I have a confession. Sometimes, when my partner is distracted, I just look at him and wonder, what the hell is happening in that head of his? It's not that he doesn't communicate. He does. But I still wonder sometimes if he's really happy in our relationship. I know I can't be alone in this. Wouldn't we all love to be able to know for sure what's in the hearts and minds of our partners at any given moment? I do my best to look for the signs he's not happy in the relationship, but I can't help but wish someone very smart would hurry up and develop that mind reading tech already.
In the meantime, we're just going to have to trust our guts, and do some communication-related adulting to make sure everyone is happy and satisfied in the relationship. However, that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of clues to help you on your way. After all, the more skilled you are at picking up your partners cues, the better you will be at maintaining the health and well-being of your relationship. So, if you want to get ahead of the game, here are six things to watch out for, according to the experts.
1. They Randomly Go Hot And Cold On You
One of the most infuriating and confusing things someone you’re dating can do is to play the hot and cold game. One minute they’re all over you, the next they’re a puff of smoke. Back and forth, back and forth, until your head explodes. Can you tell I’ve had some experience with this? Anyway, according to Senior Matchmaker and Dating Coach Lori Salkin at SawYouatSinai.com, these seemingly inexplicable shifts in behavior are a sign that they are unhappy. "[It] likely means something in their feelings has changed and they are working on trying to figure out their feelings and what to do about it before telling you and ending the entire relationship," she says.
Examples of this behavior are “when everything seems like it's going great and then they all of sudden don't return any of your texts, or wait five-plus hours before texting you back when you usually text constantly, or you don't set the next date plan for a week, or not at all even, and your typical relationship modus operandi is to always have the next date planned at the end of the previous one.”
2. They Develop A Short Temper
If your formerly even-tempered partner has suddenly developed a short fuse, it’s time to take a hard look at the relationship. For one thing, venting their anger at you like this is not cool and needs to be addressed right away. But as for what it means within the relationship, life coach Kali Rogers told Bustle, "If you notice a shift in patience, that could be a sign your partner isn't happy with your compatibility,” adding, “Short fuses are common when people are unhappy in relationships, and [are] a way for your partner to get pent-up anger out."
In order to move forward and fix things, you’ll both have to learn to work on healthy communication, where both of you can feel safe addressing issues right away and head off this kind of building frustration.
3. The Relationship Isn’t Progressing
Unlike the previous signs, this one is a bit more subtle, but if you find that your relationship has seemed to stall out, Salkin recommends taking a close look at why that may be. According to her, relationships should progress at a natural pace, going from usual romantic dates to slowly meeting friends and families and going on vacations together. She warns if this isn’t happening, “it's likely that someone is not happy in the relationship, which is preventing it from growing, and that person has some reason they are holding back from allowing it to grow.”
4. They Start Nit Picking Everything You Do
When you first started dating, your partner thought everything you did was adorable (or at least tolerable), but now you can’t even breathe without them nitpicking you. Yeah, chances are your partner is just generally unhappy in the relationship and are taking it out on you. Carlyle Jansen, author of Sex Yourself: The Woman’s Guide to Mastering Masturbation and Achieving Powerful Orgasms, told Bustle that this may be the way they are expressing their unhappiness without having to do it directly. "It could also be a more general unhappiness or work dissatisfaction, but I find that if someone is more cranky about the partner's behavior than other life circumstances, that is a good indication of them being unhappy in the relationship,” she says.
5. They’ve Suddenly Gotten Very Distant
Have you been feeling your partner slowly or suddenly pulling away? In an interview with Bustle, Cecil Carter, CEO of dating app Lov says this is a hint that your partner has become unhappy in the relationship. It’s important when you feel them pulling back to have a conversation about what is happening to learn if its a problem in the relationship or external factors that having nothing to do with you. By having the conversation early, you can hopefully address any of the problems that are making your partner want to pull away, or just give them the space they need to come back on their own.
6. Their Compliments Get… Weird
Who doesn’t enjoy a compliment from their partner every now and then. It reinforces why you’ve chosen each other and helps create a sense of security. Surely they can only mean good things, right? Well… according to Salkin, sometimes compliments can actually be warning signs that your partner isn’t happy, especially when they start to feel a little off . She explains that when your SO starts giving you compliments that are unnatural or just too much, “for example, he or she tells you how perfect you are and how he or she doesn't deserve you” that it may actually be a “a backhanded foreshadowing that something is up and that they're looking for you to break up with them.” Confusing, right?
The truth is that the best way to gauge your partners happiness is to talk to them. Pay attention to when their behavior suddenly changes and communicate with them. That’s your best bet for either addressing the problems in the relationship or finding out sooner rather than later that it’s time to move on.
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