Falling in love is a wonderful, thrilling, sometimes excruciating, and ultimately deeply satisfying experience.
Love is wondrous if you reach that vaunted “happy ending” and end up getting serious with the person of your dreams.
It’s something many people aspire to (I say “many,” because not everyone experiences romantic attraction or wants to see it through to a conclusion, and that’s fine too), and something that most people love to talk about.
Everyone loves to regale their friends with exactly how it felt the first time they kissed their partner, but you know what people don’t really talk about nearly as much? Falling out of love.
Falling out of love certainly isn’t a very happy thing, so it’s understandable most people wouldn’t want to think about it too much.
But as unfortunate as it may be, it does happen, and in many cases, because nobody ever talks about it, one might find oneself ill equipped to figure out how to deal with such a situation.
So how do you tell the difference between a temporary setback and the love having simply evaporated, never to return?
Well, ultimately, this is something you and your partner need to decide for yourselves, and it’s absolutely a great idea to try everything you can—couples’ therapy, spending more time together, discussing why you might be having a rough patch, etc—before you make up your mind that the love is well and truly gone and go your separate ways.
However, there are a few signs to watch out for that can help give you some evidence one way or the other.
Don’t take these as gospel, as everyone is different, and so is every relationship, but consider them very loose rules of thumb.
Here are ten signs you need to break up right now.
1. You Feel Detached and Distracted
It says a lot when you’re in a supposedly satisfied, happy relationship and you suddenly realize you’ve been fantasizing about dating someone else.
If this happens once or twice, no big deal, but if you realize it’s happening all the time, you might want to take a step back and consider why your mind might be wandering in that particular direction.
And if you’re making profiles on dating sites “just to see who’s out there,” or writing up lists of traits in your ideal partner (especially if any of those traits are absent in your current partner), you…might need to be honest with yourself, and your partner already, because you’re clearly not terribly interested in them anymore
Unless of course you’re a polyamorous couple, which is also totally fine!
In that case, all of the above may be perfectly natural behaviors to you, and so long as you’re not breaking your partners’ trust and everyone’s fine with it, then no worries.
Note that this particular tip tends to be the most useful to monogamous people, but the rest of the ones on this list could apply to any relationship in general.
2. The Cute Little Things Are Annoying Now
You know all those cute little habits that your partner does?
Maybe they hum while cooking, or maybe they have the most adorable habit of nibbing at their food.
Perhaps they sing in the shower. Whatever it is, these dorky little quirks are often adorable or even hilarious to one’s partner.
But if you find yourself just being annoyed by such habits, it could just be a sign that you’re past the “honeymoon” phase of the relationship, and that you most definitely still love them.
But, reality is setting in (which isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t mean the end of your relationship or the love, but rather the start of a whole new part of being in love).
However, at times it may also hint at a deeper problem. Either way, make note of it, talk about it, etc.
It might be no big deal, but it might also be evidence you’re holding on to a loveless relationship.
3. He’s Just a Best Friend
Friends are wonderful.
One of the best things in the world, even. But a romantic relationship is something different.
Not necessarily “better” or “superior” or “more,” but definitely unique, beautiful, and special.
So if you find that you don’t really treat the person who’s supposed to be your romantic partner like anything but a best friend anymore, you might have settled into thinking of them as just that—and nothing more, nothing less.
If this is the case, it’s probably best that you let go of any illusions that you’re still romantically in love with each other.
It doesn’t mean you should go your separate ways entirely, after all, if you’ve become each others’ best friend, keep that friendship alive!
After all, who says exes can’t still be friends? Because that’s bullshit.
4. You’re Not Intimate Anymore
To clarify, we’re talking about intimacy in general, not just sex.
Some people are disinterested in sex entirely, and that’s perfectly fine (asexuality—look it up), and some people are crazy about it, which is just fine too.
The point here, though, is that if you realize you never do any of the things that make you feel really close anymore.
Whether it’s cuddles, sex, rabid make-out sessions, putting your head on the other’s shoulder while you snuggle up to watch TV together, and so on and so forth, this could be a bit of a warning sign that you may be loosing interest in your partner and the relationship.
And if being affectionate towards your partner starts to feel like a chore, that’s certainly not a good sign.
5. Something Is Missing
One of the most damming bits of evidence for the love simply being gone is when there’s just this vague feeling that something is missing in your relationship.
We’re not talking about that listless feeling of not being satisfied with life in general—that can be the case without it having anything to do with your relationship (though if you feel that way, you should probably see a counselor).
Rather, we’re talking about a vague feeling, hard to put your finger on, but definitely rooted in the relationship in particular, as opposed to anything else.
If you find yourself feeing this way, it could be time to sign up for couples’ therapy, or it could be that the love has simply…left.
6. You’re Not Attracted to Him Anymore
Attraction—possibly sexual attraction (reminder: not everyone even experiences that) and definitely romantic attraction—is quintessential to starting and maintaining a romantic relationship.
So if you find that the butterflies have simply flown away, and you never catch yourself just staring at the one you love because they’re so good looking, you might be loosing interest.
7. Being Around Happy Couples Is Painful
If being around happy, sappy couples who clearly care deeply about each other is actually physically painful, and you find yourself wanting to yell at them to get a room because they’re so annoying…there might be a problem.
Sure, over-the-top couples can get a little annoying even if you’re in a deeply satisfying relationship yourself.
But we’re talking about when you feel that sting deep inside your gut every time you see another couple be affectionate or flirtatious at each other…yeah, there might be a problem.
8. You Hardly Even Say “I Love You” Anymore
Those three little words should never be taken for granted.
When spoken with true feeling, they can be so incredibly powerful and happy-making you want to say them all the time.
But if you find that saying “I love you” starts getting tiring, or—even worse—if you never really mean it when you say it, there should be more than a few red flags waving inside your head.
Granted, it’s not a black and white thing, and while sometimes it may be for all intents and purposes permanent, it may also just be a rough patch, a proverbial bump in the road, that will pass with time, patience, and effort.
9. You Don’t Trust Them Anymore
Trust is quintessential for relationships of all kinds.
Romantic, platonic, familiar, professional; they all rely to one degree or another on each involved party being able to truly, implicitly trust the other (especially friendships and romantic relationships).
Well, okay, maybe business relationships don’t always involve implicit trust, but that’s not the point.
What is the point?
Well, the point is that if you start suspecting your partner of, say, having an affair, or even just stealing the last slice of cheese in the fridge and lying to your face about it, well…that’s not good.
You need to be able to trust each other, or the relationship is going to fall apart without fail.
10. You Don’t Care About Fixing the Relationship
And finally, possibly the most damming sign that it might be time to face the fact that you might not be in love anymore?
It’s quite simple.
Even if you know there’s problems in your relationship, you don’t really care about fixing them.
This shows a complete lack of investment in the relationship.
If you were still in love with your partner, you’d want to do everything in your power to fix things so that you two could be happy with each other again.
But if you really just…don’t? Yeah, that’s not a good sign.
Of course, let’s close with one very, very important reminder, just to be sure you get the idea: these are rules of thumb.
Every relationship is different, and in many cases a relationship may feel like it’s beyond hope, but it might just be fixable after all.
Only you and your partner know all the particulars of your life together, and it’s only over if one of you decides it is.
So take this list with a grain of salt, but—if you suspect you may not love your partner anymore and want to be sure, consider the signs on this list as simple way-markers, to guide you in the right direction, whatever that may be for you.
And remember to take care of yourself. You deserve happiness.