On the surface, you look like one normal, happy couple, plodding through life together.
But deep inside, there’s a niggling feeling that something isn’t right.
I get how confusing this can be – I went through the same thing with an ex and it wasn’t until the relationship ended that I realized just how unhappy we’d both been (despite appearances).
So, while this might not be an easy read, it will shed light on that feeling that’s telling you there’s something wrong.
Here are 10 subtle signs you and your partner are not truly happy…
1) There’s a lack of communication
Of course, we’re going to start with communication, as that’s the heart of every relationship.
So when that takes a massive hit, you know there’s a deep-rooted issue at play.
You went from speaking all day, every day, to now covering the bare basics.
You no longer spend hours discussing your dreams for the future, or even mundane stuff like how your day was.
Even worse – when you do try to get into a conversation, it inevitably turns into a fight of some sort.
This is the first indicator that one or both of you seriously aren’t happy in the relationship, and you’re closing yourselves off from each other as a result.
2) You’re avoiding spending time together
Remember the days when you’d count the minutes until you saw your other half?
You’d spend all your free time together, hanging out, going for food, or cozied up in bed.
Well, sadly, another sign you’re unhappy is if you’ve started actively avoiding each other.
It’s not like either of you have said it out loud, but deep down you can feel the shift in your enthusiasm for each other.
Suddenly, plans with other people take priority, and before you know it, you’re only seeing each other when you really have to.
This avoidance speaks volumes – are you avoiding each other because you don’t want to face the truth of the situation?
Because you argue all the time?
Or because you simply don’t enjoy each other’s company anymore…
3) There’s decreased physical intimacy
Naturally, if you’re avoiding each other, there’s going to be less intimacy.
But I’m not talking just about sex.
I mean all of it; holding hands, kisses on the cheek, putting your arms around each other when you walk.
Now, I will say that physical intimacy does fluctuate even in happy relationships, but if you relate to this and the other signs on the list, then it could be due to unhappiness.
So, think about how you and your partner interact with each other…
Are greetings colder than the Antarctic?
Do your pets receive more affection than you give to each other?
If so, you have reason to be concerned.
4) You experience frequent irritability or criticism
I don’t know about you, but when I’m unhappy with a person or a relationship, I can’t help but notice everything wrong about them.
Even their breathing starts to annoy me.
You see, it’s these small, trivial things that creep in.
They seem insignificant at first and most of us just put it down to moaning or being cranky.
But over time, if you keep criticizing each other and feeling irritated, it speaks to a bigger problem at hand.
Because let’s be honest, breathing too loudly is never really the issue, is it?
5) There’s a lack of support
At the start of your relationship, you were each other’s biggest cheerleaders.
If one of you had a big day at work, the other would be waiting to celebrate with dinner and more (you know what I mean).
If one of you was going through a hard time, the other would step up and offer their total support.
But over time, this has decreased.
Now, when one of you is going through something, you turn to other people for support, not each other.
Even worse – if one of you tries to offer a hand or some comfort, it gets rejected. I hate to say it, but this shows a major disconnect in the relationship.
Put simply, you’re not on the same team anymore.
6) There’s an increase in conflicts
Another subtle sign you and your partner aren’t truly happy anymore is if you notice an increase in fights.
But not just that:
It takes longer to make up.
Arguments seem to go on for days, with neither of you wanting to back down. Or, you’ve started giving each other the cold shoulder.
What this signifies is that neither of you is in a rush to move on and make up.
While you may argue over who let the cat out or forgot to put the milk away, under the surface your unhappiness makes everything seem 10x worse than it actually is.
7) You feel lonely
For me, this was one of the biggest signs that I wasn’t happy in my relationship.
Even if we were together, I didn’t feel like I could be myself around him and just let loose.
So, I ended up feeling lonely a lot of the time.
The part that sucked the most is that most people assumed I was happy and fulfilled because I was in a relationship and we seemed to be a “normal, happy” couple.
In reality, that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I also remember that this feeling of loneliness came on gradually. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, and that made it so much harder to identify.
8) There’s decreased compromise
We all know that relationships require compromise.
Little sacrifices we make to accommodate the other person.
And while some compromises aren’t fun, we do it because we love our partner and want to see them happy.
Well, that all changes when one or both of you are unhappy in the relationship.
Suddenly, you realize that you and your partner are reluctant to budge on the things you want to do.
For example, you have an awards party at work coming up, but your partner has planned a night out with friends.
In the past, they’d have canceled immediately, prioritizing being there to support you.
But now, they find excuses not to. They say they can’t get out of it, wish you luck, and send you on your way – alone.
This is a pretty telling sign that something isn’t right.
9) You’re noticing a change in future plans
Once upon a time, your plans for the future pretty much aligned.
But now, you notice that you’re taking each other into consideration less and less.
You both use “I” more than “we”, and you start rationalizing why one should go in one direction while the other takes a different route.
Obviously, there’s a reason for this.
You (or your partner) don’t see a future together anymore. The enthusiasm and excitement is gone.
And ultimately, it’s a sign of unhappiness.
10) There’s emotional distance
And finally, as a result of the above, you stop emotionally connecting with each other.
You don’t go to each other in times of need, or even in happy moments. You no longer share your deepest thoughts and feelings.
So, if you relate to these signs, it’s clear that there’s an issue.
You need to both stop skirting around and actually sit down and talk about it.
Unhappiness doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end.
It just means that you need to be honest with each other and find a way to get back on track.
And the first step is to communicate your feelings and allow your partner to do the same (without defensiveness, judgment, or dismissal of their feelings).
It will be hard. It will test the strength of your bond. But at the end of it, you’ll know where you stand and whether it’s a relationship worth fighting for or not.