Falling in love is one of the most incredible experiences, and it often takes you by surprise. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever known, but flash forward a few years (or a few months!) into the relationship and the joy and laughter seem dulled somehow. The problem? You’re falling out of love. It can sneak up on just as quietly as falling in love did in the beginning. How can you tell if your romance is coming to an end? If you’re noticing any number of these signs, your relationship is likely over and it’s time to call it quits.
- Talk of the future fades away. At first, all you can talk about is your future together. You talk about your wedding, where you’ll live, what you’ll name your kids, and how you’ll spend retirement together. How often has the future come up lately? Do you find yourself avoiding the topic? It’s a clear indicator that your heart isn’t in it anymore.
- It’s painful being around other couples. Seeing other couples being so sickeningly happy is like a slap in the face. The two of you were once like that, right? You start to question whether you’re as happy as you should be together. You find yourself avoiding other couples because it’s just too painful. It hurts because you know it’s already over.
- You say “I love you” less. Trying to force the words doesn’t really work. The less you feel them, the less you say them. You might find yourself smiling and changing the subject when he says he loves you. It’s probably one of the more noticeable signs, especially for the other person. Even if you do say it often, pay attention to how you feel when you say it. If it doesn’t feel right, then you’re falling out of love.
- Communication is less frequent. Did you use to talk every day about your jobs, friends, hobbies, etc? Does it seem like TV is far more interesting than conversation? If you don’t live together, do you find yourself texting or calling less? You start to naturally avoid conversation as the love fades. It’s a natural instinct to prepare yourself for the impending breakup.
- The relationship is just another routine. You get up, get ready, kiss him goodbye, come home, eat dinner together, watch TV and fall asleep in the same position as every other night. Wash, rinse, repeat. You see the relationship as just another daily routine. There’s nothing to look forward to. You might think you’re just too comfortable, but the problem could be you don’t really love him anymore and find the relationship dull and boring. Love isn’t routine and it shouldn’t feel that way.
- You’d rather avoid intimacy. If intimacy happens at all, you try to make it as quick as possible. Even small things like snuggling on the couch or a quick kiss goodbye seem like you’re being smothered. Intimate moments are usually reserved for people in love. That’s what makes them special. If the love is dying, intimacy just feels wrong to you.
- You nitpick everything. Your guy probably seemed perfect in the beginning. Sure, you started noticing his flaws over time, but you loved him even more for them. Now, every little thing gets on your nerves. You can’t stand how he wears his hair or that weird sound he makes when laughs too hard. And why can’t he manage to sit down easier? Yes, you get annoyed by everything he does and you’re not afraid to let him know. The love is long gone and you’re well on your way to pushing him out of your life.
- Hearing “I love you” makes you uncomfortable. You probably feel a little guilty or uncomfortable when he tells you he loves you. Why? You don’t really feel the same. The worse you feel when he says it, the more obvious it is the love you once felt is fading away.
- You see yourself with someone else. It’s one thing to fantasize, but another to always see yourself with another guy. The majority of your thoughts shouldn’t be of another man when you’re in a relationship. Take this as a sign that you’re no longer in love with your current guy. Respect him and let him go. Your mind and heart have already moved on.
- It’s exhausting to be together. Relationships take work, but if it’s becoming exhausting just to stay together, it might be time to call it quits. Love helps give you the energy to work through the bad times. If everything feels forced and you don’t have that driving force to help boost you, you are going to feel exhausted every time the two of you are together. Give yourself a break and admit you’ve fallen out of love.
- You’re interested in anything but him. Your friends, hobbies, family, pets or that incredible new chocolate-covered fruit you just found are all far more interesting than him. You daydream about other things when he’s around and always seem to have plans when you should be with him. Why isn’t he all that interesting anymore? You simply don’t care anymore.
- Trust is a thing of the past. As you fall out of love, you might stop trusting him as well. After all, you feel like you’re lying to him by staying. If you no longer trust him, the love is dying too. It’s time to find someone you do trust.
- You see him as more of a friend. Even if you don’t love him anymore, you might still care about him as a friend. You’ll find yourself treating him like a friend instead of a boyfriend. You’d rather hang out and talk than slip between the sheets and cuddle afterward. The relationship is over, but you’re hoping to save the friendship.
- You don’t care about fixing problems. Odds are, you’ve noticed the increasing number of problems in the relationship. When the love fades, the problems multiply. He might want to try to fix things, but you’re not interested. You couldn’t care less what happens. In fact, you’d be happier if things just fell apart. It’d save you the trouble of breaking up with him.
- Your ideal future doesn’t include him. Once upon a time, your future was his and vice versa. Now, he doesn’t even make a guest appearance in your ideal future. You see yourself living your dreams, but he’s nowhere to be seen. If you were in love, you’d find a place for him. Since there’s no love, you’ve already removed him from your future.
- You have a long list of excuses for staying with him. You’re not staying with him because you love him, but maybe because you can’t afford to move out on your own or you have kids together. Whatever the reason, it’s easier to stay in a bad situation than it is to leave, and that’s not good.
- You notice you always hurt his feelings. You don’t mean to, but you’re always hurting him. Maybe he said he loved you and you just hugged him. Perhaps he made special plans and you canceled to be with your friends. You care less and less about his needs and as a result, you hurt him. You see the signs. Use that as a sign you don’t love him anymore.
What to do when you think your relationship is over
If you relate to any of the above signs but you’re not willing to accept the fact that your relationship is over, there may be a few things you can do to get back on the right track. Of course, it should go without saying that your partner will need to be on the same page and be just as committed to you to making things work. If they’re not, you’re better off cutting your losses now and walking away. Assuming they want to fix things as much as you do, here are a few things you can try.
- Focus on the positives. Think about all the wonderful qualities your partner has and the great memories you share together. What are the traits they have that made you fall for them in the first place? Do they make you laugh? Are they incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable about a particular topic that you find attractive? Whatever it is, remind yourself that they still have most if not all of those same qualities that you once went nuts for. When you shift your mindset in this way, it’s easier to begin to work through issues because you know there’s something to work for. “If you like that they’re adventurous, keep sharing new activities,” suggests neuropsychologist and life coach Sydney Ceruto, Ph.D. “If you enjoy their playfulness in your communication, encourage bantering and the sharing of new ideas. If you value that they’re warm and affectionate, make sure to connect with them each day, rather than getting caught up in other quotidian things.
- Take a break from fighting. If there are certain issues you just can’t seem to see eye to eye on and that always erupt into a huge fight, learn to take a break. When things start heating up, that’s the perfect time to take a deep breath and perhaps some space from your partner and the conversation so you can cool off. When you come back to the conversation, try to approach it from a more productive and objective place and see if you can find a middle ground.
- Engage in intimacy. Sex doesn’t solve everything by any means, but sharing physical intimacy with your partner can give you a way to wordlessly connect on a deeper level in a way that maybe you haven’t recently. The feel-good hormones that are released when we’re physically close to someone we love can flood our senses, leaving us feeling refreshed, positive, and much more open.
- Consider seeking couples therapy. There’s no shame in admitting that you just can’t fix everything on your own sometimes. Seeking help from a licensed relationship therapist can not only give you coping and communication skills that you perhaps lack as a couple, but it can also provide you both with an unbiased sounding board that gives you a new perspective on some of the issues you just can’t seem to see past. On the opposite end of the spectrum, your success or lack thereof in couples therapy may make you realize that your relationship has truly run its course, and that’s okay too. You’ll be able to move on with a clear head and heart knowing that you gave it your all.
As author and dating expert Mel Robbins says: “Even though heartbreak is painful, the pain of regret and time wasted can be worse. You are worthy of an awesome, supportive, and loving relationship, so get to work on loving yourself first.” Your relationship may be over, but that doesn’t mean your life is over.