If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, it’s natural that your feelings may change and shift a bit. That being said, you never want to feel like the love isn’t alive anymore, even when the initial honeymoon phase is over. The experience of falling out of love with your partner can be scary, but luckily, it doesn’t mean the two of you are doomed. I chatted with the experts to learn how to save your relationship if these concerns start to arise.
According to behavioral scientist Clarissa Silva, you might be falling out of love if you notice you and your partner are fighting more than usual, especially about things that aren’t either of your faults. “Sometimes, frequent fighting about things that cannot change is you fighting with yourself,” Silva says. “Underlying the frequent fighting can be a sign of your dissatisfaction with the relationship and decision about the person in your life.” Subconsciously, your feelings might be shifting, and you end up arguing way more than you usually would. You may also start interacting half-heartedly with your partner. “You find yourself walking through the motions of being a partner,” explains relationship expert Susan Winter. “Dialogue with your mate is on autopilot, and you're not really paying attention to anything they're saying. Mentally, you've checked out.”
Another thing to look out for are any signs of distance — both physical and emotional. “You will begin to withdraw emotionally and physically from the relationship,” Silva warns. “You will begin to limit your time with them, provide excuses for plans you had, not discuss your feelings about things they used to easily express, and begin to withdraw from sex.” If you aren’t regularly feeling excited or happy to be around your partner, this might mean you're not feeling as strongly about them as you once were. Even if you both need time apart regularly (which is completely normal and healthy!), you should look forward to the moments you spend together. If you find yourself bored or uncomfortable in their presence, it might mean the love is fading.
Silva explains that when your time together feels like a chore, that’s a bad sign. “The idea of making time for your partner has become a job, rather than an exciting adventure,” she explains. “You no longer look forward to seeing them, and find yourself doing so out of routine and empathy."
Sometimes, falling out of love means it’s time to end the relationship. And if this is your case, you shouldn’t feel any shame about it — not every couple is meant to be, and it’s OK to follow your heart and do what is best for yourself in the long run. Often, the kindest thing you can do is end a relationship when it isn’t the right fit.
In other cases, though, your relationship might be worth saving. And thankfully, this is totally possible if you’re committed to working through your emotions. Dig deep to figure out what is causing this change of heart. “Exploring what is underlying the issue of falling out of love with your partner can help restore the relationship,” Silva explains. “In some cases, the issue has to with either your insecurity, past relationship hurt, or trust. If you find that you can work through these issues, then the relationship can work.” Your feelings might have nothing to do with your partner — instead, they may stem from somewhere further in your past. In this case, couples' therapy can be an invaluable tool in helping you discover where your scars come from and how you can begin to heal together.
If you’re sure you want this relationship to last, and you’ve made the commitment to work on it, it’s time to talk to your partner in a loving and empathetic way. “Open communication with your partner allows you to explore and address issues that hurt you and the relationship,” Silva advises. Tell your partner that you care deeply about them and want to feel more connected in your relationship. Whether the two of you address it on your own or with a professional, you’ll grow closer just by being honest about your feelings and your needs.
Work together to find creative ways to bring the fun and romance back into your relationship. Spending more time kissing, going on dates, and just sharing your highs and lows can revive a stale partnership and remind you both why you got together in the first place. With hard work and commitment, you can start feeling the love again and share your lives more happily than ever.