When your spouse isn’t interested in doing the “work” of marriage, it’s easy to feel powerless. But all isn’t lost, said Jeannie Ingram, a couples therapist based in Nashville, Tennessee.
“The relationship doesn’t have to end,” she told HuffPost. “The truth is, all relationships need tuning up from time to time.”
Below, Ingram and other experts share the most common signs a spouse has checked out of a marriage — and what you can do to take matters into your own hands.
1. They spend a lot of time around you but not with you.
It doesn’t count as quality time if one of you is distracted by your smartphone or checking work emails, said Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist based in Denver, Colorado.
“If you and your spouse spend a lot of time in the same room but they never do things with you, they’ve likely disengaged from the relationship,” he told us. “Nobody wants to spend the two hours after work browsing social media.”
Try planning new, exciting things to do together so hopefully “your partner will want to shut down the computer and turn off their phone to be with you,” Anderson said.
2. They never include you in their weekend or after-work plans.
Spending time apart (pursing your hobbies or seeing friends) is essential in a healthy marriage. It keeps the mystery alive. But spend too much time apart and you’re well on your way to living separate lives, said Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist who works in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“If your S.O feels disillusioned with the marriage, they might cope by distracting themselves with things they enjoy that that don’t involve you,” she said.
To figure out why they’re disengaging, broach the conversation in a calm manner, at a time that works for the two of you, Whetstone said.
“Therapists call this ‘coming toward your partner,’” she said. “Watch the tone of your voice and your body language and find the right time — not in the middle of something hectic. Ask, ‘Hey, what’s up? I’ve noticed you pulling away lately.’”
Most importantly, don’t lash out if their answer upsets you. “Make it safe for them to reply or they’re not likely to open up again after that,” Whetstone said.
You can read the other half of this article on the Huffing to http:ff.to/2lp0wJI