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In life, it’s good to have a backup plan.
However, this rule doesn’t apply to romantic relationships.
Monkey Branching is a destructive dating tactic that is bound to get somebody seriously hurt. Here’s everything you need to know about a monkey branching relationship.
What is a Monkey Branching Relationship?
“Monkey branching” is a relatively new term in the dating world.
Monkey branching is when the guy in your life is considering other options while he’s still dating you.
Whether you’ve been together for three months or three years, it’s his way of creating a safety net in case things don’t work out with the two of you.
It can also be defined as emotional cheating.
And usually, the outcome is that the guy ends your relationship so he can start a new one with another woman.
(I know, not cool.)
Related: 65 Signs of Emotional Abuse
9 Signs You Might Be in a Monkey Branching Relationship
If your partner is monkey branching, there’ll be some clear-cut signs.
#9 — His Behavior Has Changed
First things first, has he changed the way he behaves towards you? Is he not as affectionate as he used to be? Is he not as attentive?
Or perhaps your (once thriving) sex life has done a complete 180 and you can’t remember the last time you got a little bedroom action.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you might be in the monkey branching danger zone.
According to Psychology Today, this physical lack of affection is also known as “skin hunger.”
“Skin hunger” is an acknowledgment that you’re not getting as much affection as you need. Therefore, you have the drive to get more.
As human beings, we associate hunger with food. That said, we feel hungry because we need food. We feel thirsty because we need water. And we feel tired because we need sleep.
Food, water and rest is required for our bodies to function normally—but research suggests that affection should also be on this list.
If not, skin hunger can cause the following adverse effects:
- Decreased happiness
- Stress and depression
- Mood-swings and anxiety disorders
- Alexithymia, which impairs your ability to express and interpret emotion
- A fearful-avoidant attachment style, impacting your ability to form secure attachments
- General ill health
Noticed some of these already? In this case, it’s important to get to the bottom of why you feel skin hunger sooner rather than later.
#8 — He No Longer Seems Interested in Your Life
Another sign of a monkey brancher is a partner who doesn’t seem interested in what you’ve got to say anymore.
Maybe he doesn’t listen to you when you talk. Or perhaps doesn’t ask you questions about your day.
Either way, he wasn’t always like this, which is why it’s so noticeable now.
#7 — He’s Going Out With His Friends More Than Usual
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is he going out with his friends more than ever?
- Does he spend hours of his spare time going to bars?
- Does he frequently choose his friends over you making you feel like you’re no longer a priority?
- Is he failing to communicate what he’s up to?
- Does he go MIA for 24 hours after drinking with his friends?
If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes, I’d be a little concerned if I were you.
Especially if photos continually show up on his social media accounts of him and his friends with other women that you don’t even know. Sigh.
Related: Traits of A High-Quality Man
#6 — His Communication When You’re Apart Has Slowed Down
As well as being unresponsive in person, is he suddenly really poor at texting or calling you back?
Maybe he used to text you back at lightning bolt-speed—and now you’re lucky if you get one text a day.
However, the strange thing is that he’s regularly active on Facebook or Instagram and clearly on his phone.
Five words: a slap to the face.
Related: He Hasn’t Texted You For A Week?
#5 — You’re Spending Less Time Together
One of the key indications that you’re in a monkey branching relationship is if you used to spend every waking minute together but, lately, this hasn’t been the case.
You patiently wait for him to ask you out again but he just never does.
That said, it’s now almost impossible to pin him down. And it’s getting nothing short of frustrating.
Related: How To Know If A Guy Likes You
#4 — He’s Always On His Phone When You’re Together
Even though you’re spending significantly less time together, do you feel that the time you do spend together is worthwhile?
I mean, do you ever seem to have his full attention?
If you catch him replying to texts but you don’t know who he’s texting, this might be innocent—but it might also make him guilty of emotional cheating.
#3 — He’s Flirty With Other Women
Speaking of talking to other women, have there been instances where he’s openly flirted with someone in front of your face?
- With the checkout lady when you were with him grabbing some groceries
- With strange women via social media after they liked and commented on posts and he replied in an overly-friendly manner
- With one of your friends when he was around at your house and they dropped off something you left at their place
Either way, his flirting game seems to be off the charts—and you don’t like it one little bit.
Related: Is Jealousy Cute Or Unhealthy?
#2 — He’s Become Super Secretive
Have you tried to ask him who he’s always texting? Or why’s he going out on the town for the third day in a row? Or who the women are in the photos that keep popping up on his social media?
Let me guess: you’ve tried to ask him but you always get vague or one-word answers.
If this is the case and you’re starting to feel like you don’t even know your partner anymore or what he’s even doing half the time, I’m sorry to say that you may be a victim of monkey branching.
#1 — You’re Making All the Effort
Lastly, the number one sign that you’re with a monkey brancher is if you’re the one who’s making the most effort in the relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, it probably wasn’t always this way.
But recently, you seem to be the only one trying in all aspects of your relationship.
From keeping in touch when you’re apart to arranging dates, sorting out his Mom’s birthday present to cooking dinner, he just seems happy to sit back and let you do all the hard work.
And you’re starting to feel like he’s taking advantage.
According to Women’s Health Mag, there are some other signs of being in a one-sided relationship that are easy to spot:
- You accommodate his suppressed level of intimacy
- You constantly have to make your plans fit around his
- He cancels plans with you—a lot
- There’s little talk of your future as a couple from his side
- You’re always keeping the conversation going in person and when you’re apart
- He’s only interested in the part of your life that involves him
- You feel nervous about using the terms “girlfriend,” “boyfriend” and “relationship” around him because you don’t want to scare him off
Regardless, something has to change.
What to Do if You’re in a Monkey Branching Relationship
If all the signs of being with a monkey brancher are there, don’t freak out. There are some steps you can take.
Work Out How You Feel About Him
Needless to say, you need to have a conversation with your partner. Things can’t stay in limbo forever.
But before you have this conversation, firstly, you need to establish your true feelings for the guy.
- Are you still in love or is it more friendship-based?
- Are you just going through the motions of a relationship?
- Can you see a future with this person?
- Does he want what you want from life? (I.e. marriage, kids, etc.)
- Is the relationship worth saving?
It’s a good idea to be absolutely clear about what you want to say and your preferred outcome before going into the conversation.
This will prevent you from going around in circles and prolonging what will be a difficult discussion for both of you.
Call Him Out
Approach the conversation diplomatically.
In fact, according to Understood, you should follow these tips when it comes to having any kind of tough conversation with your partner.
- Choose the right time to talk. This should be face-to-face when neither of you has to dash off to work or visit their sibling. Chat when you’re both at your best, whether this is after a glass of wine post-dinner or on a weekend when you’re supposed to be spending the day together.
- Start the conversation positively. Just because you need to confront him doesn’t mean you need to be angry. Instead, say something like: “Thanks for talking about this issue with me. It’s really been weighing on my mind. But I always feel better when we can think things through together.”
- When he’s talking, just listen. It’s super tempting to interrupt him when you don’t agree with something he says. But this will only aggravate the both of you. Instead, let him finish his points before you formulate a response. It will make him feel heard even if you disagree.
- Give up the need to be right. If he admits to his monkey branching ways, try to avoid having an “aha!” moment, i.e. “I knew it!”. Instead, try to find out the reasons behind his behavior so that you can gain closure from it.
- Stay focused on the problem at hand. If the conversation escalates, it’s tempting to bring in so many other issues from the past and start finger-pointing. However, try to resist this urge because it won’t help the situation.
- Try to find something you agree with. Even though it may be difficult, it’s important to establish common ground so you can find something positive from the conversation. For example, it might be the fact that you both love each other enough to want to improve your relationship.
- Take a time-out if you need to. If the conversation goes south at any point, it’s okay to agree to go your separate ways and come back to it at a later date. After all, you both need a clear head to be able to make the right decision for your relationship.
Related: Needs Vs Wants in A Relationship
Decide How to Move Forward
Next, it’s up to both of you to decide how to move forward based on how the conversation goes and what he says.
Let’s be honest: the conversation could go one of two ways.
He’ll either agree to give up his monkey branching ways because he’s realized just how much he loves and cares for you. In this case, you can try to move past this as a couple if it’s truly what you both want.
On the other hand, he might admit to emotional cheating and you might not be able to forgive him. Or he might choose to walk away.
Either way, the truth will be out there and you can start learning to process it.
Healing from this situation is not going to happen overnight, but it’s ultimately for the best.
How To Attract High-Quality Men
I hope you found this article helpful, but it does you no good if you’re not attracting High-Quality.
If you’re a confident and successful woman, you need a confident and successful man.
A Monkey branching relationship is essentially emotional cheating in the digital age. And it can be incredibly tough to deal with if you’ve never been a victim of it before.
That said, it’s important to remember that if your partner chooses to monkey branch, this isn’t a reflection on your character or self-worth.
At the end of the day, you deserve to be with someone who will love you and stay committed to you just as much as you’ll love and stay committed to them.
And if your current partner isn’t offering you that, there’ll be another guy out there who will.
Love, your favorite dating coach.