8 Signs They Have Mentally Checked Out From the Relationship

For when nothing is wrong but nothing feels right anymore.

Aamna I. Rizvi
Hello, Love
8 min readOct 30, 2020


Source: drobotdean on freepik

It was the Summer of 2015 when I sat across my best friend Sana as she spoke about the love of her life.

There was a glint in her eye, the warm air that touched her skin lit up like a halo, and I could tell from her voice that her heart was very full.

Then as relationships often go, and as time went on — work, commitments and daily life took center-stage and the love of her life became more of a guest appearance in our conversations.

It had already been over a month at the point when I realized she hadn’t brought him up lately. Worried, I asked her if all was well when she broke down and confessed she felt detached from him after living together for four years and being inseparable.

That whole afternoon we sat and spoke about the changes that came about in her boyfriend’s attitude and made her feel they had disconnected on a deeper level without breaking up with words. For no obvious reason — their connection had gone poof. Nothing was wrong, but nothing felt right anymore.

If you’re feeling this way too, here are the clear giveaways that your partner has mentally checked out, and it’s time for you to talk.

They forget the things that are important to you

One of the first things people do when they are trying to impress others is remember stuff they’ve said.

They will remember your favorite color, how you like your coffee or even something insignificant you said in passing — because it’s a subtle compliment. It’s like saying you’re memorable. That they hang on to things you say and process conversations with you even when you’re not around.

But when someone does the opposite of this, it’s also a way of conveying ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It’s a letdown specially after a lot of time together. It’s expecting the other person to repeat themselves and taking their efforts for granted.

Sure, in a LTR, if your partner forgets things sometimes, it may also be a good sign and only means they’re comfortable around you. But when you’re constantly repeating the things that were established early in the relationship — it’s justified to feel like the other person doesn’t think or care about you anymore.

They don’t try to reach a compromise anymore

One of my friend’s favorite things about her relationship was the healthy debates they had in the initial days.

They both loved hearing the other side out, learning to shift perspective and developing a middle ground where they had to. It was unique to their relationship. But it is a mentally stimulating exercise for the health of any relationship.

Reaching a compromise is a monumental thing because it means you worked through the differences with your partner. It lets them know you respect their POV and believe in their truth despite the difference in opinion. This kind of effort upfront means your partner believes they’re in it for the long haul.

If your partner has mentally checked out — there are usually no active issues. And fights are less common than blatant disinterest when met with a difference of opinion. They might not bother inquiring more or instead of healthy discussions — resort to casually belittling your POV, name-calling or just shrugging it off.

For my friend, this felt like her partner had settled on the differences and locked her out of the mental space he used to share with her before.

They don’t follow up apologies by improvement in action

My friend loved her boyfriend to death. Even if she felt “detached” emotionally; for an ounce of effort on his part, she would forgive him for things in a heartbeat.

She admired how perceptive and smart he was. He had years of knowing her over most people in her life. So he would know instantly when he screwed up and would follow it up with a clear and thorough apology — it’s one of those things that just makes you feel understood. But over time, all that they had shared in understanding was months of apology after apology.

Her attention was no longer on how perfect the apologies were — but the fact that they had kept coming. There was no improvement in action that followed the promises to be better.

The effort seemed lesser and lesser, and the fact that he understood but still didn’t change made her feel like he had stopped committing to the relationship. This happened so subliminally that my friend just started overlooking his mistakes and his apologies — she stopped taking him and their relationship too personally, just like he had.

They are less interested in others parts of your life

For a relationship to be healthy, both partners share a variety of individual interests and activities even outside the confines of the relationship.

This nurtures their individualism and separate experiences; adding more color to the relationship. When you see someone you love with distance between them and you, you’re able to appreciate them as people you don’t fully understand or have power over. You might see how others find them desirable from the same distance and put in more effort to not lose them.

It increases their sex appeal in your eyes — it adds an air of mystery and builds longing.

It’s like pursuing your object of affection once again as you did on the first few dates when you asked them about other parts of their life that didn’t concern or depend on you.

Needless to say, once the interest dies in what makes your partner unique and so themselves — you’re only turning to them because you need them instead of because you want them. And desire is an essential part of a happy and healthy relationship. While it may only be a slight change in vocabulary, it shifts the very foundations of our relationships.

Your conversations are dying

Conversations are the key to understanding the mind — it lets you gaze into your partner’s hopes, and dreams and even their worst fears. It lets you see who they wish to become on top of who they already are.

But when your conversations are dying — it’s usually because the other person has mentally checked out or a sign that they are eventually going to.

We have the best conversations when we are curious about our partner. When we genuinely have something to find out or something to confide in with the other person. We don’t mindlessly multitask multiple things when having a pleasant conversation — our partner saturates all our focus.

Good conversations are not idle talk, if we have nothing to say, we should just move on to do something better instead of making our words weigh less. And this is the first thing my friend corrected in her relationship.

When she realized the conversations had only become small talk that also ended as soon as it fulfilled the formality — she engaged in activities that would give her something to share from or be proud of. She scheduled date nights that she would save things to talk about on.

You feel deceived when you think of how it all started

During several times that afternoon, my mind took me back to when the air lit up like a halo around my friend and she talked animatedly about the love of her life.

I wondered how just in a few years, so much had changed. From feeling so much to feeling nothing at all. Her relationship was at a weak point, the furthest from the hopes she had started the relationship with. I could tell Sana was embarrassed by the betrayal she felt.

But a lot can change with time. The deception and heartbreak, however, comes from the lack of communication of why our attitudes and mood have changed.

It’s impossible to stay static in life because of the different things life throws at us. What may drive a wedge in your relationship and make you feel like an outsider when this happens, is if your partner does not try to keep you in the loop about the changes. Communication and honesty can be game-changers here.

Because it is a mismatch in need and fulfillment that leads to embarrassment and resentment. It results in both sides feeling disconnected and only communication can undo it.

You are exhausted by the time you spend together

When we love someone and feel accepted as we are — the time spent with them is like being plugged into a lightning socket for a recharge.

The world can wear us out and make us put on masks for acceptance. But our loved ones help us unwind and express our deepest confusions — they do a lot of unpaid therapy if not for the rest of the world then at least for the bond we share with them. We are allowed to be as transparent as can be.

But when things fall apart in a relationship, you’re left mentally isolated long before you’re rolling the bags out of the apartment. You’re worn out by constantly trying to explain but never be understood. You’re trying to reduce friction, which only takes more work. Your relationship becomes a liability just like other things in life.

If you’re used to decompressing through the relationship — it’s only so long before you combust under the pressure. As the exhaustion adds up, you’ll find yourself looking for excuses to not spend time together. You’ll look towards outlets to relax before you turn towards your relationship because it may not be as easy as before.

If being with someone takes so much effort, it means you’re not mentally aligned anymore to catch each other's pace and it might be a good sign your partner has checked out.

You rely more heavily on the promised future than the present

Having a future to look forward to is a thing of beauty. Sana planned from a small wedding to that lived-in house in the South with the concord-leafed grapevines and everything in between.

But those days, she turned to her future plans more and more to escape the brute reality of present. If her boyfriend didn’t seem as responsive — she cursed the work he was doing and dreamt of a more luxurious future. When he slept the 4th time before they could catch up on their day — she sat in bed and thought of their date next week when she would tell him all about the week.

But people always show us who they with their actions, and it’s often only us who’s in denial.

The present is a great predictor of where things are going. If you’re only relying on the promised future, using who your partner used to be as crutches for your dreamt up tomorrow — you’re closing your eyes to how things really are. Our time is better spent on things that actively add to our lives as we live it.

Emotionally checking out is hard to pick up on because people can be right in front of us, but their heart is gone from the relationship.

Initially, it can feel like a temporary thing, but soon we get used to it being the new normal.

But if someone isn’t emotionally and mentally present, it means we have already lost the most significant parts of them.

It’s important to consciously trace these signs and talk about how we feel before it's too late to save something beautiful.



Aamna I. Rizvi
Hello, Love

Student physician. Storyteller. Artist. Unraveling the inner workings of personal development,relationships & wellness. Join me in my pursuit for answers!