It was a sweet, sunny day. I was sitting in a cafeteria with two of my friends, drinking a cappuccino and talking about everything and nothing. At one point, we started discussing love, relationships, and dating.
The conversation shifted to long-time couples, how much of an effort it takes to sustain a long-lasting relationship, and how come many people stay with partners they’ve fallen out of love long ago.
Then, one of my friends asked: “How do you know when you’ve fallen out of love?” The other one quickly answered: “Oh, come one. You just feel it.”
I couldn’t disagree more with that sentence. Sometimes it can be tricky to identify your own feelings, especially in relation to another person. For example, just because the honeymoon phase is over doesn’t mean that the love isn’t there; it just takes more effort to keep the spark alive.
Or, you might be going through a phase where you don’t feel excited about your partner not because you’re no longer in love with them but because you’re overwhelmed with stress and anxiety.
What follows are:
- Some signs that can indicate you are falling out of love — that might help you clear your understanding of how you feel about your partner.
- What follows after you realize you’re not in love with your partner anymore.
- What are your options when it comes to that kind of realization.
. . .
#1. You’re Less Interested in Anything That Has to Do With Them
People will usually tell you that wanting to spend less time with your partner probably means that you’re no longer in love with them.
I think that we must go deeper than that. Under certain circumstances, you might be spending less time with your partner and still be in love with them. For example, you might be overwhelmed with work, have to deal with serious problems that require a lot of time, or simply go through a phase where you need more alone time.
So, I would say that a sign that can indicate you’re falling out of love is being less interested in anything that has to do with your partner. That might include having little to no interested in:
- resolving conflicts
- asking about their feelings and inner thoughts
- pleasing them
- making future plans with them
. . .
#2. You Focus More and More on Your Differences
When you first start dating someone, you’re either close your eyes to your differences or simply don’t think about them — even if deep down, they annoy you.
Your mindset looks like this: “I might have a lot of differences with my partner, but we can make our relationship work.”
Once you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, however, you start focusing more and more on your differences. Your mindset slowly turns to: “The differences I have with my partner are too much for us to make our relationship work.”
Suddenly, instead of searching for your similarities you start obsessing over your differences; and you might even feel like these differences are going to suffocate you.
. . .
#3. You’re Shutting Down on Your Partner
I’ve heard many of my friends saying that the only people they felt they could 100% open up to, were their partners.
Indeed, our partners are usually the ones with whom we share everything, want to be completely forthright and honest with, and turn to whenever we are struggling.
However, when a person starts falling out of love, communication and connection dynamics change. You might notice that you’re shutting down on your partner.
You might not feel that comfortable opening up to them anymore.
They won’t be the first person that comes to your mind when you feel sad and want someone to talk to. Or, you might find yourself trying to keep your conversations light and on a surface level rather than reveal your deeper feelings, inner thoughts, and invisible struggles.
. . .
#4. You Start Thinking More Often About Other People
If you’ve been in a relationship with your partner for a long time, it’s natural to think about other people every now and then.
In fact, even having little crushes on people is considered normal and harmless unless acted upon. As psychologist Samantha Rodman states:
However, thinking about other people while you are in a relationship can become a problem when:
- It starts happening more and more often.
- You start comparing these people with your current partner.
- You start fantasizing about a future with them.
- The idea of acting upon your crush is becoming more appealing to you lately.
The above cases can indicate that you’re falling out of/no longer are in love with your partner.
. . .
#5. You No Longer Think About a Common Future
When you’re in love with someone, the idea of a future together is enough to make you happy and excited.
So, what happens when that idea no longer exists?
A huge sign you no longer are in love with your partner is making plans about the future that don’t include them.
Here’s an example of what that looks like: when in the past you loved to make weekend plans, organize future trips, and talked excitedly about your future life with your partner, they suddenly don’t fit into your plans.
Or, the idea of being with this person for years to come might make you feel unhappy and trapped.
. . .
What Comes After?
If you realized that you’re not in love with your partner anymore, the real question is, what do you do next? Should you stay in the relationship, or call it quits?
That’s one of the most difficult questions regarding relationships and one that has no right answer. It all comes down to whether you can see yourself being happy in your relationship, even if you’re not in love with your partner anymore.
There are two crucial things you need to bear in mind before you make a decision:
a) it’s always possible to rekindle the spark in your relationship (if both participants are eager to put in the effort).
b) while passion is important, it’s love, mutual respect, and compassion that create the real foundation for a successful, long-lasting relationship.
. . .
So, What Are My Options?
Whether you’ll stay or not with your partner depends on the kind of person your partner is, and what they can provide you with.
For example, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my partner loving, kind, and compassionate?
- Does my partner fulfill all of my needs?
- Is my partner the only person I feel like I can be 100% myself with?
- Do I share the same mindset, values, and life goals with my partner?
- Does the idea of being with my current partner in the future makes me happy?
If the answer to (most of) the above questions is yes, you might want to think twice before ending your relationship. At the end of the day, you have two options:
- Stay with your partner (if you feel like you still want things to work out with them), and make an effort to rekindle the flame in your relationship. Try to rediscover your partner, reflect on what you love and appreciate about them, and take some actions to reconnect, and refresh your relationship.
- If the idea of being with your current partner makes you feel unhappy and trapped, you have no other option but to end your relationship. Remember, it’s one thing when you’re not in love with someone anymore, but still want a future with them and be willing to work on your relationship, and completely another when the idea of a shared future makes you feel uneasy and unhappy.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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