Do you feel like you are falling out of love with your spouse?
Not surprisingly, this is a common concern in longer-term marriages. We all know that marriage can be like a roller coaster at times. But when a couple lives disconnected, distanced, and discouraged from each other, they are headed for choppy waters.
Are There Signs That You Are Falling Out Of Love With Your Partner?
Falling out of love can be a devastating experience, but understanding what’s causing it can help you work through it. In some cases, people may find themselves realizing that their feelings for their significant other have changed over time. Discover the potential causes and ways to tackle this issue in this article.
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Can You Fall Out Of Love With Your Soulmate?
Whether you’ve been married for a few months or several years, the signs of falling out of love or an unhappy marriage may be obvious. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to reigniting the passion and restoring trust, commitment and communication are critical elements to reviving a relationship if both partners are willing to put in the time and effort.
One of the first signs of falling out of love is finding yourself thinking less and less about your partner. Perhaps you may think it’s a sign that you’re growing apart, or maybe you just don’t have anything to say to each other. Other early warning signs include not looking forward to spending time together, a decrease in physical intimacy, or an increase in arguing. If any of these behaviors are present, it’s essential to take the time to investigate why this might be happening.
Falling Out Of Love In Marriage Can Happen For Many Reasons
It can be very confusing when you are unsure about your feelings for your romantic partner. There are so many reasons that marriages start to dissolve, here are some of the most common experiences:
- Partners truly married too young, or maybe they had a child on the way
- Spouses married as a type of “rebellion” or a choice to show their family that they are adults
- Important topics were not discussed, including spirituality, money, and parenting. These topics will affect any marriage and will magnify frustration with your partner.
- One or both partners have realized that they are currently being abused in some form. The harder-to-identify types of abuse include verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and financial abuse.
- Spouses might have overlooked a “marital mismatch” in intellect, education, or politics.
- Family pressure to find a mate and marry.
- Spouse realizes that they married someone just like their mom/dad
Falling Out Of Love When You Are Married Is Scary
I understand what it feels like to struggle with falling out of love. I experienced those feelings and had to make decisions about my future self, hopes, and dreams. My long-term marriage ended in a divorce, but divorce is not always the right decision. I share my story to help midlife women feel normal as they move into the choppy waters of aging and relationships.
Things Are Not What They Seem
Every marriage is unique. Both spouses are complex individuals with emotions and behaviors that impact the health of marriage. The old saying “No one knows what happens behind closed doors” is true in the marriage relationship.
Recently, I wrote a post about falling out of love with your spouse. I posted an assignment that I had written in grad school for a Marital Crisis class. I wrote my paper on the topic of disaffection– the slow death process of spousal love and affection.
Midlife Is Magical
Disaffection is the clinical term for the final gasps a dying marriage takes. Disaffection can start as early as the first year of marriage, and it can hang on until divorce or death of a spouse. Disaffection does not always result in a divorce, but it does result in an unhappy marriage in many ways.
Disaffection Is The Word For Falling Out Of Love
Keep in mind, the feeling of falling out of love with your spouse IS NOT the same as running to a lawyer to file for divorce. Like all human relationships, disaffection is complicated and is based on LONG-TERM issues in a marriage. It can present an infinite amount of ways in a marriage, and it is usually a result of long-term unhealthy behavior that goes unresolved between spouses.
If Your Partner Asks For Marriage Help, Say “Yes”
Most marriages can recover and become even healthier with some focused attention. When a marriage is struggling, both partners need to accept responsibility for the difficulty. One of the most destructive things a spouse can do is refuse to see their role in the marital problems. It is very common for one partner (usually the wife) to ask the other partner to agree to get help for the marriage.
Sadly, many spouses (often the husband) will feel uncomfortable or attacked when their wife shares her marital concerns. Stonewalling and defensiveness will often follow a request for counseling. Rejecting therapy requests with pride and ego statements will hurt your marriage, causing your partner to feel wounded and alone.
If your spouse asks for marriage help, that is a good sign! It means that there is still a desire to stay in the marriage and renew your relationship. Lack of interest or indifference are possible indicators that your spouse has emotionally moved on and is preparing to leave the marriage.
Exploring The Reasons Behind Falling Out Of Love
We know that each person has a unique personality. Every marriage has its personality and culture. Stop comparing your marriage to social media, the neighbors, or your favorite family members! The only thing that matters in a marriage is that it works for each partner in the marriage.
Don’t go out and buy a leather teddy with a matching riding whip because your sister told you it works in her marriage. If you want to get your freak on, get it girl, but make sure your attempts to engage your partner feel authentic and designed for your marriage.
Keep in mind that the most important skill in any relationship, including marriage, is communication. The ability to communicate your desires, needs and dreams is critical for a connected partnership. Knowing that you as a whole person are safe with your partner is a basic foundation for creating a loving and enjoyable marriage.
Try these questions to help open up communication with your spouse:
- Do you feel that I give you my full attention and truly listen to you when you are speaking?
- When do you feel the most frustrated during the day? How can I help reduce your frustration?
- Are there patterns to my behavior that can cause you to feel controlled or disrespected?
- When do you feel closest to me? When do you feel the farthest apart from me emotionally?
Discouraged, Disconnected and Distanced- Are We Falling Out Of Love?
Couples therapy is full of theories when it comes to falling out of love with your spouse. (I recommend scheduling a session with a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for more focused help). Each marriage and family has a unique system at its core. A MFT is trained to identify issues and help couples find their own solutions, often resolving long-term conflicts.
Falling out of love with your spouse typically begins at the micro level. Things that seem unimportant or not worth fussing about are often the first signs of concern. Please note: This post is written to OVER SIMPLFY the process of marital disaffection. Let’s look at three emotions that often proceed marital turbulence.
These Signs Might Mean You Are Falling Out Of Love
Discouragement is a sign that you are not getting what you need. It may be as simple as your spouse struggles to listen without interrupting you, and that makes you feel discouraged. Maybe you are making attempts to be flirty with your spouse and they fall flat because your partner is on their phone again. Small things can be discouraging, and if ignored, they have the potential to turn into big issues.
Once discouragement takes root, it often grows into distance. A spouse who has been repeatedly discouraged will begin to withdraw. Distancing might happen because of circumstances. Things like working opposite shifts, one partner directing all their energy into the children, or maybe an ongoing fatigue issue that doesn’t get resolved.
The good news is that most partners begin to feel the distance growing and address the issue. Unfortunately, not all people are emotionally intuitive or have the mental energy to recognize the sprouting of marital unhappiness.
Once distancing has begun, it is a matter of time until the partners become disconnected. Usually, one partner falls out of love and considers exiting the marriage.
Truthfully, many marriages exist in this space, disconnected and unhappy, but the spouses’ soldier on, believing that things will change if they just ignore it long enough. A disconnected marriage can be re-connected if both parties are willing to work on building a new marital framework.
Disconnection can result in disaffection. But if both partners are willing to identify areas of personal growth and address the grievances of their spouse, chances are good that their marriage will return to a healthy level of intimacy.
There Is Hope and Help For Your Marriage
In today’s modern marriage, there are tons of tools, methods, and therapists to help strengthen a marriage. All marriages need an occasional tune-up. In fact, researchers have found that counseling is the most effective in the early years of marriage. Unhealthy behavior and destructive patterns are less likely to take root as the new couple works to create their unique marriage, not mimic their parents or best friends marriage.
7 Suggestions To Help Couples Stay Connected
- Recognize your feelings
The first step to managing a slipping relationship is recognizing the signs and reasons why you may be feeling differently about your partner. It’s key to identify the root causes of any issues and address them in an honest and respectful manner. This will help both partners move forward in understanding each other better.
2. Communicate your feelings
Now that you’ve identified how you feel, it’s essential to talk to your partner about these emotions. Finding common ground can be beneficial when it comes to finding a balance between both of you, so don’t be afraid to talk openly about what’s happening inside your thoughts.
3. Take some time apart
It may seem counterintuitive and even scary at first, but sometimes it helps to take some time apart from each other to gain clarity on the situation or work through disagreements or difficult conversations. Allow yourself and your partner some breathing room while remaining in some level of communication as a couple.
4. Reach out for support
It’s perfectly normal and healthy to reach out for outside support if needed—whether it comes in the form of friends, family members, colleagues, or even therapy sessions for something more serious. Knowing that there are people who understand what you are going through can bring comfort in such trying moments that come with falling out of love with someone.
5. Spend time doing things you love
Don’t forget about giving yourself permission to invest time and energy into things that fulfill you as an individual! Spending quality “me-time” away from the situation not only gives you a break from negative vibes but also allows them to recharge mentally.
6. Confront all lingering issues head-on
Don’t let problems go unresolved over long periods of time–this is important! Regular attempts at open communication are critical for resolving relationship problems. Agree to set aside time to talk about the difficult topics with the intention of a final solution.
7. Set boundaries as needed.
At times when emotions run strong, we need to learn how to protect ourselves by setting boundaries. Boundaries teach people how to treat us, and give us a space that feels emotionally safe. Using boundaries as you work on your marriage is a healthy way to develop a more mature framework for your relationship.
Remember, falling out of love with your spouse doesn’t mean your marriage is ending. Working to reconnect, closing the distance gap, and overcoming discouragement is all possible. But the sooner a couple begins to confront the missing pieces in their marital dynamic, the better the outcome.
Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.