Falling madly, deeply in love with another person is a magical feeling. You want to shout it from the rooftops and let the whole world know. It's thrilling, which is why people are more than happy to share their experiences of falling hard for another person. But what's rarely talked about is the sense that you're falling out of love.
While it's often possible to describe what falling in love feels like, it isn't always clear how to talk about the opposite; sometimes you can’t really put your finger on what's wrong, and it's easy to question the emotion when it comes up. Is this just a rocky moment in my relationship? Will it pass? It can be tough to tell if you've ended the honeymoon phase, hit a rough patch — or if the love is truly over.
As Liz Keeney, LPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Inspired Talk Therapy, says, it's important to remember there is a seasonal nature to long-term, serious relationships. "It is completely normal for couples to have a 'winter' season once in a while and really get on each other’s nerves," she tells Bustle, which is why you might not want to call things off immediately. If the relationship is mostly good, you can bolster your love through honesty and communication.
But sometimes it really is over, and that's OK. As despairing as it may seem, it's much better to be aware and make a change, than to carry on unhappily. So, if you are unsure if the love is still there, here are some signs you might not be feeling it anymore:
You Suddenly Have Wandering Eyes
The eyes say it all. While it's one thing to notice an attractive person, if you have full-on wandering eye syndrome, you may soon be wandering out of the relationship.
You might notice a trend where you just can't stop checking out other people. Or it might get to the point where you download Tinder, "just to take a look." And for obvious reasons, these are all symptoms you won't want to ignore.
When falling out of love, it's common to fall into the "grass is always greener" line of thinking, Rachel Elder, LMHC, a licensed mental health therapist, tells Bustle. If you're constantly wondering if your life would be better with someone else, she says, there's a reason for that.
The Butterflies Have Flown Away
Where have all the butterflies gone? You can't expect yourself to be head-over-heels every single day, especially once your relationship has progressed beyond the honeymoon stage. But if you don't feel any form of excitement for your partner, or don't even get a mini thrill when hugging or having sex, take note.
All relationships require maintenance, so you may need to try a little harder in order to keep things fun and interesting, such as focusing more on each other, trying new things together, or even changing up your sex life. Give it time. If you've made a concerted effort to reignite a lost spark and still don't feel butterflies, you may have fallen out of love.
Your Sex Life Has Gone Out The Window
Speaking of sex, another sign that love has left the building is if your sex life has left as well. All couples will experience a waxing and waning of romance in their relationship, but it isn't a great sign if you've completely lost interest, and don't have a good explanation for it.
"Without sexual activity, the relationship is largely just a friendship or roommate situation," Jonathan Bennett, a certified counselor and dating expert at Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. So if you used to have sex all the time and now barely look at each other, it's time to reevaluate.
Again, it's something you can work on, so don't be afraid to talk about sex and any changes you'd both be willing to make. To find out if you've truly fallen out of love, make an effort to improve your relationship and reassess in a few months. Sometimes you won't truly know how you feel until you've exhausted all possibilities.
You've Officially Reached Best Friend Status
If you start to realize that your one and only has become your one and only best friend, this might be a sign. It’s natural for your lover to become your BFF as well. But, if the best friend role has taken over and the partner status is questionable, you two may be holding on to a friendship, instead of a romantic relationship.
The difference between a friendship and a relationship is that the latter has greater commitment, and a sense that you're joining your lives. When you love someone, you'll consider them in your present life, as well as your future. A friendship will feel way more casual, and it can be a dead giveaway.
That "roommate feeling" can also be a telltale sign. As Bennett says, "Couples who are in love communicate regularly to check in, share about their day, and so on. If you stop communicating with each other on a regular basis and have no desire to, it's a sign you're falling out of love."
Their Cute Habits Are No Longer Cute
Love can blind us and make us see things in a different light, so while you likely started off loving your partner's quirks and eccentricities, they now leave you fully irritated.
As Keeney says, you might also start casting your relationship in a negative light. Instead of viewing common mishaps as funny, she says, you'll feel angry, frustrated, and resentful instead.
"When a couple is in love, they remember their last road trip when the car broke down as an adventure," Keeney says. "When a couple is struggling they re-tell the same story with anger and hostility/blame towards one another."
It Feels Like Something's Missing In The Relationship
Falling out of love is difficult to explain, but you might feel one thing: a nagging sense that something is missing. Having the sensation of emptiness is a big sign. There may be a lack of connection with your partner, or the feeling that you aren't fully invested in each other's lives.
This feeling is also a symptom of other several problems, including a lack of communication, distraction, work fatigue, and more, so you won't want to immediately jump to the worst conclusion. But it is worth considering why you always feel like something's missing. If there's nothing that can be done about it, and the feeling doesn't go away, a lack of love may be your answer.
The Attraction Is Gone
When you are madly in love, no matter what your partner looks like, you still can’t keep your hands off them. You cozy up to each other even when you aren't showered, when you're in a bad mood, and even when you're sick.
But when you may no longer be feeling the love, you suddenly don’t feel attracted. You find excuses to not touch them anymore. You blame it on not wanting to kiss your partner on not liking PDA. When you start cringing at the thought of being intimate with your loved one, all signs point to the love being gone.
At that point, do a serious check in with yourself. All relationships have ups and downs, and you won't like each other 24/7/365. But if these things ring true, it may be time to go your separate ways.
Liz Keeney, LPC, psychotherapist and owner of Inspired Talk Therapy
Rachel Elder, LMHC, licensed mental health therapist
This article was originally published on