Falling in love is fun, sudden, and easy. It’s like going down a playground slide. Falling out of love, however, is slow, painful, and difficult. For Sylvia, a 28-year-old hopeless romantic, it was a torment to understand this: Why do people fall out of love? Her long-term partner, one day, told her that he is no longer in love with her. It tore her apart.
She couldn’t even accept that such a thing exists. She had only seen its adaptations in movies. “How is it possible to just fall out of love so easily and then leave?” demanded Sylvia. She took some time to process the breakup and to understand how relationships can fall apart.
In this article, trauma-informed counseling psychologist Anushtha Mishra (M.Sc., Counseling Psychology), who specializes in providing therapy for concerns such as trauma, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, grief, and loneliness, among others, attempts to bring awareness to different reasons that people might fall out of love, signs to look out for, and what to do if you fall out of love.
Why Do People Fall Out Of Love?
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It is bittersweet to ponder over this question. I have noticed that when couples lose the spark of the honeymoon phase, which they thought would last a lot longer, certain underlying themes contribute to the disconnection and broken-down love.
These factors that make people fall out of love suddenly are often associated with a) excess or lack of communication, b when someone projects their feelings onto their SO, c) or due to unrealistic expectations. All of these are relationship killers. Let’s dig into why love runs out for some folks.
1. Misunderstandings between the partners
A misunderstanding occurs when one or both of the parties is unable or unwilling to understand correctly. It can be caused by many things, but the most common one is not having a clear understanding of the situation which leads to big fights.
Why do misunderstandings happen in a relationship?
- Unfair comparisons
- When your partner’s feelings are not respected
- Seeing your partner as a competitor
- Ineffective listening skills
- A whole lot of assumptions
2. Communication issues make the love run out
Enough has been talked about how lack of proper communication in a relationship leads to a plethora of problems, like:
- Escalated conflicts
- A negative perspective of your partner
- Unrealistic expectations
- Feeling unseen and unheard
- It also makes it difficult to set and reach goals as a couple
- Failed attempts at connecting with each other
A true connection depends on understanding your partner’s inner world and having them understand yours. Unless you are able to communicate effectively in a way that lets your bond evolve, you will grow apart over time. This is one of the main answers for the question, “What makes people lose interest in their partner?”
3. You no longer feel appreciated or valued
As the honeymoon phase inevitably cools down, there is a tendency to start taking one another for granted. Leaving your relationship to run on autopilot makes it difficult to keep the spark alive, show gratitude, or even acknowledge caring behavior. Feelings of love can wane as respect, attention, being valued, and kindness fades.
Partners also let their guard down and stop being considerate of each other. When partners are no longer thoughtful and protective toward one another, the relationship suffers from neglect. Disconnection is the final result of this which leads to detaching yourself from your partner.
4. You might be incompatible with each other
It is no surprise that even research shows that couples who have similar attitudes, values, and backgrounds do experience lasting satisfaction and love. They are also less likely to fall apart and to find their partner annoying. As a couple moves forward to know each other better, the excitement might simmer down. They may discover that their lifestyles and values don’t align, leaving the partners feeling cast down about their future together. This is one of the most important factors for our ‘why do people fall out of love’ query.
A Reddit user shares their experience and says, “As I got to know her better and better, I realized how incompatible we are for each other … the love never really left. It just transformed into being something not as intimate.”
5. You and your partner might be headed in different directions
Why do people fall out of love? It happens gradually when partners are compelled to choose separate paths when their values, aspirations, and priorities no longer coincide. In some cases, this can lead them to start moving in different directions in life, causing them to fall out of love. It’s a challenging human experience for both parties involved.
Related Reading: 17 Signs You Are In An Incompatible Relationship
Is It Normal To Fall Out Of Love?
Falling out of love is a common occurrence. Romantic love can be a complex and ever-changing emotion, and it’s common for people to experience shifts in their feelings and attitudes toward their partner over time.
- People fall out of love suddenly or over a period of weeks, months, or years – and it can be a daunting experience. The acceptance of the fact occurs gradually
- It could be because the relationship is deteriorating, or the partner is not the right one, or just because of passage of time
- It can manifest as a decreased interest in one’s partner, a lack of affection and intimacy, a lack of excitement about spending time together, having stopped putting in the effort and yet caring for them
- Falling out of love doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or that there’s something wrong with you. It’s a natural part of the human experience, and many people go through this at some point in their lives
- If you’re experiencing a loss of love, it’s important to give yourself time and space to process your emotions and to seek support from loved ones or a mental health professional if needed
It’s important to explore why people fall out of love, and what this feeling truly signifies. There have been many studies done to study this phenomenon and one of them was done by Joanni Sailor. She focused on the experience of falling out of love with one’s spouse. The study noted a slow, progressive deterioration of the relationship through which the romantic love decreased and eventually ended. The study also highlighted how natural and sometimes inevitable it is to lose romantic feelings for your partner.
So, is it normal to fall out of love? Absolutely, and a few things to remember are:
- Love is a complex emotion that can wax and wane over time
- Falling out of love is a common experience that many people go through in their romantic relationships
- During this change, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions, including doubt and uncertainty
- It doesn’t necessarily mean that the relationship is doomed, but it may require some work to reignite the spark
- You may not be in love in anymore but you may still deeply care for one another
5 Signs Of Falling Out Of Love
It’s important to be aware of the signs of falling out of love because it can help you recognize when your relationship is in trouble and take steps to address the issues before they become too serious. This may include seeking the help of a relationship counselor or therapist, having an honest conversation with your partner, or making changes in your own behavior to try to rekindle the feelings of love and connection.
Sometimes, love just takes a different form. You’re no longer in love but you still love each other and are fond of each other’s company. See if that works for you both. If the relationship cannot be saved, though, recognizing the signs of falling out of love can also help you end the relationship respectfully and compassionately, rather than dragging it out and causing more hurt for both you and your partner.
1. When resentment becomes a prominent feeling for you
“Why do people fall out of love?” is a broad question that has a wide range of possible reasons. One of the reasons is the buildup of resentment in a relationship. When you let feelings of resentment fester without addressing the source, it can be a major sign that you’re falling out of love.
Related Reading: What’s the best way to protect a marriage with unresolved issues?
- Resentment in the relationship can take the form of bitterness and often arises when one partner feels unsupported or undervalued
- It can damage the relationship inside out
- It can lead to a host of negative emotions for both people
- When resentment reaches this level, it can be difficult to see the positive qualities in your partner
2. You become indifferent toward your partner
Love and hate are both powerful emotions, but indifference is the absence of any feeling at all. Developing feelings of indifference can even become a traumatic event for some since the once-strong love has completely shattered.
In response to a question about falling out of love, another Reddit user answered, “When you’re in love, you put in extra effort, but when you’re falling out (of love), it doesn’t matter anymore.” This is a prime example of indifference.
A few important points to remember here are:
- If you find yourself feeling completely uninterested in your partner’s thoughts and feelings and have stopped putting in the effort, it’s a sign that your love may have faded
- If you notice that you are only doing the bare minimum in your relationship and are finding everything about it annoying, it could be a sign that you are falling out of love
- Another sign of indifference in a relationship can be detaching yourself from them physically and keeping yourself away whenever possible
3. You don’t have any vision of a future together
However complex it is to assess what makes people fall out of love, one possible reason is a lack of future planning and goal-setting. In a healthy relationship with strong romantic feelings, couples tend to plan and discuss their future together. On the other hand, when a relationship is faltering, a sign that things may be coming to an end is when the couple stops talking about practical and fun plans and begins to live only in the present moment.
This lack of future planning and goal-setting can be a warning sign that the emotional connection between the partners is weakening. Lack of vision of a future together can show itself in subtle ways, according to another Reddit user. They mention, “You feel like you’re being held back or smothered, even if that’s not the case.” They also add, “When you envision the future, you’re envisioning it without them being a part of it.”
Related Reading: Love Without A Future, But I’m Glad We Have Today
4. Intimacy is the last thing on your mind
It’s common for sexual relationships to have ups and downs, as a variety of factors such as medication, trauma, and stress can significantly impact libido. However, if you notice a complete lack of sexual attraction toward your partner, it could be a sign that your feelings of love are diminishing. It’s worth noting that this could also just be a temporary dry spell in your sexual relationship.
Over time, couples may become so comfortable with each other that they start to resemble roommates more than romantic partners. While it’s possible to reignite intimacy, it may be time to consider the future of your relationship as well.
5. You find yourself being extremely critical of your partner
Once-endearing quirks and habits of your partner now seem irritating, and you catch yourself constantly pointing them out along with other flaws. A few signs of such behavior are:
- You find it challenging to be more empathetic in the relationship, accommodate, or be understanding of your partner
- You notice yourself unwilling to pay attention to your partner’s issues or complaints
- You’re overly defensive or dismissive
What To Do If You Fall Out Of Love?
Falling out of love can be a difficult and painful experience, but it is also a natural part of many relationships. It is a complex and personal experience, and there’s no one “right” way to handle it. It’s important to be kind to yourself and take the time you need to figure out what’s best for you to understand “why do people fall out of love?”
1. Reflect on how you feel
When you begin to feel like you’re falling out of love, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on your emotions and be honest with yourself. It can be easy to ignore these feelings or try to push them aside, but acknowledging them is the first step toward resolving them.
Ask yourself questions such as: Why do I feel this way? What has changed in our relationship? It’s important to try to pinpoint what may have led to your feelings of falling out of love, whether it’s something your partner has done or something that has changed within yourself.
2. Identify the reasons behind those feelings
When you are experiencing a change in your feelings toward your partner, it can be challenging to understand what is causing the shift. It’s easy to get lost in your emotions and feel overwhelmed, but taking a step back and analyzing the situation can help you gain clarity and insight.
By identifying the specific factors that are contributing to this change in emotions, you can work toward resolving the underlying issues. For instance, you may discover that you’ve been feeling neglected or unappreciated, leading to a loss of connection with your partner. Alternatively, you may find that external factors, such as work or family stress, have been affecting your ability to be present in your relationship.
3. Discuss this change gently and openly with your partner
Once you have gained a better understanding of your own feelings, the next step is to communicate with your partner openly. It is essential to express yourself in a constructive and respectful way and to acknowledge the huge impact of this news on your partner.
It’s important to be transparent about your feelings and to listen to your partner’s perspective as well. Perhaps there are underlying issues in the relationship that you are not aware of, or maybe your partner is feeling the same way. Sharing your thoughts and emotions with each other can help you both gain a better understanding of what’s going on and can foster a deeper connection.
4. Seek support
Falling out of love can be a difficult and isolating experience, especially when you still care for your partner. It’s common to feel like you are the only one going through this, which can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, and even depression. This is why having support from friends, family, or a therapist can be incredibly beneficial.
Talking to loved ones about your situation can help you feel less alone and provide you with emotional support. Your friends and family can offer a listening ear, provide comfort, and offer advice. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are supportive and non-judgmental.
At Bonobology, we offer professional help through our panel of licensed advisors who can help you embark on a path toward recovery.
5. Consider other options
If you’ve tried to work things out and still feel like you’re falling out of love, it may be time to consider your options. This could mean:
- Ending the relationship
- De-escalating the relationship
- Taking a break
- Trying couple’s counseling
- We may fall out of love due to misunderstandings, communication issues, no longer feeling appreciated or valued, being incompatible, and heading in different directions
- Signs of falling out of love range from developing feelings of resentment, indifference, no plan of a future together, no intimacy, and finding yourself to be overly critical of your partner
- If you find yourself falling out of love, reflect on how you feel, identify why you’re feeling this way, discuss the same with your partner, and seek as much support as you can
- It’s also important to remember that falling out of love doesn’t mean that you’re a failure or that there’s something wrong with you
Losing feelings of love doesn’t mean that either person is at fault or that the love they once had was not genuine. It simply means that they have grown and changed in different ways and as a result, their relationship is no longer sustainable.
When this happens, it’s important for both people to have open and honest communication about their feelings and to evaluate whether it’s possible to continue the relationship in a way that works for both of them. Sometimes, despite their best efforts, it may be necessary to let go of the relationship with love and respect, recognizing that it’s the best thing for both individuals to move forward in their separate paths in life.
Why do people fall out of love? It could be due to a gradual realization that the relationship is not meeting their needs, a loss of attraction or passion, changes in priorities or life circumstances, growing apart, or feelings of resentment and anger that have not been addressed. Falling out of love is a normal part of some relationships and does not necessarily mean that either partner has done anything wrong. Communicate with your partner about your feelings and work together to determine the next course of action.
Yes, falling out of love is a real phenomenon. It’s not uncommon for people to feel a shift in their emotions and experience a decrease in romantic feelings toward their partner over time. Falling out of love doesn’t necessarily mean the end of a relationship, and it’s possible to work through these feelings with communication, effort, and support.