Falling in love is awesome. Every look, touch, and word they say fills you with anticipation. You feel swept up, full of hope and desire. It's just magical. Falling out of love... well... not so much. Sometimes, falling out love happens as a slow descent into apathy and, when that happens, it can be hard to see the signs you've fallen out of love. Other times, it can hit you like a freight train — one second you're all in, and the next your skin wants to crawl right off your body and move to another zip code at their mere touch. It's the worst.
While that latter scenario makes it pretty clear what you're feeling, sometimes it can be more confusing because it’s a subtle shift or, most likely, you just don't want to want to believe things have have changed so much. Because, if it’s true, you have to do something about it. Something that will likely hurt someone you once loved. Before you do anything drastic, the first step is to really understand what it is you’re feeling. Here's what the experts have to say about how to know when you've lost that loving feeling, and it's time to move on.
1. You Feel Alone In The Relationship
The first sign that you’ve fallen out of love, according to Three Day Rule’s date coach and matchmaker Nora Dekeyser, is that you feel alone in the relationship. “Love eventually turns into a true partnership between best friends that are also attracted to each other," she explains. In other words, when you’re in love, your partner is the person you always want to share the important moments with, as well as whom you want to lean on in hard times. If that has changed, or you find yourself actually wanting to avoid them, then it’s a strong indication that the love is gone.
2. You Aren’t Sexually Attracted To Your Partner Anymore
When they’re first together, most couples can’t keep their hands off each other, which is amazing, but eventually naturally will slow down a bit. But relationship expert and best-selling author Susan Winter warns that if “the idea of having sex with your partner feels like a chore,” it doesn’t bode well for the relationship.
But just because the sexual side of the relationship has slowed a bit, it doesn’t automatically mean the love is gone. Sometimes, as Dekeyser explains, it’s more of a symptom of other problems in the relationship: "I believe sexual attraction comes easily when the relationship is working - so don't focus so much on the fact that you aren't having sex; focus on the reason behind that non-action.”
3. You’ve Stopped Communicating
Communication is beyond essential in a relationship, but it can be super hard and take a ton of emotional labor. If doing that work has stopped feeling worth the effort, Dekeyser warns that it’s a red flag that your heart just isn’t in the relationship anymore. “The most important part of a relationship is communication - if you do not have this, you are not respecting each other and clearly don't feel for the other as you do for yourself," she says.
4. You Don’t Care If They Are With Someone Else
The thought of your partner with anyone else was once unthinkable. But recently, you realized you don’t really mind the idea of them finding someone new. Unless you’re poly, then Alessandra Conti, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, says this kind of apathy is a big red flag that you’ve fallen out of love. “In a healthy relationship, this thought should leave you upset and unsettled, but if you are out of love, you essentially do not care," she says.
5. You Don’t See A Future With Them Anymore
When you think of your life in the coming years, is your partner still part of it? Or are you fantasizing about a solo adventure? Conti says whether or not your SO is part of your “story” is a big indication about how you feel about them.
6. You’ve Lost Respect For Them
A loss of respect for your partner is probably the biggest sign that you’ve had a change of heart. Disdain is an absolute relationship killer. If you’ve lost respect for your partner, there is really no turning back. As Conti explains, respect is one of the most important elements in any long term relationship: “This supersedes lust and puppy-dog love; respecting your partner is vital if you want your love to be a forever kind of love.”
She adds, “When you find that you are loathing the person you are with because you feel like you are finally seeing them for who they truly are, this is a sign that the love spell is wearing off.” Besides, who wants to be with someone they can’t respect? And who doesn’t return the respect they deserve?
7. They Are Constantly Getting On Your Nerves
According to Winter, you’ve likely fallen out of love if “you find yourself irritated by everything they do (and don't do).” So, if all the little habits that you once overlooked or maybe even found adorable now make you want to claw your eyes out, well, honestly, what are you waiting for? No one should have to live like that. Cut your SO loose so they can find someone else more compatible.
8. You Fantasize About Ways To Leave Them
If your day dreams about the future of your relationship have turned into fantasies about breaking free, then I think its safe to some you’ve lost that loving feeling. Winter says that frequently imagining leaving your partner is an indication that there is a “palpable emptiness in the relationship.” If this sounds like you, it’s time to make your dreams come true and bid your partner adieu.
If, after reading this, you’re feeling discouraged and feel like love is dead, let me leave you with something a bit more hopeful from Conti. She says, “Many couples say that they don't just fall in love with their partners once; they fall in love with their partners over and over again and in different ways. Even if it may feel as though your old way of loving is gone, you can absolutely rebuild a new kind of love that may even be stronger than the first.” Feel better?
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