How can you tell if you’re in a rough patch, or it’s something more serious?
His friends come before you
At one time, you were inseparable and he always put you first. Now, he sees his friends all the time—and more often than he sees you. “Some people never grow up,” says Cathy W. Meyer, the About.com Divorce Support Expert and managing editor of divorcedmoms.com. “They don’t move past that stage of needing to hang with the guys or girls and do things boys or girls do.” Friends don’t have to be ditched completely; balance is important in a relationship. She offers a warning about a possible red flag about spending time with buddies. “If he would rather spend time with his friends than you, then that can bleed over into other aspects of the marriage and relationship.” For example, Meyer says he may have problems handling finances or making long-term goals for your marriage. “The good news is that most people manage to grow up once they face the reality of being married,” say Meyer. “The bad news is that some people don’t ever grow up.”
He has a new obsession (and it’s not you)
Your partner once spent every minute making you happy (maybe even to the point of being obsessed!). Now, he spends his time exercising, golfing, playing video games, or pursuing other passions or hobbies. It’s perfectly normal to engage in activities that make you happy. But he may be using these activities as a distraction from your relationship and falling out of love. “When the passion becomes an obsession, resulting in him ignoring your relationship, spending less time with you and ignoring his marital responsibilities, then it’s a problem,” says Francesca Di Meglio, the former Newlyweds Expert for About.com and writer of the Italian Mamma blog. She suggests raising the issue with your partner. “Sometimes your spouse has no idea you’re feeling neglected,” she says. “Pointing it out can give your spouse the signal to pay more attention to you and better divide his time.” Find out the best marriage advice from people who have been divorced.
He doesn’t care about his weight or appearance
He spent some serious time getting ready for your first date. Now you’re lucky if he combs his hair before you go out to dinner. If he doesn’t care how he looks or has let his weight fall by the wayside, it’s possible he has lost interest in your relationship and is falling out of love. He has no regard for whether or not you find him attractive. “Your marriage isn’t something you can take for granted,” says Di Meglio. “You have to put in an effort to send the signal that you’re still interested and in love.” These habits can have a deeper meaning too, says Marni Feuerman, a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in Boca Raton, Florida. “It can also mean an avoidance of intimacy,” says Feuerman. “A partner learns that this is a good way to get you to keep your distance.”
You don’t cuddle anymore
People cuddle to feel close to one another: calm, safe, and connected. But it’s problematic if he brushes you off when you move in to snuggle or he says he isn’t in the mood for this sign of affection. “It’s also concerning if one partner’s attempts at physical connection are frequently rebuffed,” says Feuerman. Find out why he isn’t in the mood. “It’s important to investigate if he is under stress or unaddressed issues are in the relationship,” says Lesli M. W. Doares, a marriage consultant and coach with a private practice in Cary, North Carolina, and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After With More Intention, Less Work. “It also may mean that he is no longer interested in meeting your intimacy needs because he isn’t invested in the relationship any longer.” This could also be a sign that your partner is cheating.