Everything's fine, and then you blink while you're supposed to be having fun on an intimate date and realize that maybe everything isn't so fine after all. As much as
falling in love can come as a surprise, so can falling out of it. If you're feeling a strange distance from your partner, it can be tempting to look for the signs of falling out of love.
"Regardless of the reason
why people choose to stay together when they are no longer in love, staying together in a loveless relationship takes even more work than being in a relationship where the people are in love," says Zairys Feliz, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist with the mental health care platform Alma.
Sometimes, you have to look at subtle physical signs because your mind isn't ready to wrap around the loss of
losing your love for someone. It can be hard to admit, even to yourself, when you're just over it. But be honest with yourself — it's the best way for everyone involved to heal. According to experts, you should pay attention to your body when you're asking yourself, "am I still in love?" Here are nine physical signs you're not in love anymore. 1 Your Heart Doesn't Race Around Them
Even in a
long-term relationship, your partner should still be able to occasionally make your heart beat faster. Of course, no partner can make your heart soar all the time — your blood pressure's got to regulate sometimes — but feeling absolutely no rush of emotions around them anymore might be an indicator that things are slowing down between you.
"When our bodies produce high levels of
dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline are released and cause our heart to race," Feliz tells Bustle. But when you're not in love anymore, your body doesn't make those feel-good chemicals anymore — so your heart rate stays where it is. "Looking at the person we are attracted to or in love with causes us to feel excitement and nervousness, which triggers our sympathetic nervous system," she explains. But when you fall out of love, that adrenaline-pumping nervous system reaction just stops happening. "Since we are no longer excited or nervous around the person we once loved, our sympathetic nervous system is no longer triggered." Bye-bye, helplessly racing heart. 2 You Don't Touch As Much
The love between you and your partner or partners often
manifests in your physical relationship, whether that physicality is about sex, couch snuggles, or both. Everyone shows their love differently, but if you feel yourself literally pulling away, you may be falling out of love.
"Hand-holding and any other types of physical touch with your loved one is a sign of affection that many couples display," says
Lori Bizzoco, a relationship expert and the founder of CupidsPulse.com. "If you find that the two of you are rarely close these days, or you only touch out of habit, the excitement you once felt for your partner may be fizzling." If you notice that your daily life with your partner involves less physical closeness, it may be time to examine what that might mean. 3 Your Pupils Don't Dilate
How do you know you love someone? Check yourself in the mirror. Because when it comes to your pupils dilating, the eyes really are the window to the soul. "When we are in love, our body releases dopamine and oxytocin," Feliz says. Those
feel-good chemicals make your pupils dilate. They're also responsible for the window to your soul betraying your true feelings (or lack thereof) when that good loving fades. "When a person falls out of love, being with their partner no longer feels good, so the body slows the production of dopamine and oxytocin," Feliz explains. That means your pupils are likely to stay the same size, even when you're gazing into each other's eyes. 4 You Literally Aren't Going At The Same Pace
When the people in a relationship are in love, Feliz says that they
develop a kind of synchronicity, even as far as falling into step when they go somewhere together. "They often go to the same places, partake in the same activities of interest, and eventually mimic each other’s emotional expressions," she tells Bustle. "When a couple falls out of love, all of that changes." You might find yourself doing the opposite of what your person does, she explains, just to experience a breath of individuality and distance. So next time you head off to run errands or go for a stroll together, keep an eye on your pace. There may be a deeper meaning behind it. 5 You Don't Get Butterflies
Once again, it's all about your sympathetic nervous system. Being anxious or scared activates that good old
fight or flight response, which gives you that shaky feeling in your stomach. "When we anticipate meeting up with our date, we feel nervous and excited, but interpret it in a positive way because we are looking forward to spending time with the person and figure positive things will come out of the relationship," Feliz explains. When you're not in love anymore, the lack of excitement means your nervous system — those butterflies in your stomach — likely won't kick into gear. 6 You Can Hear It In Your Voice
Conversations between you may either dull out or get sharper if someone is falling out of love. So listen to the ways you speak to one another. "[Take note if] you feel irritated a lot when you are physically near them,” mental health and relationship expert
Emily Mendez, M.S., Ed.S, tells Bustle. That irritation can definitely leak out into your tone, which might become agitated, bored, or passive-aggressive. If you feel like your conversations are pitchy and defensive, it might be worth looking into. 7 You Feel Repelled By Them
"When we are in love, we don't see the person’s negative traits and sometimes we choose to overlook things that would have repulsed us at the beginning of the relationship," Feliz says. So idiosyncrasies that may have been fine with you or even cute before (those loud chewing sounds they make or the way they talk during your favorite show) might start to really irritate you when you're getting over someone.
Beyond a dull, disinterested feeling,
falling out of love can actually start to feel like repulsion, in the literal sense. "[Falling out of love can look like] not wanting to touch your partner," says Kayla Lords, a writer and sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com. "This is beyond not thinking about holding hands or hugging. You're physically repelled by them." Of course, physical and sexual intimacy isn't for everyone — but if you used to enjoy this kind of contact with your person and you don't anymore, you need to be honest about your feelings. 8 Sex Feels Like A Chore
If you usually enjoy sex but you're having less of it, or are having sex for reasons other than pleasure or enjoyment, it's time to take tabs on your relationship. "If you've fallen out of love enough that you don't want to hold hands or hug anymore, sex becomes even more difficult," Lords says. And if you're not having sex when you generally like to, this change in physical intimacy can be apparent in other ways.
"When we stop spending time with our partner we lose the emotional intimacy," Feliz says. "Usually when the emotional intimacy is gone, the physical intimacy goes as well." That might translate into apathy or even repulsion from sex in your relationship.
9 You Feel Physically Drained Around Them Falling out of love can be tiring — literally. "[It's a sign if] being together with your partner physically drains you [or] talking with them or doing activities with them leaves you exhausted physically and emotionally," health and wellness coach Caleb Backe tells Bustle. If you feel like you're constantly on eggshells, or losing energy when around your partner, chances are you're not into them anymore.
"Falling out of love makes the person feel that they are putting in work to maintain a relationship that is no longer working, and is not providing them with any kind of reward, whether that be emotional or physical," Feliz tells Bustle. "This makes the person feel physically drained." So when spending time with your human takes more energy than it gives, it might be time to have a few difficult conversations.
Experts: Zairys Feliz, L.C.S.W., psychotherapist with Alma Lori Bizzoco, relationship expert and founder of CupidsPulse.com Emily Mendez, M.S., Ed.S, mental health and relationship expert Kayla Lords, writer and sexpert for JackandJillAdult.com Caleb Backe, health and wellness coach