer arguing or disagreeing with each other proves that you’ve gotten past the point of caring. It signals that the mindset has become that both parties have moved on, so what’s the use of winning?

They’re being secretive

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This one is so common it’s almost a cliche. Seeing your partner shield their phone screen can engender concern as it may come across like they’re flirting with other people or using dating apps. Some people are private and that’s fine but if your partner has gone from showing you videos on their phone to never leaving it around, they could be hiding something.

Pet names have gone out of the window

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It may sound silly but pet names play a big part in a healthy relationship. Hearing your significant other call you a nickname can make you feel better in times of stress or sadness. When the pet names cease to exist, the love is on the way out, especially if the cutesy terms of endearment were plentiful before.

Everything feels off-balance

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Does your relationship have no discernible flaws but feel off somehow? Sometimes your gut is right. Simply feeling in some way unbalanced can signal the beginning of the end. Give your partner a hug and see how tightly they hug you back. It’s little things like this that seal the deal, or vice versa.

Your birthdays are just another day

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Yeah, there may be a birthday cake, but it’s more important to notice how emphatically your partner is singing the accompanying song. Are there any candles? Did they clap when you blew out said candles? In truly bad cases, there is no cake. Sometimes, your partner may even forget your birthday altogether.

They forget your drink order

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This is another trivial one, as it could just be a genuine mistake, but it could also signal something more serious. Something as simple as forgetting your drink in a cafe or bar, and then huffing about having to go back, can be a sign that they have emotionally checked out. The same rule applies to kisses before bed.

They’re bad at eye contact

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Eye contact can be intense on a first or second date, but if you’re in a relationship – and have been for several years – you should be able to maintain it willy-nilly. Avoiding eye contact in a committed relationship shows that you’re not interested or fulfilled, or perhaps that one party has something to hide.

They’re running late a lot

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If the vibes aren’t there, your partner could begin running late to planned nights and events. This is only a cause for alarm if their timekeeping used to be second to none. If they don’t have any good reason for being late, then consider it a sign that they aren’t prioritising you.

Their social media use increases

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Don’t confuse an increase in social media use with social media addiction. If your partner is suddenly using their phone a lot more they could be distracting themselves from a bad relationship, or avoiding having a meaningful conversation that could bring about progress. You shouldn’t be scared of dead air, and if you are that means something.

They’re suddenly always busy

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People lead busy lives and don’t always have time for their partners. However, if you’re struggling to spend any time at all with yours, then be wary. Excuses for being busy could actually just be them staying late at work to avoid you. If they aren’t willing to reveal what they’re busy with, you may have issues!

Easy things become chores

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You should want to spend time with your partner and help them out for the sake of the relationship. Loading the dishwasher, hoovering the floor, tidying up the garden. If you feel like these things are a waste of your time then you should reassess. Love should make you feel happy but obliged as well.

You want to return to how things were

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Relationships are complex. They never stay the same for longer than a week. Try not to compare your relationship three years in, to how it was three weeks in. That honeymoon period has a name for a reason. With that said, if you really cannot prevent yourself from comparing each day to how they used to be, the future is bleak.

They criticise your family

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The target could be your mom or it could be your third cousin. It doesn’t really matter who. If your partner has started poking fun at a member of your family, it shows that they have zero respect for them, and possibly by extension, you. It may be a subtle warning that they have no intention of seeing you or your people ever again.

You bite your tongue a lot

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Airing grievances, within a limit, can be very productive. If you’re in a position where you feel as though there are certain things, especially non-controversial things, that you cannot ever say to your partner, then you may be in an unhealthy relationship. Nothing should ever be off the table when it comes to communication.

Your family and friends notice

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Are your family and friends approaching you at dinners and events and talking to you like you’re a delicate little flower? It’s probably because they know your relationship is strained. Visual cues are a lot more noticeable to those around you than you yourself, so they might be picking up on relationship tension even you’re not aware of.

You don’t touch them

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Not every person wants to be caressed or stroked in public but if your partner is resisting all physical intimacy in private, they’re really not that into you. Unfortunately, there’s no way to ask, “Why don’t you want to hold my hand anymore?” without sounding like a 12-year-old, so this is a tough one to solve.

You’re nervous in their presence

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Do you dread the thought of coming home from work or being around your partner in any context? Then it might be time to leave, as this is a sign of an extremely toxic relationship. If leaving is not a safe option, there are certain charities and helplines you can speak to.