There are lots of small changes in a relationship that can indicate a partner is falling out of love. It may be as subtle as forgetting to make you a coffee in the morning or continually running late to your dates — whatever it is, the variations can all start to add up. Once they do, that’s when you’ll want to get more info and find out what’s going on.
“If you notice these signs it's a good idea to do an emotional check-in with your partner,”
Dr. Candace Southall, Ph.D., LPC, a licensed professional counselor, tells Bustle. “This will help both of you understand how you are feeling and express things you have noticed that have changed.”
Once your partner understands how their actions make you feel, they might agree to make a change and get things back on track. “Even if their behaviors [weren’t] an indicator that they were
falling out of love, it is good to be in tune and keep that open communication so that you can develop an understanding of each other and identify the root cause of the emotional disconnect,” Southall says.
That said, not all
relationships are meant to last forever. People grow up, grow apart, and go their separate ways all the time. And that’s OK. “It’s important to remember that it takes two to make a relationship work,” Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Date Sm , tells Bustle. If your partner doesn’t want to invest in you and the relationship, breathe a sigh of relief that you figured it out and go your separate ways. art
You can also try spending time apart after talking openly about how each of you feels. "In some cases, absence makes the heart grow fonder and they [may] reconsider their feelings," says Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site
TruthFinder. "But always be prepared to let go of someone who isn't willing to fight for your relationship.”
Read on for 16 subtle signs your partner is about to
fall out of love. 1 Everything Irrirtates Them
“If your partner constantly complains about random things that may not have been a problem before, this may be a
sign of emotional disconnect,” Southall says. Instead of laughing off daily annoyances or lovingly accepting your flaws, it’ll seem like they suddenly have a short fuse about it all. The reason? They were able to look past it all when they were in love, Southall says, but are now finding it difficult to do so as their feelings change. 2 They Don’t Want To Argue
That said, your S.O. might also
stop arguing completely or find ways to avoid tough conversations, Southall says, either because they don’t have any emotional energy left to invest or because they simply don’t have the desire to do so.
The drive to argue (in a healthy way) requires some level of care and passion. Couples get upset and argue because their relationship means something to them and they want to work things out. When a
partner is falling out of love, they’ll seem very “meh” about everything — often to a frustrating degree. 3 They’re Being Weird & Secretive
While partners are totally allowed to have
privacy within a relationship, keep an eye out for weird and suspicious activity, like the fact your partner has a new passcode on their phone or shields their screen whenever you walk in the room.
“This may engender some concern as it may indicate they are flirting with others, using dating apps, or using technology for relationship-threatening behavior,”
Dr. Lori Lawrenz, a clinical psychologist specializing in sexual health, tells Bustle. In other words, they might be cheating or thinking about cheating because they’re falling out of love. 4 They Stopped Calling You “Bae” LEREXIS/Moment/Getty Images
It may sound small, but pay attention to whether your S.O. has stopped using
pet names with you. “If your partner usually says ‘I love you’ or utters terms of endearment such as ‘babe,’ ‘sweetheart,’ or ‘boo’ and they no longer say these things to you, it could be a sign that love is diminishing,” Lawrenz says. These words will feel too mushy for someone who just isn’t feelin’ it. 5 They’re Iffy About Future Plans
If your partner refuses to nail down a date for your annual beach trip, take note. “Partners who are falling out of love often stop making
plans for the future,” Manly says. “Whether it’s having no interest in planning vacations, reaching little life goals, or talking about upcoming celebrations, a consistent lack of investment in the future often signals that they have one foot out the door.” 6 Nothing Feels Balanced
gut feelings you have about your relationship. “If your partner is feeling disconnected, you will be able to sense the distance and your intuition will sense a wonky, inadequate energy,” psychotherapist Jennifer Grant Schliessman, LCSW tells Bustle.
The imbalance might show up in moments where you hug them but they don’t hug back or when you say “good morning” enthusiastically and they don’t respond. Trust this feeling, Schliessman says, as it often means something’s amiss.
7 They Don’t Go All Out On Your Birthday
A partner who is falling out of love will
stop trying in a variety of ways, and according to Lawrenz, that very well may include making an effort on your birthday. Heck, they might even forget your birthday (and other important dates, like your anniversary) entirely — or at least pretend to because they don’t want to make the effort to celebrate. And this is a red flag. 8 They Forget Your Drink Order Westend61/Westend61/Getty Images
Another subtle sign? If your partner is decidedly less tender and sweet. “This might arise through reduced touching, brittle conversations, or a decrease in little acts of kindness,” Manly says. They won’t kiss you before bed, text to check in, or arrive home with your favorite iced matcha in hand.
9 They Start Running Late
Along that same vibe, your partner could start running late to date nights and other couple-y events. If they used to be on time, Lawrenz says, and if they don’t have a good reason to be late, consider it yet another sign they aren’t making you a priority.
10 They Don’t Make Eye Contact During Physical Intimacy
If it feels like your partner is just
going through the motions in bed, consider it a red flag. “When a partner falls out of love, sexual activity tends to become emotionless,” licensed psychologist Dr. Wyatt Fisher tells Bustle. They won’t want to look you in the eye or make much of an effort, which will leave you unfulfilled and wanting more.
without eye contact is not a cause for concern, but noticing patterns of behaviors that are a shift from what was previously engaged, connected, and attentive and moving towards a more disconnected and disengaged manner of relating may be something to watch out for,” adds Lawrenz . 11 They Keep Pointing Out How “Different” You Are As People
Your partner might also look for little ways to
sever emotional ties, Fisher says, possibly by pointing out all the ways you’re so “different” or “mismatched” as a couple — even though these differences were never a problem before.
They’ll also play up small arguments and make them seem worse than they were. If they were in love and invested, they’d find ways to smooth over your differences, reach compromises, and get the relationship back on track.
12 They Can’t Look Away From Social Media PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images
While there are lots of reasons why a person might stare unblinkingly into their phone,
falling out of love is certainly one of them. “Your partner may spend excessive time distracting themselves on social media,” Schliessman says, as a way to avoid having emotional conversations about the state of your relationship. They know that any moment of dead air could result in a chat they aren’t ready (or don’t want) to have, so they busy themselves with social media (or TV, or podcasts) to keep you at bay. 13 They’re “Really Busy”
Another glaring sign is if your partner’s priorities swing wildly away from you and land firmly in other areas of their life. “You’ll notice their schedule seems to include everyone but you,” clinical psychologist
Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. tells Bustle. “They won’t ask you, they won’t check in with you — they’ll simply go at it alone."
This change could crop up in a variety of ways, like how they suddenly want to stay late at work or go on more weekend trips with friends. It’s healthy to have
alone time in a relationship, where you both get a chance to venture off and do things individually. But time away should be balanced with lots of couple time. If it isn’t, Klapow says you may have a problem on your hands. 14 They Light Up Around Others
It's great if your partner enjoys time with their friends, but if they're consistently happier and more “on” with others — while acting gloomy or apathetic around you — take note. As Klapow says, "These are all signals that the emotional connection and fulfillment they were receiving from you, they're now receiving from others.” It may also mean they’re
checking out of the relationship. 15 They’re Backpedaling In The Relationship
If your relationship was moving along at a steady pace, it won't feel great if it suddenly starts going in the opposite direction. And for good reason.
"Relationship backtracking is a surefire sign that someone is falling out of love with you," Graber says. "For instance, you lived together and now they
want to move out, or if they want to 'slow things down.' Things might be moving slowly, which is fine, but the relationship should always be moving forward and never backward." If this seems to be the case, it's time to ask your partner what's going on. 16 You Feel Like Roommates Rowan Jordan/E+/Getty Images
It isn’t a good sign if your partner starts acting more like a roommate. When that happens, it’ll seem like you’re just politely co-existing and going about your days, without much emotion, energy, or connection.
While all of these red flags can point to a problem, try not to read too deeply into small changes. "Don’t assume that the distance can only be that they are
falling out of love," Klapow says. Every relationship shifts and changes over time, and everyone has off days. "But don’t assume that everything is fine, either,” he adds.
If your partner seems different, bring it to their attention and have a heart-to-heart. From there you may decide to
work on the relationship and see if you can get it back on track. "You won’t know until you talk,” Klapow says, so make that your first priority. Experts: Dr. Candace Southall, Ph.D., LPC , licensed professional counselor Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist Dr. Lori Lawrenz, clinical psychologist Jennifer Grant Schliessman, LCSW, psychotherapist Dr. Wyatt Fisher, licensed psychologist Amica Graber, a relationship expert for the background checking site TruthFinder Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. , clinical psychologist