Signs You Aren't As Invested In Your Relationship As Your Partner Is

Finding balance in a relationship, whether new or long-term, is never easy. No matter how long you and your partner have been together, you must constantly re-adjust, check-in, and re-evaluate where things stand. In the early stages of a partnership, you may wonder where things are going or how your partner feels about you. No matter the length of a relationship, that anxiety never fully goes away.

Wondering if your partner is losing interest in you is painful, but it's equally as stressful to try and figure out if your feelings about your partner and your relationship have changed. "When we leave the honeymoon phase, the rose-colored glasses we've worn up until that point begin to fade away, and for the first time, we see our areas of difference. This is natural," Chanel Dokun, cofounder of Healthy Minds NYC, told Brides. "But when we're truly falling out of love, the negative begins to outweigh the positive."

The truth is, in long-term relationships, things are way more complex than just good vs. bad, or negative vs. positive. The signs that you've lost interest in your partner can be subtle and hard to disentangle from the natural ebbs and flows of any partnership. Even so, there are a few key signs to look out for that tell you it's time to move on.

You don't want to talk

To keep your relationship healthy and moving forward, you and your partner need to check in with each other regularly. This could come in the form of asking how work is going, how you feel about a new hobby, or what your schedule for the next few weeks looks like. Of course, there are also harder conversations, which are part of every relationship. The good news is, according to experts, even the toughest topics are essential to cover in intimate relationships. "Difficult conversations, when done fruitfully and with love, can lead to better intimacy, relationship health, overall happiness, and investments in the future," Dr. Jessica Smedley told Essence. It's a good sign that you and your partner don't shy away from conflict and that you maintain a sense of curiosity about their worldview — even if it differs from your own.

It's a big red flag if you notice that when it's time to discuss something difficult, you'd rather just not. Whether that's because you and your partner have trouble communicating about complex topics calmly or because you just can't be bothered to get into it; if you can't have the tough conversations (or just don't want to) your relationship is dead in the water.

You've got other things on your mind

Sometimes life gets hectic and prevents you from giving your intimate relationships all the attention they deserve. That's totally fair — after all, life is a balancing act — but when you find yourself happy to be distracted by other things, that could point to a loss of interest in the relationship on your side. Speaking to Bustle, Dr. Wyatt Fisher warned that a sudden desire to try out lots of new hobbies, double down at work, or rapidly expand your social network might indicate that you've lost interest in your relationship and are doing your best to avoid dealing with that realization.

Additionally, you may find yourself turning away from your partner's bids for attention in order to avoid looming conflict or separation. "We tend to close off as a defense mechanism when we don't know how to communicate what we're feeling but need to stay engaged in the situation," Lesley Seely, a family therapist, told Huffpo. This is a good opportunity to do some introspective work. If you don't feel ready to address your lack of interest with your partner, do something journaling or talk to a therapist about why you've lost interest and how/if you want the relationship to progress.

You've got the ick

The "ick" is that awful thing that sometimes happens in a relationship when everything your partner does gets on your nerves. When the honeymoon period wears off, you might start noticing that the quirks you once thought were endearing are now annoying or unappealing. Not to be confused with red flags which are generally universal, the ick varies widely from person to person and can be as simple as "he calls his mom twice a day" to something as inexplicable as "he ordered an effeminate cocktail with a little umbrella in it."

In a long-term relationship, icks can be very telling of your mental state as they tend to indicate that you have lost interest in your partner. If you find yourself disgusted by the most mundane things your partner does, it's time to pause and re-evaluate your relationship. "Take a minute to think about what's really behind this personal dislike," Paul Brunson, a professional dating coach, advised during an interview with Marie Claire. Is it about the ick, or is it the person? Many icks are based on antiquated gender norms, so it's essential to know where the bias comes from. Additionally, as Brunson pointed out, relationships are about balance, so it's all about taking stock of what you can and can't handle. "Ultimately, you shouldn't let one thing putting you off about a person be a dealbreaker," he added. However, if you notice the icks piling up, it might be about the person, not the quirk.

You can't be bothered

If you find yourself in a place where you just don't care about doing anything special (or relationship-y) for your partner, that's a huge red flag. In the early stages of a healthy relationship, there is nothing better than planning something or treating your partner to something that elicits a true feeling of joy from them. Carving out quality time together is super important to maintaining your connection with each other. If the relationship is healthy and you're fully engaged, you should seek out and look forward to these times.

It's very revealing if you don't want to do anything special for your partner or don't care about carving out quality time anymore. "It feels burdensome to have to pretend to be enjoying yourself or to go along with spending time together when you don't really want to," Jane Greer, Ph.D. explained to Mind Body Green. Forcing something that no longer feels natural can take a toll on your mental health in addition to the quality of your relationship. "You can't be your real, authentic self, and so it's more difficult to be around [them]." When the quality time and traditions that once made your relationship fun start to fade away, that's a sign that you're emotionally checked out. If that's the case, then it's time to reconsider whether you want this relationship to continue or not.

You're not interested in the future

The most exciting thing about a loving relationship is its long-term potential. Don't equate potential with tradition, though. Your plans for the future may not involve marriage or kids, but as long as you're excited about deepening your commitment to one another, your relationship is likely in a good place. "Making future plans is a healthy ingredient for a growing relationship," Amy Levine, founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, explained to Today. "It's also an indicator of the commitment you have to each other."

On that note, if you find yourself in a long-term relationship where you have no interest in planning more than a few months ahead or even thinking about what the next level of commitment would look like for you and your partner, that's a pretty clear sign that things have run their course. If you need more clarification about next steps, experts recommend taking time to reconnect with your partner before calling it quits. It may be that you're simply not in sync, rather than incompatible. "Feeling hopeless about the future could be that you've missed out on having meaningful conversations to this point and you're unaware of your partner's desires," Chanel Dokun, founder of Healthy Minds NYC, told Brides. Spend some time thinking about your individual future — how does your partner fit into that? If you have trouble visualizing a future with them in it, it's time to have some tough conversations.

You have a wandering eye

It's silly to think that in a long-term monogamous relationship, you'll never be attracted to anyone else. Your sexual desire doesn't die just because you've found a compatible partner. However, the quality of your sex life and your feelings towards your partner and others are pretty good indicators of the health of your relationship. If the more intimate parts of your relationship become difficult, or if you find yourself completely disinterested in any intimacy with your partner, then it's time to get serious about if your relationship has a real future — or if you even want one.

Many things can affect your sex drive, from stress at work to weight change to new medication. If it's simply a lack of sex drive, but you are still attracted to your partner, then chances are your relationship is fine. However, if you still have plenty of sexual desire — just not for your SO — chances are things aren't where they need to be. A wandering eye is a pretty good indicator that you've lost interest in your relationship.