19 Things That Indicate Your Partner Is Unhappy

It’s not always obvious when your partner is unhappy—particularly if your relationship or behavior is responsible for getting them down. When direct communication fails, understanding the subtle signs of a problem allows for sensitivity and proactivity before your relationship suffers irreversible damage. So, here are 19 useful indicators that your life partner might not be as content as you hope.

Decreased Communication

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If conversations that once flowed easily become brief, forced, or infrequent, it’s a sign that your partner feels disconnected or unheard. According to Bustle, a lack of communication can be a gradual withdrawal or a sudden change, but in either case, it indicates your partner is seriously dissatisfied.

Avoiding Future Plans

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An unwillingness to discuss your future together or make concrete plans can mean your partner isn’t convinced your relationship will last. Global English Editing states, “This could be them changing the subject when you bring up future plans, showing a lack of interest in decisions that affect both of you, or hesitating to make long-term commitments.”

Lack of Interest in Intimacy

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While fluctuations in desire are normal, a noticeable decrease in sexual encounters and other signs of affection, such as holding hands, cuddling, or kissing, can signal that your partner is distancing themselves from you. Business Insider warns that a persistent lack of physicality can reflect deep-rooted unhappiness.

Increased Criticism

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Oprah Daily says that criticism should not outweigh positive comments and intimacy—if it does, your partner is likely ‘taking out’ their unhappiness in the relationship on you. If a previously content and supportive partner becomes irritable and starts constantly pointing out your flaws, they’re likely to be unhappy and frustrated.

More Time Apart

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Choosing to spend more time apart than usual can signal that your partner is seeking external sources of fulfillment or wants to ‘escape’ from you. Hack Spirit says this avoidance could manifest as spending more time with their friends, staying late at work, or merely choosing to spend more time in another room of the house.

Changing Social Media Behavior

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A noticeable change in how your partner engages online is a subtle but significant clue that they aren’t content. Your Tango warns that excessively sweet or affectionate posts or a sudden increase in posts regarding themselves or personal growth/change can be a worrying sign, as can a sudden absence from social media or increased engagement with old flames and exes!

Lack of Enthusiasm in Shared Interests

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Is your partner suddenly lackluster or hesitant when you propose doing things you used to enjoy doing together? Hindustan Times warns that this signals they’re disconnecting from the relationship or no longer feel like ‘bonding.’ While it can signify other concerns, like work-related stress, it can also signify a deeper problem between you.

Emotional Withdrawal

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If you find your partner uncharacteristically distant, aloof, or emotionally guarded, they may be subconsciously putting up a wall between you, making it more difficult for either of you to have meaningful discussions about your feelings or needs. This often means they’re struggling with internal dissatisfaction and unresolved issues.

Nostalgia for Single Life

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Casual remarks about missing the freedom of a single life or expressing envy toward single friends can be strong indicators that your partner is longing to escape the confines of your relationship because they no longer find it fulfilling. Don’t ignore such comments! Instead, tackle the issue head-on and ask what aspect of being in a couple they are struggling with.

Decreased Effort

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Healthline writes that relationships that become increasingly one-sided, with you doing all the work (both emotionally and physically), aren’t healthy and suffer poor longevity. If your partner suddenly makes no effort to please you or take care of their appearance, it can signify a lack of interest in the relationship and often leads to mismatched levels of respect.

Sudden Changes in Habits

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Has your partner recently made dramatic changes in their behavior, hobbies, or personal habits that seem out of character? This can be a warning sign that they’re making changes due to unhappiness and searching for something to make them feel fulfilled. If there’s no other explanation (like a mid-life crisis!), your relationship may be the cause.

Avoiding Physical Contact

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Physical contact doesn’t always mean sex—if your partner shies away from you when you accidentally touch them or avoids sitting next to you on the couch, they may be subconsciously signaling their rejection of your relationship. Physical distancing leads to emotional distancing and can put a ‘wall’ up between you.


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Showing apathy toward issues in the relationship that would once have caused your partner to show passion (even anger!) is a very concerning sign. LovePanky warns, “When you start losing interest, not just in your partner but in the partnership, the effort lacks, and so does happiness. If you don’t care about how your relationship turns out, you won’t feel fulfilled by it.”

Increased Secretiveness

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Unsurprisingly, reduced trust and increased secrecy both indicate that your partner has secrets; this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being unfaithful, but they may still be making plans to leave, sharing their unhappiness with friends, or Googling relationship problems. Whether they’re cheating or not, sudden, secretive behavior is generally cause for concern.

Lack of Respect

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Mutual respect is one of the cornerstones of any healthy relationship, so if you notice that your partner becomes rude, inconsiderate, or unsupportive, they may be losing faith in the relationship. A lack of respect can be temporary, but it should never be ignored. It may be a serious red flag that your partner is no longer invested in you.

Feelings of Isolation

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Do you feel lonely even when you’re with your partner? Do you feel like you can’t share your feelings or express yourself, even though they’re inches away? Such feelings of loneliness are a powerful indicator that you and your partner are disconnected and drifting apart, so don’t ignore them.

Escapist Behaviors

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Any type of unhappiness can cause a person to rely on substances like drugs or alcohol or escapist behaviors like excessive game-playing or binge-watching TV. This is a psychological response to dissatisfaction, and it can indicate underlying relationship problems if the cause of their discontent is not otherwise apparent.

Physical Symptoms

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Unhappiness doesn’t just affect the mind; it can also impact the body. If your partner exhibits physical signs of stress or anxiety, like reduced appetite, sleep problems, or increased ailments, their body may be manifesting their discontent. Exhibiting such symptoms without an apparent cause can indicate relationship trouble.

Reluctance to Open Up

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Not everyone’s an open book, but if someone who previously shared their thoughts, feelings, and daily events with you suddenly says nothing, it’s time to be concerned. A sudden emotional ‘closing off’ indicates detachment and increased vulnerability—or worse, your partner may feel you no longer deserve to be privy to such details.

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