4 Signs Your Partner Is Coasting With You, According To An Expert

The word “coasting” has a certain inherently and almost enticingly chill air about it — it implies a cruise-control, top-down, wind-in-your-hair, not-a care-in-the-world kind of nonchalance. Undoubtedly, coasting can be a positive thing in many aspects of life, but relationships are not one of them. Fortunately, there are some common signs your partner is coasting that you can look for. According to The Cambridge Dictionary, one definition of this verb is: “to progress or succeed without any effort or difficulty.” In relationships, effort isn't just necessary: It's key.

It may actually be possible to become too comfortable in a relationship. Sure, most of us want a connection in which we feel in sync with our partners, and altercations are few and far between. If you look around, you’ll no doubt observe many couples that seem to have struck this kind of chord. You may have even envied them at some point. The truth is that there’s a fine line between smooth sailing and coasting. Coasting implies that a person has become so comfortable in their relationship that they are no longer putting in the effort required to sustain momentum. After all, relationships are living, breathing things that are meant to evolve and strengthen over time — and that simply isn’t possible if one partner is on autopilot. If you suspect your SO may be coasting through your relationship, keep an eye out for one of these red flags.

Everything feels routine.

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It’s natural to settle into some sense of routine when you’ve been in a long-term relationship, especially if you’re living together. You may have a standing Sunday Netflix date to catch up on your favorite show or a Thai takeout tradition on Thursdays. Don’t stress — this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be a sign you’re just getting super comfortable with each other.

However, if everything in your relationship is starting to feel routine, from your nightly “how was your day?” conversations and your date nights at that charcuterie bar to your sex sessions, that could be an indicator that your partner is coasting. It’s important to shake things up now and then, even if just by trying a new restaurant together or testing out a different sexual position. After all, too much of a routine can start to feel boring after a while — and by getting out of your comfort zones, you may learn about yourselves and each other in the process.

They don’t talk a lot about the future.

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According to Mike Goldstein, founder of EZDatingCoach.com, a partner who never excitedly talks about future plans or fantasizes about the next phase with you, may be coasting. When you’re ultra invested in a relationship, it’s natural to think ahead about what’s in store for you and bae.

Of course, some of us may be a little more future-oriented than others, but never discussing your relationship goals or plans could be a warning sign that your partner is going through the motions. Does it seem like they’re wary to lock down a vacation in the spring? Have they stopped talking about that possible engagement they were previously enthusiastic about? Notice whether or not they seem reluctant to discuss what’s ahead. Keep in mind that some people are shier than others in terms of tackling these topics, so you could always try bringing them up yourself and assessing how your partner reacts.

You never fight anymore.

Alexey Kuzma/Stocksy

It may seem like a good sign when you and bae basically never squabble. The fact is that fighting is normal. As individuals, there is no way that you and your SO will agree on every single thing. Choosing to voice your opinion or concerns and work through them with your partner shows that you both care. It shows that despite how uncomfortable or unpleasant it is, you’re willing to participate in an argument to ultimately get a better sense of each other’s needs, fears, values, and desires, and also to strike a compromise or understanding. In other words, a total lack of conflict could suggest that your partner doesn’t feel like it’s worth disagreeing with you or bringing up an issue with you.

That said, less frequent conflict in your relationship can obviously be a great sign that you’re learning each other’s buttons and triggers and communicating more effectively. However, if you can’t remember the last time you disagreed on something, that could be a red flag that your SO is coasting through your romance.

They've stopped trying to surprise, impress, or delight you.

Alberto Bogo/Stocksy

Remember at the beginning of your relationship, when your boo planned romantic picnics in the park, surprised you with concert tickets, or unexpectedly cooked your favorite meal on a random weeknight? Sure, your SO may have been far more likely to try and impress you early on when they were trying to win your heart, but that doesn’t mean they should stop putting any effort in to excite you (and neither should you, of course).

These efforts don’t have to involve elaborate date nights or expensive gifts. Something as simple as grabbing you an espresso from your favorite cafe on the way home because they know you have a late night of studying ahead of you or leaving you a sweet note in your work bag just because, can go a long way in showing that your partner is still super invested. If you feel like these kinds of gestures have totally fallen by the wayside, you may need to consider whether your partner is in cruise control.

If you suspect your partner is coasting with you, Goldstein advises striking up an open, honest conversation about what they want from your relationship, while also telling them what happiness in the relationship looks like to you. Is there anything missing for either of you? Does your relationship feel stagnant in any way? Talking about these things sooner rather than later means you can address and resolve them before the coasting takes a toll on your romance.

There’s a difference between becoming comfortable with one another and coasting. When you’ve been in a relationship for a long period of time, ideally you will have worked out some of the “kinks” — you’ll have established some sort of schedule based on your jobs and other obligations, you’ll have found ways to dodge pointless arguments, and you’ll feel an innate sense of calm with where you two are at. Building intimacy in a relationship, however, requires that both partners are equally invested. That means continuing to work through any ongoing issues, discuss things you disagree on, and making an effort to make your SO feel special and loved. Don’t forget that just because someone is coasting doesn’t mean it’s too late for your relationship: Identifying this issue is the first step to breaking out of autopilot and rediscovering why you make a great team.

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