When You or Your Partner No Longer Feel the Same Way
As time passes, the emotions that were felt at the beginning of a relationship change. Therefore, you may well find yourself in a situation where you or your partner no longer feel the same way about each other.
Establishing a romantic relationship means you and your partner decide to make a bond that goes way beyond commitment and reciprocity. This bond usually lasts over time, so it’s normal for certain differences to appear between you. However, these differences can often shake your relationship to the core.
Nevertheless, the differences between you don’t have to be a reason for a breakup. That’s as long as both of you accept and recognize the reasons for their appearance. That said, one of you may find that you’re wearing yourself out over these differences and feel that you’ve completely lost interest in continuing the relationship. What can be done when this happens?
Love in a relationship
A romantic relationship can be compared to the weather. Some days you’re battling through the rain and on others, you’re dancing in the sunshine. Usually, they’re based on love and the sensations that you experienced when your relationship began. However, love, like any other emotion, often doesn’t last over time. In much the same way, none of us are happy or sad for all of our lives. We experience changes.
Therefore, expecting that the sensations you felt when you first met will last throughout your relationship, can lead to misunderstandings. In fact, the pressure to fit into each other’s world and be accepted by each other usually levels off once the degree of commitment between you increases. That’s not to say that love gets pushed into the background. Rather, it stabilizes over time. Therefore, the fundamental task becomes taking care of your relationship.
Differences and the process of polarization
In the first moments of your relationship, the differences between you usually go unnoticed. This is largely due to the need of both of you to please each other.
However, once your relationship becomes established, these differences can become a problem. For example, when one of you exhibits a change in your thoughts or behaviors that provoke discomfort in the other. This causes you to fall into a trap in which you both demand a change in the other. In the most serious of cases, coercion is the main protagonist.
These differences can also be facilitated by the myths of today’s society about what a relationship should be like. For example, how a man or woman should behave in a relationship etc.
As a rule, this makes each of you think that, for the relationship to work, the other partner must change. That’s because you both associate the characteristics of each other as the main source of your discomfort.
When you no longer feel the same way about each other
It’s possible that, in the first moments of your relationship, you saw the differences between you as attractive. However, over time, if you don’t talk about these differences, your relationship may well end in disaster. Furthermore, you (or your partner) may not even be aware of what’s happening in the relationship. This can also be a reason for a breakup.
In some cases, couples therapy might be essential to address the differences between you. You need to be encouraged to look at the differences between you, not as a problem that stands between you, but as an agent in the middle of your relationship that needs to be addressed by both of you.
Love versus infatuation
You shouldn’t believe that the fact that you no longer feel the same means you no longer love each other. While the feeling of being desperately in love prevails in the early stages of a relationship, love is a continuous process in which respect for each other is a primary element. Among other elements, added to this is the degree of commitment between you, aside from the initial passion you both experienced.
Once again, myths often come into play here and might increase your doubts about your willingness of whether to continue in the relationship or not. You might even find you experience the same emotions as when you were first together with other people outside your relationship. This leads to greater confusion and, therefore, a greater risk of a breakup.
Often, when you’re faced with these kinds of doubts, you may seek the advice or recommendation of your loved ones (family, friends, etc). This advice, depending on the experience of those you ask, can have consequences when you make the decision of whether or not to maintain your relationship.
That’s why couples therapy is so essential. It can address the issues you’re both facing without making judgments. However, in this article, we’ll also make some recommendations that you can carry out on your own, without the help of a therapist.
Communication in a relationship
Sometimes, you may take the needs and desires of your partner for granted. This means you might act as if your partner should know what’s happening when you’ve barely even spoken about the issue together.
The problem with this is that you’re acting as if you know the needs of your partner or you’re guessing what might be happening. Therefore, you might ignore certain situations that have damaged your relationship.
Validation versus invalidation
Invalidations might be frequent in your relationship if the differences between you have produced an estrangement. Invalidations consist of nullifying the opinions, emotions, or feelings of each other. For example, you might say “You’re exaggerating, it’s not that big a deal”, etc.
On the contrary, emotional validation consists of listening to each other’s points of view, emotions, thoughts, etc. It doesn’t mean that you both have to wholly agree, but it does encourage a discussion of the deeper issues of concern in your relationship.
Accusations do nothing but increase conflict. For instance, you might accuse each other of being the main reason for the argument, instead of addressing the issue in question as a problem in which you both play a part.
Phrases like: “You’re away from home all day, you prefer to be with your family instead of spending more time with me, etc.”, are typical phrases you might throw at each other as a way of trying to solve the problem. But they’re counterproductive. In fact, this type of accusation will only distance you even more, and you’ll see the differences between you as even greater.
Being open in a relationship means accepting small doses of discomfort. On many occasions, it means accepting the differences between you. In effect, it means acknowledging the fact that your partnership is more important than any problems that might arise along the way to unbalance your relationship.
However, the differences and problems that arise in the course of your relationship can blind both of you. You might even forget why you decided to start your relationship in the first place. Added to this is the loss of value that you have in the relationship and the responsibilities that you’ve been assuming from the beginning.
If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work
As previously mentioned, the help of a therapist may be useful to highlight the values in your relationship, in addition to working on other areas such as acceptance and tolerance strategies. Nevertheless, the final decision is up to the two of you. You have the option of not continuing the relationship if your attempts at reestablishing it aren’t what you expected.
In this case, it’s essential that you separate in a healthy way. You must both retain respect for each other. If you maintain dialogue between you both and respect each other’s needs, it’ll make the process of grieving for the breakup much easier.
Accept the loss
If couples therapy and other actions aren’t effective solutions, the next step will be to accept the breakup. It’s normal for it to hurt to break up with someone you care about or who’s played an important part in your life, especially if you’re the one who’s left behind.
However, if your partner has stopped feeling the same way about you, there’s not much you can do. Begging them for a few crumbs of love won’t lead to a happy ending. Indeed, you should never try and force someone to stay with you. In reality, if the feeling isn’t there it isn’t there. All you can do is accept the fact.
This means you must accept the fact that they no longer feel anything for you. Later, you’ll also have to accept the whole emotional process. It doesn’t mean necessarily throwing in the towel or giving up the fight. You simply need to recognize when your attempts are futile.
Lastly, keep in mind that after every breakup, comes a new beginning. Changes always give you the opportunity to open up new paths, explore different experiences and find another part of you or another lifestyle. You can go beyond where you were before. You can turn your loss into a positive.It might interest you...
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.
- Garza, I. (2010). Neurobiología del amor. El residente, 5(1), 6-8.
- McClanahan, K. K., Gold, J. A., Lenney, E., Ryckman, R. M., & Kulberg, G. E. (1990). Infatuation and attraction to a dissimilar other: Why is love blind?. The Journal of Social Psychology, 130(4), 433-445.