When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, you might feel like you’ve lost the spark. Everything may have felt exciting at first, but as time passes, you may begin to notice that your relationship hasn’t taken the trajectory you had hoped for. As a result, you may find yourself unable to shake off the “something feels off in my relationship” feeling, or find yourself wondering, “Why does my relationship feel off?”
Relationships necessitate commitment, effort, trust, enough quality time, and understanding. We understand that every relationship is unique, but mutual understanding and equal effort are among the basic ingredients of the secret recipe for a happily-ever-after. If these key ingredients are missing from your connection, you may frequently wonder, “What to do when things feel off in a relationship?”
Don’t worry, “My relationship doesn’t feel right” doesn’t have to be a permanent sentiment you’re doomed to live with. You can reverse this worrisome trend by focusing on strengthening your relationship and intimacy with your partner.
What Does Something Feels Off Exactly Mean?
Relationships are wonderful yet complex, and sometimes just plain confusing. You may wonder, something feels off in my relationship, but what does that mean? It could be a physical symptom, such as stomach pain, heart palpitations, or sweating. It could be an emotional reaction, such as unease, sadness, anxiety, or fear.
It could be a sense of mistrust or betrayal, triggered by something your partner did or didn’t do. Or it could be a general sense of unease that something has changed in your relationship but you don’t know what. These are all ways of your body and mind telling you that something isn’t right. And that’s precisely what “something feels off” means. Now what that something is and what can you do about it is for you to figure out, and we’re here to hold your hand through this journey of examination and introspection.
Why Does Something Feel Off In Your Relationship?
When you first meet someone, you’re consumed by a heady rush of emotions and put them on a pedestal. Every day is filled with discoveries about each other and not a day goes by where you feel bored. In the process, you may overlook a few things here and there, but these things will make their presence felt more strongly over time, contributing to your feeling of something being off in your relationship.
All those butterflies you felt could turn into pesky bees and start to sting your otherwise healthy relationship. If you find yourself asking, “Why does my relationship feel off?”, one or several of the following factors may be at play:
- You believe your partner is not as invested in the relationship as you
- Your partner is not paying enough attention to you
- You have doubts about your compatibility and are not on the same page
- There is a lack of communication in the relationship
- Effort in the relationship feels one-sided
- There’s something lacking in your sex life
Every relationship goes through a rough patch; noticing that your relationship is on-and-off or something is off in it is a sign that you need to work on making your equation healthier and functional. If you notice that something isn’t working, you should discuss it with your partner immediately. Bottling it up will only make things go downhill.
How Do You Fix A Relationship Feeling Off?
It is difficult to save a relationship that is sinking, but it is even more heartbreaking to see a bond you worked hard to build wither away. However, every relationship requires a certain amount of patience and effort. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question, “Something feels off but I don’t know what?”
The reasons can vary from a minor disagreement that escalated into a big fight because all the bottled-up resentment just erupted to infidelity, lack of trust, or poor communication. One thing is certain, things got to this point over time. While feeling that something is amiss in your connection with your SO is certainly a sign of trouble, it does not mean that your relationship cannot be salvaged. If your gut feeling is, “Something feels off in my relationship”, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are ten tips to help you rekindle your lost spark and help you save your failing relationship:
1. Set a date for your date
In the non-stop hustle and bustle of life and when your relationship undergoes life-altering changes, carving out quality time for one another becomes a little challenging. This can make partners feel out of sync with each other. So, if you’ve been asking yourself, “Why does my relationship feel off?”, take some time to introspect about whether you and your partner have been prioritizing each other.
If not, you need to make an effort to carve out quality time for each other. Wondering how to do that?
- Set a date or a day of the month when you spend time just with each other
- Rather than staying inside and going with the tried-and-true ‘Netflix and Chill’ routine, get out of the house and do something more fun and livelier
- Go grocery shopping and grab a quick meal in between, go to the arcade, or book a spa for couples, anything that can make you two relaxed and rekindle the spark in your relationship works
If you are in a long-distance relationship,
- Make it a point to earmark one day of the week when you give a few hours to one another exclusively
- Talk about your week, share a meal, watch something together, and pour your hearts out even if there is a screen between you two, make it a date night if possible
No barrier can keep you apart for an extended period when you both want a relationship to succeed.
2. Communication is key to reviving the connection
It’s common to feel like something is off in a relationship if you and your partner have been in a relationship or married for a while. When you spend significant time with someone, a routine or pattern takes hold. However, when thoughts like “something feels off in my relationship” or “my relationship doesn’t feel the same” start popping into your head, it’s time to break the pattern.
It’s wonderful to ask about your partner’s day and share your own. But after a point, it starts to seem quite robotic. Try different approaches to better communication. Instead of asking, “How was your day?”, try asking,
- “How are things at work?”
- “How do you feel about work today?”
- “Was college fun today?”
- “Is there something fascinating you want to share?”
These questions will help you build a stronger connection and give you more things to talk about. Discussions and conversations that are fresh and enjoyable might give your relationship a little bit of a happy spark.
Related Reading: How To Connect With Your Partner On A Deeper Level – Expert Helps
3. Be transparent with each other
You cannot ignore the elephant in the room for too long. If infidelity (suspected or confirmed) is the reason your relationship feels off, it will be very difficult for the cheating partner to regain trust. Broken trust is like broken glass. Even if you glue it together, it won’t ever be the same.
Have you, however, heard of Kintsugi? The Japanese art of mending shattered objects with gold is a metaphor for accepting one’s imperfections and flaws. With complete honesty and openness, you can begin the process of repairing your relationship as well. Be honest and stop lying to your partner. If you dislike what they did or are doing, let them know. Make them feel at ease so they too can speak their mind if their feelings are the same.
Apologize if you are aware that your actions caused them even the slightest hurt, especially if you can’t fight the “something has changed in my relationship” feeling. Apologize sincerely. Your ability to gain back the lost trust and strengthen your connection depends on you being open and honest about your choices, your behavior, and your mistakes.
4. Take responsibility for your actions
You will benefit on many levels if you take responsibility in your relationship for your words and actions. The least your partner can expect from you is honesty and truth. You must take complete responsibility if your actions hurt your partner or violated their trust in any way. It will not only help you win back their trust, which can be life-altering but also help you build a healthy relationship.
Even if you’re struggling with the feeling, “Something feels off but I don’t know what”, don’t resort to blaming your partner or looking for excuses to justify your actions. Blame-shifting is a big no-no in relationships. You might use it to help you escape a certain circumstance, but the guilt, my friend, will never leave you.
Being defensive or self-critical will simply make the situation worse. Be truthful and take accountability without placing blame or guilt-tripping anyone. Communicating about your problems and doubts will help you and your partner. It is the best shot you can take when the relationship doesn’t feel right. Some of the ways you can take responsibility for your actions can be,
- Acknowledge what you did: Be honest with yourself and others about your actions and their consequences
- Own up to your mistake: Admit to those affected that you made a mistake and that you are sorry
- Accept the consequences: Take responsibility for the consequences of your actions, whether that means making amends or facing disciplinary action
5. Seek professional help
If things are not going well, and you’re not sure what to do when things feel off in a relationship, you can seek professional help from relationship therapists. This will undoubtedly allow you to identify what exactly is lacking in your bond as well as what you both specifically need from your relationship and ways to meet those needs.
“I was too busy working and traveling for a year, and I thought our relationship was falling apart. I was hesitant when Angie suggested we get professional help, but it helped us grow and learn more about each other, which made our relationship stronger,” says Ronnie, a marketing professional.
Asking for help can be hard when a problem arises. You may think you and your partner can handle it alone, but that’s not always true. Sometimes, getting professional help is better than struggling to make headway by yourselves. All in all, it boils down to 2 points that you need to remember,
- If you’ve been trying to light the spark in your relationship but to no avail, it can be important to seek the help of a professional who just might offer the extra kindling you need to get that flame roaring
- Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to pinpoint what’s missing in your bond. A therapist, relationship counselor, or marriage counselor can play that role and help you figure out what you and your partner need to take things to the next level
If you’re considering getting help, skilled and licensed mental health experts on Bonobology’s panel are here to assist.
6. Respect each other’s boundaries
Respecting each other’s boundaries – physical, emotional, financial, or any other – is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Your personal space is sacred, and if someone, even your loved one, invades it without consent, it can cause issues that can make the relationship unstable.
If a partner doesn’t consent to something, the other must understand and accept it, without trying to force or cajole their way. It’s perfectly acceptable to say no to your partner if you don’t feel comfortable doing something. Here is what setting or enforcing boundaries may look like,
- “I don’t feel comfortable being held/touched like this”
- “I’d like to be alone for some time, I need a little space”
- “I appreciate your concern, but I need you to respect my choices and decisions even if you don’t agree with them”
- “I want to be honest with you about my feelings, but I also need you to be respectful of my boundaries. Can we work together to create a safe and supportive space for open communication?”
If your boundaries are violated, communicating about it is the healthiest thing to do. Likewise, if someone you care about is sad, you may want to help them, which is admirable. But don’t forget to respect their choices. If your partner needs some emotional space, don’t try to guilt them into sharing it; instead, give them the alone time they need.
Don’t try to fix their problems; it may make them feel dependent and unstable in your relationship. You don’t want your partner to feel insecure or rely on you too much, right? Sometimes you may hurt them without meaning to, so know when to help and when to stay away.
7. Balance out different aspects of your lives
Maintaining a work-life and love-life balance isn’t as difficult as it appears. Relationships are built not only on trust but also on understanding and the occasional compromise. The key is to create a balance and keep your professional and personal lives separate. Don’t get them mixed up. When you’re with your partner, try not to complain about your job too much and instead focus on each other.
If you constantly complain about how bad your work day was or how much work you have and no time on your hands, your partner may feel guilty about expecting quality time or attention from you.
Understand one another’s schedules and plan your dates accordingly. If you know your partner will be unavailable, do not make plans on their behalf. You can’t be with each other all the time, and that’s precisely why striking a balance between work and love life will strengthen your bond and keep thoughts like “something feels off in my relationship” away from your mind.
8. Don’t let your past affect your present and future
Don’t let past relationships or experiences influence your current relationship. Rather than dwelling on, “My relationship doesn’t feel the same”, ask yourself, “Why?” And you may well find the answer to, “Why does my relationship feel off?” If you find yourself dwelling on your or your partner’s past mistakes or relationships, you are blocking your future from unfolding.
So, start making peace with your past and stop dwelling on past issues and problems if you have already resolved them. Yes, it can be difficult to let go of some things but it’s a good idea to try to move forward. To prevent your relationship from failing, you must learn to forgive and move forward. Steer clear of bringing up old fights in new arguments.
In a relationship, disagreements, and fights are unavoidable. However, these don’t have to spell doom for your future together. Adopt a policy of “solve and sleep”. Don’t go to bed until you’ve resolved minor conflicts. But if you believe the problem is intense, give yourself and your partner some time to calm down.
9. Express yourself more often
Express yourself more often. Let your partner know how you feel by preparing a cute bento lunch box for them or sending them flowers when they are having a bad day to show them how much you care. Little gestures can really make a big difference in showing your partner you really care. Some of these gestures can be,
- Holding them when they are down
- Leaving them a heartfelt note or message expressing your love and appreciation
- Taking on a chore or task that they’ve been dreading, so they don’t have to do it
- Offer a comforting hug or physical touch when they’re feeling down or stressed
For instance, when Angie was having a bad week, a simple “I love you” text from Ronnie made her smile. It was a simple gesture, but it gave her a boost of energy. Similarly, when Ronnie was working overtime for more than a week, Angie sent him a handmade meal box with a note that said, “You have got it. Don’t forget to rest and don’t burn yourself out” which was enough to make him smile.
It is important to say “I love you” and “I am here for you” regularly. It is necessary to communicate your discomfort, express your feelings, and be a little cliché for your relationship to sail through turbulent waters.
Related Reading: 15 Super Cute Ways To Express Your Feelings To Someone You Love
10. Don’t forget to focus on yourself
As much as you must devote time and attention to your partner, you must also devote time and attention to yourself. They say that partners complete each other, but that doesn’t mean you don’t work on yourself in the areas where you fall short. It is necessary to dedicate time to your hobbies and interests to grow and learn.
Your partner may be your best friend but you also have other friends. Do not feel bad about spending time with them once in a while. Go out and have some fun; sometimes enjoying yourself without your partner is necessary. Allow your partner to do the same.
It will help you in gaining confidence and prevent any toxic traits from entering your relationship. When you fall in love with yourself, you gain confidence and self-esteem. When you are content with yourself and feel adequate, you become more attractive. Do not confine yourself to your relationship or your partner.
- Feeling that something is off can be a physical sensation, an emotional reaction, or just a general sense of unease
- You can fix a falling relationship by communicating, being honest, and transparent
- Maintaining a work-life and a love-life balance is necessary
- Respecting each other and each other’s boundaries is important
- Don’t let your past get in the way of your present and the future
While it’s great to be committed to making it work and turning it into a long-term relationship, remember that you cannot row the boat by yourself. It is necessary to know when to let go of things, whether it is a bad habit, a relationship, or a bunch of red flags that are present. For instance, if your relationship has turned toxic or abusive, it may be best to move on rather than stay stuck in a relationship that feels off and will continue to. On the other hand, if both you and your partner are equally committed to working on a relationship that has weak spots and put in equal effort to revive it, reconciliation won’t be hard.
This post was updated in May 2023
It is completely normal to experience that something feels off in my relationship. If you feel so, it is best to sit and discuss it with your partner. This is an early sign of a drowning relationship and you should not ignore it.
When there is a lack of trust and communication, abuse, or infidelity, it is time to reconsider your relationship. These all are the signs of a failing relationship. Even if you try your best to hold onto the relationship, it is better to let it go when the time comes. The damage is already done.
When there is a lack of communication or no communication at all or when you feel your partner is losing interest in you, or when you are the only one making effort to keep the relationship going, you can feel that they are not as involved as they once used to be it is time to evaluate your relationship dynamics again. These all are signs that your partner is tired of you or your relationship.