Love is a funny thing.
Sometimes you feel like you’re on top of the world with a heady feeling of happiness and boundless energy.
Then, without warning, you’ll find yourself feeling restless and blah about your relationship. Those days of intense passion and euphoria seem so distant and forgotten.
Falling out of love is one of the most common reasons for breaking up.
But you know what? It doesn’t have to be.
The thing is, it’s normal to not feel in love all the time.
I’ve fallen out of love many times with my boyfriend of eight years. And he has felt the same way about me several times, too.
At one point, we did think of breaking up, but we’ve been through too much to let go of each other. Our lives were so intertwined that we couldn’t imagine living without each other.
What we’ve realized is that love is a choice.
Feelings come and go, but when you’re committed to someone, that commitment means choosing and loving him even when you don’t feel like it.
Of course, some circumstances call for a breakup, such as abusive and manipulative situations.
But if it’s simply a case of love fading, you might still be able to salvage your relationship.
Let’s discuss what you can do before you call it quits.
1) Think about the things you love about him
Remember when you first met your SO and felt all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings? Remember the euphoria you felt every time you went out on a date or even just every time you thought of him?
That was a relationship phase experts call the “honeymoon stage,” when everything seemed so rosy and perfect.
The honeymoon stage doesn’t last, but that’s also why it’s so exciting and precious. You’re discovering the things you like about each other and the little quirks that make your heart flutter.
If the years have dulled the spark and you now feel like there’s nothing more to explore, it’s a good idea to revisit those bubbly, starry-eyed days.
In a conversation with Oprah Daily, author Amiira Ruotola suggests a trip down memory lane. Go to places where you made fantastic memories with your boyfriend.
Sometimes you need concrete reminders to trigger your senses and bring back those happy times and warm feelings.
And instead of focusing on his annoying habits that drive you crazy, take note instead of the things he does that you like.
- Is he patient while you take your time dressing up?
- Does he help with household chores?
- Does he look good in a suit?
Little things like this matter. After all, strong relationships (and life in general) are all about appreciating the simple stuff.
2) Cultivate a culture of respect and appreciation
Speaking of appreciation, relationships thrive when couples take the time to say “thank you” to each other for the little things they do.
It’s easy to lose sight of the small gestures of thoughtfulness or helpfulness when you’re focused on the decline of things like passion and intensity.
As relationships move from infatuation into commitment, the rose-colored glasses will come off, and you’ll begin to see your partner’s flaws.
Habits that you initially found cute can start grating on your nerves.
It’s normal for the initial passion and excitement to fade over time. That’s why it’s essential to maintain an attitude of gratitude toward each other.
Research shows that we tend to see what we’re looking for. If you’re looking for flaws or reasons to break up, you’ll likely find one.
The good thing is that it can also go in the opposite direction. If you look for good things about your boyfriend, you’ll see the upside of staying together.
If you’re really struggling to do this, be mindful and intentional.
Spend a week looking at your partner in a positive light. The idea is to catch your boyfriend doing something right, then express your gratitude for doing that.
With this conscious effort to practice gratitude and respect, you can shift your perspective and see that there’s so much more to your relationship than the intoxicating feelings of lust and passion.
3) Go on dates again
Many relationships end not because of big issues like cheating or lying. Sometimes it’s just a lack of quality time together.
This can result in feelings of disconnection and distance and a lack of communication and intimacy.
In fact, according to Dr. John Gottman, most arguments in relationships are about a failure to connect emotionally.
I understand that life can get in the way of spending time together. If you’re both constantly busy, it’s easy to stop paying as much attention to each other as you used to.
Before you know it, your relationship has fallen by the wayside.
Why not renew your commitment to spending quality time with each other? Commit to weekly dates to get that spark back.
Dressing up for a night out shows you’re willing to put in the effort, time, and attention to make your partner happy.
Of course, that doesn’t mean a romantic dinner would be enough to reignite the spark, but it’s a great start.
When you follow it up with open and honest communication and a commitment to making the relationship a priority, you might get back that loving feeling you’ve lost.
4) Talk to him
Communicating with your boyfriend might seem like an obvious thing to do, but surprisingly, many couples neglect to do this.
They let issues fester without talking about them, then throw in the towel when they’ve had enough.
I get how easy it is to go that route; love takes work and effort, and sometimes it can be exhausting.
But, like it or not, communication is essential to understanding each other.
Having an open and honest conversation with your boyfriend about your feelings is crucial.
Let him know how disconnected you feel and decide together if you want to work on your issues or close the book on your relationship.
It may be challenging, but it’s important to be clear and direct to move forward in the best way possible for both of you.
If you find it hard to speak openly, consider speaking to a relationship coach about your situation.
This is exactly what I did last year when my boyfriend and I went through a rough patch. It was one of those times when I felt like I no longer loved him, and we almost broke up.
Fortunately, I reached out first to Relationship Hero, a popular site where highly trained relationship coaches help people work through complex relationship issues like mine.
Judging from their popularity, I could tell how skilled their coaches are.
True enough, I got to talk to one of their professional relationship coaches and received genuine, helpful advice.
I was blown away by how kind and empathetic my coach was, and I was finally able to see my relationship issues with real clarity.
You could go this route and learn how to effectively communicate with your boyfriend.
Within minutes, you could receive life-changing advice on how to navigate and repair the issues you’re facing in your relationship.
5) Try new things together
Relationships, especially long-term ones, can stagnate if you fall into a routine that’s predictable day after day.
Here’s a great tip: breathe new life into yours with new experiences.
Seek something fresh, like classes you can take together (dance class sounds fun!). You can also check out fairs, shows, and new events.
If you want to keep it simple, why not pack a lunch and go on a picnic at the park? Play a board game you both love while you’re at it!
Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’ll both enjoy. It doesn’t have to be a grand, fancy experience—the idea is to break old habits and routines with something novel.
New experiences provide opportunities for you to bond and create new memories together.
6) Be your authentic self
Sometimes we fall out of love because we’ve made too many adjustments to accommodate our partners.
As a result, we can lose ourselves and find out years later that we don’t know the person we see in the mirror.
Unfortunately, love can’t really flourish in such cases.
If this is what has happened to you, it’s time to rediscover who you are. Dig deep and reconnect with your own passion and creativity.
Then share this with your partner and let him do the same. Remember, when you neglect your soul, your relationship will suffer.
At the end of it all, you’ll feel drained, like you have nothing left to offer.
The right relationship will always allow you room to grow and be your best authentic self.
7) Be more affectionate to let intimacy grow
Remember the chemistry you once shared in the beginning when you couldn’t keep your hands off each other?
Those days might seem like a distant memory, and you might be one of those couples who kiss each other perfunctorily after many years together.
You can rekindle that passion, and the solution is really simple: show more affection.
That might seem like a no-brainer, but believe me, it’s so easy to stop showing affection when you’ve been a couple for a long time.
It’s time to get physical—and there are hundreds of ways to do so.
Lean your head on his shoulder in quiet times, hug and kiss him as often as possible, take his hand while walking…the list is endless.
Remember to spice things up in the bedroom, too.
After many years together, it’s only natural that couples fall into a rut, making sex feel like something to get over with instead of something to look forward to.
Clinical psychologist Shelley Sommerfeldt suggests shaking up your usual routine by trying new things.
You can switch up positions, change locations, or amp up the sexy vibe with candles, romantic music, sex toys, and massages.
These changes can bring back that spark and give your relationship more room for intimacy to grow once again.
8) Learn how to control your emotions
Obviously, how you express yourself plays a huge role in the health of your relationship. When you’ve fallen out of love, it’s so easy to snap at your boyfriend and find every little move irritating.
If that sounds familiar, it’s time to pause and assess how you make your feelings known.
When left unaddressed, negative emotions can escalate and cause irreparable damage to the relationship.
Practice relaxation techniques and use positive self-talk to reframe negative thoughts.
At the same time, remember that it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions, and it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated.
It’s important to allow yourself to feel these and avoid suppressing them. Just remember to express yourself calmly and respectfully.
9) Don’t fixate on romance
Blame it on Hollywood rom-coms and those countless romance books that have taught us that true love is always burning with passion and romance.
The truth is, you need to set realistic expectations if you’re in a long-term relationship.
Accept that you won’t always be happy and that relationships naturally have ups and downs.
As relationships progress, that lightning bolt of passion simmers down. That doesn’t mean that love is gone.
Instead, you’ll find love in what social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson calls “micro-moments.”
These little and fleeting moments of shared positive emotion create a deep connection between people.
It could be something as simple as laughing together at a friend’s joke or watching a movie at home with the lights dimmed and a tub of popcorn between you.
According to Dr. Fredrickson, these moments of connection affect our biochemistry, creating a general feeling of goodwill toward each other.
When we go too long without these micro-moments, we begin losing connection. Even our heart begins to lose the capacity to love.
As it turns out, the heart’s capacity to love obeys the biological law of “use it or lose it.”
Interesting, isn’t it?
Once again, it boils down to the fact that love is a choice. It’s not just about the chocolates and flowers, those butterflies in your stomach, or the sweet whispers between the sheets.
It’s also about going through the unpleasant or disappointing aspects of everyday life together, choosing to love the person even when you don’t feel like it.
10) Figure out if your relationship is fixable
As tempting as it is to walk away, resist the urge. Sit down with your thoughts first and look at your relationship objectively.
Usually, the reasons why we fall out of love aren’t dramatic or explosive.
Everyday annoyances and disconnection can build up until you can’t stand to be with him anymore.
However, before you definitively conclude that it’s over, you must first consider the power of negative sentiment override.
According to psychologist Dr. Patrick Keelan, sentiment override is a couple’s overall perspective on each other and their relationship, which they carry into every interaction they have.
That’s quite a mouthful, huh?
Simply put, the overall quality of your friendship within the relationship affects your thoughts and feelings in every interaction.
For example, if you spend time connecting, you maintain a good state of friendship in your relationship. You like each other, so it’s easy to talk about your issues.
This is called “positive sentiment override.”
Conversely, a lack of time spent connecting together results in a poor relationship friendship.
This means you’ll feel annoyed with everything your partner says and does, making it difficult to communicate well about your issues.
That’s “negative sentiment override.”
Unfortunately, when you’ve fallen out of love, this is what likely happens.
Since you don’t feel connected to your boyfriend, it’s hard to look at him and feel tender and loving. It can even be hard to like him.
Here are some statements you might make when you’re in negative sentiment override:
- He leaves his socks on the floor all the time. I hate how messy he is!
- Why do I always need to be the one to make reservations for our anniversary?
- If he says “supposably” one more time, I’m going to scream!
These negative feelings can pile up to the point that they cloud your judgment and make you think your relationship isn’t fixable.
But don’t worry, here are some questions you can ask yourself to know if your relationship is worth repairing.
- Was there a time when you loved being in this relationship?
- Is none of you verbally or physically abusive?
- Did you use to like and respect your boyfriend a lot?
- Was there a time when you enjoyed the other’s company and were crazy about each other?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then I’d say it’s worth fixing if you want to.
11) Seek professional help
I know what you mean when you say, “But I no longer love him!”
Those are the exact words I said myself last year when my relationship was seemingly reaching a dead end, too.
I’m talking do-not-resuscitate. Over and out.
I was ready to walk away, but before I did that, I took a step I’d never taken before. I reached out to a professional relationship coach.
I had low expectations, but even my highest hopes were exceeded.
The coach I spoke to at Relationship Hero quickly broke down the walls I’d built up in my relationship and helped me understand how falling out of love didn’t have to mean the end of my relationship.
This coach was tough but fair and genuinely helpful. They took apart every single lie I was telling myself and helped me understand how to truly resolve my lack of love.
My relationship isn’t perfect now, but it’s so much better than it was. Most importantly, I’m hugely optimistic about the future again.
Is it normal to lose romantic feelings in a relationship?
Yes, it absolutely is. Over time, the intense passion and excitement that comes at the beginning can fade.
However, be careful not to mistake this for a lack of love.
More often than not, as relationships progress, the passion evolves into a deeper and more comfortable form of love.
When do you know it’s time to break up?
Sadly, just because it’s possible to fix your relationship doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
There are no easy answers to this question, but here are some signs that it might be a better idea to let go.
- Your partner makes you feel bad about yourself.
- He makes you do things you don’t want to do.
- He is controlling, manipulative, and abusive, whether verbally, emotionally, or physically.
- You have completely different values and long-term goals.
- You can’t pursue your passions or do what you want to do.
- The relationship lacks trust, respect, and stability.
What should you do to move on?
Walking away from someone you used to love doesn’t mean it’s any less painful. It can be incredibly hard to break the news to him and say goodbye to all the memories you shared.
Here are a few things to do that can help ease the journey:
- Let yourself grieve the loss.
- Figure out whether you can still be friends.
- Work on your own issues and personal growth.
- Keep yourself busy with productive activities.
- Be with supportive people.
- Enjoy doing things on your own and take them as learning experiences.
It’s true that love can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions. But it’s important to remember that once the passion has passed, ultimately, love is a choice.
You could choose to leave or stay and work on building a new happy memory bank.
Whether or not you choose to renew the relationship, realizing you’re falling out of love offers a lot of food for thought.
It’s an opportunity to reflect on what you want and need from a relationship and how you can give back the same to your boyfriend.
That way, you’ll enter your next chapter as a better, more self-aware partner capable of making deep connections.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
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