If partners do not want to spend time together, share emotions and have sex, perhaps one of them has fallen out of love with the other. It can be difficult and scary to realize this, but to tell a loved one about it is even scarier. Together with psychologist Iona Gusachenko, we figure out how love disappears, how to reflect on our experiences and whether it is possible to try to fall in love with a partner again.
There may be a feeling of emptiness, frustration, as well as irritation or even anger at your partner. When love ends, the idealization of a partner also ends. Love could smooth out conflicting moments or help find compromises. Without it, going towards each other becomes more difficult. We have to agree not so much on a sensual level as on an intellectual one.
In addition, when a person stops experiencing love, he can be scared and anxious. He may be tormented by questions about the future of relationships: “What next?”, “What should we do?” He may worry that he must make a decision that will affect the couple.
How our behavior changes when we no longer love
We begin to avoid emotional intimacy. It becomes difficult to open up to a partner, share experiences with him, gain joint experience. But there may be a desire to share experiences and gain experience with other people.
We want less physical contact. I don’t want to hug and kiss a partner, sleep with him in the same bed, be together in the same room or even an apartment. There may be a desire to leave home, to interact less with a partner.
We rarely have sex. When the feelings pass, people may have less sex or not want it at all. However, there are many reasons why you do not want to have sex , it’s not always about love. For example, after years of relationship, sex may occur less frequently than at the beginning of the relationship. This is a normal situation, and if it bothers you, then you can contact a sexologist.
We get irritated by the usual things . Rituals and traditions, like going to the theater or movies on the weekends, can get annoying. I want to ignore them or completely stop participating in them.
We focus on the weaknesses of the partner. What once seemed insignificant can become unbearable.
How to deal with your feelings for your partner
If you are in doubt whether you love your partner or not, then first determine what love means to you. Think about how you feel when you love someone, what you do with it, how you show your feelings. You can say it to yourself, write or draw.
Then try to understand how you feel about your partner. Reflect and fix what emotions and feelings he evokes in you, how you are now behaving with him, how you show your feelings.
Match your ideas of love with what you feel for your partner. It may turn out that these are the very feelings that you define as love, it’s just that now it’s difficult for you to show them. Or it turns out that there is no love, but there are other strong feelings, such as respect or strong affection. And in this case, you can just think about how to rethink the relationship.
How to tell your partner that feelings have changed
When love disappears, a person can experience complex emotions, worry and even be angry with a partner. Therefore, there is a danger of simply “throwing” your feelings into your partner and waiting for him to deal with them. It is unlikely that such a conversation will help to understand each other.
Instead, it’s better to tell your partner what exactly has changed in your experiences and how you would like to feel: “I notice that it’s not the same as before”, “Now I feel differently”, “My love for you is not so bright, like at the beginning.” Again, you can talk about how you imagine love and what it means to you. If you want to save the relationship, offer options on how you would like to improve the situation, ask your partner to do something for you. And also find out how he feels: “It is important for me to share with you and hear what you think”, “Do you notice changes in our relationship?”, “What do you feel for me yourself?”
Is the end of love always the end of a relationship?
It depends on each particular couple. For some, this will be a temporary difficulty, and for someone, the finale of the relationship.
Remember that relationships are not only based on love. Determine what other basics your couple has and why you feel good together. For example, you can be connected and brought together by shared rituals, shared values, emotional support, and a desire to take care of each other.
If you want to stay close to a person, you can try to “rebuild” the relationship. You can awaken new feelings through joint activities. For example, go on a trip where you will do something new and interesting together. It could be a multi-day hike or a surf camp. You can also go through long-term joint training in some applied skills: medical care, cooking, sports or self-defense. Such activities make it possible to spend time together, see a partner in a new quality, and even fall in love with each other again.
Another option is to arrange an experiment and briefly switch roles and responsibilities. For example, if before that one partner always organized leisure activities or cooked, now the other will do it. Or if one person has always taken the initiative, now only the second partner will try to do it. This will allow you to understand what each of you is doing for the relationship, appreciate each other’s contributions, and figure out how you can change the distribution of roles so that everyone is more comfortable.