He’s Not Cheating, What Could it Be?

Image via Tumblr by Love Black

I stared deep into his eyes across our dinner table. “What?!”, he shot back. I sat defeated, thinking to myself, “I’m just in love, that’s what.” I was pretty much used to this type of response. I couldn’t quite understand his rejective behaviors though. I wanted so desperately for him to want me in the ways that I wanted him.

After two years of constantly battling for his affection, I decided to put an end to it. It was not the easiest decision to make, and I went back and forth about it with myself over the final months of our relationship. Any time I even hinted at breaking up he would become inconsolable. Whether it be angry or sad, his day to day actions told me that he did not want to be in this relationship, and yet every time I tried to allow him to take the easy way out he’d make attempts to salvage what was left of my broken heart. For a long time, I thought he was cheating.

Every woman knows when their man's heart is with another woman. As much as they fight for you, they'll revert back to their cold ways just as soon as the heightened emotions have settled back down. Click To Tweet

Yet, I had no other reason to believe he was cheating aside from his cold nature. He was always present, showered me with gifts, answered the phone every time I called, and being deceptive just wasn’t in his character, but all of it seemed like work. So I’ve spent the years that followed dissecting the relationship and replaying episodes in my head to get to the bottom of what went wrong, and I’ve only been able to come to one hard truth.

My ex was settling for me.

This was probably one of the hardest conclusions for me to come to, and what I learned is that people who settle in relationships often go to great lengths to cover up their dissatisfaction. So I decided it may be helpful to compile a list of behaviors that I’ve detected throughout my years in that relationship.

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Sharing Life-Altering Events
Since we lived 2.5 hours away from each other, communication was critical for the success of our relationship. In the beginning, we’d talk on the phone, laugh together, and talk freely about whatever was on our hearts that day. Without realizing, over time our elaborate conversations slowly turned into text messages. I realized he would often tell me things months after they occurred. He always seemed so reserved, sharing only bits and pieces of his life with me.

When your partner loves you, they make sure you are included in all of the intricate details of your life. Your partner doesn’t make you feel like an extra in the movie, but that you are a part of the main cast. They will make you a priority when sharing the details of their life. It is unusual for a person who is deeply invested to not share life events with you.

Critical
I felt like I annoyed the crap out of him. I could feel him cringe under my embrace, and worst of all he didn’t shy away from making me feel completely “un-cool.” He was one of those people who knew the in crowd, surrounded himself with people who celebrated him and walked around pretending to be unphased. I was pretty well liked, generally speaking, so I never experienced anyone who hated when I danced, played with my hair, or talked about my past.

Once a person becomes bothered or irritated by your mere essence, it becomes pretty apparent your partner is settling or has lost interest. No matter how hard a person tries to overcome their irritation, you’ll always see the signs that they are in fact emulating feelings and working to mask what they honestly feel.

tumblr_od5mqldYmK1r1g7o7o1_1280.jpgImage via Tumblr by Korey Nguyen (@bloodonmynikon)

Intimacy/Sex
Our intimate moments became fewer and far between. I found myself practically begging for some sort of intimacy and affection. His response to my hints were often shot down nicely. There were some days I wondered if my approach was wrong, if I was asking for too much, or if he didn’t find me attractive.

Intimacy in a relationship is essential, and although we all can admit that sex usually slows down once you settle into your relationship, intimacy hardly ever seizes when two people are in love. One clear sign of a dwindling relationship is the lack of intimacy and desire two people have for each other.

Just Not Interested
My ex never honestly showed genuine interest in what I was interested in. Everything always felt very surface, and we lacked a natural connection. He never seemed interested in building a closer friendship or genuinely figuring out what made me who I am.

It is hard not to feel like your partner is settling when they don’t really seem to make efforts to get to know you on a deeper level. When two people are in love this behavior is a given, it isn’t something that requires effort or is done on purpose. Your partner’s interest in your life should be organic. This is not to say that you should have a lot of things in common with your partner (opposites do attract), but you should feel some genuine interest and general desire from your partner to see you being fulfilled through your own interests.

tumblr_o8diulBYIz1sjt7jno1_1280.jpgImage via Tumblr by Blackloveisbeautiful

Of course, several internal and external factors could play a role in why you may feel like your partner is settling for you. If we are honest, there isn’t a perfect relationship out there, and they all require some form of effort. We all have seasons in our relationships that feel dull, stressful, or chaotic, but when you are genuinely in love, and the connection is real those seasons are short. One good day with your partner can make the extra effort feel worth it. A person who is putting on a show will eventually work themselves into exhaustion and get themselves to a point where they no longer have the energy to pretend, and it will become pretty obvious that their feelings for you are not real.

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