I Am Not Attracted To My Girlfriend Anymore: Why Does Attraction Fade?
Updated November 23, 2019
Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault
Love may be a many-splendored thing, but attraction is heat, excitement, and promise, all of which create an intoxicating combination. The rush of attraction is usually what helps a relationship bloom, and the continuation of attraction-in one form or another-is often what keeps a relationship going. In some instances, though, this isn't the case. Attraction, while it was once at a peak, begins to fall away. This could have happened seemingly overnight, or as a small, slow ebb over months or years, but the question remains the same: why does attraction fade?
Why Attraction Begins
Attraction involves a lot of factors, most of them largely out of your control. Whether it is a biological drive, a sociological implant, or an anthropological phenomenon, attraction is usually entirely out of your hands, and happens without warning or intent. While you might go out looking for a possible romantic dalliance, for instance, you rarely set your sights on someone at random, and work to create a romantic connection. Instead, you usually allow your body, heart, or mind to take the lead, and are seemingly along for the ride as your chemistry tells you where to go.
Some argue that attraction is primarily biological, influenced and created by evolution-based impulses seeking to propagate the species. For these people, physical appearance and first impressions are usually the most important aspects involved, though other factors might come into play, such as socioeconomic status. Markers of good health and strong genes are biological reasons for attraction, and might explain why two people who are attractive, fit, and healthy find themselves drawn to one another. Someone who is of a lower-ranking socioeconomic background might seek out someone higher on the socioeconomic scale, knowing that that person will be better equipped to provide for a family, should one come along.
Sociological and anthropological explanations for attraction are slightly more nuanced, and may vary from place to place. If society is the source of conditioning and determining what is attractive and what is not, different societies will have different standards. Even still, this type of attraction is largely unintentional, and functions at a subconscious level.
How Attraction Grows
Although attraction is often an instantaneous response, it can easily fade away if it is not cultivated and encouraged. Usually, attraction grows through exposure and the continuation of shared interests, physical closeness, or the possibility of a physical relationship. When it is left alone-or when two people do not see one another, speak to one another, or in any way interact, attraction is likely to fade.
In some cases, attraction seems to grow and flourish with very little encouragement. This could be due to the illicit nature of a relationship (think having an affair, dating a friend's ex, etc.), the power of initial attraction (think feeling an overwhelming physical attraction to your partner), or the sheer number of ways the two of you share interests or similarities (similar family histories, similar backgrounds, or similar hobbies and passions). For these people, attraction will often feel natural and easy, and will not seem to need any kind of additional nurturing or encouragement.
Attraction can also grow with time, effort, and attention. When two people decide to devote their time and lives to one another, attraction can flourish with regular care and devotion. Making time for each other, checking in with each other, and supporting each other can all contribute to the proliferation of attraction within a relationship.
When Attraction Fades
Although there are certainly ways to help attraction grow and increase, there are also ways to discourage attraction from growing, and that can even actively reduce the attraction you feel for someone. Focusing one someone's flaws, regularly thinking of any negative experiences you may have had together, and identifying all of the areas of your relationship that might be problematic would all be excellent ways to make sure attraction fades and begins passing away.
Despite these being sure-fire ways to leave attraction in the dust, attraction usually fades unintentionally. Time, resentment, distraction, and fatigue can all lend themselves to the loss of attraction, and most of these attraction ailments can be combated by attention, commitment, and improved communication. Attraction fading can be painful and frustrating, but does not necessarily mean the end.
There are some instances in which-and some people for whom-the loss of attraction is a death sentence, tantamount to no longer loving or caring for one's partner. When attraction is lost in a relationship, you can forge on, or you can choose to stop in your tracks; the choice is yours.
Attraction Is Gone: What Now?
Losing your attraction to your partner is frightening. You might feel angry, confused, or detached, and alternately eager to reconnect and recapture what you had, and resigned to the likelihood of your relationship falling apart and the two of you going your separate ways. If the attraction has faded in your relationship, it can mean the end of you two together, but it certainly doesn't have to; attraction can be recaptured, reignited, or even simply shifted into something new. The route you want to take will depend on the result you want to achieve.
If the attraction to your girlfriend has faded, and you want to reconnect, there are steps you can take to try to see if improving your relationship can improve your attraction to one anther. Attraction can fade as a result of distance, lack of communication, or changes in physical appearance. If you can readily identify any one of these as the reason for your loss of attraction, you and your girlfriend may be able to work together to find a solution for your relationship.
To reconnect with your partner, carve out time for the two of you to spend time together-time that is spent truly engaging, rather than staring at your phones on opposite ends of a table, or staring at a screen at the close of an evening at either end of the couch. Touch, play, tease, and talk, to see if you still have a spark.
Communicate your needs to your partner. Let her know how you are feeling, ask if she is feeling anything similar, and ask how the two of you should move forward. If your girlfriend is feeling similarly, you can then decide whether your relationship is worth saving. If she is not, you may need to have a discussion about your ability to connect and communicate, as the two of you had apparently been going down different paths without realizing.
If one or both of you have "let yourself go," as they say, you might find attraction begin to fade. Weight changes (and the corresponding feelings and behaviors) can be extremely difficult on a relationship, and because it is such a touchy subject for so many people. Gaining or losing weight can be tied to many things, including illness, depression, and simple stress, in addition to a lack of activity and unhealthy diet. If this is the case, you can speak with your partner directly, or you can ask your partner to start engaging in healthier eating with you, or suggest the two of you exercise together.
2) Take Some Time
Before you make a decision, take some time. Attraction is one thing, but love is another thing entirely. If you love your partner, you cherish your relationship, and you want it to work, take some time before you rush to action. Evaluate your role in your relationship, and evaluate whether or not there could be an underlying cause on your part for your loss of attraction. If you are experiencing a lot of stress, you might not feel attracted to your partner. If the two of you have been fighting, you might feel resentful, which can knock out attraction.
If you have a mental or physical health scare, this could also signal an impending decline in attraction to your girlfriend, as you could become scared, confused, and easily distracted from our relationship. Once these issues have been addressed, you can begin to take steps toward either reconciling or terminating your relationship.
3) Take Action
If, after you've tried to reconnect and you've taken some time to yourself to sort out how you are feeling and what you want, you still aren't feeling an attraction to your girlfriend, and you've decided to break up, take the plunge. Although it might seem kinder to gradually taper off your relationship, gradually fade out of your girlfriend's life, or simply disappear without a trace, these are not considerate, healthy ways to end a relationship. Direct, honest, and compassionate communication will always be the best way to close out a romantic relationship.
I'm Not Attracted to My Girlfriend: When Attraction Fades
Attraction can fade in any relationship, no matter how intense and marvelous the attraction was to begin with. Attraction does not fade due to any one reason, or as a result of any one interaction, but is influenced by a truly massive number of factors, all of which can influence and interact with one another. If you want to save your relationship, but are not quite sure how to go about it, consider reaching out to a couple's therapist, such as those found on ReGain.Us, for more in-depth, personalized ways to improve your relationship and recapture the magic.