There will come a moment in your life, if it hasn't happened already, where you'll realize you have stopped being in love with someone you were once in love with. Maybe it was someone you dated briefly or for several years. Maybe it was someone you were married to. Maybe it's someone you never even dated: your best friend, someone you hadn't come out to yet, or someone who, for whatever the reason, you just couldn't be with. No matter who it was, something will happen where you will say to yourself, "Oh, I don't feel the same about this person anymore. Hm. Interesting."
Falling out of love is a very complicated, personal process. For some people, it happens out of nowhere. They literally wake up one morning and suddenly realize they're over it. For others, it happens slowly or over the course of several years. The process isn't usually linear — it can be interrupted by hearing a song on the radio or seeing an unexpected text message or a surprising photo on an Instagram feed — but it is inevitable for all couples (unless you, like, get married and eventually die next to each other in the hospital).
Here, seven people explain how they knew they were falling out of love with someone and the feelings that accompanied that process.
They knew when they could smile at their memories.
Whenever I was able to smile thinking about them. Like, when I don't cringe at a memory, but I can appreciate it for what it is.
— Sarah, 25
They knew when everything they did annoyed them.
Everything he did that used to be charming started to annoy me — from the way he sang everything to the way he'd drum on his steering wheel in the car, things I used to find endearing and quirky turned into annoyances. I was always assuming the worst of him and didn't know why. I thought he'd changed, but I think I'd just fallen out of love.
— Krissy*, 24
They knew when he had no desire to be intimate.
One of the bigger feelings for me has always been when I no longer feel intimate toward the person. If I don't want to have sex and passion with a person anymore, I think it shows my lack of interest
— Jim*, 30
They knew when they started liking someone else.
I developed crazy feelings for someone else!
— Kait, 25
They knew when they realized they weren’t as hurt as they should have been by the breakup.
[When] she dumped me. It was the subtle signals she was sending that I didn't realize. When I thought about what went down [at] the end of my relationship and the signs I missed, I wasn't so sad. I realized then, belatedly, that I really didn't love her. Because if I did, the hurt would have been so much worse.
— Dave, 29
They knew when they felt numb to everything they did.
I knew I wasn't in love with her anymore when I started feeling numb to everything she did. Before, everything she did was amazing to me. I'd drop everything to respond to a text. I'd go out of my way so we could hang out. I'd help her with anything she needed. But after a while, when those feelings weren't being reciprocated, I naturally felt sad in individual moments, but as a whole, I knew the love had faded when I didn't light up when she texted me, or when I didn't feel the need to go out of my way to make sure we could spend time together. It wasn't that I felt particularly depressed or particularly angry. I just didn't feel anything about her anymore.
— Theresa, 23
They knew when they felt sad, then guilty.
Sad, then really guilty. We had been doing long distance for over a year, and it was really difficult. I later understood that many of our problems came from him being controlling and jealous... but at the time, I just felt selfish for wanting to live my life again.
— Emily, 31
Whether you’ve been with your partner for three months or three years, if you feel the spark between you beginning to dim, the best thing you can do is talk to your partner about it. Open and honest and communication is the best way to clear their air and get everyone on the same page, so you can begin to work through this, together. Remember: Just because you think you feel yourself falling out of love, doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed to end. And if you do decide to part ways, know that the right person for you is out there. And when you meet them, you fall fast and hard.
*Name has been changed.
Additional reporting by Iman Hariri-Kia.
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