7 subtle signs you’ve fallen out of love, according to psychology

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Have you been wondering if maybe your relationship isn’t working anymore? Are you unsure if you truly love your partner anymore?

There can be many reasons for this, but psychologists have found different signs that can help you confirm if you have fallen out of love, or are just in a bit of a relationship rut.

Read on to find out about 7 of these that may be more subtle than you think.

1) Little things they do annoy you

Have you begun to get annoyed at every little thing your partner does? Perhaps some of their habits that you used to think were cute and quirky just make you feel icky and embarrassed now. 

This could be a sign that you have fallen out of love.

According to psychologist John Gottman, when we are in love we often overlook our partner’s flaws. We may even embrace them. But if we fall out of love we suddenly notice all these things and do not give them the leeway we previously gave.

I remember before breaking up with an ex, everything he did began to annoy me. Even the way he walked around the house. I used to love the way he was silly and funny, but suddenly I thought that he was embarrassing to be around. 

2) Emotional distance

Once our partner begins to annoy us, we often begin to distance ourselves emotionally. We can’t explain to them that the way they chew their food makes us want to leave the room, because it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud.

Women often distance themselves more before breaking up with a partner because they are trying to figure things out in their heads first. As they slowly fall out of love, they detach more and more.

For a healthy relationship, both people need to be open and honest with their feelings and emotions. This shows trust and helps to build intimacy. If you’re beginning to pull away in this area, it could be a sign that you are falling out of love.

In the triangular theory of love, emotional intimacy is one of the three core components of a long-lasting relationship. The research says that the amount of love felt depends on the strength of each of the three components. So when one is lost, the others become weaker also.

3) Lack of future planning

You might not have thought about this deliberately. Perhaps you’re only just realizing now that you’ve planned a trip with the girls and not your partner and you’re a lot more excited about that.

Perhaps you’ve seen a job out of town and you’re considering it even though your partner might not be able to join you.

If you begin to think independently instead of as a team then there might be a problem. 

Gottman talks again about how happy couples have common goals and life visions. And when couples begin to stop planning together it can indicate emotional detachment and often the end of a relationship.

4) Affection feels forced

Do you feel like it’s a chore to give your partner a hug or a kiss now? Does it almost just feel robotic, like something you’re meant to do? But you don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling anymore?

Once affection feels forced it’s hard to be intimate or open with your partner. It could be a sign that you are not as into your relationship as you were at the start.

The Art of Loving explains how forced affection creates a disconnect between a couple. And that often if one person is feeling un-affectionate, the other might be trying to get more affection, thereby pushing the other person away more.

All in all, if you haven’t wanted to be affectionate or intimate with your partner for some time, you might need to think about whether this is the right relationship for you.

5) You feel better when away from your partner

Have you been going out with your friends or family, or even just alone and having a better time than when you’re with your partner? 

I remember a time when I knew it was the end because I was more happy when I was alone than when my now ex and I were together. This was one of the biggest signs for me that I had fallen out of love with him.

Dr John Gottman mentions his work on attachment theory in this study also. He says that happy couples have a strong affectionate bond, meaning they miss each other when they are apart, and that when they reunite there is a longing and loving feeling that sparks inside them.

If you feel happier on your own or with others and not when you’re back with your partner. This is a sign that things are fading. Maybe you’re even avoiding seeing them as often as before. Unfortunately, this isn’t a sustainable practice in a relationship and this is when you need to decide what to do next.

6) Communication decline

If you’ve read through the other points and thought, “Yes that’s me”, you’ll likely also have noticed a decline in communication. 

Perhaps you used to come home after work each evening and talk about your day, but now you don’t. Maybe you’d rather play a game, go to the gym, or do anything else that means you don’t have to discuss life.

Remember when you first started dating and you couldn’t stop talking to each other? How has that changed? 

7) Fantasizing about freedom or other people

I know this point might seem less subtle than the others, but it’s also a sign you may have fallen out of love with your partner.

Usually, when we fantasize about others or think we’re interested in them it’s just a way to keep us distracted from our real feelings of unhappiness in a relationship.

If we look again at the triangular theory of love, Robert Sternberg talks about how when our passion fades our imagination strays. If we let it stray too far ultimately we often do it ourselves. 

So if you find yourself in this situation, have a good hard think about what it might mean and what you think you want. You may have just fallen out of love.

If you’re not ready to give up just yet, why not consider counseling for couples? It has saved many a long-term relationship!

Louisa Lopez

Louisa is writer, wellbeing coach, and world traveler, with a Masters in Social Anthropology. She is fascinated by people, psychology, spirituality and exploring psychedelics for personal growth and healing. She’s passionate about helping people and has been giving empowering advice professionally for over 10 years using the tarot. Louisa loves magical adventures and can often be found on a remote jungle island with her dogs. You can connect with her on Twitter: @StormJewel

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