Signs of Emotional Abandonment in a Relationship

April 13, 2020
Emotional abandonment in a relationship is quite common and can be very devastating. In this article, we're going to analyze the different circumstances that determine it.

Emotional abandonment in a relationship often goes unnoticed because actions such as daily routines and obligations camouflage it pretty well. Distancing yourself is normal, especially when the relationship has existed for a long time. However, even so, when one of the partners stops attending to their partner’s needs, the matter becomes more serious.

We all know that infatuation is only temporary and that more complicated stages eventually arrive. Of course, no relationship is exempt from having problems. In the end, none of the partners is obligated to satisfy all the needs of the other. Nonetheless, emotional abandonment is something else. It means that the relationship has become a burden for the partners instead of a source of happiness.

Without a doubt, when there’s emotional abandonment in a relationship, it’s because it’s pretty much on the brink of going into “intensive care”. Nothing can replace the emotional enjoyment you feel when your partner shows you how much you care. But how can you know if your relationship is going through this situation?

A woman vanishing with the wind.

Emotional abandonment in a relationship

First of all, we must clarify what emotional abandonment means. This type of abandonment happens when one of the partners isn’t emotionally available to the other.

This manifests itself mainly as indifference and lack of empathy. In other words, there are no expressions of affection towards the other partner and no interest or disposition to understand them in any way (regarding their feelings, problems, and achievements, among other things).

Now, for it to be emotional abandonment, it must manifest itself for a relatively long period of time. Sometimes, one partner can be a little absent from the relationship due to their own difficulties or challenges. It doesn’t take much other than dialogue and mutual understanding for things to go back to the way they were.

When there’s emotional abandonment in a relationship, the physical and/or emotional absence of the other partner becomes chronic. The other person may feel devastated and broken. Especially since, on many occasions, the partner who isn’t involved in the relationship isn’t aware of their own feelings and actions.

Signs of abandonment

Several signs reveal emotional abandonment in a relationship. Most of the time, they’re not too obvious. Rather, they’re attitudes that don’t really leave any traces.

The main signs of emotional abandonment in a relationship are:

  • The partner only talks about routine things and does so in a rush. No matter if the other wants to sit down and talk to them, they just won’t do it.
  • When they get together with other people, one of the partners ignores the other and proceeds to talk with the other people in the room.
  • They don’t respond to the other partner’s expressions of affection or do so with an evident lack of motivation.
  • The partner knows little to no recent details about their partner’s life.
  • One of the partners doesn’t feel like they can count on the other if they happened to be in trouble. In other words, they feel as if their partner couldn’t care less about their issues.
  • One of the partners feels really lonely.
A couple ignoring each other representing emotional abandonment in a relationship.

Is it all lost?

Contrary to popular belief, emotional abandonment isn’t always synonymous with a lack of love. Nor is it necessarily due to the fact there’s a third person involved or because the relationship is worn out. In many cases, psychological factors influence the situation.

Many people don’t have the psychological resources to build a truly intimate bond with their partner. In fact, the more they care about someone, the faster they build barriers and try to isolate themselves.

They do it as a defense mechanism probably because they have unprocessed past traumas or low self-esteem. They think they’re going to get hurt or abandoned so they decide not to get too attached to their partner.

It’s also possible that abandonment is a way of reminding the person about a past difficulty that wasn’t completely resolved between the two. Either their obligations are way too overwhelming, or their work life is too frustrating, there’s no place for their partner due to fatigue or lack of emotional resources.

If you can relate to the scenarios we talked about in this article, the important thing is for you to avoid rushing to conclusions. Try to objectively evaluate what’s happening and find a way to talk about it with your partner.