All relationships go through periods of change and transition — sometimes for the better and others for the worse. I have seen so many relationship issues in my therapy office where couples come in discussing issues preventing their relationship from being a success. In my experience, there are three types of partners or behaviors that you should be on the lookout for in your relationships. These types of partners are definitely instigators of relationship issues that need to be addressed as soon as you notice these behaviors looming into your union.
The disengaged partner can show up in the relationship in a few different ways. The partner might seem to lack effort, appear to be aloof or not be around. Imagine if you meet someone new and you go on a few dates, and all of a sudden, they stop initiating dates or making effort, they call once and don’t follow up, or they even stop contacting you for no apparent reason. You would begin to think they are busy, but really it is not a positive behavior, and lack of engagement or contact is a negative behavior you want to watch for. If you are beginning a new relationship and you notice the other is disengaged, it might be worth re-assessing the situation and decide if you feel this relationship has the potential to go forward. If not, there is no reason to call out the other — just go your own way. Usually, a disengaged person is separating from the other person, and if he cannot communicate, then it is not fair to keep the other person around waiting. If you are in a marriage with a disengaged partner, it might be worthwhile to see if he can communicate his feelings and thoughts or seek out help for the relationship.
Disinterest does not signal a good outlook for a relationship. When someone becomes disinterested, ask what happened that caused such a change. And the faster the change, the more bothersome the quality is in a person. If someone goes from hot to cold quickly, it is probably an ongoing issue of his personality. Being with a person that becomes disinterested in learning about you or continuing to grow together is not positive in any new or established relationship. Again, if the partner is not willing to open up and share about this issue, it might be a thorn in the relationship, and the couple might break up.
Disconnection tends to occur in long-term, established couples. This is actually an issue I feel can be solved if both partners are willing to work it at. A disconnect might occur in one or more levels of the relationship. Depending on if it is in the emotional relationship or physical relationship, the couple need to figure out what the disconnect is about. If they can work together, they can re-establish a solid connection after putting forth some work and effort. If one partner is not willing to do the work, the disconnect will fester and cause a breakdown of the relationship. To prevent disconnection from happening in your established relationship, always keep open and honest communication flowing so that both of you can feel encouraged to work through the issue if it arises.
While it is important to nurture a new or existing relationship, it is also important to be able to notice changes that occur in the relationship to help prevent problems from growing out of disengagement, disinterest or disconnection. If you feel that one or more of these behaviors is occurring in your relationship, it is best to seek out professional help, such as a marital or couples therapist, to help get you and your partner back on track.