As we all know, long-term relationships are never usually the same as it was in the beginning. All the newness and novelty wears off in time, and for some, that can mean interest fades as well. It can be difficult to tell that you've
lost interest in your partner if you still love them. But just because you may still have feelings, it doesn't mean you're invested in the relationship.
"Oftentimes, losing interest in your partner has to do with growth, or a lack thereof," Katherine Shorter, marriage counselor and founder of
Yoked, tells Bustle. According to her, people often lose interest in long-term partners when one person outgrows or out-matures the other. Basically, when a couple's goals or desires in life are no longer aligned, one person will quickly lose interest in trying to bring the other person back into alignment and "they will eventually seek out someone who has a parallel outlook on the future."
But according to Shorter, it's not always a lost cause. "My husband and I have been married for over six years and we still check in with each other at least once a quarter to see what our goals are at the moment, for the future, and how we can work together to achieve them," she says. "Even being married, our goals and interests are going to change and we have to
keep communication open to know that we are still in alignment with each other. If we're not, we figure out what we need to do to get back there."
So here are some signs that you may have lost interest in your relationship, even if you love your partner, according to experts.
Your Body Doesn't Get Excited Around Them Anymore
"The number one sign you've lost interest in your partner is when you don't feel the 'turned on excitement' in your body when you're around them," Susan Golicic, PhD, Certified Relationship Coach and Co-founder of
Uninhibited Wellness, tells Bustle. It's that butterflies in your stomach feeling and nervousness you get when you know things are about to get intimate. It's that desire for your significant other.
As Golicic says, "This is chemistry, the sexual attraction for the other person. This is common early on in relationships and most of the time (though not always) what initially attracts two people. One can lose this feeling and still love their partner. It may feel like you love them but are no longer 'in love' with them. And this could be the case."
that desire is gone, Golicic says it could be a cause for concern, but not always. "It's difficult to make a committed relationship work when you don't desire them," she says. So if you're in this situation, she says the first step is to reflect. Think back on what happened. Was it sudden or something that happened gradually? Maybe you just need a good date night to help bring that fire back, or maybe it's a sign that your partner isn't the one for you.
You Feel Like You're More Friends Than Romantic Partners
If you think of your partner as more of a loving friend than a romantic partner,
Dr. Jill Murray, licensed psychotherapist and author, tells Bustle, that may be a sign you've lost interest. "You might enjoy their company and still want to be with them — maybe even on a daily basis — but have lost the spark that once connected you," she says. If you've started seeing your partner as someone you want to cuddle with, but not really have sex with, that's a big sign to be aware of.
According to Murray, it is fixable as long as you want to fix it. "It’s not true that every relationship must be hot and steamy; some couples are perfectly content with a companionship relationship in which they trust and respect the other," she says. But if your sexual thoughts are going elsewhere, you may need to take a step back and figure out what's going on.
You Have No Desire To Argue Anymore
If something bothers or angers you and you have no interest in making your feelings known, you might have lost interest in your relationship. According to Shorter, having that desire to fight means there's still passion there. Desire and passion aren't limited to the bedroom. If you find yourself letting your partner win arguments, it could mean that you've just stopped caring.
Losing interest in your partner in a romantic sense can sometimes just happen. "Sometimes values change or what attracts one partner at a period of time no longer attracts them," Murray says. "There is no specific time period when this happens. A situation may cause it or just time and familiarity." That's why keeping the lines of communication open is key. If your values are changing, it needs to be addressed. Things tend to work more smoothly when everyone is on the same page.
You Need To Talk Yourself Into Going Out With Them
"The heart of most relationships is that people generally enjoy being with the other person, regardless of what they are doing together," professional counselor,
Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, tells Bustle. So, if you need to talk yourself into spending some time with your partner, this could be a red flag that something bigger is going on.
According to McBain, it's important to look within yourself. "Sometimes individual counseling could be helpful if someone feels like something is missing in their life and they want to figure out on their own," she says. Who knows? Maybe you haven't really lost interest in your partner. Maybe you just need to deal with whatever's going on in your life as an individual and then figure out where your relationship fits after.
You're Packing Your Schedule With A Ton Of New Hobbies
If you find yourself taking up new hobbies in an effort to get out and spend time with other people, that may be a sign you've started to lose interest. This can happen whether you realize it or not. If you happen to notice yourself checking more and more people out, that's definitely something to watch out for.
Although this won't apply to everyone's situation, Murray suggests therapy as a means to help with self-reflection, especially if you've started to
think about cheating. "It's a good place to begin to work out when you lost romantic interest and want to figure out why," she says.
You Don't Prioritize Their Texts Or Call Anymore
If you've started ignoring some of your partner's texts or calls just because you don't want to deal with them, that may be a sign you've lost interest. As Shorter says, at the beginning of a relationship, a lot of back and forth communication is expected. It shouldn't surprise either of you when communication slows down. But if you don't prioritize their texts, phone calls, or emails, you may want to think about why. Maybe they just text too much. Maybe you're just not interested in getting random links to articles you don't have any interest in. Or maybe, the
sexting has stopped. If that's the case, communication, again, is key. "While difficult to talk about, if you work on your relationship together you can possibly rekindle the spark that was there," Golicic says.
You've Just Stopped Trying
One telling sign that you've lost interest is when you've stopped trying altogether. That means you don't invite them out with you and your friends, you don't seem to care about date nights, and you don't care if you answer their texts within a certain amount of time. You may love your partner wholeheartedly, but you just don't have that desire to keep it interesting anymore. "Without that, the relationship can’t go forward," Murray says. "If that's the case, you may want to honestly investigate whether you and your partner are content with the relationship as is."
Just because you've lost interest, it doesn't mean you've lost your love for them. Sometimes couples fall into a comfortability and romance just doesn't seem to be a priority anymore. It happens. The reality is, nothing is a lost cause unless you truly think it is. If you really want your relationship to work, it can.