Most marriages and romantic relationships go through different phases of peace, happiness, conflicts, and other lows and highs. A lesser-known phase in romantic relationships and marriages is that of apathy.
Apathy in a relationship is quite common. This phase may be experienced once or a few times throughout the course of a romantic relationship or marriage.
To learn how to deal with apathy, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what apathy even means. Apathy is what one feels when they’ve lost interest in things or activities that they once enjoyed.
It is a state where you feel no motivation. When you’re going through a phase characterized by a strong lack of interest, concern, emotion, or feeling, it is apathy.
When it comes to marriages or romantic relationships, phases of apathy are characterized by the absence of interest in the significant other. If your relationship is going through a phase of apathy, you may feel a lack of concern for your partner.
It happens when you feel indifferent towards your beloved, and emotions such as excitement, motivation, passion, or concern for your partner are suppressed.
It is quite common or normal for people to be feeling apathetic in a relationship. People do go through phases of feeling apathetic on their own and in their romantic relationship or marriage.
Understanding what causes apathy is a pivotal part of learning how to deal with apathy.
Here are some common causes of apathy:
Experiencing major life events
If you or your significant other are experiencing a major life event, especially some sort of a crisis such as dealing with sudden unemployment, an unexpected financial crisis, loss of someone close to you, and so on, it may cause apathy.
If you’re experiencing something major and negative, it can lead you to feel useless, worthless, incompetent, and pessimistic about your abilities and life outcomes.
If you’re experiencing an event or situation which is taxing for you, either mentally or physically, or both, you may feel overwhelmed. You may start feeling defeated or worn down.
Don’t confuse this with feelings of boredom. That’s different. When you’re experiencing events that are making you feel overwhelmed, you may then feel a strong sense of detachment, even from your relationship.
Going through issues related to mental health
Mental health issues are a major cause of apathy. Apathy can be one of the symptoms of a psychiatric, psychological, or neurological disorder such as Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, stroke, Parkinson’s, or frontotemporal dementia.
This is why it’s crucial to identify apathy and seek professional help for dealing with apathy, especially if it is impacting the different aspects of your life such as your work life, productivity, and relationships.
Apathy is not just an emotion or feeling. It is also an attitude. It is an attitude characterized by unconcern, indifference, listlessness, dispassion, and detachment. It’s sort of like living passively. By definition, empathy and apathy are opposite feelings and attitudes.
Learning how to deal with apathy also involves understanding the symptoms related to apathy. These symptoms have been listed as follows:
Experiencing an unexplained dip in energy to perform tasks related to everyday life.
You’re in a mindset where you always expect the other people in your life, such as your close friends, family members, or other loved ones (including your partner) to initiate activities or plan activities.
You don’t experience any emotions if something significant, be it bad or good, happens to you.
You’re possibly feeling this lack of desire to make new friends, learn new skills, pursue your goals, or have new experiences.
Understanding whether apathy within your romantic relationship is the problem
There is a high possibility that the reason you may be reading this is that you may have a hunch that something is wrong between you and your significant other.
You may be wondering whether you’re feeling apathetic in a relationship, especially your marriage or your romantic relationship.
If apathy is the source of your relationship problems, then it may be due to feelings of boredom or feeling like you’re both stuck in a mundane routine in your relationship.
Talking to your partner is key to figuring out whether apathy is the real problem. Try to introduce some excitement or fun activities in the relationship, such as planning a road trip or romantic getaway, going out for fun-filled date nights, planning game nights, and so on.
However, apathy might not be the issue in your romantic relationship. Here is a list of some issues that may give you the impression that it’s an apathetic relationship phase but in reality, it may be:
You and your partner have very different interests or hobbies.
If you initiated this conversation about dealing with apathy in the relationship, and your partner did not seem quite aware of this realization of yours, it is crucial to allow your partner to have that space to process this important conversation.
Let your partner process everything you said to her/him/them. Make sure you’re not pestering your beloved for attention or opinions at this point in time.
3. Identify the underlying issue
Another key part of knowing how to deal with apathy is to figure out what may be causing the apathy in the relationship. Do this together, with your beloved.
Maybe what you’re considering to be apathy or the reasons you’re attributing to feeling apathetic in your romantic relationship may vary significantly from your beloved’s point of view.
So, make sure to listen to each other’s perspectives and then come up with an explanation and plan of action that is an amalgamation of both your perspectives. This is essential to effectively implement how to overcome apathy.
Think about the activities you both previously enjoyed doing together and take the necessary action to do those things together. This may reignite the excitement and passion in the relationship.
You can also check out this video to understand how you can deal with emotional neglect in the relationship:
Apathy in relationships is something that should be dealt with quite early on to avoid it from affecting other important aspects or dimensions of your life. Remember to listen, communicate and take action!
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.