5 Warning Signs Your Partner Is Falling Out of Love With You
Therapists recommend addressing these red flags if you notice them in your relationship.
Being in love is truly a magical feeling—and in a long-term relationship, that deep connection is integral to your partnership. But as time goes on, sometimes love can fade—even when we don't want it to. If you feel your partner pulling away, there are a few key warning signs that they're actually falling out of love, therapists say.
"When we first meet someone, our brains are filled with feel-good chemicals that can sometimes trick us into thinking we are in love with someone when really we're 'in lust,'" Beth Ribarsky, PhD, professor in interpersonal communication at the University of Illinois Springfield, tells Best Life. "As those chemicals wane through the course of a relationship, someone may feel less in love."
Courtney Hubscher, MS, licensed mental health counselor and therapist at GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, Florida, says there's a whole host of reasons why this may happen, whether you and your partner grow apart, shift priorities, or have a change in interest or values.
However, according to Ribarsky, "It may not mean they no longer love you, but perhaps they're no longer 'in love' with you."
With this in mind, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for in your relationship. Read on for five warning signs that your partner is falling out of love with you—and ways therapists say you can reconnect.
They're no longer interested in being intimate.
Across the board, psychologists said that if your partner changes their attitude toward physical intimacy, it should send up red flags.
"Sexual intimacy waxes and wanes during most relationships, but a slow or sudden shift in sexual desire often signals a lack of romantic love," clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD, says. "Although other factors—such as physical illness and stress—can reduce the desire for sexual intimacy, it's important to watch for patterns of disinterest."
Ribarsky points to this as well, noting that you should rule out other potential stressors before jumping to conclusions. "Perhaps your partner is very stressed about work—this might make them less focused on physical intimacy as well as less communicative in general."
There's decreased communication.
If your partner is talking to you less, giving you one-word answers, or is just not interested in your day-to-day, they may also be falling out of love.
"Although it's common for couples to go through phases of disinterest due to life stress and burnout, it's a major red flag when a partner is chronically disinterested in your thoughts, feelings, and activities," Manly says.
Randi Levin, transitional life strategist and founder of Randi Levin Coaching, explains that this also happens when your partner believes they "already know" how you'll react based on past conversations.
"Assumptions destroy relationships because communication is skewed to what one believes is happening or potentially going to happen, rather than what is actually occurring," Levin explains. "That missed beat changes the dynamic and dilutes communication and understanding."
But again, you need to consider whether your partner is actually less interested in you and your happiness—or if other something else is causing them to pull away.
"The key is to talk about such observations and open up the possibility to address any dissatisfaction in the relationship and/or provide an opportunity to support your partner in their stressors," Ribarsky explains.
They don't talk about the future.
When you and your partner are in love, you're likely thinking about what the days, weeks, months, and years ahead will look like. So if this is no longer top of mind for your partner, it's cause for concern, according to Levin.
"If a couple stops discussing or making big purchases such as homes, cars, or furniture, or planning anticipated changes, this is a red flag that the relationship is stalling and becoming stale," Levin says. "Decisions that were once discussed as a team may currently be made solo, and this may cause an imbalance in the relationship, especially about money."
On the flip side, according to licensed psychologist David Tzall, PsyD, your partner may still be making plans for the future—but it's problematic if they don't see you in the picture.
"This could be for several reasons outside of the relationship," Tzall says. "They may be dealing with personal issues that are affecting their ability to make plans. They may assume that you're not interested in the plans they're making, and therefore don't see a need to involve you."
"If you want to be involved more, find plans that fit for both of you," Tzall advises. "Communicate to them how important it is to you and that you want to be included."
They're always picking a fight.
Regular arguments are typically a sign of trouble in paradise, but if your partner is constantly starting a fight, it might be an effort to communicate their true feelings.
"Chronic arguing and fault-finding can be signs that a partner is falling out of love," Manly says. "Especially when a partner's behavior marks a continual or dramatic shift from previous dynamics, it's important to pay attention to these signs that love might be fading away."
"Fighting, sarcasm, and criticism are toxic for healthy relationships," Manly adds. "Although healthy partners disagree with each other, they don't engage in toxic fighting dynamics."
Ribarsky says if your partner is falling out of love, you might also notice that every conversation ends in a disagreement, or you may simply feel like your partner doesn't listen to you.
Again, communication is key here. "If your partner is getting irritable or angry more often, try to find out what's causing their behavior," Tzall explains. "Encourage them to share their feelings with you and offer your support. If they are irritable about something in the relationship, it is best to share it so it can be addressed and not ignored so resentment grows between you two."
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They don't want to spend time with you.
One of the best parts of being in a relationship is having someone to spend time with and enjoy the little things in life. So, if your partner doesn't want to do this with you, something's not right.
"Reduced interest in connective activities—quality time together—is an important signal that a partner might be falling out of love," Manly says. "Ideally, both partners look forward to enjoying a variety of activities together such as hobbies, exercising, cooking, or traveling."
Decreased quality time is also on Ribarsky's list of signs, but she notes that if your partner is falling out of love, they might also work longer hours or choose to spend time with their friends instead of you.
However, this doesn't always mean something's amiss. "Perhaps they just need another outlet—separate interests and friends are completely healthy in a relationship!" says Ribarsky. "Or, maybe they're working a few extra hours to save up for a surprise for you."
If you think the issue is external, Manly suggests scheduling time with your partner "where you can ignite and foster light-hearted time together."
Even if you notice these warning signs, you don't need to give up on your relationship.
Even if your partner is exhibiting some of these signs, Ribarsky says you shouldn't just "throw in the towel."
"All relationships ebb and flow through their ups and downs," she notes. "However, if you're seeing these signs, it does mean that it is time to talk with your partner. Too often, couples try to overlook an issue, hoping it goes away or the relationship miraculously gets better. But, more often than not, this leads to underlying resentment and the issue never gets solved."
Hubscher adds that in order to reconnect, you need to take the initiative and address it with your partner.
"If you are concerned that your partner may be falling out of love with you, having an open dialogue about the issue can be a great first step towards strengthening your bond," Hubscher says. "By recognizing the signs early on, couples have an opportunity to work together in order to foster a healthy and loving relationship."