12 signs your partner’s lack of empathy is undermining the relationship

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Every relationship should be a team effort. It’s not fair for one partner to have all the responsibility for improving their connection. 

That’s why it’s always so heartbreaking seeing one partner do their best and the other one slacking off or even undermining the relationship. 

And this last part is what we‘re here for. So, without delay, let’s see what signs show that your partner’s lack of empathy is undermining the relationship itself. 

1) They brush off your feelings

Imagine sharing something important to you, and instead of acknowledging it, they brush it off like it’s no big deal. Well, this brushing off your feelings is now also a big deal. 

By doing this more than a couple of times, they’re obviously showing just how little empathy they have. 

You couldn’t notice this at the start of the relationship because you didn’t know them well yet, or they were able to hide it. 

People also change over the years, and what was once a loving partner full of empathy might now be a clueless and cold shell of themself. 

Whatever the case, you’re stuck now if things don’t change in the future. Maybe nudge them in the right direction and ask them why they’re so cold now. 

2) They offer zero support

In tough times, you expect your partner to be there for you, right? But if they’re not offering that support, it can feel like you’re going through challenges solo. 

A relationship should feel like a partnership, and when it doesn’t, you start feeling isolated.

Again, try speaking up and telling them what you see and feel on your side. Anything’s better than being silent and letting things rot even more. 

Ask them why they don’t support you. What’s the reason behind their indifference?

3) They struggle to understand you

Often, your partner is clueless and seemingly cold because they don’t understand you (anymore). Ask yourself, have you changed since you two started dating? 

Are there so many differences between the two of you now?

Also, sometimes, you just want your partner to understand what you’re going through without explicitly stating it. 

And if they struggle to grasp your feelings or thoughts without clear communication, it can lead to frustration and a sense of unmet emotional needs.

4) You don’t do anything together anymore

If you and your partner used to have fun doing stuff together, like watching movies, going for walks, or playing games, and suddenly those activities happen less often, it could mean you’re growing apart.

Spending quality time means really being present with each other. If you’re both physically present but mentally elsewhere, or you’re just not spending much time together, that connection might be fading.

It’s another symptom that they don’t have empathy and, therefore, don’t know how to connect to you and spend quality time together.

5) There’s almost no affection left

Remember those hugs, kisses, and sweet gestures? If those have decreased, it means something’s missing in the emotional department.

But intimacy is about more than just physical closeness; it’s also about emotional connection. If either aspect is fading, you have a deeper issue at hand.

Over the years, it’s easy to forget about these important things. Work, kids, responsibilities – it feels like we’re constantly running around. Who has time for affection when life is a rat race?

When I put it that way, it seems reasonable. But both partners should put conscious effort into maintaining closeness, physical and emotional, to keep the relationship going. No matter how busy life gets.

6) You have unresolved conflicts lingering 

Every couple has disagreements, but if the same arguments keep popping up and never really get solved, it can create a rift.

And if it’s constantly their fault, that means they’re, consciously or not, sabotaging your relationship.  

It’s also true that something needs to be done, and your best bet is to talk it over. If that fails, and you’re still fighting, why not try couples therapy? 

They might be hesitant, but hey, at least you’ll know whether or not they want to work on fixing the relationship. 

7) One person makes all the decisions

Big decisions, like where to live or major purchases, should ideally be joint efforts. If one person is calling all the shots, it makes the other feel left out.

It’s also a warning sign of a lack of empathy or respect on the other side because they obviously want to have all the control in their hands.

So where does that leave us? 

Surely not in a good place. There’s a huge imbalance in the relationship, and that shouldn’t go unchecked. You have to ask yourself why they make all the decisions. 

8) You’re feeling unvalued

If you’re not feeling appreciated or your efforts aren’t acknowledged, it makes the relationship feel one-sided.

That’s not a way to live life, is it? It’s also not why you went into this relationship in the first place.

Apart from their lack of empathy being the problem here once again, you need to ask yourself some tough questions, too. 

Are you bringing enough to the table in the relationship? Is the problem perhaps in you?

9) There’s no compromise

Healthy relationships also involve give and take. If compromise feels like pulling teeth, it’s a struggle.

If they can’t or won’t compromise because they have no empathy, what are you left with? You have to tuck your tail in each time there’s a discussion, fight, or decision to be made. 

Have they always been like that, or was there a change in attitude at some point? Were you always so unassertive, or did that change too? 

Try setting boundaries and drawing a line in the sand for important issues. That will show them you’re serious and willing to stick to your guns.

10) They have many mood swings 

Your partner’s emotions might be all over the place. One moment, they’re upbeat, and the next, it’s like a switch flips, and they’re distant or moody. 

Predicting their emotional state becomes a challenge, right?

But, the mood swings might also make it harder for them to understand and connect with your feelings. 

It’s like their own emotional rollercoaster makes it challenging for them to tune into yours.

11) No serious talks or deep conversations 

Deep, meaningful conversations are part of the bond that holds relationships together. If your partner consistently dodges serious talks, it’s yet another way to create a barrier to emotional intimacy, leaving important issues unresolved.

They perhaps don’t understand their importance. And, after some time, there’s no real excitement in talking to your partner. 

Perhaps that’s what happened to them, and they started keeping their thoughts to themselves. Get them to open up more by finding topics you know they love talking about.

You might not be well-versed in them, but why not give it a try anyway?

12) If something goes wrong, it’s always your fault

Instead of taking responsibility for their actions, your partner might be quick to shift blame onto you, others, or even external factors. 

This pattern creates a hostile atmosphere in the relationship. You feel like you’re a sitting duck just waiting to get blamed for something. 

Not only is that unfair of them, but they obviously think they’re infallible, or they’re insecure and don’t want to admit any mistakes. 

Final thoughts

There’s no easy way out of this predicament, especially if they don’t see their mistakes or how they’re undermining the relationship.

You need to start by sharing how their lack of empathy makes you feel and the impact it has on the relationship. Be specific about instances that are causing you concern.

But also ask about their feelings and perspectives. Understanding each other’s viewpoints is key.

Lastly, consider couples counseling. A professional therapist can provide a neutral environment to explore deeper issues. 

They can guide both of you in improving communication and empathy as a way to fix the relationship.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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