When you love someone and they love you back, the high is unbeatable. You could spend all day together, can’t get enough of each other, and find yourself saying and doing things you swore you would never do. But when things start to change, and you’re no longer sure if your partner is still in love with you, the feelings you have for them can begin to feel like a burden. It’s hard to distinguish your own insecurity from a true sense that something in your relationship has changed.
Are you being paranoid or is your partner actually becoming more distant and uninterested?
1. They go MIA
If you used to text your partner throughout the day and rarely spent an evening without them, you’ll notice when they start replying to your messages much later with short, to-the-point responses and make up excuses for why they can’t hang out tonight. They may blame it on a busy workweek or the need for alone time, but if they’re head-over-heels in love with you, they’d make time to call, text, and spend time with you — even on the busiest of days.
2. Talk of the future stops
When you’re a couple in love, you’ll spend hours daydreaming together, imagining what life will be like once you finish law school or how you want to celebrate the holidays. Talk of the future is common when you’re in love, but you may have reason to worry when your partner starts avoiding the topic. Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker, a psychologist for Psych Central, gives some sage advice to a woman seeking help for her partner who won’t discuss a future. Hartwell-Walker explains both people have to be invested.
You shouldn’t have to strong-arm your partner into talking about the future — if you do, it may be a sign their love for you is dwindling.
3. They’ve stopped caring
Many people see constant fighting as a sign love is lost, but Elite Daily says the true sign of dying love is when your partner doesn’t care enough to fight. Instead of being upset that you stayed out later than planned on Friday night, they may shrug it off. Rather than doting on you, they may sit back and let you handle your family drama or career shift alone. Why should they care what you do or decide, if they’re already halfway out the door?
4. Physical contact declines
When your partner has moved on emotionally, you’ll notice a change in your physical relationship. Not only will your sex life die out, but they may avoid cuddling after sex, or initiating the act.
Before you decide your partner no longer loves you, try a few simple ways to physically reconnect. Jamie Long, a psychiatrist, writes in Psychology Today to try touching your spouse daily — this could look like holding hands, kissing, or even giving a back scratch. Just make sure this touch lasts at least 30 seconds. If your partner starts to reciprocate, there could be hope for you; if not, your partner could be over you already.
5. Nitpicking takes over
When love is lost, so is the infatuation. They may suddenly be disgusted by the very things they used to find endearing. Maybe they thought the way you sneezed was adorable, until one day your partner claims it’s annoyingly loud. Susan Boon, Ph.D., tells WebMD the best relationships are based on mutual respect and deep friendship. It’s OK if certain issues aren’t solvable — if your partner loves you, they’ll know differences between the two of you are normal, and nitpicking is never the answer.
If your partner starts dissecting everything about you and cannot accept you for who you are, they may have emotionally moved on. If this is the case, it’ll be better for both of you to move on.
6. They’re happier with friends than with you
Unfortunately, if your partner is spending an abnormal amount of time with their friends and little time with you, they could be falling out of love with you, whether they realize it or not. Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., tells Men’s Health it may be a good idea for you to get involved in your partner’s crew. While time with your friends is important, it could help the both of you to become familiar with the other’s social group. Consider a double date to help rekindle the romance and feel more involved.
7. They stop bringing you around family
When a relationship begins, there’s always the anxious anticipation around meeting the parents. After the first dinner together, time with their family probably becomes a regular part of your life. So, if you notice your partner going to family gatherings without you, it’s not a good sign.
8. They stop supporting your dreams
Whether it’s advancing in our career or buying our dream home, we all like to dream big.
As Tiny Buddha explains, a supportive partner is one who is free of judgment and doesn’t put constraints on what you want out of life. They should be the one cheering you on, not the one bringing you down. If your partner thinks they always know what’s best for you and doesn’t support what you know is best for yourself, they may not really love you — they may just love the person they imagine you can become through their coaching. Do yourself a favor, and find a partner who truly loves you for who you are and what you want.
9. You catch them lying
Catching your partner in a lie is the ultimate betrayal, and it can really put a rift in your relationship. Before you attempt to mend what’s broken, you’ll want to ask yourself why your partner’s lying in the first place. Catching them cheating or lying about their whereabouts is clearly a breach of trust, but fibs about smaller, everyday issues can be just as sinister. It can even be a sign they’ve stopped caring, and ultimately, stopped loving.
Unsure if your partner is lying to you? Psychology Today recommends watching for evasiveness, body language, and different speech patterns. If your partner avoids eye contact and speaks at an unusual pitch, they could be hiding something from you.
10. They compare you to others
There’s nothing that will knock your self-esteem down quite like being compared to others, and it feels even worse when your partner’s guilty of doing the comparison. A study from the University of Toronto found relationships where one partner compares their significant other to someone else’s typically fare better when they practice something called self-other overlap, which means the two of you as a team make up for each other’s shortcomings.
Do you feel your partner is capable of practicing self-other overlap, or do you only hear about how you don’t stack up? Self-other overlap is a sign of love, and negative comparison is a sign the love is gone.
11. They tell you
Life isn’t a movie. If your partner actually tells you flat-out they don’t love you, it probably isn’t to build suspense for an audience. More importantly, ask yourself what kind of person would genuinely say that to you, and do you really see a healthy future with that person?