Skip to Content

How do you tell him he’s not putting in effort?

It can be challenging to have an honest conversation with your partner about feeling like he is not putting effort into the relationship. However, open communication is essential for a healthy relationship. Here are some tips on how to approach this delicate topic:

Reflect On Your Feelings

Before talking to him, spend some time thinking about exactly why you feel he is not putting in effort. Is it that he doesn’t plan dates or initiate contact enough? Are you feeling emotionally disconnected from him? Is he not making you a priority? Be clear with yourself on what exactly is making you feel this way. This will help you communicate your feelings more effectively.

Choose The Right Time

Don’t spring this conversation on him out of the blue. Choose a time when you are both relaxed and not rushed. A calm setting where you can have his full attention is best. You want him to truly hear you and not feel ambushed.

Use “I” Statements

Avoid accusatory “you” statements like “You never make an effort”. Instead, use “I” statements to express how you personally feel. For example, “I feel disconnected from you lately and I miss having quality time together”. This reduces his defensiveness.

Give Specific Examples

Don’t just make vague statements about him not putting in effort. Give tangible examples of times when you felt he was disconnected or disinterested. He may not be aware of how his actions (or lack thereof) have been affecting you.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Ask questions like “How do you think our relationship is going? Is there anything you would like to see change?” This encourages him to reflect and opens up the discussion.

Make Requests, Not Demands

Rather than demanding “You need to start planning more dates”, make polite requests “It would mean a lot to me if we could set aside a regular date night each week”.

Listen To His Perspective

After sharing your feelings, be sure to listen to his side too. There may be factors you are unaware of, and you want this to be a two-way dialogue, not a lecture.

Emphasize How Much He Means To You

Reaffirm how deeply you care for him and that you are bringing this up because you want the relationship to thrive. He should know your concerns come from a loving place.

Suggest Solutions Together

Collaborate on practical solutions, like setting aside dedicated couple time each week, taking a relationship workshop, or establishing methods to better communicate needs.

Recognize His Efforts

If he starts showing initiative after your talk, make sure to verbalize appreciation. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

Seek Counseling If Needed

If he is unwilling to address problems or put in more effort, counseling can help facilitate productive conversations. Don’t continue tolerating the status quo indefinitely.


Addressing lack of effort in your relationship takes courage but is essential. With empathy, honesty and collaboration, hopefully you can get your partnership back on track so you both feel valued and cared for.

Do Don’t
Choose a calm setting Ambush him
Use “I” statements Use accusations
Be specific Make vague complaints
Ask open questions Make demands
Make requests Give orders
Listen to him Lecture him
Reaffirm your care Threaten ultimatums
Suggest solutions together Dictate expectations
Appreciate efforts Criticize shortcomings
Consider counseling Tolerate the status quo