Does something feel off between you and your partner? Are you worried that your relationship has lost its spark? If something seems wrong but you aren’t sure what’s going on, it might be that the attraction between you two is fizzling out. The Cheat Sheet spoke with dating and relationship coach Ravid Yosef who revealed three signs that your relationship might be in trouble.
1. Your partner has trouble looking you in the eyes
When it comes to matters of the heart, the power of eye contact is undeniable. A study reported last year by the New York Times tested the hypothesis of what makes people attracted to each other and subsequently fall in love. In the article, the Times describes an experiment in which two people are made to stare into each other’s eyes uninterrupted for four minutes. The theory was that at the end of the four minutes each person would feel closer and more connected to the other, no matter the relationship to each other prior to the experiment. The writer of the piece, Mandy Len Catron, describes trying the experiment for herself, and found that this method of falling in love worked for her.
Inspired by the article, YouTube’s SoulPancake gathered six couples to test out this theory. Among the couples recruited were a pair of strangers, a duo on their fourth date, and a married couple who’d been together for 55 years. Each couple was put into a room by themselves for four minutes, and were tasked with sitting in silence while looking into the other person’s eyes. At the end of the experiment, the participants were genuinely surprised by the results, “In 55 years of marriage, we’ve never really looked into each other’s eyes like that,” said one woman to her husband at the end of the four minutes.
“When I look at you really closely, I realize how much I need you and what you mean to me, because that’s the truth,” her husband later says to her. “I couldn’t imagine being with anybody else.”
All of this undoubtedly proves the importance of eye contact and how powerful it is — especially when it comes to connecting with the person you love. And if it is missing from your relationship, it could eventually be cause for concern. If your partner is frequently averting his or her gaze or looking away when the two of you talk, your partner may be hiding a painful truth from you. This can happen during the course of a normal conversation or even during sex. “When Hollywood shows you people in love gazing into each other’s eyes, they are not exaggerating. Eye contact is where intimacy starts and ends. If you’re partner has stopped looking you in the eye, they are disconnected from you” Yosef tells us.
2. Sex becomes mundane, repetitive, and less frequent
A huge sign that you’re attracted to your partner? A healthy sexual relationship, though frequency varies for every couple. Consider this scenario: Your sex life with your partner was once exciting, intense, and very pleasurable. Now the experience of sex has become routine and boring. “We all fall into a routine of sorts with our partners, but if you stop having spontaneous sex all together, or stop having sex while on vacation, those are indicators that the attraction may be lost,” says Yosef.
While a range of things can contribute to low libido, almost anything that negatively affects a couple has the potential to limit sex — whether it’s poor communication, boredom, anger, or hurt feeling, says sex therapist and New York Times bestselling author Ian Kerner, PhD to Greatist.
3. Your partner avoids you
Do you frequently find yourself asking your partner what’s wrong? Is it evident he or she is unhappy? Since it’s likely you know your partner well, you’ll notice a slight change in behavior: the way their mood changes when he or she is around you. “You know your partner and you know when they’re upset. You also know when they need time to think, and when they’re ready to talk. If you’re relationship has had great communication in the past, them no longer communicating their feelings and thoughts about what makes them upset may mean things have shifted for them,” says Yosef.
Additionally, Terry Orbuch Ph.D. writes in an article for Psychology Today that your partner may be evasive when you try to speak to them and ask them what’s wrong, signaling that something is up. They may just avoid you instead of outright lying to you, and it “may feel like pulling teeth to have a conversation” with things that are concerning you. Something they may be hiding or avoiding discussing, for instance, is a waning attractiveness to you.