Your love relationship isn’t what it used to be.
The spark between the two of you has faded, and you wonder if it was ever really there. You look at him or her and realize that, at the moment, you have zero interest in intimacy. It’s like you’re dead down there. And you don’t even mind.
What happened? What has changed since the days when you could hardly wait to be back in the same space together?
You think you might be falling out of love with your spouse or partner.
Not too long ago, you thought that could never happen to you two. Now, you’re honestly thinking that separate vacations aren’t such a bad idea after all.
But does it have to be this way?
And is there a way to reclaim what you had — or even make your love relationship better than ever?
Why do people fall out of love?
The main reason? Because we’re human, and we fall in and out of love throughout a relationship.
No one can maintain an emotional high all the time, anyway. We tend to experience emotional highs and lows in cycles. Every relationship is a roller-coaster ride.
Of course, there are other, more specific reasons why you might fall out of love with your spouse or partner:
- He or she failed to support you or “have your back” in a meaningful way.
- He or she treats you like one of your kids rather than as a spouse or partner.
- He or she is always complaining and seems to feel trapped by your marriage/relationship.
- He or she has been abusive — physically or emotionally (or both).
- He or she pays more attention to work, a hobby, or to your kids than to you.
- Your spouse/partner expects everything to go his/her way — because “I’m the head of this family,” or “I’m the reason we have a roof over our heads.”
- You and your spouse have different beliefs about religion or spirituality.
Now, let’s talk about seven tell-tale signs that you’ve fallen out of love with your spouse or partner.
7 Signs You May Be Falling Out of Love
1. You feel nothing/numb in response to the other's romantic gestures.
You don’t want to feel cold toward your partner, but you feel nothing in response to his or her romantic gestures other than, at best, a modest degree of appreciation or, at worst, irritation.
You’re not angry (at least not overtly), but neither do you feel even the slightest degree of romantic interest or closeness.
You might even feel guilty about the fact that you can’t feel anything for this person who may have gone out of his or her way lately to express continuing devotion and romantic interest. You can appreciate the effort your spouse is making to reignite the passion (or pretend it never went out), but you can’t reciprocate.
Or maybe your spouse or partner has shown little or no romantic interest in you, and you’ve grown tired of trying to rekindle what apparently doesn’t exist.
If you ever had a connection with this person, it’s difficult to perceive it now.
2. Your humor no longer matches that of your spouse/partner.
What used to make you laugh now makes you either roll your eyes or fight the impulse to do so. And what was once a refreshing difference from your accustomed humor now sounds banal or juvenile — or too arrogant or sarcastic.
If your spouse is usually the one who made you laugh, the element of surprise might be gone, now, and you might prefer your own style of humor.
Maybe it bothers you that she doesn’t “get” your humor.
Or maybe he keeps trying to make you laugh, but his comedy material has gone down in quality. You’ve already heard his best stuff, and instead of coming up with something new and surprising, he keeps recycling old jokes and gaffes and expecting the same reaction.
And the harder your partner tries, the harder he or she fails. You can’t even fake laugh, anymore. You just want it to stop.
3. You find it easier to argue and play devil’s advocate.
When you feel less defined by someone’s feelings toward you than by your own reawakening sense of self, you’re more likely to challenge them — verbally or otherwise.
And it’s easier to pick up on flaws in the other's reasoning when your judgment is no longer clouded by passion.
You might even be looking for excuses to clash — as if you’re trying to make up for being so blind before to the other’s defective reasoning or manipulative behavior.
In any case, few triumphs are as exhilarating as winning an argument — especially when your opponent has used his or her flawed reasoning against you in some way. When you’re no longer afraid to call him out for his defective logic and counter it with sound reasoning, you reclaim your self-respect.
And the more practice you get with your spouse or partner, the better able you are to address similar reasoning in others.
The downside? It’s hard to be in love with someone who uses flawed reasoning against you. And if your spouse finds it difficult to be in love with someone who’s challenging him on a regular basis, the passion in your relationship is probably doomed.
4. You prefer your own company to that of your spouse/partner.
Whereas before you looked forward to spending time with your spouse or partner, now — given a choice — you’d rather do your own thing. And you’d rather do it alone, thanks. Or maybe you’d rather spend time with someone else, like a sympathetic family member or friend.
This could be because you feel dragged down (or emotionally under attack) by your spouse or partner. You’re tired of their constant complaints about one thing or another.
Or whenever you see her, she looks downcast and gives you an expectant look, waiting for you to notice the dramatic sigh and ask her, “What’s wrong?” or “What can I do?”
She may tell you that you’re her “rock,” but she's leaning so hard, your own balance is off.
Or maybe you’re bracing for criticism. You haven’t taken out the garbage yet or cleaned up the kitchen or brewed a fresh pot of coffee, and you just know your spouse/partner is going to punish you for it in some way.
We can only take so much negativity, anyway. It’s exhausting. If you’re expecting your loved one to be your “place of rest,” and he or she is the opposite of that, it’s no wonder you prefer your own company (or someone else’s).
5. You no longer feel an obligation to do some of the things you used to do for your spouse/partner.
You once felt it was your duty to prepare your partner's lunch or ensure there was plenty of your spouse’s favorite food in the fridge. You now feel ambivalence about whether or not your spouse/partner has everything just the way he or she likes it.
You might also feel that your spouse/partner takes your thoughtful actions for granted — as if you're a personal servant. Letting go of those duties or “small acts of devotion” is a way to reclaim your independence.
You might also cease and desist with these actions so you can better serve your own needs that you feel your spouse has neglected.
As much as you want harmony in your home, you’re no one’s doormat, and you want your spouse/partner to know that. You’re not his (or her) genie or domestic servant.
If this small rebellion has been a long time in coming, you can’t even look at your spouse/partner without feeling looked down upon.
Every apology comes with an “if” or a “but.” Every kind word carries an edge of condescension (along with the implied expectation of a reward).
It goes without saying that you've fallen out of love and are unlikely to want to fall back into it.
6. You're less likely to let your spouse get his/her way all the time.
And you don't let him or her speak for or make decisions for you.
Now that you’re reasserting your independence from your spouse/partner, you’re more likely to advocate for your own perspective on a problem or conflict you share.
You’re also less likely to let the other decide for both of you what to do or how to move forward or solve a problem. You have thoughts and feelings of your own, and you’re now more likely to insist your thoughts are considered along with those of your spouse/partner.
If the other tries to dominate you or speak for you (or over you), you’re also more likely to fight for what you want — even if that means breaking off the relationship and moving beyond the reach of your spouse/partner.
Sometimes, the price of harmony is too high.
7. You wonder if you'll ever feel strongly attracted to your spouse/partner again.
You might even wonder if you ever did.
Your sexual or romantic interest may depend entirely on whether or not you feel a deep personal connection with your spouse/partner.
So, if you can’t “reactivate” this connection or take it to a deeper level, you’ll find it impossible to feel romantic or sexual interest.
If you identify as demi (or demisexual), you feel sexual attraction only toward someone with whom you have a strong emotional bond.
If something dissolves that bond, the attraction disappears with it. And rebuilding a bond like that isn’t easy.
But regardless of your orientation, if physical intimacy is an extension of your emotional or spiritual intimacy, then being physically intimate without that connection feels wrong and even repugnant to you — even if you once enjoyed it.
It was your deep connection that made your spouse/partner attractive to you in the first place. Without that connection, you feel nothing.
How to Fall Back in Love
Can people fall back in love? And is it always best to try?
In order to take your love relationship from “blah” to beautiful again, you need the following:
- First, you have to want to fall back in love.
- Then you need to realize that love is what you give — not what you get.
- And you need to learn and speak your spouse’s/partner’s love language.
This works best if both of you meet all three conditions. If it’s all one-sided, chances are the passion will stay dead, and you may just go your separate ways.
If you have kids, you might be hanging on for their sake — thinking you owe it to them to do everything you can to “make it work.” They may be the only reason you’re not looking into a legal separation or a divorce.
Maybe part of you is secretly hoping the other one suggests it first.
It’s normal, though, to want things to get better and to tell yourself (and others) that they are — even if you haven’t seen any real changes in a positive direction. Maybe you get along better than before, but you might as well be polite strangers living in the same house.
You don’t see each other that often, but when you do, you sort of smile and tolerate each other. And you still make sure the coffee maker is ready to go before you call it a night.
But you want your love relationship to be more than this.
Most couples who are experiencing problems wait until it's too late before they seek help. If you even have just a hint that your relationship isn't what it used to be (or what you want it to be), take action now before either of you falls completely out of love.
Find a marriage or relationship therapist who can help you identify what is putting a wedge between the two of you and show you how to mend the rift and find closeness and connection again.
Are you falling out of love?
Whatever signs and reasons resonate most with you, falling out of love doesn’t make you a failure at love. Falling out of love happens to everyone in a love relationship. For some of us it’s a temporary but painful test to seek out a more deeply rooted love for each other.
Even in the best love relationships, the passion isn’t running high all the time. But when it cools, it doesn’t take much stoking to get the sparks flying again.
For some of us, though, falling out of love is a sign of a deeper problem: a broken emotional bond or damaged trust. It could also be because you’re now seeing the red flags in your relationship without the honeymoon haze.
Whatever the case, whether you fall back in love with each other or not depends on both of you. And you both have to want it.
If you’re both willing to do what it takes to rekindle the passion, passion is what you’ll get. Because that’s what you’ll be putting into it. If one or both of you wants out, though, you can still treat each other with love and respect.
Whatever you decide, be honest, be brave, and be kind.
And may your love and compassion influence everything you do today.