Wondering what to do when you are falling out of love? In this column, the top relationship experts and love coaches reveal fascinating relationship insights on what to do when you are falling out of love...
The heady first days and months of a relationship are wonderfully exciting.
Your heart, mind and body are fully energized and engaged in this new loving experience. You can barely think of anything but your lover. You are so in love and you want the world to know it.
Then you begin to settle into a routine with your lover. Some of the excitement is still there, but the experience is not nearly as compelling as it was in your earliest days together. The relationship even starts to feel a bit ho-hum.
Why is that?
One reason for the change is that the ‘love hormone’, oxytocin, in full-flow during the early stages of the relationship, starts to taper off. That’s normal.
And another is that life happens – the day-to-day mundanities of paying bills, taking care of sick kids, hectic work schedules and so forth. Then the cracks begin to appear. Arguments and unmet and competing needs creep into the picture. That’s normal too.
Gradually, you notice the difference between who you thought your lover was in the beginning of your relationship and who they seem to be now. And so, you begin to wonder, “Have I changed or has my lover changed?”
The upshot is that the gloss has come off the relationship and as that happens you question if this is really love or just an infatuation that has run its course. What you want is a return to that old totally-in-love feeling. So, you tell yourself that if you can’t get that feeling back, you’ll move on.
But before you bail, you could opt for an alternative and that is to go deeper.
It’s Time to Go Deeper
What I mean by going deeper is to begin the work of building more substantial bonds with this lover of yours. In other words, creating the conditions for real intimacy to take root.
What is real intimacy? In my view:
- Real intimacy is based on more than physical attraction. It is based on mutual trust, appreciation and understanding. It grows from really getting to know someone and accepting them as they are – their good points and not so good points.
- Real intimacy grows out of shared values and a common vision for the life you wish to create together as a couple. To find out of you share the same values you need to get to know someone and you need to allow them to get to know you. I mean really get to know each other warts and all. In that way you’ll discover whether a common vision for your life together is possible. That’s where the next point comes in.
- Real intimacy is built on good communication. Good communication requires a safe space where you each can express your deepest feelings, desires and needs without fear of rejection, as well as your hopes and expectations of each other and the relationship.
Going deeper to create and strengthen the bond between you is the key to rekindling a loving connection that can stand the test of time.
And you might be surprised how sweet, how satisfying this more deeply anchored loving is. It’s in no way boring.
Of course, getting there requires mutual commitment to the each other and the relationship. And sometimes it requires some professional help along the way.
So, are you up for the challenge?
Mary Rizk, Transformative Coach - www.maryrizk.com
The alarm rings and you turn over to look at the same man you have woken up with for years.
No longer do you wake with a smile, but an annoyance. He promised he would walk the dog, but again he doesn’t move. Nor does he help fold the laundry, empty the dishwasher, or bring you flowers. The list goes on and on and on.
Perhaps, you have developed a low tolerance for any behavior less than what you deem perfect.
You rarely talk about anything of substance and you find yourself not wanting to talk. Why bother after all. It usually leads to an argument and you find yourself distancing even more. He complains that you rarely have sex, but who would want to since you feel taken for granted and no emotional connection.
You have time invested in this relationship and are not sure that you want to leave it.
In general, he is a good person and you did once love him. When you find yourself here, there are things that you can do recapture the love you once had for your partner.
First, let’s look at your own behavior.
John Gottman, of The Gottman Institute, determined that there are four negative patterns of communication that couples engage in, leading to the demise of a relationship. They are: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. It is important to understand that these behaviors begin internally without expression, and ultimately lead to the negative communication pattern.
Here is a short explanation of John Gottman’s Four Horseman, as he calls it:
Criticism- This often involves blaming and accusing. Instead of thinking and communicating that you are disappointed at an action or non-action, you blame and accuse.
Contempt- You treat your partner with disrespect, use sarcasm or ridicule.
Defensiveness- You take any communication of a want, need or request and feel as if you are being blamed for not providing it. You then turn the table and shift the responsibility to them.
Stonewalling- The listener withdraws from the conversation either emotionally, physically or both. Oftentimes busyness is an excuse used here, when in reality, you are avoiding your partner and/or situation.
If you identify that you have been engaging in these patterns, you may need assistance from a qualified therapist to change them. However, you can begin now with recognizing and shifting your behavior.
It is important to realize that relationships have phases. The “Limerence Phase” (romantic love) as coined by Dorothy Tennov in 1979, lasts for about 18 months to three years.
During this phase, a person may experience excitement, intrusive thoughts about their partner, sexual desire, engagement, intensity, fantasy and a desire to be with them constantly. This is the feeling of falling in love and being in love may be accompanied by pleasant physical feelings as well.
After this stage passes, the relationship may feel more ordinary, less exciting, and routine.
Some say their relationship has lost its spark. Relationships take work to maintain their vitality.
Here are some things you can do to re-establish your connection.
Spice it up- Like most relationships over time, routine tends to take over. Commit to a date night once a week or twice a month. Have new and interesting experiences. Do not talk about problems or routine logistics during this time. Get to know each other again.
Open communication- Ask questions with genuine curiosity. Get to know him better. Often times, this is best done during an activity like taking a walk or exploring at an event.
Showing genuine interest- Even if you are not interested in the same things, if it is important to him, make an effort. Remember when you first dated, you found everything he said interesting.
Appreciation- Show appreciation for what he does. This genuine appreciation goes a long way and will warm your heart and his. You must look for things to appreciate if they are currently not obvious to you.
Admiration and respect-Remember what it was like when you fell in love. Have you stopped showing love for each other? Remember how you felt when you first met.
Physical touch and sexual intimacy- This is very important for the health of the relationship. It will become easier as you engage in the above and re-establish the emotional intimacy. It can help to remember that males and females are wired differently. Men feel they need sexual intimacy to connect and women need to feel emotionally connected to engage in sexual intimacy. Perhaps, begin with holding hands and non-sexual touching, which may open the door to further exploration.
Positive focus- Expect that a shift in the relationship can happen with effort and professional help if needed.
You will need a willing partner to also give effort to this relationship. If he is not willing, perhaps another road will be taken by you. Life is short and you deserve to be happy.
Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC - www.lisaangelini.com
Many women find themselves at the brink of an existential crisis questioning if they love their partner; memories of romance fading over the years.
They ask themselves, “ Have I ever loved this person”? Often, the answer is yes!
A deteriorating relationship is like a car that has not been properly cared for. The check engine light comes on to signal that something is wrong or has been neglected.
Here are some tips to think about, implement, and discuss with your spouse/partner:
Reminisce: About your first encounter. What initially attracted you and how did that person make you feel?
Recapture: Plan a get-away. Travel back in time to a spot you both visited when things were going well.
Reallocate: Time in your schedule; making your relationship more of a priority.
Refuel: Nurture yourself; a depressed person can equal a depressed relationship. Take part in activities you love with people you like
Recharge: Your physical and emotional relationship.
Some partners find that they need the guidance of a professional counselor when Respect, warmth and trust no longer exists.
Dawn Alison Moscow, LMHC - www.accesspsychologicalassociates.com
First, you must check in with yourself.
Have you honestly been asking for what you need? Do you even know what you need to feel loved?
There is a great book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Chapman addresses the concept of learning what it is that makes you feel loved. We each need to know what it is that makes us feel loved and then communicate that. All because someone loves you, it doesn’t mean that they can read your mind or know how to make you feel their love.
Chapman’s test will help you figure out what your love language is.
Is it spending time together? Is it your partner telling you how much they care about you? Is it them doing things to make life easier for you? Or simply physical touch? You must make sure you have communicated what it is that you need from them. If not, you won’t feel loved and, in time, will most likely fall out of love with them.
Second, are you taking the time to nurture the relationship?
As corny as it might sound, love is like a plant. You must water it, make sure it has good soil and sunshine or else it will wither, and die. Are you taking time to be together and talking with each other about your relationship? Are you both invested in ‘clearing the air” and not making assumptions about the other?
If not, then actions get misunderstood and before you know it you don’t feel close, you begin to lose interest and fall out of sync with each other.
Lastly, you cannot expect your loved one to meet all your needs.
That just won’t work and will leave you disappointed. No one person can meet all your needs. You must diversify. Are you spending time with family and friends? Are you pursuing activities and interest that bring you pleasure and joy? Are you practicing self-care? Because if you don’t take care of yourself - if you don’t love yourself - then you won’t be able to love someone else.
So, before you allow yourself to think that maybe you have fallen out of love, first make sure you know what you want and are asking for it, you are nurturing the relationship, and that you are not expecting too much from it. Remember, seeking individual or couple’s therapy is often helpful for working through these feelings.
Rachel F. Beck, LCSW-C – www.b2beck.com
Can you relate to this scenario in any way?
Your alarm goes off - and you glance over to see your spouse lying next to you - and the first thought you think is, “Who the heck is that?!” But then, your memories come flooding back, and you remind yourself to feel grateful he is in your life. You get out of bed - and another thought flashes through your mind, “I hope he doesn’t wake up, so I can have my morning to myself.” And, the week goes on like this - with the two of you being ships passing in the night.
What is going on here?
Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After, explains that couples in their first year of marriages score 86% for marriage satisfaction - and under 50% by the seventh year. According to Tashiro, about 50% of couples divorce, another 10 to 15% separate - and 7 or more percent stay married but are chronically unhappy - which means that two-thirds of all married couples do not live happily ever after.
What percentage of these two-thirds of unhappily married couples began the “great divide” because they just drifted apart with no significant or obvious differences - just a sense of falling out of love? It is hard to say, but I would estimate from my years of working with couples that it is a high percentage. Why do so many couples allow themselves to do this to the point that there is no going back - and they are doomed to end up divorced?
If you are among the “drifters,” you can do something about this right away - and refuse to join this unfortunate epidemic of love going by the wayside.
Here are four simple tips that the two of you can do to reconnect - and, not only rekindle that flame that the two of you once enjoyed, but help it to become richer than it ever was.
Four Tips to Rekindle the Love & Connection
1. Stop the Madness!
When you feel totally disconnected from another, most often this is because you are actually disconnected from your own self! Healthy love is grounded on healthy self love & self understanding. It makes a world of difference when each in the relationship sets aside time on a regular basis to give their own selves some contemplation time - say with journaling or talking to a good friend or a professional who can deeply listen to you. Explore your feelings, needs, desires and dreams.
2. Practice Deep Communication
A couple needs to set aside some time together to complete the following sentence stems - taking turns with who shares & who listens:
* What I love about you is…
* What bothers me (about me, you, our life..)is..
* What I wish we could do is…
In exploring these things, much more could be revealed. I ask my couples to practice skillful communication when sharing.
In a nutshell, these are:
(A) Deep Listening
Although the skills I teach about deep listening are very profound, I will just give a few brief pointers how you can begin to practice it with your partner. When your partner speaks, you resist the temptation to immediately respond - and first pause to take in completely not only what he said - but attempt to understand WHY this was said and what he might be feeling. You then verbalize this depth of understanding, eliminating judgement, opinions or advice. You stay with him until he is completely finished. If you can do this with absolutely no agenda, step back - because miracles of connection are going to take place!
(B) I messages
I messages are a powerful way to express our feelings, needs and desires in a way that is non-blameful and respectful. If something is bothering you, you decide what you could share with your partner to get more vulnerable with him in a way that is non-shaming and owning your part in things 100%. The easiest way to do this is by keeping your sharing in the “I” pronoun, eliminating all “you’s.”
3. Brainstorm New & Exciting Things Together
So much has been coming out about the need for novelty to keep a long term relationship alive. Esther Perel’s Ted talk went viral when she addressed waning desire for long term relationships - and our somewhat contradictory needs for safety & security - “but an equally strong need for adventure, for novelty, for mystery.. for surprise & the unexpected.”
Novelty needs to be a part of what a couple experiences on a regular basis - not just once a year. This can include newness in sex but is not limited to this arena. One question a couple can ask themselves on a monthly basis: “Did we do something totally different this month?”
4. Support Each Other to BE Your Greatest Selves
Not only is it important to focus on the relationship dynamics, but it’s important that you each share with one another your dreams for the future - and discuss how you can support one another to realize these dreams.
Ask each other: “What is your dream?” And, explore together: “How can we support one another to realize our dreams?”
This will lend a new vitality to the way you two relate to one another. When we’re living our dreams and feeling supported by our partner with doing so, it opens the door for a whole new level of joy and creativity in the relationship.
Truly, long lasting partnerships are our greatest opportunity to grow our capacity to love and be loved - so stopping in your tracks - and committing to do something about the “drifting” is well worth the effort! I have seen many couples just practice these four tips - and their relationship became the greatest gift in their lives!
Kim Von Berg, MA, Communication Strategist and Relationship Coach - www.ThrivingLovingRelationships.com
When it feels like you have lost that spark, that "thing" that made you fall in love, STOP DOING EVERYTHING AND BREATH.
The central nervous system gets triggered with a stress response and the best way to calm your nervous system, your heart and your mind is to BREATH.
Find a quiet place where you can really reflect on yourself first, then on your relationship.
You must know what it is that YOU want. Ask yourself and write down your answers to the following questions:
1. In a relationship, one of the most important things to me is..........
communication, connection, shared activities, laughing, planning our future, working on a deeper spiritual connection together, traveling together, sharing our lives with friends, etc.
Whatever it is for you, fill in the blank. This is not a time to judge and say "this isn't happening in my relationship and that is why I am falling out of love." You just want to write down what is important to you, without any judgment on your relationship.
2. 5 years from now, I can see myself ..............
having children, having grandchildren, traveling with the love of my life, leading travel tours with my partner, buying some land and raising animals with my partner.
Whatever your vision is for your life in 5 years/10 years/20 years. Again, there is no judgment, you just want to know for yourself, what would you love to be doing in the next 5, 10, 20 years.
3. If I want my partner to be a certain way, to bring certain things to the table, who do I have to be, to be in alignment with my vision of what I want from him.
For example, if you want your partner to be clean and neat, are you showing up clean and neat?
If you want your partner to be on time, are you on time?
If you want your partner to share intimate feelings, are you sharing intimate feelings?
If you want your partner to give you more attention, are you giving him attention?
Once you have answered these 3 questions for yourself, have the conversation with your partner. You can start with "I have realized that what I want out of my life is_______and I have (have not) been living in to that. What is that you want for your life?"
You are trying to be in neutral position of asking, you are curious what is important to him now. Just like when you first met, you were quite curious about him. Get curious again.
Share with him where you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years. Is he surprised? Scared? Bored? Excited? Energized?
Where does he see himself in 5, 10, 20 years? Are you on the same page. Does he have dreams and goals that you aren't aware of. Do you see common ground?
Sometimes when we feel we are falling out of love, we are simply bored, maybe we have lost track of what is really important to us, maybe we are so caught up in life, we haven't even seen each other, maybe we haven't been present to ourselves or our relationship.
I believe in leaving no stone unturned. If you aren't feeling a new connection once you check in with yourself and your partner, maybe you need some professional guidance. Many times just having a new set of eyes on a situation can give you the insight you need to get back on track and fall in love all over again.
A second honeymoon? Oh yeah!!
Nada Hogan L.Ac, Dipl.Om, M.Om - www.nadahogan.com
Every relationship experiences “peaks and valleys.”
When you’re experiencing the peaks, it’s easy to be in and stay in love. It’s the valleys that are the challenge. Let’s replace the word “challenge” with “opportunity.” If you change your association to the conditions you are experiencing, you can change the outcome.
What if you looked at every moment as a gift?
When an “opportunity” presents itself to you in the relationship, ask yourself this question,
“What is it that I’m meant to learn in this experience?”
The answer might be patience, compassion, understanding, unconditional love, respect. No two people are exactly alike. When something shows up that reveals your differences you have two choices:
I can let this difference or disagreement get in the way of all the other good in our relationship.
I can accept my partner exactly for who they are, knowing that we will have times that we don’t agree upon everything.
This is where your power is. YOU have the power to DECIDE in that moment how you want to respond and what you want the outcome to be. After all, the only one in control and responsible for your happiness is YOU…not the other person.
Here are three steps to help you keep your love alive:
- Be as Open and Honest with your Feelings without having any Expectations
The only way a relationship can survive for the long haul is by having unwavering TRUST. In order to have that, you need to be completely open and honest with your feelings and your wants and desires. The key is to not put any expectations on your partner. Don’t make it a “give and take” scenario. Continue to build trust with open, honest communication. The more you do that, the easier it will be for your partner to do the same. It’s when you put expectations on the reaction of another that causes disappointment. If this is meant to survive, there will be mutual trust and respect on both sides. If there isn’t, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later.
- Express Daily Gratitude and Love to your Partner
Keeping love alive is like watering a plant. If you don’t water it, it will eventually starve and die. The same rule applies to love. Just because you can’t “see” it doesn’t mean it doesn’t need nurturing and attention. Again, express your love and gratitude with no expectations from the other person. Do it because YOU are vested in the relationship and YOU want it to last. Let the other person respond the way they need to.
- Make Time Together on a Regular Basis to Talk about What’s Working and What May Need Attention
If you let things fester and don’t address them, they will get bigger! Conversely, sometimes talking about them “in the moment” you’re going through them may not be the right time because emotions are running high. You want to avoid saying or doing something in the moment that you may later regret. Therefore, if you pick a time, say one night a week, that is “Relationship Building Night” you will have the chance to talk about everything in a safe setting. Create some ground rules for each other and use that time to GET CLOSER! THAT is the goal!
You want your love and your relationship to grow and flourish! Imagine your relationship is like the maintenance you do for your car. If it needed the oil changed or air in the tires, you wouldn’t ignore it…you would take care of it. Well, weekly maintenance on your relationship keeps it thriving too!
Everything that is written here is about CONNECTION.
To have long lasting love, you need to stay connected! Don’t keep secrets, be open and honest, make your relationship a priority, and give it the love, gratitude and attention it deserves and you’ll be that much closer to your “happily ever after!”
LOVE IT!: I LOVE BEING IN LOVE!
THANK IT!: I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE GIFTS I HAVE IN MY RELATIONSHIP!
BRING IT!: I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY HAPPINESS AND I’M BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR WHAT I WANT!
Diane Forster, Intentional Living Expert and Author – www.dianeforster.com
It’s not at all surprising that people fall in and out of love.
If that didn’t happen, we still might be hanging out with our first boyfriend from kindergarten. It’s often easier to fall into a relationship than to keep it going or to extricate yourself from it. Here are some tips on what to do if you fear you’re falling out of love.
#1. Review your expectations
Ask yourself if your expectations for love were way too high to begin with, such as feeling happy with your partner all the time, never fighting, having everything go your way, having every sexual encounter be like the Fourth of July, or expecting the kind of infatuation you two had during courtship. Many couples actually never actually do love their partners, but have only been in love with them or in love with love. Make sure that your assumptions about a loving relationship are realistic and on target.
#2. Recognize what you loved in your partner and no longer do
Sometimes we change and our partner is no longer right for us. We undergo some transformative experience and seek something different from a lover than what we previously had sought. Other times our partner changes because of what has happened in his life. Make a written or mental list of what you loved in your partner and see how many of those traits still exist.
Think about how you or he changed. Did he finally grow up or is he just now entering his second childhood? Did you suddenly start to feel more adult and now you’re looking for someone as mature as you are.
#3. Identify ways you may have changed to generate a change in your partner
If you used to have an easy, stress free job, but now are working 60 hours a week, you may not have fallen out of love, but need to take a step back and make more time for romance. Having children can also make us think that love has flown the coup, when it’s only that our focus has changed. Are you more critical than you used to be or more demanding?
If so, this could certainly make your partner pull away from you and make you feel less loved. In reaction, you may be pulling away from him emotionally too.
#4. Return to doing the things you did when you felt more loving
Think about you and your partner did when you were at the zenith of love: texting back and forth during the day, taking long walks together, never going to sleep angry, going out of your way to do something special for each other. Remember what sparked love and do more of it.
Even if your partner doesn’t respond lovingly right away, continue to do things to see if your feelings change. Often couples get into a negative spiral and stay there. Test your relationship to see how loving you feel when you’re in a positive spiral.
#5. Talk with your partner
Ask him how he’s been feeling in the love department. It will make a difference if you both feel less love or if it’s only you. The former may indicate that you, as a couple, need to renew your feelings toward each other. The latter, however, may mean that the spark is no longer there for you. Consider whether this is your issue or a couples issue.
#6. Don’t berate yourself for feeling less loving
Don’t judge yourself for a change in passion toward your partner. People change and that’s okay. It’s possible that you’ll never feel the same way toward him as you did before. There’s nothing wrong with that, though the thought may distress you.
You may get anxious and start wondering what you’re going to do if you stop loving him and that anxiety may throw you back into deciding that you need to find that spark again. Anxiety will not help you come to terms with your feelings. Rather than judge yourself as doing or being wrong, stay curious and self-compassionate.
#7. Seek a therapist
If you’re not sure what you feel—or what to do about it—find a therapist who’s seasoned in dealing with relationship issues or couples work. Go alone or ask your partner to go with you. There’s no shame in needing outside, objective help to figure out what’s going on inside you or in your relationship. That’s what therapists are for. Give therapy time, say, three to six months to see if love returns and things get better. Either they will or you and your partner can use therapy to disentangle yourselves from each other.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
Whether it's after months or years, the feeling of falling out of love is very common. And it may not have anything to do with your partner specifically.
First of all, the initial “high” that our society typically associates with love (and often is not really love to begin with, perhaps infatuation is a better word) is not long lasting. If you are basing the worth of your love solely on that beginning chemistry, then you will surely be disappointed.
Love, the real lasting kind that is, can be best summed up by this quote by Stephen Covey:
“Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is the fruit of love the verb or our loving actions.”
Therefore, love is an going action that must be continued by you in order to feel love.
So how do you do that? Here are three ways to turn that love back into a verb:
1. Take care of yourself – Are your needs being met? Are you nourished, rested, and inspired? In your relationship have you been neglecting you? If so, then it's crucial you find ways to get back in touch with this again. It could be as small as getting extra sleep to going for a morning run to having regular girls' nights out again.
2. Communicate – Lovingly communicate with your partner about what's going on for you. Not to blame him, but to simply express how you feel and what you need and to see if he can help. It might be that you both need to carve out some more separate time for yourselves. Or it might be that you want to have more fun and adventure again. Whatever it is, he will have no idea you're feeling that way until you tell him about it.
3. Find joy again- Find ways to experience the joy of something new and challenging in your life, whether you're with your partner or not. It could be traveling somewhere new, learning a foreign language, or even joining a choir. Learning and experiencing new things that are fun produce feelings very similar to the feelings of budding love.
Part of deliberately attracting love is also deliberately loving and living the life you are meant to live.
If you take those three steps you will likely find yourself feeling the love and appreciation for your partner, and yourself, that you had before.
Dina Robison, Love Coach - www.dinarobison.com
Take notice of the word TO before the word LOVE.
To love is a verb. It’s an action. Too many people define love as a feeling instead of what it truly is. How do you show you love him? You show him through the things that you do for him, right? Loving someone entails doing stuff for them to prove your love.
Relationships go through a natural progression.
They usually start out really exciting, intriguing and passionate. Then that wears off because life happens. You start to remember that you have other responsibilities such as work, school, kids, family, friends, etc. And there comes a point when you realize you need to tend to those other responsibilities. This means you can’t spend as much time together as you did when you first met. It doesn’t mean that you love each other any less.
The relationship matures and evolves and love takes on a different meaning. It takes on a deeper more meaningful meaning.
After much time spent together, you’ve shared many experiences and those experiences should have brought you two closer together and, as a result, strengthened your bond.
- When you look at your man, are you able to recognize all the good he does for you and think to yourself how lucky you are?
- Are you able to feel gratitude for his actions towards you?
- Do you feel gratitude that you have him in your life?
- Do you respect him?
- Do you care for his happiness and his health?
- Do you worry about him?
If you answered yes, then you love him.
But you say the spark is gone?
That’s okay if it’s no longer there as long as you still respect and care for each other. The spark fading is a natural part of the relationship progressing.
If the spark, passion and excitement are gone, it doesn’t mean that you no longer love him. But if you want to feel these emotions once again, there are some things you can do.
#1. Talk to him. Tell him that you are missing the passion and excitement. Ask him to work with you to bring those elements back into your relationship.
#2. Take a trip together. Plan a romantic getaway to spend quality time together.
#3. Get more romantic in other ways. Write a poem for each other about how you first met or sit down and reminisce about your first, second and third dates. Get dressed up and go out for a romantic dinner.
#4. Compliment each other. Get each other a heartfelt card and include a sweet little message to let him know you care enough to want to make things work between you two. Write down a list of things that attracted you to each other in the first place and then read your lists to each other out loud. Stare into each other’s eyes more often to help build intimacy.
On the other hand, if things aren’t going so smoothly in your relationship and you are starting to feel negative feelings towards your partner, then that is a completely different story.
When you look at him, do you feel resentment? Anger? Hostility? Annoyance? Has he done something to hurt you?
Has he betrayed you in some way? If so, then you have valid reasons to feel such negative emotions towards him and possibly you no longer love him.
And if you have valid reasons, then ask yourself whether or not you can forgive him? Are his actions forgivable at all? Is he worth it to you to try to work things out?
If he is then consider couples therapy.
Make sure you are both comfortable with the therapist. Make sure that both of you are equally invested in making your relationship work because if one of you puts in more effort than the other, then the resentment will continue to grow and so will the misery.
If your relationship is worth saving, then make sure both of you put in 100% percent into saving it....not 50% and 50% each but 100% and 100% each.
Jacklyn Bystritsky, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.wordpress.com
It happens. We don’t plan for it.
It’s not something that we think about as we walk down the aisle towards our beloved. Or when we have the all-important “what are we?” defining conversation.
But it happens. And there’s a way through it.
I’m talking, of course, about what to do when you feel like you are falling out of love with your partner.
It can be a scary, almost isolating feeling. But it is possible to fall back in love with your partner, and to bring the relationship to a point where it’s even stronger than before.
Why did you fall in love with your partner to begin with?
Was it the adorably deep dimples that form when you make him laugh? Or the way he is passionate about country music to the extent that you ONLY will listen to it because you know how happy it makes him? Think back to what it was that initially attracted you to your partner.
I like to look at pictures of us. Scrolling through our visual history reminds me of all the fun we’ve had together, and helps to illicit those feel-good endorphins, bringing me right into that moment.
Recreate your first date. Or if time and money permits, your honeymoon.
Visit the place where you first knew you loved him, or where you first kissed, or where he proposed. Help trigger memories of when you felt that jolt of emotion throughout your whole body.
Write love letters. Old fashioned, pen to paper, love letters. Bonus if you actually mail them…with a stamp!
Another important thing to do is to check in with the relationship.
When is the last time you and your partner were intimate? Often we become so busy with work, school, kids, life, that we start living parallel lives to our partners, and they become more of a roommate than a lover. Have sex. It truly could be that simple. Getting a little frisky when you start to sense your feelings dipping can be just the spark the relationship needed.
Date night. Get out on the town, or get away for a weekend.
Do something you both have loved to do together in the past. Or, do something the two of you have never done before. Even if it’s as simple as apple-picking, or skimming rocks.
Maybe the relationship needs some time apart from one another.
When was the last time you went out with your girlfriends? Your family? By getting out and doing things you enjoyed doing before you were a couple, reigniting your own passions, can help fuel the fire within the relationship. Allow yourself to miss your partner a bit. Allow them to miss you. Meet up at a favorite location after leaving the house separately and doing independent things first.
Try 30 days of appreciation.
Do something sweet for your partner every day for thirty days to show how much you appreciate them. Ask them to do the same.
Sit face to face with your partner, holding hands. Each of you close your eyes. Breathe deeply, and think of three things you are grateful for within the relationship.
Listen to “your” song.
Read old love notes your partner wrote you throughout the duration of your relationship. If you can find the love notes you wrote to your partner, read those too. Read your diary from the “good times” to remind yourself of why you decided to be with this person to begin with.
Bring your partner breakfast in bed. Spend the entire day in bed together. Watching movies, cuddling, reading books, being intimate. Shut the whole world out of your private nest.
Most importantly, realize that this feeling is not “wrong” or “bad.”
Give yourself a break. Give your partner a break. It’s just a feeling, and with time and some engagement in the process, it is possible to have an even stronger relationship. And: go have sex.
Stephanie Weinblatt, MA, LCPC - www.healthylivingcounselingcenter.com
When you’re in love it can be normal to experience times in which you feel like the feelings are fading.
The feeling of falling in love can be so strong in the beginning that you have to be realistic to not expect love to always feel so intense. Sometimes this can be a good thing as the early days of falling in love can be a bit of a roller coaster that makes it hard to focus on the rest of your life.
However, if you feel you are falling out of love this may be a different story.
This can be distressing and heart-breaking after you believe you have found that special person. It may be time to do some soul-searching to see why your feelings are changing. It’s important to be honest with yourself if there is a valid reason for your feelings so you do not stay in a relationship that is ultimately not good for you.
It’s time to ask yourself some questions:
- When did your feelings start to change?
- Did something happen with your partner that needs to be discussed or resolved?
- Can you have an honest heart-to-heart discussion with your partner about what you are feeling? If not, why?
- Is your partner willing to get professional counseling with you if needed?
- Has the trust been broken for some reason?
Do you feel disrespected? Do you feel neglected?
- Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells and you cannot be yourself?
- Do you feel dismissed or devalued?
- Are there toxic behaviors in your relationship such as criticism, defensiveness, blame and stonewalling?
If you find yourself answering yes to one or more of these questions, these feelings need to be addressed and cleared. Sometimes it may be best to do this with a professional so as to not cause any more damage. If these negative feelings can be cleared, it is possible for love to be reignited.
To reignite positive feelings, it is important to generate a sense of reconnection and appreciation. Look back to the actions and behaviors that were present in the beginning of the relationship that caused you to fall in love in the first place. Begin to consciously practice some of these things that you once did.
One of the most common things I see in the couples that come to me for relationship counseling or coaching is that they are neglecting the relationship by not making time for each other.
This can be in simple acts like paying more attention to their phone or computer at the end of the day than in communicating with each other.
Make your partner and the relationship more of a priority, resolve the unaddressed issues that may be festering and treat the other person as you wish to be treated. Be proactive. Don’t wait for your partner to take the initiative if you feel you are falling out of love.
I always tell my clients that preventive medicine is a lot easier, and less costly, than intensive care.
If it is a good relationship in need of some healing, don’t wait until it is too late to reignite the spark. Once you’ve found love it is too valuable to let it die.
Nancy Harris, LCSW, LICSW - www.nancyharriscoaching.com
If you’ve come to a place in your relationship where you question your emotional investment and attachment, you’re not alone.
If you search “falling out of love,” you will find multiple links and quizzes that supposedly tell you what it looks like to fall out of love and how to know if you really have fallen out of love. The reality is that no online quiz can tell you the fate of your relationship.
Relationships go through good times and hard times - sometimes they can feel fulfilling and deep and at other times they can feel burdensome and draining.
Two relationships may end up struggling with similar issues and one may persevere while the other may dissolve. What is the difference between those two relationships? Having a solid core foundation of intimately knowing one another.
At the core of every deep, intimate relationship is truly knowing and caring about the other person’s reality.
It’s amazingly easy to think you are up to date on your partner’s inner life only to find out that you barely recognize the person on the other side of the bed. Becoming out of touch with your partner can look and feel a lot like falling out of love. So how do you reengage in knowing one another and in your relationship? The answer is love maps.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman are psychologists that have dedicated their careers to studying and learning about couples.
They have developed a theory of successful relationships based on their research. At the core and very foundation of this model is the idea of love maps - knowing all of the relevant information of their partner’s life, having a deep knowledge and understanding of their world, and constantly updating this information.
If you worry that you are falling out of love, the best place to start in your relationship is checking in around your love maps.
Are you and your partner up to date on each other’s lives, or have the day to day tasks and responsibilities taken over your relationship? Reinvesting in your relationship means getting to know each other again and strengthening the friendship that lies underneath it all.
You can access great starting questions to assess your love maps here:
Caitlin hosts the Satisfied Self podcast for women looking to improve their lives. Caitlin offers self-help courses as well as individual coaching. Visit the website at satisfiedself.com and listen to her weekly podcast on TuneIn, Stitcher, Soundcloud, and Google Play!
Caitlin O'Gallagher, LICSW – www.caitlinogallaghertherapy.com
The falling in love stage is one of bliss.
Your partner can do no wrong, you are walking on air and life is like a Hollywood musical. Then reality sinks in. So often we may “think” during this stage that we are falling out of love with our partner.
What do we do about it?
How can we determine whether this relationship is ending or are we just in a rut? I love to make lists, so I begin by listing all the reasons why I fell in love with this person to begin with. I am very honest with myself. I notice when I’m making my list whether I was seeing my partner with rose colored glasses or if these are true traits they possess.
When the list is complete I move onto experience.
Each time I connect with my partner I noticed - how I’m feeling and what I’m expressing. Love always starts and ends with us, and if I’m not being generous in my head and in my heart, that will impact the way I feel and act around my partner.
When we hit a relationship rut, we have two opportunities available: dissolve the relationship or create a deeper intimacy with our partner.
So here are a few tangible ways to “fall in love again”:
1. Do something different – explore a new adventure with your partner. Turn off the devices and really spend some time reconnecting by discovering something new together.
2. Cuddle more – I know sometimes when we aren’t feeling connected it is hard to be physically intimate so here’s an opportunity for both your mind and body to remember why you fell in love.
3. Have a girl’s weekend – maybe you just need a break and a change of personal pace. Take some time off and go for a spa weekend with your friends. Reconnect with that part of you that is fun and free, and then come back home and bring that with you and into your relationship.
Falling in love is, like everything, an inside job. It begins in our hearts and our minds, and sometimes we need a gentle reminder of that.
Jennifer Urezzio, Master Intuitive - www.soullanguage.us
We each possess an intuitive voice that contains answers.
If you turn down the outside noise, you can actually hear the inside messages and the wisdom it conveys. Most importantly, you will be able to identify it as the message you’ve been looking for if you learn to trust these signals.
Using your inner voice, you are gain the strength to do what you need to do, when it comes to ending your relationship, especially when you are falling out of love.
Here are 4 insights to help you decide what to do:
1. Have the courage to listen. Try not to doubt the messages you hear or especially feel. You know the relationship is not right. You know you need to do something about it. You know the best thing you can do for yourself. If you find yourself saying, “I don’t think this makes sense” or “But what if…” counter it with “But I need to try!” Your intuition is never wrong, but your interpretation of it may be.
2. Maintain your determination.
If something “feels” right, you know it because everything seems to flow in the right direction. If it “feels” wrong, you’ll know that too, because your senses will be heightened and you’ll be more cautious. It is this information that will keep you determined to follow the best path, if you are attuned.
3. Ask for help and support from friends and family.
If you put out the request for help, you will get it. You are putting aside the logical conditioning of always using “your head” and allowing the supportive energy from other sources you trust to give you some vital feedback.
4. Your amazing and inspiring inner messages will grow in clarity and strength the more you listen and it will expand your knowledge of your true strength.
Breaking up with someone is not easy and should be done with care and thoughtfulness. But when you are certain your decision is right, you gain a new level of trust in yourself and the essence of who you really are.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Perhaps instead of labeling your feelings (or lack of feelings) “falling out of love”, you can begin by remembering that feelings change over the course of a relationship.
It is normal as relationships mature, that the intensity, often fueled by hormones, lessens. I’m not going to say it’s not a loss. Most people look back on that courtship stage of their relationship fondly and feel some disappointment when that sexual high begins to wane.
Relationships go through developmental stages and our needs change to meet the demands of each stage.
In the early part of a relationship, our bodies release powerful hormones as nature kicks in to get us to mate and procreate. If those hormones stayed with us, our species would probably die out. Our desire for sex would get in the way of nurturing our children and working. We would have exciting, short lives!
For most people as they move into the expansion stage of family development, people become focused on careers and child rearing. At this stage, establishing oneself in the world and creating safety for the family is the priority. This work is pretty consuming and partners often don’t have a lot of time or energy for themselves as a couple.
Because so much energy has gone into the family, it can be difficult to refocus on the couple as the children need less and less of the family resources.
This is the time when a couple really needs to reinvent itself. If you’ve been focusing on your career and your kids for a number of years, you have probably lost a lot of the connection you once had with your partner. Unfortunately reconnecting is a more cognitive process than in the beginning of the relationship.
Nature doesn’t care if you reproduce now, so those delicious sexy hormones are not so available.
I don’t mean to imply that one’s sex life ceases to exist. I’m just suggesting that it’s more decision based. A couple needs to reprioritize itself and create a new vision for the relationship. This is both an individual and a couple’s process. You are not the same person that you were when you first met. Both of you will have changed and so in some ways you will be creating a new relationship. That can be exciting!
If you only focus on what the relationship can give you, you are making a mistake.
Relationships involve two individuals and the more you connect with yourself and allow yourself to be who you are, the more energy and excitement you will bring to the relationship. There is a lot of divorce after the kids are no longer the focus. It’s a challenge to redefine yourself and your relationship.
Sometimes people bail in the hopes of meeting someone new and recapturing that excitement that goes with a new partner. But what they give up is the depth and breadth of a long-term relationship. A new person will never be a part of the family legacy that you and your partner have created.
It’s work to rekindle a relationship but I think it’s worth the effort to try.
Don’t think about what was; think about what will lie ahead if you put your heart into it. This can be a period of enormous growth and satisfaction.
An added thought: try to keep some connection and romance going throughout your relationship trajectory. It’s easier to rekindle when there are still some glowing embers than it is when the fire has totally gone out.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
When you’ve been in a relationship for some time, you may find that you’re no longer enthralled with everything your partner says and does.
You may find that some of his mannerisms are even irritating and irksome. At this stage, you could be wondering if this means you’re falling out of love.
It may help to know that relationships go through numerous stages that can be increasingly challenging, but which also can indicate that you are actually getting more intimate with your partner. If you’ve only had relationships that lasted a few months, you probably haven’t ever gotten past the Honeymoon stage.
As you become more intimate, each of you will become more relaxed and less “perfect”.
When you know that you’re going to be together for a lifetime, you’re less likely to be willing to always give in to the other person. Your differences and unspoken expectations and feelings will come out in the open more. You’ve entered the Compromise stage of the relationship. This is not as romantic, and requires that the two of you learn to confront the reality of your individual differences. Leaning to respectfully discuss your differences requires being vulnerable and honest and even giving in some of the time, so you may not feel so “in love”.
Eventually, you’ll find a few things that you both have strong, but divergent feelings and options about, and you’ll find yourselves in a struggle for who is right.
Solving serious differences requires even more courage and authenticity.
Struggling through solving differences either creates a stronger bond or a Power Struggle. Learning to solve disputes so that you both feel better about each other in the end actually makes your relationship stronger and more solid. However, many relationships end at this stage, because too much anger, selfishness, stubbornness, and fear come to the surface and can’t be resolved.
After being together for quite a while, you may find your relationship feeling like two separate people living together.
This Individuality stage is normal. You’ll each probably have many activities and interests that you do separately. This is often a time when couples question if they are any longer in love. Your partner may not seem very interesting or exciting, while your own interests seem more appealing. However, if you’ve managed to find healthy and agreeable ways to solve differences, you have actually developed a bond and intimacy that is extremely strong and worth preserving.
People who stay together through the time of separate endeavors, eventually find themselves wanting to spend more time together, and craving and cherishing the times they share together.
This time of Reconciliation is deeply bonding. At this stage you’ll have come to value your differences and appreciate all that you have to share with each other.
As your individual and partnership needs stabilize, you will find that you can support each other’s strengths and successes.
This time of Acceptance finds you feeling a deep appreciation for each other. You have the ability to care for yourselves, and for each other even though you realize you’re quite different people. Each of these stages indicates that the relationship is actually becoming more intimate.
At each stage, you may find yourself questioning whether you are still in love.
Clearly, when differences become irreconcilable, trust has been broken, respect is no longer evident, or emotional dysfunction becomes evident, it can lead to a decision to leave the relationship. However, if you trust each other and have developed ways to solve differences, even though you may feel that your relationship is somewhat boring, distant, lacks enthusiasm, or isn’t very exciting right now, think about what stage your relationship is in.
With an infusion of energy and more honesty, you could probably revive the relationship and even get to a deeper connection and greater intimacy.
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com
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