Ask any couple who has a healthy, long-term relationship and they will tell you they always resolve their issues, as a rule. Happy couples understand the importance of timely communication and do not let resentment settle in. Happy couples ensure their relationship is always the main priority, and refuse to give up on it in the face of challenges, fights or arguments.

But, when indifference in a relationship slowly begins to creep in, signs of romantic disengagement surface. Indifference in a relationship can also motivate partners to cheat on each other1 .

This can further make couples drift apart, killing that ardor and quietly eroding the connection, chemistry, and compatibility that once thrived between them.

Whether you are becoming indifferent to your partner or they have started to show apathy toward you, at the end it will be your relationship that will suffer.

In fact, a study has found emotional indifference in relationships is one of the primary reasons couples enter therapy. That’s why you need to spot the signs early and fix them before it’s too late. 

Relationships end and begin every single day. The cause of many people breaking up is usually falling out of love, infidelity, a lack of effort, and unhealthy conflicts. But the main problem begins early on. It starts way before those endless fights, betrayal, and fading feelings. The root of it all is indifference and apathy toward partners.

What Is The Meaning Of Indifferent?

If I were to define indifference in a relationship, I’d say it manifests when one or both partners show a lack of interest, emotional detachment, concern and nonchalant attitude toward each other.

Usually, this is the result when one or both of the partners start to take each other for granted and their relationship functions on ‘auto-mode’.

The relationship feels mundane, predictable, lacking any sense of excitement or newness and signs of apathy start to surface.

It may not be only negative in nature, it is basically an absence of any strong feelings- positive as well, for anything or everything concerning the partner and the relationship as a whole.

I’d just say an absence of any reaction, positive or negative, and just having a “I don’t care” attitude sums up indifference in love. It is important to note that indifference can have varying degrees – from mild disinterest to a complete disregard for something/someone.

What Causes Indifference In Relationships?

Eliezer Wiesel, a prolific author and philosopher once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Infact, apathy is often said to be worse than hatred.

A relationship that starts off as exciting, soon wears off once the honeymoon phase ends. A sense of boredom creeps in. Couples start to avoid arguments and fights, eventually leading to a communication breakdown.

Love is replaced by a noticeable absence of enthusiasm, empathy, or effort in maintaining the connection.

On surface level and for outsiders, everything seems fine but you are aware that you have lost interest in them but you still choose to let it rot instead of doing something about it. You let your connection weaken and your happy healthy relationship soon turns toxic. 

If this is how your relationship has been progressing, then we arre here to offer you some help and suggestions. But first, lets ascertain what causes feeling a lack of love and care for your partner.

Feeling indifferent towards a partner can stem from many reasons. Some of them include:

1. Erosion of trust

Did you or your partner lie or cheat on each other?

Do you or your partner find it difficult to trust each other?

It is no surprise that trust is considered as the most vital aspect of any healthy relationship. We’d all agree that trust is what keeps an intimate relationship going, so when it is breached, the whole relationship shatters.

In such cases, this indifference can become an immovable force. Trust is what keeps two people together in the long run in healthy relationships. Take that away, and you have nothing. Your relationship goes on a downward spiral.  

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2. Lack of communication 

All relationships go through thick and thin times. Indifference arises when couples do not know how to communicate effectively and still maintain safety and integrity of their relationship.

The poor communication problem is seen even in the most successful relationships. When communication takes a back seat, it can lead to misunderstandings and a gradual emotional distance. Feeling indifferent in a relationship usually stems from here2.

When partners stop effectively communicating their feelings, thoughts, and needs, it can result in a sense of detachment.

3. Unresolved issues 

One of the reasons why feelings of indifference in a relationship take birth is because of lingering conflicts or unresolved issues.

Couples tend to avoid conflicts because of their unhealthy communication styles, but the absence of conflicts does not mean everything is great in your marriage. Not talking things out can have much deeper impact.

It can create resentment and emotional distance. If problems are not addressed, validated, and resolved, partners might become indifferent as a way to protect themselves from further hurt. 

4. Lack of emotional connection

Once a relationship is past its honeymoon stage, partners tend to cut down on making the effort to keep the relationship thriving.

The daily routine sets in and they start to take each other for granted. This is especially true for long-term relationships and marriages.

Couples stop appreciating, acknowledging, and admiring their partner for who they are. Their conversations become mundane and revolve around their home and family only.

They do not make time to ‘just talk’ to each other and eventually become like roommates sharing a house and household relationships.

If partners don’t nurture their emotional connection, the initial spark and intimacy can fade. This leads to partners feeling more like friends or roommates than romantic partners.  

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5. Unmet needs

We all crave for love, support, intimacy and understanding from our partners. Physical and emotional needs if not satisfied in a relationship pave the way for infidelity as well.

Battling with unmet needs will push most couples tend to become ignorant and indifferent toward one another. They use indifference as a defence mechanism to avoid disappointment. 

7. Growing apart 

They say to love someone long-term is to attend a thousand funerals of the people they used to be. People can change over time, develop new interests, values, or goals.

If partners don’t grow together, they grow apart. They fall out of love. Hence, they naturally drift apart, feeling indifferent toward each other. 

You have started lying to each other
Image by Freepik

11 Crucial Signs Of Indifference In Relationships You Shouldn’t Ignore

Once feelings of indifference for your spouse begin to surface, it doesn’t take long before the quality of your relationship deteriorates. Spotting signs of an indifferent partner or knowing when you have started to feel indifferent toward to your partner will help you ascertain the extent of damage

1. Lack of intimacy

Indifference is like a parasite in your partnership that can kill your relationship if not addressed within time. It is a well-known fact that sex and intimacy is a crucial aspect of every relationship.

In fact, research has found that sexual satisfaction has a positive effect on marital satisfaction as well.

Additionally, when you witness a lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship, that’s also one of the obvious signs that reveal your partner has no feelings left in relationship.

They could refrain themselves from being vulnerable. They may have stopped sharing secrets. They could have stopped letting you in on their dreams, ambitions, and goals.

They have stopped feeling safe in the relationship and don’t spend time with you reading books or just talking about life and its mundaneness. These are alarming signs you just can’t overlook. 

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2. Your partner has stopped nagging you

If earlier they used to nag you about everything but now they have completely stopped, it’s one of the clear signs one partner here is unhappy.

You are still leaving a wet towel on the bed. Your socks are in every corner of the house. You have stopped taking out the trash. You have stopped participating in household chores. Despite doing all that, your partner shows no reaction, just keeps their disappointment to themselves.

They barely sigh or roll their eyes at your shenanigans. It’s clear they have lost interest in sustaining the relationship. They are either contemplating in their head to end things with you or they have already done this in their head and just haven’t informed you about it yet. 

3. You have stopped arguing 

Fights are inevitable in every lasting relationship as long as it’s done with respect and neither of you becomes abusive.

Fair fighting in a relationship is justified. However, it’s a bad thing if your partner doesn’t fight at all and just resorts to statements like:

  • Whatever
  • I don’t care
  • Good to know 
  • Yeah you’re right as always 

This is a sign of worry.  It shows they aren’t interested in sorting out the problems. When two individuals are together for a while, differences and conflicts are bound to arise.

Sitting down and talking and sharing feelings is a quick fix during such situations. But the fact that they just nod their head down and not fight back is a clear indication of indifference in a relationship. 

4. You don’t miss each other when you are apart 

When you truly love someone, you want to know where they are and what they are doing. You don’t have to be in touch 24×7 but it’s good to receive a message from them saying where they are. A simple “I miss you” or “I can’t wait to see you” type of message is enough to fill one’s heart with warmth.

However, when there is anger, hostility, resentment, and indifference, your partner won’t miss you and you won’t miss them if you are the one being indifferent. You do not miss being with them because you do not look forward to being with them.

And even when the two of you are together, you have stopped spending quality time. It’s like your partner is physically present but mentally absent. 

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5. There is an evident absence of curiosity 

You always have to be curious in a relationship. People change. Their likes, dislikes, interests, and goals. Everything keeps changing.

You should always keep the curiosity alive by asking open-ended questions, having a heart-to-heart conversation, and by frequently sharing past traumas and experiences.

But if you feel like your partner has stopped being curious about you, then this behavior shows clear indifference. Your happiness doesn’t matter to them and they would rather stay unfamiliar with your lifestyle.

They will be so indifferent that they won’t even ask you how your day went or what you ate for lunch. There won’t be fun element anymore in your relationship.

6. Your partner’s priorities have changed  

It used to be you, family, work, and then friends. Now it’s friends, work, family, and you.

You are the last one on the list. If your feelings are clearly telling you that you aren’t a priority anymore in your partner’s life, it’s because of their disinterest in keeping the love and romance alive.

Your partner needs to reevaluate their priority list if they don’t want any permanent damage to the relationship. But you also need to talk about how you are feeling without blaming them.

7. You have started lying to each other

It starts from little white lies. Then, before you even know it, you are drowning in dishonesty and deception.

Both of you are risking the trust you built over the years. Two individuals need to be honest for a relationship to survive.

If you feel like your partner has started lying to you a lot or that you are the one uttering those lies to hide your mistakes, it’s seriously going to harm your relationship’s well-being. 

If you are honest but you don’t know whether or not your partner is truthful, here are some signs of a lying partner: 

  • You often find inconsistencies in their stories 
  • They avoid eye contact 
  • Their behavior is defensive 
  • They fidget while answering your questions 

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8. Date nights have become a thing of the past 

How often do you plan dates now?

If you frequently used to go on date nights with your partner but now you don’t, it screams trouble in paradise. Date nights help two individuals to connect on a deeper level.

They leave behind all the worries of the world for a few hours and spend time in each other’s company. If you both are two busy in the evenings, you can plan for Sunday morning date ideas as well.

But when you let it slide, it can make your relationship stagnant. Your lives will change forever if you continue this. Whether it’s you being indifferent or your partner, try to get back into the zone by going on date nights again. 

9. The relationship feels heavily one-sided 

If you are at the receiving end of your partner’s indifference, then you are the one doing all the work here.

You are the one planning holiday trips, date nights, you are the one encouraging communication, you are the only one buying gifts, and lastly, you are the only one trying to solve relationship problems.

All these things account for a one-sided relationship. You can’t go on like this. Both the parties need to contribute to make it work. Otherwise, the relationship will crumble to bits and pieces. 

10. You feel like strangers 

You feel like you don’t even know your partner anymore and vice versa. This happens when both people have stopped putting each other’s happiness first.

You don’t care about learning about them. You feel distant. You don’t even remember the last time they said they loved you. They don’t dress up for you anymore but they dress up for their friends and family members.

Most couples in a long-term relationship go through this. With patience, effort, affection, trust, and love, they revive their relationship.

However, if your partner doesn’t even lift their finger to do something about this, it is obvious they have lost interest and don’t see the point of continuing anymore. 

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11. You have stopped trying to make each other happy 

Saved the most important for the last. When partners in a relationship have stopped trying to make each other happy, it’s a significant sign that the emotional investment in the relationship has waned.

Moreover, they have started focusing on their needs and desires rather than accommodating yours.

There is no sign of compromise from their side. They don’t support your dreams. You feel like they would be happier with your present in their life.

These are some of the examples of indifference in relationships and all these instances often indicate a shift toward indifference and a decline in the overall health of the relationship. 

Signs of indifference in relationships
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

What Does Indifference Do To A Marriage?

Indifference can have significant negative effects on a marriage, as it erodes the foundation of emotional connection and intimacy that is essential for a healthy and thriving relationship. Indifference can lead to partners feeling emotionally distant from each other.

The lack of genuine interest, concern, and empathy can make a couple feel like strangers living under the same roof.

Furthermore, partners in an indifferent marriage often stop communicating openly and honestly. Meaningful conversations become rare, and important topics may be avoided altogether.

When conversations decline, intimacy also diminishes. What follows after this is resentment. As one or both partners feel neglected or unimportant, resentment builds a house between them. This resentment can grow over time and create a toxic environment.

Indifference can create a cycle where partners’ lack of effort and engagement fuels more indifference. The more indifferent they become, the harder it is to break out of the cycle. You need to address this issue before it’s too late.

How To Fix Indifference In A Relationship?

Fixing indifference in a relationship requires dedication, effort, and commitment from both partners. Here are some steps you can take to address and overcome indifference:

1. Open communication 

This is the first step to rebuild connection. Start by having an honest and open conversation about how you both feel.

Express your concerns, share your observations, and listen actively to each other’s perspectives.

Make your partner acknowledge the issue. Ask why they feel indifferent toward you and help them recognize that there is a problem that needs fixing. 

Once the two of you have sat down to communicate, understand the underlying reasons for this indifference.

Where is this stemming from? What can you do about it? How can we forgive and forget? Discuss all these factors that have contributed to the emotional distance and lack of effort.

You can also schedule check-in questions at regular intervals to take a rain-check.

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2. Set shared goals 

The next thing you can do to fix indifference is setting shared goals. Define what you both want from the relationship by establishing common goals and aspirations that you can work towards together.

What’s the goal here, you ask? Well, it’s all about where you see your relationship heading and what can you do to help it reach there. 

You can decide on spending more quality time to bridge the gap. You can communicate more often.

You can practice active listening as a shared goal. You can tap into each other’s love languages to be reassured of your partner’s love. 

3. Show appreciation and reignite romance 

Express gratitude and appreciation for each other. Acknowledge the positive qualities and efforts that your partner brings to the relationship.

Also, try to shake things up by surprising each other with thoughtful gestures, date nights, and small acts of affection. 

You can also revive their love for you by earning your partner’s trust. One way to do this is by initiating vulnerability.

Share your feelings and vulnerabilities with each other. Be open about your own struggles and fears can create a sense of intimacy and closeness.

4. Practice empathy 

How to respond to indifference?

Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand their perspective. This can create a sense of compassion and emotional connection. Realize that this has happened for a reason. 

And once you learn how to be empathetic toward your life partner, you will automatically learn how to forgive and forget past actions or behaviors that contributed to the indifference.

You should also be willing to apologize and ask for forgiveness if you are the wrongdoer. 

5. Be patient 

Stop saying, “My partner frustrates me” because overcoming indifference takes time and you need to be patient as you work on rebuilding the emotional connection. Change the narrative to change your relationship.

But always remember that fixing indifference requires mutual effort and a willingness to make changes. Don’t forget this advice.

It is important to be proactive and committed to revitalizing the relationship, as well as being adaptable to the journey ahead. You need to constantly reassure your partner and be reassured yourself that your relationship is doing good.

Key Takeaways 

  • Indifference in a marriage or a relationship can weaken the bond between couples leading to lies, infidelity, and divorce 
  • Some of the signs of indifference include physical distance, absence of curiosity, and avoiding conflicts 
  • You can fix this problem by initiating an open communication and by practicing empathy 
  • Patience, reassurance and active listening can help you save your relationship


It is important to note that occasional moments of disconnect can happen in any relationship, but consistent and pervasive signs of indifference may indicate deeper issues.

And if the problem persists even after taking all necessary measures, it’s best to seek professional help. A trained counselor will help guide you through the process of rebuilding your connection.