It happens in so many relationships: Your love … once a pot of boiling passion, cools off to a bucket of lukewarm water.
And, be honest, men — at times, you’ve wondered if you should just break things off. But, you’ve invested time into this relationship and you really do like the woman you're with. You even say you love her. All relationships settle into a routine after awhile, right? So, you believe in seeing it through.
Here's the thing though: Your girlfriend also senses the lukewarm temperature of your relationship. She starts coming to you with concerns about where it’s headed.
You half-listen, giving her the exact amount of attention needed to make her think she’s being heard. A proverbial pat on the head before you send her on her way –after all, you're busy. And so you coast along in the relationship, thinking everything is fine.
You don't actually do anything to revive the passion though. After all, you two still have sex. And it's fine. It still works for you!
But while you hum along, she begins to pull away.
She starts nitpicking small things, maybe the way that you dress or that you always have food in your beard when you eat. She doesn't smile as often when she’s with you, and she avoids eye contact.
Eventually she finds reasons to spend time away from you. She stays at work longer or goes over to her brother’s to celebrate his dog’s birthday.
And, at this point, gentlemen, the writing is on the wall: She's preparing to leave you. Maybe she's met someone new, or she's just decided that being single is better than being with you. The thing is, most women don't call it quits impulsively. It's taken a lot to get her to this point. And if you're remotely concerned with how to win her back, you've got to first understand where you really went wrong.
Here are the four reasons the woman you love is about to leave you:
1. You have no vision for the relationship
A trend I've noticed among men I've coached is that they lack vision to drive their relationship with their girlfriend forward. This manifests in many forms, like not initiating sex, being noncommittal to social engagements, allowing the girlfriend to make all the decisions of where to go, where to eat, and what to do on weekends.
And there are multiple reasons why she decided to break up with you because of this lack of vision.
First, it’s unfair to her. A relationship is a two-way street, so why should one partner shoulder the brunt of the decision-making?
Second, your inability to move your relationship forward makes your girlfriend question whether or not you’re in this for the long haul. You not making decisions reflects your fear of taking risks. And the fewer risks you take in the relationship, the less emotionally invested you seem to her.
And that makes her feel unsafe, insecure, and like she has to play the masculine role in the relationship to keep things moving forward. The feminine side of her doesn’t like making decisions. So, when forced to do so, she's pulled out of her sweet, feminine receptive state and into the masculine, which lessens attraction and closes her off.
It's only a matter of time before she loses respect for you and demands someone more engaged to step up to the plate.
2. She doesn't feel safe
Maybe it was your indecisiveness, or the constant confrontation she felt with you. Either way, she felt uncomfortable more than she ever felt at ease. A confrontational relationship is particularly unsettling for the woman involved, given her physical size compared to a man.
A man who takes his frustrations out on his girlfriend — because his team missed a last-second field goal or because he blew that deal with the new client — will put her on the defensive, feeling as though she must walk on eggshells around the man she should feel most comfortable with.
Of course, this lack of safety manifests in other more subtle areas, ones that are just as destructive to your relationship. Your tendency to get defensive when she talks about how she feels. Your assumption that everything she says is a criticism makes her think you don't care about or listens to her at all.
Using manipulative control tactics, like intimidating her, stonewalling her, or taking a patronizing, higher moral ground during arguments, erodes trust and makes her question your loyalty to the relationship. Also, threatening to break up every time a moment gets tough is the ultimate manipulation that compels her to look for safety … elsewhere.
This also surfaces in a the form of competition or tit-for-tat score keeping. If she doesn't feel like she has your emotional support, or that you're truly on her team, that feels deeply unsettling for her.
3. She doesn't feel appreciated or desired
There is a misconception men have that all women want to be treated like queens. While some of them certainly do, most really just want to feel special in your eyes.
If you come home from work and pay more attention to your PS4 than you do her; if you choose to go out with the guys every Friday night; if you expect her to fix you dinner without ever acknowledging the effort, then you definitely take her for granted.
If a woman doesn’t feel appreciated, it’s difficult for her to stay in a relationship. You don't give her the physical or emotional validation she needs to sustain a connection and more importantly, she feels that you don't ‘see' her anymore. She no longer feels desired.
Yeah, you love her. Yeah you try to have sex with her. But the novelty of love and intimacy wear off if they're not continually growing deeper.
Seven years into your relationship, do you still desire her? Do you still give her the reassurance she needs that you’re still attracted to her? Even if the physical nature of the relationship has waned, do you still feel drawn to her mind, her presence, her way of being? When was the last time you complimented her?
If she no longer feels you longing for her or truly wanting her anymore (not just wanting ‘sex,' but wanting her specifically), she’ll close off emotionally to protect herself (can you really blame her?) and what's left of the relationship connection will slip away.
4. You're no longer present with her
You stopped asking questions about her — how her day was, what she wants out of life, or if she has any new dreams. You stopped asking because you assume you know her answer. But that lack of inquisitiveness translates to a lack of curiosity, adventure, care, and mystery in your relationship.
You’ve put down your broom and stopped trying to sweep her off her feet. In your mind, you've already ‘won' her, so why bother? But, she wants you to win her over and over again. You forgot that loving someone is not a one-time action, it’s a daily and consistent practice with no end game.
You ignore her tears, passing them off as her being emotional and blaming it on her period. Perhaps you're a selfish lover, too, only concerned that your needs are met, failing to tend to her wants, needs and desires.
The consequence? You're a total turn off to her now. She's that disconnected. Your mind is always elsewhere — on your career, financial issues, or “stress.” Maybe she even subtly tests the connection, trying to move closer, to reach you, but you pass her efforts off as “needy” or reject her advances without even knowing it.
Face the facts: The woman you're with is probably about to dump you. And now you must decide if you're willing to put in the effort to win her back. If you are — she needs to feel these things in a relationship:
- That there's a future. A shared future led by your masculine direction and strength, which allows her to relax, open up, and trust that you're committed.
- A sense of security. She must feel free to express herself emotionally, physically and beautify your life.
- That she's appreciated and desired … continuously. Don't let routine put the gems and gifts of your relationship to sleep. Remind yourself and acknowledge her often about the benefit she brings to your life.
- That you are truly present with her. Continued growth is essential to your connection as a couple. Be with her, look in her eyes, listen to her speak stay curious about who she is and who she's becoming.
If you can’t provide these things, your relationship is a dead man walking … and your girlfriend is walking, as well.
This article was originally published on YourTango.