There are few phrases as heart-wrenching as this: "I don't love you anymore." Love fades, for some people. In some relationships, love fades gradually for both partners, and the end is an amicable split. In other relationships, love burns brightly at one end and flickers and dies on the other.
When Love Fades
There isn't always a reason for love to fade. There are some relationships where abuse, neglect, or differences of opinion are enormous, obvious catalysts for losing love or a loss of interest. However, there are others where time and life settle in and reveal holes in your relationship that aren't easily repaired. The precise why and how your relationship's demise is not as important as the reality: your relationship has ended. The love is gone. And now, your task is to move on.
The first step in moving on is acknowledging to yourself that the relationship has truly ended. Even when you are the person for whom love has ended, moving on can be a difficult task. Relationships have a way of invading every aspect of your life, and moving on from a cherished relationship, even if the love is no longer there, can be frightening and lonely. Even without passion, relationships are comfortable and comforting.
The Hard Conversation
The second step in moving on is having the conversation. When you no longer love your partner, you are faced with the arduous task of telling them that your relationship is at its end. Some people hope to avoid this conversation and gradually disappear. Although this might be tempting, as these types of conversations can be difficult, embarrassing, and painful, you owe it to yourself and your former partner to take the time and effort required to have the conversation and officially end your partnership.
When you don't feel like taking the time to have the hard conversation with your partner, remember that you owe it to yourself and to your former partner to offer closure in the form of a legitimate break-up. This is particularly important in longer-lasting relationships; long relationships-or at least deeply connected ones-usually involve fusing two lives in significant ways. Officially breaking up is the first joint step in moving forward and moving on from your relationship.
Unfortunately, there is not a single, easily defined method to move on. There are ideas, and suggestions, including the ever-popular, "It will take one month for every year you were together." Still, the fact remains: moving on from a relationship is a deeply personal, impossible-to-determine task that can move in fits and spurts and can move in a large number of directions. Moving on can mean feeling on top of the world one minute, resplendent in your newfound freedom, and sobbing into your childhood stuffed animal the next and. That's okay! A relationship is a complicated road and not one that must occur in a simple, linear fashion.
If you are the person who has instigated the breakup, you might feel as though you are not allowed to grieve; after all, that is what you wanted, right? Remember that you should give yourself the space to grieve your relationship and its loss, even if you are the catalyst for that loss. Relationships don't work out for countless reasons, and assuming that your ability to recognize a relationship's projected trajectory renders your feelings meaningless is harmful to both you and your former partner. Honor yourself, and honor the relationship you once shared by giving yourself plenty of time and space to grieve and heal.
Tools To Heal
While there may not be a concrete series of steps to guide every single breakup toward healing and moving on, there are some steps you can take to make sure that you are healing as smoothly and effectively as possible while avoiding many of the pitfalls that frequently occur following a breakup. These include:
When Healing Stalls
Occasionally, healing will stall, and the pain of a breakup will become overwhelming. This doesn't necessarily mean that you've made a mistake or that you need to go out and try to rekindle your relationship immediately. Instead, this means you might be experiencing loneliness or discomfort with the novelty of being single. Remember that moving forward is not a linear journey. You may go months without thinking of your former partner and have a week or two where the pain of a breakup hits you like a ton of bricks. While it may feel strange, it is a normal part of the grieving process.
If, however, you notice that your grief is not resolving, that you are having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, or that you've begun to lose interest in things you previously loved, there could be something more at play. Large lifestyle changes can precede conditions like anxiety and depression, and a breakup can be a truly enormous lifestyle change.
Symptoms of anxiety include feeling anxious or nervous for extended periods without a direct cause, physical symptoms such as a racing heart or accelerated breathing, and impending doom feelings. Anxiety can be a temporary condition, but it can also extend past the temporary and change into a years-long disorder without intervention and treatment.
Depression symptoms can be more difficult to nail down because depression affects everybody differently. Mood changes are the most significant change and can include increased feelings of irritability, anger, exhaustion, or apathy. Physical changes, such as weight loss or gain, increased or decreased sleeping patterns, and chronic exhaustion, can all indicate the presence of depression, as well.
If you have developed the symptoms of anxiety or depression, don't try to handle it yourself; both of these conditions require the intervention and subsequent treatment of mental health professional. Both disorders can significantly impact the quality of life, and both can prove dangerous for someone's overall health and longevity.
While it can be frightening or unnerving when anxiety and depression develop, both conditions are, fortunately, extremely treatable. Depression and anxiety rates have continued to climb over the past decade, making treatment more readily available and treatment methods more diverse in their delivery and approach. Therapies can include talk therapy modalities and include trauma-based therapies to get to the root of both anxiety and depression.
Although the most common form of therapy is a standard in-office visit with a psychiatrist or psychologist, there are many different ways to engage mental health professionals. An in-office visit is an option for many people, even in small towns. Some people benefit from therapist-led group sessions, which are more akin to support groups than actual treatment sessions. Still, others seek out the help of online therapy, which allows people to pay a lower fee (in some cases), and provides therapy from the comfort of your own home, provided that you have a secure internet connection and a tablet, phone, or computer.
Moving On After A Breakup
Never let it be said that breakups are easy. Even if you initiate the breakup, losing someone you previously considered a partner is difficult and can be the source of tremendous pain and change. Even in the face of these difficulties, though, there is hope for moving on and enjoying your life. Getting the help, you need from a mental health professional to fully heal and process their grief.
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“Nadja was very supportive and listened to my concerns in a non-judgmental way while offering helpful advice to get me through a very rough time in my relationship. Ultimately she helped me see that that the relationship hadn't been working for me, and she helped give me confidence to break out of the cycle and believe in myself in order to leave the situation. I would recommend her as a counselor to anyone going through personal or relationship issues!”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you know when you're not in love anymore?
Sometimes you may find yourselves in a relationship and wonder if you don’t love your partner anymore. It is normal for love to fade sometimes, and sometimes these feelings can be confusing to navigate. Relationships can get comfortable, and the person may become your best friend, but you actually don’t them anymore. If you’re wondering how to know if you’re not in love anymore, then that’s a sign in itself, and you probably don’t love them anymore. If you find yourself getting irritated by little things or want to spend more time away from them, there’s a good chance you may not love your partner anymore. Relationships can go through highs and lows, and it’s definitely possible it could be a phase. If you have been unsure of your feelings and wondering if you’re no longer in love for a while, and that feeling doesn’t change, it may be time to have an open and honest conversation with your partner about where you stand.
Is it okay not to love someone anymore?
You may find you don’t love the person you once did anymore. Normally, we fall out of love with someone sometimes. If the relationship doesn’t make you happy like it once did, it is okay to want to move on. If you’re religious, you can’t always expect to feel God’s love in a relationship. People change and grow. The relationship with the person you once loved may no longer serve you, and you feel you don’t love him anymore. What’s not okay is keeping this to yourself and staying in a relationship that you’re not happy in. If you feel like you don’t love your partner anymore, have an honest conversation about how you feel. If you’re falling out of love with your partner because of issues within your relationship, a relationship therapist may be able to help.
Do you ever stop loving someone you once loved?
Unfortunately, sometimes, we do stop loving someone we once loved. Falling out of love with someone can bring on a whole range of emotions. You may feel sad, helpless, frustrated, or confused. You once loved this person, and now you don’t. In the honeymoon phase, when we fall in love with someone, we often idealize them. After a while, the rose-colored glasses come off, and we see them as real people. Reality sinks in. You may become disappointed when your needs are not being met. Possibly something has happened in your relationship that has caused resentment, making you not attracted to them anymore. You may find yourself wanting to spend less time with them, or everything they do bothers you. The relationship doesn’t make you happy anymore. Yet, you still care for this person and don’t want to hurt them but know you’re no longer in love with your partner anymore. Sometimes the feelings may be mutual, and you both amicably have fallen out of love. When you feel you don’t love him anymore, there may be a deeper issue within your relationship, causing a lack of attraction. Possibly your needs are not being met as they once were. It’s up to you to decide if your relationship is worth fighting for. It’s important to communicate with your partner and discuss your needs to see if you can work through your relationship issues.
Can love fade away and come back?
When couples have been together for a long time, reality can often get in the way. Real-life responsibilities consume a once romantic and loving relationship, and it feels as though love has faded away. The attraction fades, and you may feel you don’t love him anymore, but often the love is still there. This will typically cause intimacy issues between partners and a lack of sex. This, in turn, causes more issues within the relationship and looks like more fighting and not spending time together. This romantic attraction can come back, but it takes a bit of work. If it is true love, you will be able to reignite the romance in your relationship again—pencil in time for you to be alone together as a couple. Be affectionate with each other again if that was lacking. We often get caught up in the mundane every day. Starting a hobby or doing something spontaneous is a great way to rekindle the romance. Often in long-term relationships, things can get “vanilla” in the bedroom. Try to spice things up by trying a new position or role-playing. If this doesn’t change the dynamic in your relationship, trying to communicate more with your partner. A relationship therapist can help you get to the root of your issues and get your relationship back on track.
Do I really love them, or am I just lonely?
You may find yourself in a relationship wondering if it is true love or are you just lonely. In today’s generation, people are feeling more alone than ever. It is never good to stay in a relationship out of loneliness, but there are ways to tell if it is, in fact, loneliness or if it is love. If you accept them for who they are and don’t try to change them, you may actually love them for who they are. It’s probably loving to share an emotional connection and a sexual connection while feeling very empathetic towards them. Those that stay with people because their lonely often have conditional terms. You may find that you were once in love, but it has faded, and you don’t love him anymore or don’t love them anymore, but you continue to stay in the relationship. This sometimes happens if you’re afraid of being alone. People will stay in relationships when they don’t love each other because it is comfortable. If you don’t love him anymore and you’re having a hard time letting go, talk to a trusted professional. They can help.