The emotional coldness in the couple

Is your partner emotionally cold to you? Today we tell you why, what are its consequences and what you can do about it.

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Elena Sanz on November 21, 2021.

Last update: November 21, 2021

The emotional coldness in the couple is something that millions of people have to deal with on a daily basis. It is one of the most frequent problems, not to mention that it is the main responsible for deterioration and breakage. Feeling emotionally alone in a relationship has multiple consequences, so today we reflect long and hard on it.

This situation can also be called emotional distancing, emotional indifference or little empathy. No matter what you call it, in the end it is a real problem that sometimes you will not know how to deal with. That is why in the end we leave you with some tips, but first let’s investigate the possible causes behind this.

Causes of emotional coldness in the couple

When talking about emotional coldness in the couple we have to differentiate two cases: the coldness that was from the beginning and the one that manifests itself some time later. Although in terms of traits they can become similar, it is not in terms of the possible causes that are motivating said behavior.



It is not the same that your partner has always been cold from an emotional point of view, as it has been a trait that he has begun to assimilate recently. Sometimes, with the illusions and the chemical lack of control, we overlook things at the beginning of a relationship that we did not identify until a couple of months later. Take this into account when choosing one of the two cases.

With this in mind, we have put together a series of explanations of the why is my partner cold to me. For this, we had as a starting point the two contexts mentioned.

Avoidant attachment

If the indifference exists since the beginning of the relationship (or before), it is likely that it is a problem that has been carried on since childhood.

Avoidant attachment refers to a pattern of behavior that develops during childhood. Starts when parents or caregivers do not show enough affection during the most important phases of growth. As a consequence, the little ones develop attachment towards them, but with the tendency to suppress emotions and be very independent.

This is not something that only manifests itself in childhood, nor in the child-parent relationship. It does so in all contexts in which attachment has a central component. Experts and researchers agree that this type of attachment creates low satisfaction rates in the couple.



Synthesizing, it is likely that your partner is developing this pattern of behavior; which would indicate why he is so cold to you. Contrary to what is thought, it is very common, since around 30% of people manifest these traits. Out of 10 people, 3 develop this type of attachment and carry it along for much of their life.

Emotional distancing

Emotional distancing is that behavior aimed at hiding one’s own feelings and, at the same time, ignoring those of others. It can be triggered consciously and unconsciously and has multiple psychological implications. It is sometimes called emotional detachment.

It is often seen as a defense mechanism to protect the individual from pain, stress, conflict, and anxiety; although this implies multiple negative consequences. Although some disorders can explain it, many times it is due to experiences that have arisen before or during the relationship (infidelity, abandonment, fights and others).

Emotional indifference

Some experts do not hesitate to classify emotional indifference as a symptom opposite to love. It is a behavior isolated from the previous cases, since it is done consciously. For example, when there is dissatisfaction in the couple, you do not want to continue the relationship or when you are upset by a conflict between the two.

Emotional indifference can also arise as a consequence of secondary processes. For example, him affective blunting it is a type of emotional indifference that patients with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on develop. In any case, most of the time it is a conscious act of rejection of the relationship itself.

These are the three possible causes of emotional coldness in the couple. In summary, it can be generated by traumas in the attachment style (initially towards the mother / father that later expanded towards others), as a defense mechanism to avoid hurting oneself (suffering from heartbreak, for example) or it is only a a sign that the love I felt towards you has diminished.

Consequences of emotional coldness in the couple

The deterioration of a relationship not only affects this aspect, but it can deteriorate the emotional life of either of the two people.

The emotional coldness in the couple is something that never goes unnoticed. Its consequences are felt from minute one, and vary according to a series of elements. The longevity of the relationship, the degree of love that you profess for your partner, the projects that exist in between and the age are several conditioning factors. Some of its sequels are the following:

  • Frustration and dissatisfaction in the relationship.
  • Fears and insecurities about achieving this.
  • Constant conflicts and fights.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Depression.
  • Feeling of guilt (which leads you to justify your partner’s attitudes).
  • Development of pathological jealousy.
  • Attachment and dependence.

These are just some of the consequences of emotional coldness in the couple, although of course we can list dozens and dozens more. What is certain is that dissatisfaction is guaranteed, which will affect you emotionally in many ways. If nothing is done about it, you are destined to deal with this until you end the relationship.

What can be done to avoid emotional coldness in the couple?

All the causes that we list above have a solution, at least to the extent that your partner is willing to contribute their degree of sand. Avoidant attachment, emotional indifference, and emotional distancing can be corrected when both of you want to bet on the relationship. We leave you with some ideas:

  • Talk openly with your partner. Make him feel how you feel with his attitude and the damage he is doing to the relationship.
  • Reflect together about the possible causes or behaviors that motivate this coldness. Are they internal or external to the relationship?
  • Let your partner know that you care, that you want to work on the relationship, and that you are not doing her any harm if she expresses her emotions.
  • Establish routines in which both of you share physical and emotional affection (hugs, kisses, intense dialogues, and more).
  • Make it your goal not to suppress what the other is feeling at any given moment, whether the feeling is positive or negative.
  • Consider seeking professional help to attend couples therapy.

Apart from all the advice, the latter may be the one that makes the difference between success and failure of the relationship. Do not close yourself to this idea and seek help when you feel that you are not achieving the intended objectives. If there is willingness to continue the relationship, there will always be hope.

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