They haven’t told you yet. Maybe they’re biding their time.
They’re trying not to be difficult. They may think it’s their problem, not yours.
They’re hoping things will change. They’re hoping you’ll change.
Perhaps they’ve discussed you with their best friend, or their therapist.
They’ve wondered if they should be more forgiving about your behavior, or more assertive about their desires.
They may be wondering if they should give you “space” or if they should make the first move.
They may have said things like:
“Let’s do something fun for a change this weekend.”
“How come we never do those things we liked to do when we were dating?”
“I feel like we haven’t been connecting lately.”
“I wish you were home more.”
“You hardly talk to me anymore, or listen when I tell you things.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, it could be that your partner is desperately trying to tell you something.
What’s the secret?
That they’re bored, lonely and dissatisfied. And they’re wondering if it means that you’re simply not the right partner for them.
You assume your partner is content, just because they’re not complaining.
You assume they’re committed to you and therefore not going anywhere.
You assume that your partner is just as comfortable as you are, and doesn’t need things to be different.
What if your partner is secretly bored or dissatisfied with your relationship?
What if they feel neglected, and have already tried to talk to you about it, but you haven’t listened?
Or you have listened, but the things you’ve done to address their complaints hasn’t been enough?
Or you blamed them?
Unless you take a quick moment right now to pay special attention to these 3 warning signs:
There are 3 warning signs that your partner may be bored or feeling neglected, and you’re not even aware of it necessarily.
Conversely, these may also serve as warning signals that YOU are the one who is starting to “check out” emotionally from your marriage.
Do any of these ring a bell with you?
1. You’ve been preoccupied with work/family/personal and don’t even know what is going on with your partner.
You haven’t asked your partner anything personal is what seems like weeks or even months. Are they happy with what they’re doing at work? Have their dreams and aspirations changed? Are they worried about anything? Have they been inspired by anything recently?
You wouldn’t know, because you’ve been so focused on getting through your busy days that you barely have time to ask yourself these questions, let alone ask your partner.
As a result, your partner may be feeling emotionally neglected. They may crave your attention and affection, and they may not know how to express it, but they want so badly to be seen, heard and acknowledged. But you’re too preoccupied to know, or even care.
2. Your partner enjoys time with friends and seems to want to spend more of his or her time with them.
There you are, working late, or watching TV, or busy with your hobbies, and meanwhile, your partner is spending more and more time with his or her friends.
They’re doing things with their pals that you don’t necessarily like to do (golf, dancing, book discussions, hiking), so you don’t mind. You’d rather stay home and relax, or enjoy your own interests and hobbies.
Your partner comes home elated, energized and upbeat when they’re out with their friends.
AND…it’s been a long time since they felt that way after spending time with YOU.
In fact, the longer you’re together, the more you’re doing your own thing, or spending time with your own set of friends. You’re living together but leading separate lives.
After a while, your partner may wonder why they’re even in a relationship with you.
3. You fear adding new activities or making changes in your life because you want to avoid stress.
Your partner brings up going on vacation overseas this year to somewhere exotic, and all you can think of is how much that will cost, and what a hassle it will be to find a pet sitter or ask for time off during a busy period at work.
He or she suggests taking dancing lessons together, but you balk because it’ll mean having to rush home from work that night of the week.
Your partner wants to try something sexy in the bedroom, but you aren’t at all enthusiastic about it.
Your partner may be wanting to “spice things up” in your relationship, but you’ve been making excuses as to why it’s too expensive, too complicated, too weird or too risky.
And your partner is getting more and more discouraged (and bored) as time goes by.
And that’s a big problem. Why?
Because the reality is that boredom is one of the most common reasons cited for divorce or separation.
You may think that there would have to be a very good reason for your marriage to break up.
You’d have to be fighting all the time. Or there would have to be a major betrayal, involving an affair or a lie of some sort.
Or overt abuse and neglect.
But in fact, such dramatic turn of events aren’t the biggest reason why most marriages break up today.
In fact, you can no longer assume that you’ll stay together just because your relationship is “comfortable” or “good enough.”
It’s a known fact that people are leaving perfectly fine marriages at an unprecedented rate.
The fantasy of affairs and infatuation, the endless pool of Internet partners, the emergence of the work spouse who all too often becomes the real spouse, and the allure of novelty over comfortable sameness have partners leaving marriages that would have held together for life just a few decades ago.
Meanwhile, you’ve been preoccupied, spending more and more time with your own friends and hobbies, and resistant to making big or small changes in order to please your partner.
And your partner is bored with you, and feeling neglected and listless.
And any temporary “fixes” to insert some fun and excitement into your relationship have fallen woefully short of a long-term solution.
That’s because you’re only addressing the symptoms, instead of addressing the specific relationship system that’s broken.
Your partner tells you that you’re acting more like roommates than lovers. So you go out on a special date Saturday night, and flirt a few times via text during the day, but it’s not long before you go right back to your old, comfortable routine and habits.
Your partner feels listless and bored, and wants to “spice things up” in and out of the bedroom, but you’re too tired, or lack the enthusiasm to try something new.
Whatever you’ve tried hasn’t worked to resolve the issue.
You’ve been trying to address the symptoms, but have failed to address the SYSTEM.
What is the system that needs to be addressed?
That system is your vitality quotient as a couple.
Vitality, first and foremost, starts with two energetic people who join forces to create a living, breathing relationship that feels robust to the partners and anyone who relates to them.
If you’re in a boring, lifeless relationship, your vitality quotient is low or broken.
You must make the appropriate changes to your relationship in order to fix the system and become a couple that embodies vitality and aliveness and wants to stay together.
You must know how to go from being lethargic, preoccupied, or apathetic, to being someone who is sensitive to your partner’s needs.
But it’s not that simple, because we are not inclined to change what we don’t know.
That’s why, up until now, you or your partner may have been feeling “stuck.”
You haven’t known what’s really wrong, and therefore, haven’t been taking the right steps to fix it.
Fortunately, there’s a way to strengthen the system of vitality and aliveness in your relationship, and avoid the danger of having your partner leave for lack of connection, excitement and having enough in common.
Many of the happiest couples I’ve studied report having a common purpose and a relationship focused on fun.
It’s not that they don’t experience challenges and difficulties, but that they use challenges as opportunities to learn, grow, work as a team, and strengthen their commitment to each other.
When you learn how to inject this kind of fun and vitality into your relationship, you’ll find that your satisfaction level skyrockets—both with life and with your relationship.
Couples who have a vital relationship don’t experience the loneliness reported by a third of all married people. This fact alone, makes a great case to commit to developing a vital relationship.
As a clinical practitioner in marriage and family therapy for 40+ years, I’ve often heard couples complain to me that they felt more like roommates than lovers. Or that they were bored with their partner, and had been for years, and that’s why they “grew apart”.
I also heard all the ways that couples tried to handle these issues on their own, often with little or no success (think “date night”).
But when I explained that the underlying issue was a lack of vitality in their relationship, and that it takes a whole new way of approaching their relationship in general, they experienced a huge “AHA”.
They finally see WHY what they’ve been doing to solve their problem hasn’t worked.
These are facts and strategies that most couples don’t have a clue about!
That’s why I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost all couples can benefit from the clinically-proven, research-based principles on how to strengthen and revitalize their love.
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Yes, partners leave “good enough” marriages—but they don’t leave extraordinary marriages.
Let me show you how to create a vital, fun relationship that will bring you joy for decades to come.
May you have an extraordinary day,