There are so many changes that occur over the course of a relationship, from the honeymoon phase — where everything is fun, and sexy, and new — to the more stable phase, where you and your significant other become true, bonafide partners. But through it all, you never want there to be a phase where it feels like your
partner is falling out of love.
If it seems like they have checked out, there there could be a fairly simple explanation. "Sometimes people expect the honeymoon phase to last forever and that’s unrealistic,"
NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle. "People interpret getting comfortable with getting bored. Your partner may feel like the excitement in the relationship is gone." It may be time to put more effort in as a couple, communicate your needs, and change things up from your normal routine.
If things are really bad and your partner is showing signs of moving on, there could be something deeper going on that has your partner mentally packing their bags. If you notice any of the signs below, that may be the case. So talk to your partner, ASAP, and figure out what's wrong. You may find there's the potential to fix things. But if you can't,
or your partner just doesn't want to, allow the healing process to begin and move forward from the relationship.
They Seem To Be Drifting Away
A packed schedule can make it difficult to see each other as much as you'd like, so don't panic if you've both been busy and haven't had a chance to catch up. But if it seems like your partner is drifting away, and is clearly no longer making an effort, it could be a sign they're losing interest in your relationship.
"Simply put, they don’t seem as into you as they once were," clinical psychologist
Dr. Josh Klapow, host of The Web Radio Show, tells Bustle. "They may interact with you but it’s like they're there out of obligation. They are quieter, they aren’t paying attention when you are together, and they seem 'checked out'." This may happen occasionally for reasons outside your relationship Klapow says, but if it happens consistently, it's time to have a talk.
They've Been Picking On You More Frequently
Healthy couples will bicker, get on each other's nerves, and even argue occasionally. That's totally OK. But take note if your partner has become mean, or if they're suddenly hyper-critical of your every move. "They [may] begin to notice more and more what you do 'wrong' versus 'right,'" Klapow says. "And they might point it out more often, too."
This may be because they're unhappy and don't know it, and are thus taking their feelings out on you. Or, they may be trying to pick a fight, as an excuse to break up. Either way, if they've become more critical, it's definitely to ask what's going on.
They Shut Down When You Try To Talk
If you think something's going on, and your relationship doesn't feel secure, your instinct will be to talk it out. (And that's definitely the right thing to do.) But every time you try, it seems like your partner shuts down. "They won’t engage," Klapow says. "They don’t want to discuss."
While not everyone's great at communicating, if your once verbal significant other suddenly refuses to sit down to chat, it may be because they're checking out, and no longer want to put in that kind of effort.
You're Seeing Each Other Less Often
If you live together, you might notice that your partner is getting home later and later each night. Or you may find
that they're coming up with excuses to stay at the office, or go into work on the weekends. They might also be making plans with friends more often, and not inviting you along.
Whatever the case may be, it certainly seems like they're making themselves scarce. "They are involved with other things, and more importantly other people," Klapow says. "They are going to others for fun, support, and validation. And it seems like they no longer 'need you,' since they are getting their needs met from others." There may be an explanation you're not aware of, so be sure to confront your partner (without being too accusatory) to find out what.
They're Definitely A Bit More Secretive
While you're both entitled to your privacy, it won't feel good if your partner suddenly becomes more secretive. If that's the case, you might catch them hiding things on their computer,
relationship coach Roman Wyden tells Bustle. Or they might be shady when texts come in, sometimes even rushing off to take calls in another room.
Again, it's important not to jump to conclusions. But if you notice a massive upswing in your partner's desire for privacy, it may be a sign.
Their Body Language Is Giving Them Away
One weird way to figure out how your partner feels? Take a look at their feet. "Where the toes point, the heart follows,"
body language expert Patti Wood, MA tells Bustle. "Look at your [partner's] feet when you are out with other people. If they are pointed at you, great." But if they're pointed at the door, or at somebody else, it may be a sign a sign they're subconsciously ready to move on.
You Haven't Talked About The Future Recently
If it's been a while since you made any plans for the future, Wood tells Bustle it may be an indication that your partner isn't planning on being there. Did you used to make plans for the weekend well in advance? Or talk about the day when you'd move in together, or get married? If your significant other has been doing these things less frequently, it may be time for a chat.
They've Been Turning To Other People, Instead Of You
If your partner has been feeling less connected, they may begin turning to other people when they need to talk, instead of turning to you. "They could be talking to their mother, best friend, or another [potential partner] — the difference is that they are not talking to you," Catharine Swain, LMFT, tells Bustle. It's fine if your partner opens up to other people
as well as you, but if you're no longer part of the equation that could be a problem.
They're Already Acting Like They're Single
Similarly, they may be going about their life and acting as if you're not in it. "They make plans without thinking of you — whether it's short-term plans or plans for the future," says Hershenson. "If they're intentionally (or even subconsciously) not wanting you to participate in their plans, it may be time for you to reevaluate your relationship."
You May Not Be Having Sex As Often
A lack of love can show up physically — fewer kisses, less sex, etc. — but you might also notice a drop off in the little ways your partner used to show their affection. Like maybe they used to make you coffee, and now they can't be bothered.
"It is natural to have an ebb-and-flow, up-and-down kind of thing when it comes to sex," Caleb Backe, a health and wellness coach for
Maple Holisitics tells Bustle. "But when it is coupled with other signs of lessened affection and diminished excited-ness, it is probably not a good thing."
They Have Been Getting Angry More Often
If your partner is hiding something — like their disinterest in your current relationship — it can well up as big displays of emotion that seem to come out of thin air. Backe says you might notice them getting angry all the time. Or blowing up over little, unrelated things.
While it's possible they just have something on their mind, or are dealing with an issue like anxiety or stress, it could also be a sign they're falling out of love. If you think that may be the case, it's important to talk ASAP. While there's always hope to work things out,
if you need to move on to something healthier, make yourself your priority and focus on good things to come.