What To Do If You Are Feeling Disconnected From Your Partner?

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Are you feeling disconnected from your partner? A relationship disconnect is common enough, especially when you’ve spent a fair bit of time together and things maybe are going a little stale, or you’ve been taking each other for granted. Perhaps there’s a barrier of unresolved conflicts piling up between you two, making you feel distant from one another, or maybe your relationship is just drifting aimlessly with no goal in sight.

There is a possibility that this emotional disconnection might affect your sex life too, because the physical intimacy just isn’t doing it for you. Or you feel a loss of connection with your partner after a baby arrives on the scene. The reasons why people detach emotionally from a relationship can be varied. The question is, what do you do next to rekindle this disconnected relationship?

Are you thinking about telling him you feel disconnected or telling her you’re drifting away? How do you even bring it up? And how do you bridge the gap? We bring on board emotional wellness and mindfulness coach Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney), who specializes in counseling for issues like extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief, and loss, to share some insights and tips.

What Does Feeling Disconnected Mean In A Relationship?

Pooja explains, “Feeling disconnected from spouse means that there is a lack of communication and one or both partners feel that they are not being heard or understood. This could be due to actual distance (aka a long-distance relationship) or sometimes just emotional distance. A relationship disconnect can also feel like there is no joy or charm left in the relationship.”

what causes disconnection in relationships

Oh, we are sure you are madly in love with your SO. Naturally, the thought of “Why do I feel disconnected from my partner?” must be killing you. “What happened to us, to our love?” you can’t figure out. Every couple has their unique dynamic in relationships which brings in distinctive sets of relationship problems. So, we may not be able to put a finger on the exact reason why you are feeling distant and disconnected, but we can guide you through the possible grounds.

An article published by Utah State University suggests that distance, disagreements, defensiveness, and daily life’s challenges are some of the reasons behind emotional disconnect in a relationship. Pooja says, “Disconnect can be physical, intellectual, or emotional.” So, before you wonder, “Why do I feel distant from my partner?,” taka a look at our comprehensive list to pinpoint the key factors behind a disconnected relationship:

Related Reading: 12 Ways To Fix A Toxic Relationship

  • Sometimes, partners can be far away physically and yet feel connected, and sometimes, people living together can feel completely distanced and disconnected due to stress, illness, or distress
  • Sometimes, all other facets of a relationship can be in place, but a couple may feel sexually disconnected
  • Hustle culture keeps people super busy these days, resulting in relationship disconnect
  • Lack of meaningful interactions and active listening can make partners detach emotionally from each other
  • Sometimes, unresolved conflicts become the main culprit behind this loss of connection, building a wall of ego and resentment
  • Losing connection in a relationship often happens organically as people grow and their priorities and way of looking at the world change
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According to a Quora user, relationship disconnect happens because, “Maybe, the relationship has reached its peak and maybe it’s time to let go and move on. Perhaps, you’ve outgrown the relationship. Perhaps there is a need for you two to reconnect by doing more things together. One thing for sure is that your disconnect experience has more to do with you than it has to do with your partner. You are probably experiencing some kind of void and the void is something that only you can fulfill for yourself.”

Top 9 Signs Of Relationship Disconnect

Our reader Melissa from Florida writes, “I feel distant from my boyfriend. I can sense there’s something wrong in our equation but don’t know what it is.” Well, we would like to say that’s completely normal, given that the signs of disconnection in a relationship can be very subtle sometimes. So, what are the common signs of a disconnected relationship you need to look out for? Here’s a detailed list:

Related Reading: How To Fix A Relationship When One Is Losing Feelings – Expert-Recommended Tips

1. You’ve stopped sharing your lives with each other

Now, it’s nice to have some secrets from a romantic partner, to preserve the mystery, and also because some things just aren’t their business! But sharing is an essential part of a healthy relationship. Be it thoughts, bad jokes, hobbies, or a Netflix account, knowing you have a bond where you tell each other most things is deeply comforting.

When you’re feeling disconnected from spouse, the shared ground between a couple automatically shrivels. Either you feel like they’re being distant and won’t care or you’re not feeling the comfort and trust needed to share. You just go on living your separate lives, happy in your own circle, without any effort to establish a genuine connection with your partner.

2. There is a lot of conflict in your relationship

A healthy argument can be beneficial for a relationship, but there’s a line between a good old clearing of the air and being hurtful on purpose or fighting over the smallest things for no reason. Of all the signs of disconnection in a relationship, too much conflict is definitely a major one. It happens when you are not on the same page about anything in life and your partner’s entire existence seems to get on your nerves all the time.

3. You and your partner feel distant emotionally

If you’ve got that nagging feeling of “I’m emotionally disconnected from my boyfriend/girlfriend,” check in with yourself and your feelings or lack thereof. Emotional distance doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of love, but a lack of being able to express that love in the way your partner needs. Feeling disconnected from a partner can often be caused by the difference in the ways you show love to each other.

“I’d been in a long-distance relationship for two years. My primary love languages are physical touch and quality time, and none of them were fulfilled in the relationship. Our sex life was hanging on a thread and we entirely stopped spending time together. Even when we were talking, I felt far away from him emotionally,” says Rita, 31, a restaurateur from Nashville.

Related Reading: Small Romantic Gestures For Him – Things Men Find Romantic

4. Lack of care and concern for each other

When you feel distant from a partner, there is a chance that the caring gestures that bound you together all these days are now missing. A relationship is based on everyday interactions and acts of kindness and care, so if that’s not happening, it’s difficult to sustain the deep feelings you once had for each other.

Emotional distance in a relationship can manifest as both of you being too exhausted or disengaged to care. If your partner is no longer someone you can count on for comfort after a bad day, or if they don’t care about the little things that make you happy, it’s going to create a huge chasm and relationship disconnect.

Infographic on signs of relationship disconnect
Do you have a relationship disconnect?

5. Lack of sexual intimacy

The dynamics and importance of sex in a relationship cannot be undermined. If your sex life is practically non-existent or there is a clear lack of sexual intimacy, it’s a sign that your relationship isn’t as strong as it once was. Postpartum lack of interest in sex can also leave two partners feeling distant and disconnected.

Feeling sexually disconnected from a partner is a tough place to be in. The first thought that comes to mind is that your partner doesn’t find you attractive any longer. You might start wondering if they are having an affair, or consider infidelity yourself.

6. Anger and frustration dominate your relationship

We don’t think relationships are created out of unicorn breath, rainbows, and gossamer. There are all kinds of negative emotions that spring up – jealousy, resentment, self-sabotage, etc. But, primarily, a loving relationship needs to bring you joy most of the time and make you feel good about yourself.

If your usual feelings toward each other are anger and frustration, the next step will be emotional detachment in your relationship. After all, who wants to stay connected with constant negativity? Feeling disconnected from spouse is very often linked with feelings of constant anger, helplessness, and frustration.

Related Reading: How To Differentiate Between Love Bombing And Genuine Care

7. You keep looking for escape routes

One of the most common signs of a disconnected relationship is that you and your partner look for comfort and happiness someplace else and not in each other. You would rather stay in the office late instead of spending time with them. You hang out in different social groups. Your definitions of recreation and self-care are now poles apart.

The deep conversations that used to take place between you and your partner have shifted to a friend or a family member who is your new confidant. The fact that you would go to any length to stay out of each other’s way shows a clear deficit of emotional connection.

8. Lack of effort in the relationship from both sides

“Why do I feel disconnected from my partner?,” you wonder. The answer to it often lies in zero to no effort made in the relationship from either or both partners. Studies show that effort plays a big role in the satisfaction and stability of a relationship. Drifting apart is common when one or both partners simply cannot muster the energy to keep the relationship effort motor going.

Maybe you’re too tired to even consider telling him you feel disconnected. Maybe he barely makes the effort to look at you properly, let alone have deep conversations with you. Feeling disconnected from a partner can stem from a lack of effort, since relationships are all about putting in the work.

9. You don’t talk about the future

Remember, there was a time when you could talk through the night discussing a picture-perfect future with your SO? The intimate outdoor wedding, an apartment with a view of the park, traveling around the world together – you seemed to be on the same page about exactly what the future would look like for you two.

And now it’s been days, heck months since you have even broken the topic. You don’t feel emotions you felt before, and your partner feels no urge to take this relationship to the next level. It’s as if you are both on your own journey and your boats are sailing further away from each other. That’s a clear sign of relationship disconnect.

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How Do I Tell My Partner I Don’t Feel Connected?

To someone who’s thinking “I feel distant from my boyfriend/girlfriend,” we say there is no use beating around the bush. Instead of letting your imagination run wild and avoiding the confrontation, or wondering what to do when you feel distant from your partner, first try to find out how your partner feels about the whole situation and tell them about your state of mind.

A Quora user suggests and we agree, “Have an open, honest conversation about how you feel about the trajectory of your relationship. Establish that you both are willing to make it work. Take a test to find out both of your love languages to help you identify how to rekindle that love.

“Nonsexual physical contact can help promote and revive romantic connections. Once again, make sure you both are there to stay. if he no longer wants to be in a relationship, you will only hurt yourself trying to make him stay.” According to Pooja, “There’s no easy way to put this across to a partner.” She has some tips on how to soften the blow, though. Here they go:

More on relationship advice
  • Be calm and kind: There’s no point in getting worked up and having a screaming match here. You’re (hopefully) trying to establish or rekindle a connection here, and personal insults and loud voices won’t resolve anything
  • Use ‘us’ instead of ‘you’: Losing connection in a relationship is rarely a one-way street, and making it all about your partner is not helpful. Statements like “You didn’t do this” and “You just don’t understand me” will only alienate your partner further. If you’re suddenly feeling disconnected from a partner, make it about the ‘us’, not the ‘you’
  • Make it a collective issue to resolve, not a blame game: Remember, you’re not here to heap blame on your partner. The blame-shifting game never makes for a healthy relationship. So, stay away from it. Drifting in a relationship can be fixed. But constantly telling your partner it’s all their fault is not going to help with a disconnected relationship
  • Be emotionally honest: If you feel you’re not spending enough quality time together or that your relationship isn’t as strong as it once was, tell your partner about it. Not having each other’s backs is certainly a sign of relationship disconnect, but emotional honesty plays a huge part in healing
  • Practice active listening: Maybe you happen to feel distant from your partner, but that doesn’t mean you should be the only one talking. Give them time and space to respond once you’ve told them how you feel and listen, really listen

Related Reading: 5 Cute Ways To Improve And Strengthen Your Relationship

7 Expert Tips To Fix Feeling Disconnected In A Relationship

All right, so we’ve got some insights into the signs of disconnection in a relationship and how to get your feelings out there. But, how do you fix that dreaded feeling of having no physical or emotional connection with your partner whatsoever? Never fear, we’ve got your back.

1. Check in with each other often

If you’re wondering how to reconnect with your partner, well, the first step is to show up. “It’s easy in a long-term relationship to forget the little things that make a marriage stronger, like just asking each other how you’re doing,” says Pooja. “How was your day, dear?” has become a meme-worthy joke now, but honestly, it’s important to check in with your partner on a daily basis.

A Reddit user reminds us of something important to foster connection in a relationship: “Sometimes when the emotion isn’t there, it’s about initiating the actions that came with the emotion. When was the last time you two decided to do something romantic for each other? When’s the last time you took time to make the other feel special or sexy or loved? I’m sure you both care for each other very much and you’re used to a certain level of familiarity and love for one another, but have you told him how good he looks in that shirt lately?” On that note, you may try the following:

  • Ask them how they’re doing
  • Remember something they were worried about and follow up on it
  • If you don’t have the time to have an involved conversation, give them plenty of hugs and kisses
  • Let them know you’re there for them and that you’re thinking of them, so they’re not feeling disconnected from their partner

2. Find ways to show your love and gratitude

No one ever said relationships are a cakewalk. It takes an ample amount of effort to make things work and the right choice of words to express your feelings. And the action repeats, every day, for as long as you are together. It’s easy to fall into the monotonous trap of life, which is why here’s a gentle reminder for you to get up, go to the other room, and tell your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse how much they mean to you. Here’s how you can do that:

  • To rebuild a deep connection, some gestures are important from both sides, and they don’t have to be big, romantic ones
  • Just say “I love you” at least once every day and leave cute notes for each other on the refrigerator
  • Bring flowers or cook a special meal for them
  • Appreciate and thank your partner whenever they make an effort or do something nice for you
  • Understand each other’s love languages to express your love more vividly
  • Being empathetic, loving, and caring will slowly bring you two closer, emotionally, and physically

Related Reading: 6 Ways To Be More Empathetic In A Relationship According To An Expert

3. Plan date nights

We love a good date night plan. “I was feeling completely disconnected from my partner after our baby came along and I really started thinking about not having each other’s backs in the relationship,” says Jesse, 29, a landscape artist from Ohio. “Once we started planning date night ideas, we had a little time to ourselves and it made a world of difference.” If you’ve been feeling a relationship disconnect, there’s a good chance you’re not spending time together at all. So, you may try the following:

  • Go ahead and have regular date nights
  • Book a table at that new restaurant
  • Choose a movie or a show you want to binge-watch and cuddle up on the couch
  • Have a picnic or plan a hike on a really beautiful route – the possibilities are endless
losing connection in a relationship
Going on date nights can be a great way to mend the distance in your relationship

4. Spice things up in the bedroom

Do you keep googling, “How to reconnect with your partner in bed”? Feeling sexually disconnected from a partner can be devastating and make you question everything. Studies show that a lack of emotional connection is more likely to cause a couple to drift apart than physical inaccessibility. But though you may often find women crib, “I feel emotionally disconnected from my husband,” we can’t deny the importance of reconnecting on a physical level, much like emotional and intellectual bonding in relationships. When a partner doesn’t feel the closeness in a physical sense, it can sometimes be tough to connect on any other level. And the solution lies in revamping your sex life. Here’s how you do that:

  • Talk to your partner about new things you could try in the bedroom. It could be bondage, watching porn together, sex toys, or just different positions
  • It’s also important to focus on non-sexual intimacy. Forehead kisses, long, warm hugs, holding hands, and so on can be just as intimate, if not more
  • Show yourself some love (yes, we mean sex toys, and also some other ways of self-care). Remind yourself that as a sexual being, you deserve physical pleasure and joy
  • Perhaps you could take a relaxing bath and give yourself a gentle exfoliation and body massage. It will give you a chance to explore your body and the pleasure points on your own
  • You could also spare some time in grooming your intimate parts or engage in physical activities like kegel to improve your sexual health

5. Have the tough conversations

Wondering how to reconnect with your partner? Well, when you’re feeling disconnected from a partner, it can be scary to put it into words. You don’t know how your partner feels about you and may feel worried that it’s the end of your relationship. Perhaps, you think if you ignore it, it’ll go away. Now, I enjoy a good bout of denial myself, but trust me, it doesn’t work in relationships, especially if things are already difficult and the emotional connection between two partners has faded. Here’s how you can fix that:

  • The first step to mitigating a disconnected relationship is to face it. Have that first incredibly tough conversation (we’ve talked about how to do it)
  • Don’t avoid it. Don’t put it off. Whatever the outcome, it’s better than being stuck in limbo
  • Carefully ignoring each other or giving the silent treatment is not the right way to go about it if you genuinely want to establish positive connections with your partner
  • Practice active listening and keep an open mind about accepting the other side of the story

Related Reading: Why Is It Important To Be A Good Listener?

6. Take a trip together

Boredom, routines, monotony – these are often the main forces that make you distance your partner or take them for granted. When you are trying to rebuild the foundation of the relationship from scratch, it will be a good idea to give yourselves a break from the life that was pushing you further apart. Go to the beach, take a trip to the mountains, go camping – just the two of you. Some wine, good food, deep conversations, and lots of cuddles – it’s bound to rekindle the love hidden somewhere in your heart for your bae.

7. Seek professional help

To seek professional guidance is one of the best forms of self-love, we think. As human beings, we are all subjected to flaws, and there’s no shame in asking for some much-needed help. Talking to a family therapist, either on your own or as a couple, gives you a safe space to unload all your messy feelings and find a path toward getting some clarity and structure.

Relationship counseling is also a great way to dig deep and find the source of this relationship disconnect while being honest with both yourself and your partner. When a partner doesn’t feel closeness in a relationship, help is always welcome. If you are looking for a qualified, compassionate counselor, remember that Bonobology’s panel of experienced experts is just a click away.

Key Pointers

  • Feeling detached from a partner can be physical, emotional, or intellectual
  • Signs of detachment include constant conflict, a lack of intimacy, and no effort in the relationship
  • To heal detachment in a relationship, have the tough conversations, spice up your sex life, and seek counseling if needed

As we’ve said, it’s perfectly normal to detach emotionally from a relationship, but telling your partner you feel disconnected could leave you a little anxious. When a partner doesn’t feel the closeness in a relationship, a little effort, time, and honesty can work wonders. A relationship disconnect is not just about not having each other’s back, but also about not making the effort.

If you constantly tell yourself, “I’m emotionally disconnected from my boyfriend/girlfriend,” and you want to do the work and fix things, hats off to you. But remember, sometimes connections sever for a reason, and not all relationships can be fixed. And that’s okay, too.

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