8 Signs He's Checked Out of the Relationship

Adriana Velez | Dec 11, 2014 Love & Sex
8 Signs He's Checked Out of the Relationship
Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

man ignoring wife

Relationships are hard. Every day. For most of us in LTRs, it can be a struggle to connect with one another on a deeper level every week or even every month, depending on what's going on in life. We're busy with work and paying the bills, and our kids' needs usually eclipse our relational needs. This is normal. But sometimes, it's not normal. Sometimes it feels like our partner has checked out of the relationship. 

Sure, we see one another every day. He says everything is fine. But there's also this loud and clear, unshakeable feeling: He's no longer participating in the relationship. Emotionally and mentally, he is someplace else. Yep, this a sure sign there's work to be done. Time to recalibrate and refocus on the relationship before it's too late. 

More from CafeMom: 10 Signs a Marriage Is Really Over

If this sounds familiar and for anyone who needs a gut check on a shaky-feeling relationship, we spoke with psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman. She shared some of the concrete signs to look for in a relationship that's gotten off-kilter -- and yes, there are definitely a few things we can do to reconnect with our partners.

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  • It's a Feeling

    sad woman
    Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

    First of all, trust your feelings. Most of the signs that someone is giving up on a relationship tend to be nonverbal, says Coleman. "He's just not engaged, he's just not as attentive to you anymore, and you sense it." She compares it with the Carly Simon song, "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be." 

    My father sits at night with no lights on
    His cigarette glows in the dark.
    The living room is still;
    I walk by, no remark.
    I tiptoe past the master bedroom where
    My mother reads her magazines.
    I hear her call sweet dreams,
    But I forgot how to dream. 

  • He Gives You More Negative Feedback Than Positive

    stressed family
    Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock

    Think of your last five conversations. What did he have to say? Was he complaining, refusing, expressing doubts? If most of your conversations together have a negative tone, that's another indication.

  • He Shares Things With Other People

    man mobile phone

    You may hear your husband sharing things with other people that he doesn't share with you. Why isn't he telling you these things? Something to think about.

    More from CafeMom: 11 Women Confess Why They Cheated on Their Husbands

  • He's Not So Amused With Your Quirks


    Image via Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

    When someone's emotionally disengaged, Coleman says, they become more impatient. "The little things seem to grate on his nerves. And the things about you that he used to think were cute all of a sudden get on his nerves. He's not as patient with you anymore." Not only that, he no longer seems interested in listening to what you have to say.

  • He Doesn't Check in With You Anymore

    woman reading mobile phone

    If he used to call or text you throughout the day just to say hello and see how you're doing, he may have stopped doing that. You're also no longer connecting in conversation the way you used to.

  • He Keeps Score

    couple arguing kitchen

    "There's this sense of keeping score, almost like roommates do," Coleman says. "'I did this and you did that so ...' as opposed to 'let me do that for you because I know you're tired.'" Hopefully you're not both doing this! A marriage is not about score keeping.

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  • He Retreats to His Man Cave

    man remote control watching tv
    Rocketclips, Inc./Shutterstock

    Does this sound familiar? He comes home at the end of the day and, without even saying hello, he retreats to his den or some other man cave-like place. "You're getting less face time together in the house or anywhere, and you don't go out on dates anymore," Coleman says, adding that if he's not inviting you to join him, that's another bad sign.

  • He Stops Touching You

    couple not speaking
    wavebreakmedia/ Shutterstock

    "The touching issue is huge. It comes up a lot," Coleman says. The women she treats will tell her, "He used to reach out and hold my hand," or "We used to spoon in bed, and he just doesn't do that anymore." She doesn't believe that frequent touching is something that happens only in the early stages of a relationship; it should be ongoing. "When he stops, it means he's distancing himself." 

  • Why Is He Doing This?


    There are so many reasons why a person checks out of their marriage: Work, finances, illness, conflicts over the kids or in-laws, just to name a few. It could be alcoholism, Coleman says. "Or it could be another woman he's interested in because she's cute, friendly, has a positive attitude, and he doesn't have to deal with the hard stuff of life with her." He could be having an emotional affair.

  • What You Can Do


    Image via Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

    "You need to assess what's going on with your relationship -- not just that he's pulling away -- but what's happening in your lives," Coleman says. Look at the big picture, and look at your role in your situation. That's the hard part. "Have you been busy with the children and ignoring him? Putting too much emphasis on work? Has he been wanting more of your attention?"

    "Don't get stuck feeling like the wronged person," Coleman warns. "It doesn't work to try to lay blame." Instead, you need to meet your husband halfway, open up, and own your part of the situation. This is critical. "No one wins unless everyone wins," Coleman says. 

    Not the solution you were hoping for? Well, Coleman adds, "It's the answer you don't want to hear that's usually the right answer."


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