When my friend's seemingly happy relationship ended recently, we both thought it came completely out of left field. But when I found out the reasoning was because one of them
hadn't been feeling a romantic connection for a while, it started to make sense. Date nights were less frequent, they were spending more time with other friends than each other, and communication between them wasn't flowing as naturally as it used to. Looking back, there were signs that the relationship was becoming platonic.
"True lovers are also friends," Alison Blackman, a relationship expert and editor-in-chief of
Advice Sisters, tells Bustle. "It's difficult, maybe impossible to keep sexual excitement at the same fevered pitch it might have been at the very start of a relationship. But if there are no shared moments, no shared interests, and no physical touching at all, the relationship has changed course."
While considering your significant other as a friend is actually quite healthy, it shouldn't be
what defines your relationship. If a bond built on romantic and sexual attraction loses those feelings completely, the relationship has changed and may be just a friendship in disguise. Here are nine signs that your partner is starting to see you as a friend: Check out Bustle's 'Save The Date' and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.
They Stop Showing Affection
Some couples aren't very touchy-feely and that's totally OK. But if you and your partner were always very physically affectionate, and suddenly aren't anymore, it could be a sign that
you're becoming platonic. "If they don't hug or kiss you or say I love you, those are sure signs that something is wrong," Blackman says.
They Don't Care About Appealing To You
Being comfortable around each other is a sign of a strong relationship, but if they've stopped trying to be appealing to you completely, it might be because they see you as more of a friend. "It’s an even bigger sign if they dress up for other occasions like going out with friends or an important function, but don’t with you," Jonathan Bennett, an Ohio-based dating and relationship coach and owner of
The Popular Man, tells Bustle.
Romantic Gestures Feel Forced
I'm not a super romantic person, so romance always feel a bit forced to me. But if you and your partner were the kind of lovey-dovey couple that used to shower each other in roses and now those genuine gestures suddenly feel fake, it could be because you're not romantically interested in each other anymore.
"Someone who feels genuine attraction to you will express it in obvious ways," Bennett says. "If that’s totally lacking, they likely see you in a less romantic way."
There's A Drastic Dip In Your Sex Life
Leaving the honeymoon phase of your relationship is to be expected, but you should take note if your partner seems drastically less interested in sex than they were before. "This is especially true if you know they had a strong sex drive in the past, whether with you or an ex," Bennett says.
They Stop Involving You In Plans
Suddenly not receiving an invite to any of your partner's hang out sessions that you've always been welcomed at before? You might be in a platonic partnership.
"Whether it's short-term plans or plans for the future, 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," Kimberly Hershenson,
a licensed therapist, tells Bustle.
They Won't Put Their Phone Down Around You
If every time you're with your partner you realize that they're "more engaged with text messaging friends or on social media," it could be a sign your partner "isn't present in the relationship," Hershenson says. A partner who's romantically invested in the relationship would want to be engaging with you — not their smart phone.
It Feels Weird Being Naked Around Them
When you're in a sexual relationship with someone, you should feel comfortable being naked around them. If they're suddenly changing their clothes in the bathroom every morning when they used to have no issue dressing in front of you before, it could be a sign that they're not sexually interested anymore.
"When you start to feel naked in front of the person you are supposed to be having sex with, that’s a problem," Caroline Madden,
a marriage therapist, tells Bustle.
"In general you find yourself hostile to couples in love," Madden says. "Why don’t you look at them fondly? Because you can’t even remember feeling that way regarding your partner." Being bugged by couples in love could mean that you're upset by
the lack of affection your significant other is giving you — which could likely be due to them seeing you as more of a friend.
You've Stopped Talking About Your Lives
you and your partner aren't talking about your feelings, your days, or any other thing that used to be part of your normal conversations, it could be a sign that the relationship has lost some of its intimacy. "Sure, you are talking but about logistics, meal planning, etc.," Madden says. "But not what’s really going on with you."
Losing a spark between you and your partner doesn't have to be the death of the relationship if you're both willing to work toward getting it back. But if your partner realizes their feelings for you are no longer sexual or romantic, it's probably best to reevaluate the relationship.