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Some people say they never expected apathy to show up in their relationship. If you are here, you probably suspect something is wrong with your relationship. It may be apathy in your relationship or it might be something else. The good news is that by actively trying to diagnose and fix your issues, you are on the right path.
In this post, I am going to share a bit about my relationship, the mistakes I made, and what you should do instead. I’m not a professional counselor but I want to use my experience to help you.
Going into my marriage, I knew that my husband and I were very different. He likes to stay at home. I lived out of a suitcase for three years and loved it. I like to go to shows and museums. He likes to watch tv shows and play video games.
The fact that we are different works well most of the time. I am chaos and he is calm. We balance each other out.
But after a couple of years of marriage, it felt like we were roommates and not husband and wife. Our schedules were very different, so I never saw him. When we had time together, I wanted to go out and do things with him. He wanted to stay home and play video games.
In an attempt to spend time with him, I literally had to bribe my husband to play mini-golf with me. I picked mini-golf as the activity and he made our dinner plans. That might not sound like a terrible solution. However, spending an evening with someone who doesn’t want to be with you isn’t fun.
I wanted him to want to spend time with me. His lack of interest confused and hurt me. The fact that he didn’t seem to care he was hurting me, made me hurt more.
And like a crazy person, I thought I could solve our relationship problem myself. I thought I could put off having a conversation about what was going on.
For a while, I just kept how I felt to myself. I kept putting effort into the relationship. I thought if I kept trying that our apathy problem would go away. But eventually, I grew tired of being in what felt like a one-sided relationship.
When we finally did talk about his apathy, I realized I should have said something earlier.
What is apathy?
Apathy as I am using it refers to lack of interest or lack of emotion.
Being apathetic isn’t all bad. For instance, being apathetic about Star Wars versus Star Trek. Or maybe about wall sconces vs floor lamps. Not everything has to matter to everybody. But when apathy becomes part of a relationship, that is a problem.
What causes apathy in your relationship?
Apathy results from a combination of things: routine and boredom.
Routine can be good for marriage, but once there is no variety, boredom can set in.
Boredom is really similar to apathy. It means you are not interested in what you are doing or the options you have to do.
Once you are bored long enough, it transforms into apathy.
Don’t Make This Mistake…
When I was going through this time, I was pretty new to being married. I was also very bad at talking about issues.
Because I didn’t want to have a hard conversation with my spouse, I tried to solve our apathy problem myself.
Please don’t do this.
Even if you think you know your partner, you don’t know how they feel unless you ask them.
You Have To Talk About
Talking about how you feel is going to be the hardest part.
When you have this conversation, do not make any assumptions.
Don’t try to argue with how they feel or try and tell them how they feel. We can never really know what the other is really feeling.
Explain how you feel but avoid the blame game.
This is where “I” statements become important. “I” statements are better than “you” statements. An example: I feel ignored… versus You don’t want to be with me.
You might be feeling ignored, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with you. The “I feel “statement shares a truth. The “you” statement makes an assumption.
If Apathy In Your Relationship Is The Problem
If you have apathy issues or if you want to avoid apathy, you need to think of ways to shake things up. Find a way to step back from the routine and end the boredom.
Make a list of things you can do together. Maybe a romantic night away. Or a night in playing games. Dinner out. The more ideas the better.
It would be best for both of you to contribute to a list of things to do together.
** I know a lot of you are reading this after going through a global pandemic. You’ve spent a lot of time in the same space with your partner. You’ve settled into a weird routine. You are bored. The dynamic between you and your partner has changed. I am going to ask you to have a little more patience. Put on all of your thinking caps and get creative.**
Apathy Might Not Be The Issue
After talking through things, you may find that apathy isn’t the issue.
In my experience, apathy wasn’t causing my relationship issues.
Things that can look like apathy:
- Your partner shares different interests from you.
- They are dealing with stress or depression.
- Your partner has a different love language.
- Your partner communicates differently.
My Story Continued
After lots of tears on my side and some talking, I realized we didn’t have an apathy problem.
My husband wasn’t apathetic. He also wasn’t a mind reader. He had no clue how I was feeling because I didn’t tell him.
I thought we had an apathy problem, but we had a different set of problems. At the core, we had a communication issue.
Communication Is The Key
I don’t think I can stress this enough, but you need to talk to your partner.
It can be hard to put your feelings out there. I understand not wanting to be vulnerable. Not wanting to get hurt. I really do.
I thought I could avoid the hurt that comes with a hard conversation. But I was still hurting because my relationship was not where it needed to be. I was exchanging one type of hurt for another. If I had the courage to tell him how I was feeling, things would have gotten better sooner.