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Falling Out of Love—and What to Do About It!

In our very active and full lives, it is so easy to get caught up in the daily demands of our work or interests and sacrifice love. With the added challenge of technology addiction, couples can be living more like roommates than lovers. Many struggling couples ask me, "Can you fall out of love?" or tell me that they've fallen out of love.

The truth is, love requires nurturing. No matter how deeply you love someone, if you allow weeds to grow in your relationship, they can crowd out love and choke the life right out of your marriage.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Is this couple falling out of love?

Table of Contents:
How Do You Know If You're Falling Out of Love?
Can You Fall Out of Love?—See What the Science Says!
Signs of Falling Out of Love
Increase Self-Awareness and Self-Reflection
Are Unconscious Habits Draining the Love Out of Your Relationship?

5 LOVE ACTIONS to Be More Mindful and Build a Healthy Relationship
Closing Thoughts

How Do You Know If You're Falling Out of Love?

It doesn't take long for two people in a loving relationship to become distant or "fall out of love." Perhaps, you find yourself making future plans without your partner. Or you don't feel excited anymore when they're returning from a trip or even from work each day. I've heard from some spouses that they actually dread their partner's return and wonder why they're even married.

Sure signs that you're missing the love connection you once had.

However, many couples unrealistically expect romantic love to continue long after the honeymoon phase is over without investing in romance.

It can be disappointing when your partner falls short or the qualities that were once attractive are now annoying. Maybe, you don't feel the same way about your partner. When a couple settles into a routine, matures, and moves through the stages of a relationship, it's natural to feel differently.

But it doesn't mean you've fallen out of love. We need to be intentional when approaching our relationship. There are many seasons to a long-term relationship.

Can You Fall Out of Love?—See What the Science Says!

Let's take a look at the science to answer that question.

Here's the science of what happens in the brain when someone falls out of love. However, the brain responds to how we are framing our relationship. In large part, the chemicals released are dependent on our experiences and perspectives.

So the key to falling in love over and over is to create experiences that continually reignite your love.

Get in the driver's seat fully awake and mindfully nurture your relationship.

By giving love in small doses each day, you'll vitalize—or revitalize—your relationship dramatically. 

A woman turn away from her husband with a sad look on her face wondering if she's falling out of love.

Signs of Falling Out of Love

Are there symptoms to spot when you're falling out of love?

Here are some of the possible signs that I've heard from individuals and couples I've worked with. But I must add a disclaimer: every person and couple are unique and these indicators can be for so many reasons.

  • A partner stops noticing you.
  • Compliments are few or nonexistent, often buried under complaints.
  • Shopping for an upgrade in a partner.
  • Wandering eyes or jealous feelings of other couples.
  • Affection wanes.
  • Criticism replaces appreciation.
  • Talks about how friends' partners are treated better.
  • Stops planning trips and vacations.
  • One or both works more and more.
  • Spends an inordinate amount of time watching television.
  • Makes excuses when you suggest a date night or cancels.
  • The floating comment that you've grown apart or how different you are than when you first met.
  • Stops asking for your opinion.
  • Conversations are short and typically logistical.
  • Uninterested in knowing how each other is.
  • Pretend listening occurs.

As I said before, these signs can also be true if one or both of you are depressed, worried about aging parents, stressed at work, concerned about finances, etc. The challenges in a relationship can make us wonder why relationships have to be so hard.

So, my point? Don't collect data that you've fallen out of love. Roll up your sleeves, identify what's missing, and reignite the spark!

Increase Self-Awareness and Self-Reflection 

It might be a great time for self-reflection if you're wondering where the love fires have gone. Don't automatically assume you're falling out of love. If you're saying to yourself, "I'm just not in love anymore," or "It feels like I'm falling out of love," it's time to take a deeper look. 

What if you asked yourself instead, "How have I allowed the love fires to be dampened by careless words and actions?"

Perhaps, you are defensive every time they ask for something from you.

Love is saying I feel different instead of you're wrong.Or maybe your attention is only on what is wrong that you neglect all the wonderful qualities of your partner. Try putting your partner and your relationship in a positive light. Spotlight the good.

Because of the day-in and day-out, we are continually juggling roles in our lives, and we can slip into autopilot in ways that slowly eat away at the loving feelings we once felt. It doesn't mean that we've fallen out of love or that we don't love our partner.

Another reason I find couples feel resentful or disconnected in the relationship is because individual needs are not being met. If you haven't taken care of your well-being and your needs are competing with your partners, it can create distance.

This dilemma is more common than you may think. If we put ourselves last, lack of self-care will muffle love for others because we aren't loving ourselves. And if we've stuffed our anger or sadness, it can create emotional distance from our partner. 

Often, we're lost in a relationship because we have lost connection to ourselves. Taking some time for self-reflection and bringing your best self to the relationship will lend itself to greater clarity and wiser action.

Related reading: "If You Want a Successful Marriage, Increase Self-Mastery."

Are Unconscious Habits Draining the Love Out of Your Relationship?

Any routine actions become a habit and are automated by the brain because it's efficient—even if the habit has a negative effect on our lives. Making sarcastic comments can become automatic. It can be a habit to nag your spouse for things they haven't completed or even pick fights when things are going too well. Some couples are addicted to arguing—at least, it feels like they care enough to fight.

It's also common to replace quality time as a couple with pass-by logistics or talk about scheduling conflicts and the latest news. And of course, there's always Instagram or Netflix to ignore the gnawing feeling that something's missing in your relationship.

However, it's not so easy to shift when a habit of criticism or discontent sets in. Mindlessly the days fly by and couples can forget to take time every day for loving gestures that nurture one another and strengthen their relationship.

Keeping love alive requires us to make the relationship a priority, make our partner a priority, and make our love the MOST important thing!

Don't let love pass you by on cruise control.

A couple in an unhappy relationship. Are they falling out of love?

Are you tolerating an unhappy relationship?

Have you gotten lazy in love?

Are you neglecting the muscles that strengthen your love life?

Has your kindness to your partner gotten a little flabby?

Are you cultivating a healthy and loving bond or are you saying and doing things that increase the distance between you?

How to Be More Mindful and Build a Loving Relationship

Below are some simple keys (don't underestimate them!) to creating a happy and thriving partnership in love. Though these actions may seem trite if there are red flags in your relationship and you're having a difficult time. The truth is: it only takes one person to shift relationship problems to relationship bliss.

LOVE ACTION #1: Greet your partner like you're happy to see them!

When we are preoccupied, we can forget how essential greetings are. Think of a time when someone happily or excitedly greeted you. Maybe you were picked up at the airport after an extended visit away. Or perhaps your Black Labrador welcomes you with his tail in full swing. When someone is happy to see us, the message is clear: They missed you. You are important to them. 

Greetings are immensely validating! 

So the next time your partner comes home, stop what you're doing and greet them. Enthusiastically show your love and give 'em a big hug and kiss. (Don't let your dog be the only one to show happiness for a reunion!)
A boyfriend welcoming his girlfriend home at the airport.

LOVE ACTION #2:  Focus on what's right in your relationship!

I've heard dozens of times from couples, "he/she only tells me what they don't like" or "I feel like my partner doesn't like me anymore; they only point out what's wrong." 

We often make the mistake of focusing on past hurtful actions instead of investing in the quality of connection we desire. When we only visit—or continually visit—what's wrong, it's discouraging for both of you.

Train yourself to focus on what you love about your partner. Let them know how much they mean to you.

And yes, because we are human, there will be things we don't like. No partner is perfect. When you do want something different from your partner, keep reading!

LOVE ACTION #3:  Ask for what you want from your partner.

When communicating with your partner, ask specifically for what you want instead of pointing your finger at what you don't want.

For example, if you feel ignored and miss your partner because they're working too much, instead of saying "You never spend time with me," you could say, "I feel sad when we don't spend time together and I miss you. Let's schedule a date night this week!"

Or, if you miss those meaningful conversations that you used to have regularly, create the space and time for them to unfold. 

Related reading: "Love Is a Choice—the Best Marriage Advice!"

When we first fall in love, our partner can do no wrong. And in the honeymoon cycle, we spend hours talking into the wee hours of the night. We can't wait to spend time with our partner. We're interested in their thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and experiences.

Don't let the little annoyances take the spark out of your love. Don't let your busy lives steal away connection and an appreciation for your partner. Nurturing relationships is critical. Love deliberately!

Kissing releases oxytocin and bonds a couple together.

LOVE ACTION #4:  Practice mindful loving.

Lives can get mundane. Practicing mindfulness within a relationship adds a dimension that boosts love.

Take the simple act of kissing; it can increase closeness. Kissing not only bonds us together, it adds to good health! Kissing releases oxytocin, the feel-good drug and tells our partner we care. Kiss more frequently, and do it with passion, not a quick peck.

Physical intimacy is vital. Sometimes, when we feel distance from our partner, it's as simple as not spending time together.  Intimacy is not immediate; it's built on trust and emotional resonance.

Deep Dive: "How Important Is Kissing in a Relationship?"

LOVE ACTION #5:  Focus on Shared Values.

What values do you both share?

Perhaps you care about environmental issues or living a minimalist lifestyle. Or maybe you volunteer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Values are the glue of every relationship. Find the common ground and explore activities that not only bring you together with a passion but also create an opportunity to spend quality time together. Enliven your relationship closeness with what is precious to you both. 

And if your partner is crazy about golf, maybe it's time you took up the sport! Whatever they're interested in, explore together the many ways you can connect, even if it's as simple as reading the same book together. I recently joined a Fantasy Football team, not because I love football, but because my sons and husband love it. Playing the game was a way to show that I value what's important to them. And it brings our family together, too! (Unbeknownst to me, I'm actually having fun!)

Closing Thoughts

Think about what you say you want from in your relationship or from your partner. Then GIVE what you say you want: attention, physical intimacy, random kindness, spending quality time together, or loving affection. If you want a romantic relationship, add more romance. Surprise your partner with a candlelight dinner or rose petals leading to the bedroom.

Watch the weeds die off and love bloom again.

And pretty soon, just like the song, you'll be thinking and feeling, "I got love on my mind!"

If you are struggling, reach out to a relationship expert to discover valuable communication skills and more keys to a successful marriage.

Take your first step towards a thriving, fulfilling relationship. 

Free Discovery Session

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Jennifer A. Williams / Heartmanity FounderJennifer A. Williams / Heartmanity Founder
Jennifer, as the Heartmanity Founder, has coached couples for over two decades. With her extensive experience and vast knowledge of emotional intelligence and brain science, Jennifer provides profound insights. She specializes in communication and teaches EQ skills needed to create healthy relationships. Jennifer is happily married and the mother of three grown children who are incredible human beings.

Posted in Love, Marriage, and Relationships

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