It’s one thing to shift from the honeymoon phase of a new, hot fling to a more realistic and stable time when your partner’s annoying idiosyncrasies start to manifest and bug you. It’s another when you’re actively dodging the calls of the person you once thought to be your soul mate.
To help clear up what the heck is going on, relationship therapist and author Jane Greer, PhD, points out a few signs you can look for to know if you’re actually falling out of love (and not just going through a season-three rut).
Find 8 expert-sanctioned signs below that you’re falling out of love with your partner.
1. Little things that were once a turn-on no longer are
Maybe when you first met them, you thought that the way they incorrectly pronounced “library” or their perpetually untied sneakers were super-cute. Now? Not so much. The triggering things can be such mannerisms, personal-style hallmarks, or something else entirely, says Dr. Greer.
2. You find them boring
You now have a hard time listening to them when they speak—and this isn’t just a case of misophonia. You simply get aggravated by the sound of them, well, existing. “They get on your nerves, and you can’t stand the way they breathe or the way they talk,” Dr. Greer says. “These small, silly things are becoming a real turnoff.”
3. Instead of finding them funny, you now see them as weak, insecure, or needy
Humor is such an integral part of the courting process. If you spent the honeymoon phase of your relationship fake-laughing at their “jokes,” that practice is now catching up with you. And, even if you earnestly did once find this person funny, now the vibe is much more “cringe” than “cackle.”
4. To avoid them, you spend time with others and then feel guilty about it
While spending time with people other than your partner is totally healthy, it borders on problematic when you start overbooking your schedule with alternate social engagements that allow you to essentially ditch your significant other. Maybe this practice makes you feel guilty—because you’re a human being with emotions, after all—but the alternative is actually hanging around your partner, which also makes you feel not great. All I have to say about this? Yikes.
5. You fantasize about meeting someone new
You’re not really micro cheating if you have the occasional daydream about starting a new life in Ibiza with your hot barista, nor are you necessarily falling out of love. Rather, the problem is when a new person (or the fantasy of a new person) lures you away—mentally, physically, emotionally—from your current relationship. Basically, if Devon from marketing is taking center stage in your mind in the middle of date night, you might already have one foot out the door.
6. You resent them
Not much to explain there—it’s pretty obvious and pretty obviously bad if you straight-up resent your partner. If, for instance, you start to think you’d be better off not being in a relationship versus being in a relationship, well…you may well be falling out of love, hard.
7. You fight constantly
Every couple has their spats and bickers, and everyone has arguments from time to time. But the essential difference between bickering and fighting is whether or not you play fairly. If you find yourself hurling insults at each other and routinely going for low blows, that is fighting.
8. You don’t feel they pay enough attention to you
Maybe this is the core of your resentment and why you’re falling out of love; maybe it feels like they’re falling out of love with you as well. Especially if this is the case, what remains is a big, looming question: How do you best proceed? Do you break up with your partner, or do you work through your issues?
“This depends on if you’ve lost interest in them,” Dr. Greer says. “In some circumstances, it may be better to just break up, such as if you don’t share common interests or goals for the future. You may not be compatible enough, like if he doesn’t have a good sense of humor or if what he wants is different from what you thought. In these cases, you can just end it.”
However, if you legitimately still believe that this is your person and you have something worth fighting for—like a shared home, a marriage, a family—then it might be time to seek help as a couple. “If you feel like you could still be in love with them but you’re having a disagreement or a conflict that’s causing the problem, then therapy can be helpful,” Dr. Greer says. “Therapy can help you both be more open and receptive to acknowledging a problem and doing something about it…. A therapist can help you navigate the issues, and either work toward repairing your relationship or allow him to see why it’s best to just accept your differences and move on.”
Ultimately, recognizing you’re falling out of love can serve as a helpful crossroads: It might be the thing to help save your partnership, or it may be the blinking sign signifying that it’s time to move on. If it’s the latter, not to worry; not every love is forever…especially since life isn’t a vampire-focused teen drama.
Here’s a thought: Maybe part of the problem is that you and your S.O. aren’t speaking the same love language. Or maybe the problem is that you’re stuck in a karmic relationship. Luckily, we have some tips to figure it out!
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