The early days of a relationship are an exciting mix of texting sprees, fun dates, and the thrill of getting to know a new person. And while, for many couples, that can settle into a steady relationship that lasts for years, it's OK if you
lose interest in your partner and decide to break up.
It might happen as the
honeymoon period starts to fade and you realize you don't want to invest long-term. But it's also possible to lose interest in a partner at an unforeseeable time for an unforeseeable reason. And you know what's even weirder? It doesn't even necessarily mean you "fell out of love."
It's totally possible to love someone, but not
no longer feel a spark. It's also possible to love someone, but come to the conclusion you aren't a good match. "Ultimately, it can feel really scary to leave a relationship that you've put time and energy into, and people often can use this as a reason to stay," Alyssa Arnol, LCSW, a psychotherapist with Psychotherapy Associates of Chicago, tells Bustle.
But if you relate to any of the 20 signs listed below, and no amount of effort changes the way you feel, you may decide it's
best to move on. 1 You Don't Miss Them
Think about how you feel when your partner is busy and can't hang out, or when they go when they go on a trip and are away for a week. Do you miss them? Or do you barely notice they're gone?
healthy to spend time apart. "But if you find that you no longer miss them, don't want to be around them, or don't wonder what they are doing [while]," Sterling Woods, LSW, a licensed social worker, tells Bustle, "this could be a sign that your interest has faded." 2 You Forget What They've Told You
If you struggle to remember important conversations — or worse, important dates, like an anniversary — take it as a sign you've emotionally left the building,
Deborah K. Krevalin, LPC, LMHC, a licensed professional counselor, tells Bustle. This is a change your partner will likely point out, probably once they've talked about it for a third time. 3 You View Them As A Friend
If you start to think of your partner as a loving friend instead of someone you're attracted to,
Dr. Jill Murray, a licensed psychotherapist and author, tells Bustle, it's likely a sign you've lost interest.
For example, you might want to spend time together, but when you do there isn't a "spark" or anything flirty going on.
Of course, not every relationship has to be hot and steamy. "Some couples are perfectly content with a companionship relationship in which they trust and respect the other," Murray says. But if your sexual thoughts are going elsewhere, you may need to take a step back and figure out what's going on.
4 You Don't Get Excited
While you can't expect to feel 24/7 butterflies, one of the top signs you've lost interest is if you don't feel the "turned on excitement" in your body when you're around them,
Susan Golicic, PhD, a certified relationship coach, tells Bustle. "It may feel like you love them," she says, "but are no longer 'in love' with them."
It might be a phase, or it might be the beginning of the end. After all, "it's difficult to make a committed relationship work when you don't desire someone," she says.
5 You Keep Forgetting To Text Back
"Forgetting to respond to their texts and ignoring them in general is certainly a flashing neon sign,"
Susan Trombetti, a matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, tells Bustle. If you were interested, she says, you wouldn't be so lackadaisical about communication. 6 You Have No Desire To Argue
If something goes wrong and you can't even be bothered to argue your point, chances are you've started checking out, marriage counselor
Katherine Shorter, tells Bustle. A lack of desire to "fight" for what you believe in shows you don't see a future, and thus don't care anymore about making positive changes. 7 Hanging Out Is A Chore
Remember when you used to go with your partner to the grocery store, just because you wanted to hang out? "The heart of most relationships is that people generally enjoy being with the other person, regardless of what they are doing together,"
Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. So, if you've noticed a major change in your desire to be around your partner, take a closer look. 8 You Feel Lonely Around Them
Take note if you feel lonely even when your partner is around, as that often points to a lack of connection,
Lacarma Minter, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. And a lack of connection often stems from a lack of desire to, well, connect. 9 You Don't Know What To Talk About
Every relationship will have boring moments. And every conversation will have a lull. But take it as a sign, Winter says, if you have trouble talking about quality topics, or if it feels like the silence is deafening.
It's not that you suddenly have nothing in common. It's just that, if you're losing interest, you won't feel the desire to dig up interesting topics or pick your partner's brain for stories.
10 You Don't Share Things
Pay attention to a lack of communication, as well as a lack of desire to fill your partner in about your day, share good news, etc. "A sign of a healthy relationship is communication," Trombetti says. So if you don't bother talking — or, if you do talk but it's always with someone else — you've lost interest.
11 You've Packed Your Schedule
If you find yourself taking up new hobbies left and right in an effort to feel something, it may be a sign the relationship is no longer fulfilling, licensed psychologist
Dr. Wyatt Fisher, tells Bustle.
Again, having hobbies and doing things separately is a very good thing. But if it gets to the point where you're constantly booked and busy, Fisher says, it might be because you're seeking novelty due to a lack of interest in your partner.
12 They Do All The Inviting
Another telling sign is if you've stopped reaching out to make plans, and instead kind of wait around for your partner to do all the work. While it's true that some people are better at organizing get-togethers than others, Murray says this is also a telltale sign you don't really want the relationship to go anywhere.
If this is familiar, she says, "you may want to honestly investigate whether you and your partner are content with the relationship as is." Or if you'd be happier moving on.
13 You've Been Having Secret Chats
Don't ignore that strong desire to slide into a cute stranger's DMs. As
Stephanie Moir, MA, CRC, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Bustle, this is a form of emotional cheating; one that often points to fading interest.
It could also be a first attempt to move on, she says, as "you may be looking for an emotional connection to replace the connection you had with your partner."
14 You Can't Stop Thinking About Your Ex
Are you always thinking about your ex, comparing your current partner to your ex, or wishing you could get back together with your ex? If so, Moir says it's a clear sign something's up.
In this situation, it can help to talk to your partner. Fun dates and deep conversations can cure a lot of things, so if you'd like to see if the relationship is salvageable, invest back into it and see if it makes a difference.
15 You Compare Your Relationship To Others
It's OK to look at a friend's relationship for inspiration, or to acknowledge that they seem really happy. But you shouldn't feel jealous or size your situation up against theirs.
"Comparing your relationship to other relationships is a red flag," Moir says. "This can mean you recognize something is missing but are not ready to end things."
16 You Don't Think About The Future
If you were truly interested in your partner, you'd have an eye on the future. You'd think about trips you'd like to take, apartments you'd like to live in, and how your relationship might look one, to five, to ten years down the road. So if you look toward the future and don't see them as part of it, it may be best to move on.
17 You Hardly Ever Laugh
While relationships can't be fun and joke-y all the time, it may point to a lack of interest if you sit around silently and don't seem to enjoy each other's company. "As difficult as life has been the past year with the pandemic, laughter is crucial towards navigating life these days," therapist
Hillary Schoninger, LCSW, tells Bustle. "How much we are laughing with one another is a good indicator of how much we like one another." 18 You "Don't Care"
Another top tier sign you've lost interest? Apathy, Krevalin says.
When your partner asks where you want to go to dinner, you say you don't care. If they ask what movie you'd like to watch, you tell them to put on whatever they want.
Basically, you're no longer participating in the relationship not out of anger or animosity, but because you truly aren't into it.
19 You Aren't As Affectionate
Something might be up if you used to hug, cuddle, and hold hands, but all of that has completely stopped, Trombetti says. And the same is true if you're no longer interested in having sex with your partner.
"There may be other factors involved," she says, "but when that person just isn't sparking you anymore, there can be a decline in intimacy signaling you have lost interest."
20 You Don't Go Out Of Your Way
Sure, you hang out with your partner on your way home from work, but it's only because you pass their apartment on the way.
You've noticed that, unless it's really convenient, you don't want to get together. And you've definitely dropped the grand gestures, like planning their birthday parties or getting them fun gifts for the holidays.
If you were
still interested in your partner, these would be things you'd want to do. You may be able to turn things around, especially if you still love them. But don't be afraid to evaluate how you feel, including whether this relationship is right for you. Sources: Alyssa Arnol, LCSW, psychotherapist Sterling Woods, LSW, licensed social worker Deborah K. Krevalin, LPC, LMHC, a licensed professional counselor Dr. Jill Murray, licensed psychotherapist and author Susan Golicic, PhD, certified relationship coach Susan Trombetti, matchmaker Katherine Shorter, marriage counselor Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Wyatt Fisher, licensed psychologist Stephanie Moir, MA, CRC, LMHC, licensed mental health counselor Hillary Schoninger, LCSW, therapist