Emotional Detachment — It is very heartbreaking to see two people who loved each other so much slowly drift apart, but it is how things are sometimes. Differences start to creep up slowly, and when you become aware of how much things have changed, it is already too late to do anything to salvage the relationship.
Such a situation can be really hard and stressful. When you no longer feel the same amount of love and affection for your significant other, it tends to leave you very confused and scared.
If you love your partner and want to save your relationship from falling apart, you should be on the lookout for these signs. If you take measures to remove the issues, you may end up saving your relationship.
What Is Emotional Detachment?
When your partner begins to detach from you or has never really been close and connected, it is devastating. You wonder if you’ve done something wrong to push your partner away.
You might fear he or she has stopped loving you and wants to break up or divorce. And you might even think your partner is having an affair or betraying you in some other way.
So what is emotional detachment?
Emotional Detachment can be a mental disorder where someone loses their emotional connection to the people and things around them. It is often triggered by a traumatic event.
An emotionally detached person may subconsciously muffle their emotions for self-protection. And this lack of emotion can show up in several ways.
A detached person will avoid situations or people that make them feel anxious or uncomfortable. This person may even physically separate himself or herself when encountering an emotional situation.
Emotional detachment can also occur in an intimate relationship when one partner avoids emotional intimacy either intentionally or subconsciously in an attempt to maintain emotional control or foster separation.
A healthy intimate relationship requires an emotional investment from both partners. Both of you need to make the effort to strengthen your emotional bonds on a daily basis by . . .
- Engaging in physical affection.
- Having regular conversations.
- Listening attentively to one another.
- Sharing your hopes, dreams, and vulnerabilities.
- Initiating sexual intimacy regularly.
- Working through conflict constructively.
- Enjoying fun and relaxing experiences together.
- Having each other’s back during difficult times.
- Respecting each other’s boundaries.
- Working to meet each other’s emotional needs.
- Expressing your love verbally.
- Offering each other acts of kindness.
- If you are experiencing fewer and fewer of these positive behaviors from your partner, he or she might be emotionally detaching from you.
What causes emotional detachment?
There are any number of reasons why this could be happening. Certainly, an affair or the desire to end the relationship could be the reason for emotional disconnect.
But it’s possible your partner is just emotionally unavailable and unable to connect with you on a deeper level.
You’ve been overlooking it for a long time, but it’s finally dawning on you that the behavior will never change. You may never have the closeness you desire with this person.
It’s also possible that your partner has pain from the past that is causing him or her to become “emotionally numb” in order to cope.
He or she may be dealing with trauma that causes anxiety or depression and has nothing left to offer you in the way of emotional intimacy and support.
Or maybe your partner is afraid of emotional intimacy, fearing he may lose himself if he opens up to you and reveals his inner world and deeper feelings.
Whatever the reason for the emotional detachment, you need to understand what’s happening and recognize any emotional detachment issues so you can figure out your next steps.
Below are the 14 signs of an emotional disconnected relationship
1. No longer shares his/her problems with you
If you notice that your spouse has started handling his/her issues and problems on their own, and they no longer come to you when they are disturbed or in stress, you should know that something is definitely wrong with your relationship.
2. Unmoved by a show of emotions
If you try to gain the attention of your partner by being overly emotional, i.e. by being angry or welling up and crying, and all this leaves your partner unmoved, you should know that your partner has become emotionally hardened.
3. No longer spend time with you
If they find an excuse every time you suggest spending some quality time together, you should know that something is up.
4. Your partner has stopped saying, “I love you.”
Those three little words mean everything — especially when they disappear from your partner’s vocabulary.
If your partner once told you regularly that he loves you, but now doesn’t say those words, it’s a huge red flag he’s detaching from you.
Or if you say “I love you” to your partner, and she gives you a tight-lipped smile with no “I love you” in return, you need to pay attention. There’s something blocking your partner’s feelings or her ability to express them.
5. Indifferent to solving conflicts mutually
If you have an issue and you feel as if you are the only one putting in some effort to resolve the conflict, you should hear the warning bells ringing in the back of your mind.
6. Loss of interest in you
If you are telling your partner about something exciting that happened to you, or if you are sharing your woes and troubles with your partner, and they show lack of interest instead of actively participating in the conversation with you, you should know that there is trouble in paradise.
7. Your partner consistently puts his or her needs ahead of yours
Not only does your partner neglect to do kind things for you, but he or she rarely puts your needs ahead of his or her own.
It doesn’t matter that you’re freezing — the thermostat is set to your partner’s preference. Who cares that you have a fever. Your partner is going out with friends and leaving you with the kids.
It seems your partner has stopped considering your feelings when making decisions or taking actions, and he or she isn’t worried about the impact that will have on your relationship.
8. Lack of interest in sex
If your sex life seems to have fizzled out, and you feel as if your partner was no longer interested in sex and was making up excuses to stay out of bed, you should know that everything is not okay and normal in your marriage.
9. Your partner doesn’t try to make you happy
Your partner used to do things to make you happy, knowing what you like and how to make you feel loved. He’d bring you flowers or write you a poem. She’d give you a back rub or make your favorite dinner.
But all of that has come to a complete halt. Your partner makes little or no effort to do things that give you pleasure or show his or her tenderness and caring.
You feel like you’re just an annoying roommate who your partner is tolerating.
10. Your partner is rarely affectionate
She used to reach for your hand when you’d walk together. He used to give you long hugs and cuddle you in bed.
But now your partner has stopped being affectionate. When you try to hug or kiss your partner, he or she quickly pulls away. It’s as though your physical touch makes your partner irritated or uncomfortable.
11. Your partner gives you the silent treatment
Your partner seems perfectly comfortable sitting in silence with you — and not in that close and cozy way.
He or she gives you one-word responses or indifferent grunts to your attempts at discourse. There’s no effort to expand on your attempts at discussion, much less to strike up a conversation proactively.
It feels as if your partner was intentionally pulling away by refusing to communicate.
12. Your partner shuts down when you try to work on the relationship
It’s clear that things aren’t going well between you and your partner, and you really want to work on improving your relationship.
But when you reach out and try to discuss working on the issues, your partner is having none of it.
He or she either pretends as if everything was just fine or shuts you down by refusing to discuss the situation. Either way, you know that your partner is no longer engaged in strengthening your connection.
13. Your partner gets angry when you try to engage
Rather than shutting down or making excuses when you try to engage, your partner tries to intimidate you by getting angry.
He or she uses anger as a buffer to prevent you from exploring the truth behind his or her behavior and attitude toward you.
Anger keeps you at an arm’s distance, unable to break through the defenses to understand what’s really going on.
14. Your partner doesn’t want to talk about your future together
Whenever you bring up future plans or dreams, you have for the two of you, your partner’s eyes glaze over. You get an ambivalent response at best or even an outright refusal to discuss any future plans.
Your partner’s non-committal responses make you feel like he or she isn’t invested in your future together and no longer feels connected enough to you to even discuss mutual goals and plans.
If you are experiencing some of these signs of emotional detachment from your partner, you can feel desolate and confused, wondering why your partner is pulling away and what you can do about it.
You may find yourself redoubling your efforts to get your partner’s attention and win his or her affection and closeness again. But sometimes this backfires, making your partner detach further because he or she feels guilty, overwhelmed, or confused.
The best thing you can do is ask your partner to join you in couple’s counseling where you can safely express your concerns about your partner’s emotional detachment, and your partner can explore or reveal the reasons he or she is pulling away.
Being emotionally detached doesn’t always spell the end of a relationship. Sometimes a person emotionally detaches because of their own fears, anxieties, or other distracting emotions that prevent them from being fully available.
Even if detachment is a sign that your partner wants to end the relationship, it’s better to bring that to the surface and face it honestly rather than suffering with the daily painful cuts of emotional rejection.
You deserve a relationship that is close, intimate, and emotionally fulfilling. Don’t allow your partner’s detachment to go unaddressed and impact your own feelings of self-worth.
Acknowledge what is happening and take the steps to deal with it directly and honestly.
Did you find any value from this list of emotional detachment signs?
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