What Causes A Loss of Interest?

You often lose interest in jobs, people, and relationships. However, this isn't always a normal and irreversible process. You can take action.
What Causes A Loss of Interest?

Last update: 05 December, 2021

You’ve undoubtedly experienced a loss of interest in some particular area of your life at a certain point. When this happens, you find that a job, a friendship, or a romantic relationship that used to generate euphoria and feelings of great satisfaction in you ceases to interest you. However, what happened? Did you make a wrong decision in the first place? Did you overemphasize the positive qualities of the person or the situation? Or could it be something else?

When you lose interest in something or someone, you might feel guilty, frustrated, and be unsure about how you should act. If you’re in this position, you must find out the origins of your disinterest so you can take the appropriate action.

What causes a loss of interest?

There are several reasons why a loss of interest can occur. The most common are the following:


Habituation is one of the most primitive and common learning processes in existence. It consists of a decrease in the response to a stimulus that occurs repeatedly. In other words, it’s the process by which you stop responding to something that’s no longer a novelty to you.

There are numerous examples of this phenomenon in daily life. For example, the noise of an electrical appliance ceases to startle you when you hear it on a daily basis. Or, you don’t notice the advertising on the side of the road on your way to work. Along the same lines, a child ceases to listen to a parent who always says the same thing to them.

When you get used to a stimulus, it loses the power to evoke a response in you. Hence its effect on you fades from one day to the next. Furthermore, you begin to find a thousand and one defects in that entity you originally considered to be almost perfect.

With regards to romantic relationships, the levels of different neurotransmitters stabilize over time. In fact, falling in love gives way to a long-term partner love in which initial euphoria is replaced by higher levels of intimacy and commitment.

Man with loss of interest working


At other times, you might lose interest because you take what you have for granted. Indeed, when something is challenging, you set out to work for it. Having a goal drives you to mobilize your resources and skills. Furthermore, your satisfaction in achieving it is high.

On the other hand, when it’s already yours, it’s common for you to relax and settle down into a routine. In fact, your happiness concerning what you’ve obtained loses its intensity. For example, when you have a permanent job, or when people show you excessive attention, you feel that there’s no longer any need to make an effort. In effect, the element of challenge disappears.

What’s common in both of these instances is that, in one way or another, you stop valuing the situations or the people around you. Furthermore, whether out of habit or overconfidence, you don’t believe that you’ll ever really lose what you have.

The damage that can be caused by this situation is clear. Your work performance will decrease, your social relationships will lose quality because you’re not taking care of them, and your partner may leave because they no longer feel valued.

Woman worried about her partner's loss of interest

Loss of interest can be avoided

Many people think that loss of interest is inevitable, that it’s all part of the normal process of life. Thus, they adopt a passive attitude and settle into situations that no longer make them truly happy. Or, on the contrary, they jump from one situation to another, hoping that, on the next occasion, they won’t become so disinterested.

You should know that interest is maintained through your daily actions. In fact, if you feel apathy for everything around you, it’s probably because you’ve stopped valuing it. This comes from the way you think. You’re probably in the habit of overlooking the good things that make up your life, hence you’re depriving yourself of the ability to enjoy yourself.

Therefore, you should get into the habit of being aware each day of everything you have and fully feeling the happiness that it brings. Work on your gratitude and teach your mind not to take anything for granted. Remember how much you longed for what you now possess and actively dedicate yourself to enjoying its presence in your life.

If you have a grateful and positively focused mind, you’ll experience much higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. In addition, you’ll take care of your relationships and circumstances, giving the best of yourself in each of them. Indeed, act in this way and you can be assured that you’ll no longer experience a loss of interest in your life.

Anhedonia: the clinical term for loss of interest

Finally, we should mention that loss of interest can be a characteristic symptom in various psychological disorders. For example, depression or schizophrenia.

In these cases, the clinical term used to describe this attitude is anhedonia. This refers to an inability to experience pleasure, as well as the lack of interest or satisfaction in almost all aspects of life. However, it can also manifest itself in specific elements. For instance, food, sex, or leisure activities that were previously enjoyed.

There are degrees of anhedonia. Consequently, some people will suffer a total inability to enjoy and obtain pleasure from anything, while others may only experience a decrease in this ability.

It’s important to be attentive to these types of manifestations. If a loss of interest persists over time, it’s best to ask a mental health professional for help. Indeed, with therapy, the causes of anhedonia and how to treat them can be identified.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Manrique Muñante, R. (2013). El amor: hay (bio)química entre nosotros. Revista De Química27(1-2), 29-32. Recuperado a partir de http://revistas.pucp.edu.pe/index.php/quimica/article/view/
  • Almendros, J. G. (1983). Claves internas y externas en la habituación a largo plazo. Anuario de psicología/The UB Journal of psychology, (28), 47-58.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.