Regardless of the seriousness of your relationship, the feeling of not knowing what your partner’s thinking is something everyone can all relate to. But let’s face it, it’s mentally exhausting trying to decode every text or dissect every conversation. And then there’s the dilemma of whether you should say something or not? Will doing so start a fight if there really is nothing going on?
Of course, it’s impossible to know exactly what someone else is thinking without them telling you. But luckily, there are a few subtle signs an uninterested partner may exhibit.
INSIDER spoke with three professional dating coaches to understand a bit more what you can look for.
You and your partner are not communicating in the same way.
If you and your partner were serial texters and suddenly there is radio silence on their end, or you’ve always updated your other half via Snapchat and now they’re just going unanswered, something may be up.
“In today’s social media world, I think you can definitely take cues from their online activity,” said Lori Salkin, the senior matchmaker at SawYouAtSinai.com and dating coach. “If your partner was always liking your photos and all of a sudden nothing, or they were always sending you Snapchats and suddenly you’re getting ghosted, you can sense that distancing,” she told INSIDER.
According to Salkin, these could be signs that they are unhappy with something. Of course, it’s not necessarily you. Salkin stresses that when communication between you and your partner goes down, you shouldn’t jump to conclusions too quickly. “If you’re still committed to the relationship, be patient. They could be feeling distant because of a deadline at work, or a family matter, or something personal that’s bothering them. You don’t necessarily know.”
You find yourself making a lot of excuses for them.
“If you’re constantly saying, ‘It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine,’ it’s probably not fine,” Salkin said.
“Especially if you’re making excuses for behaviors that are not what you want from your partner anyway, something is probably up.” Salkin said that when the excuse-o-meter hits a high is when you need to look at the bigger picture and really assess if this person actually has an interest in dating you or not.
Your conversations are completely one-sided.
According to online dating coach Joshua Pompey, you should pay attention to if your partner seems disengaged.
“If you’re trying to talk to your boyfriend but he’s on his phone or playing video games the entire time, he may be physically there, but he’s not really present,” Pompey told INSIDER. “That disengaged feeling can be a red flag that something bigger is the problem.”
If you’re having a conversation with someone you’re supposedly in a relationship with, there shouldn’t be any doubt that they want to talk to you, too.
Your intimacy level changes.
“It’s natural for people to have less sex when they’re in a long, serious relationship but if it’s slowing down just as it’s supposed to be picking up, that could mean one partner isn’t as invested in the relationship as they should be,” Pompey explained.
Of course, this isn’t the only reason they might not be interested in sex. It could be caused by a low sex drive or stress outside the relationship. The important thing is to communicate with your partner.
You’ve moved down their list of priorities.
It’s one thing if your partner has to work late every so often, but if you’re beginning to sense that working late is their excuse to avoid being with you, they’re probably not as into the relationship.
“If you’re noticing your partner has stopped making any effort to make plans, or have date nights, or just keep that romantic spark alive, they may be starting to lose interest in the relationship,” Pompey explained.
Salkin agreed, “I’ve had clients come to me confused because their first few dates were so thought out, like a paint night or a cool bar, and then all of a sudden it’s just dinner down the block, and they see that as their partner losing interest,” she said.
But Salkin said to feel out the situation. “Of course, if you’ve been dating a while and you’re both comfortable with each other, dinner down the block might be a good sign, because you’re at the point where you don’t need anything fancy.”
There is no follow up.
If all those hypothetical plans are not coming to fruition, it may be time to have a heart to heart.
“If you and your partner had talked about spending holidays with your family or going to friends and you’re waiting for all the planning to happen and then it’s just not, it could be they’re avoiding the confrontation,” Salkin explained.
They’re super temperamental around you.
“A lot of times if someone is unhappy in a relationship the things that would normally bother them are enhanced by their own personal unhappiness,” Pompey explained. “This could be due to the dissatisfaction in the relationship or underlying resentment, and they it could just be projecting their unhappiness on the other person to no fault of their own.”
If you are noticing major mood changes in your partner, or you two are arguing all the time over silly things, chances are your partner is feeling a certain level of unhappiness in the relationship.
They’re hanging out with friends more than with you
No matter how serious your relationship is, it’s always important for each partner to have their separate friends and life outside of the one they are building with the person they are dating. But, if you feel like your partner is hanging out their friends and showing no interest in making time for you, this could be a problem.
“I’ve noticed that when partner time decreases and friend time increases it usually means someone in the relationship is unhappy about something,” Pompey shared.
They’re canceling plans more often than usual.
Canceling plans on your significant other is not a deal breaker, things happen. But if you notice it happening more often than not, ask them why? “Cancelling dates, lack of communication, and putting everything else before you are signs that things are not fine,” Salkin said.
“This is the time when you need to start thinking if this is the relationship you want to pursue anymore or not.”
They’re placating your feelings.
When you feel like your partner may be unhappy, it’s best to talk it out in a heart to heart. Not only will this make your feelings known to them, but it’ll also give you a chance to really get an idea about their true feelings.
“If after you’ve talked things out and they’re still not changing than they’re not really in this with you,” Pompey explained. “If they’re just doing things because you asked and there is a lot of denial of issues and excuses, you just got a big clue as to their true feelings about the relationship.”
It’s possible to still make the relationship work.
If you’re still interested in making the relationship work and really want to find out if your partner is too, the best thing to do is talk to them — have a heart to heart. “Provide a solution to the issues you feel you’ve been having, but also validate them,” said LA-based dating coach Evan Marc Katz.
“Keep the conversation specific to problems and solutions, otherwise it’s just an attack on the other person and that’s not productive.” But Katz stressed that if the relationship isn’t working, then it isn’t working. “Assume whoever you are dating is exactly the way they are. Do they make you happy? If yes, then stay, if not, then break up,” Katz said.
“I have noticed in this work that people get caught up on thinking they can change their partner to be exactly what they want, that is going against nature and won’t work,” Katz said the best thing to do is worry about how you are feeling and what will make you happy not trying to change the other person.
“You have more control over finding a new partner than you do over trying to change one that isn’t working out.”