How To Know When Love Is Gone & What To Do About It
Updated August 12, 2021
At its core, love is one of the greatest foundations of any healthy relationship. Countless individuals throughout history have fallen in love, fallen out of love, and even dedicated years of their life to understanding the concept that is love and how it comes into being. However, there comes the point in certain relationships where the love ceases to exist. This can happen for a variety of reasons and under varied circumstances. Nevertheless, the ability to recognize when love is gone and what to do about it is paramount for health and wellness in one's life. Thankfully, there are warning signs and indicators that the relationship may no longer be healthy and loving.
The Importance Of Recognizing The Signs of Lost Love
Despite the importance of recognizing the signs of when love has left a relationship, it often isn't easy to identify or admit. The desire to hold onto a relationship which one has been invested in for years can be very strong. However, without love, the dynamics of any ongoing interactions with another person will undoubtedly change. Romper affirms that failing to heed the warning signs of when it's time to let go can be more hurtful than ending the relationship, as painful as that can be.
Contentment When They're Absent
One of the most obvious indicators that love is gone is the feeling of contentment or relief when your partner is absent. When two people are on amicable, loving terms, they want to see each other. They enjoy each other's company, so they spend time together while partaking in various activities. However, this changes when love ceases to exist.
When love is gone, each partner may dread the other's company or simply tolerate it. They may also feel a sense of relief when their partner isn't around.
A codependent relationship is never healthy; it's okay to experience happiness and positive emotions with people outside of your relationship. However, if your contentment decreases in the presence of a specific person and increases in their absence, this is a very strong sign that love is gone in your relationship. Of course, there are many other reasons you might feel this way. For example, an introverted person will feel happier when they're alone on occasion, no matter who is absent in that moment.
Lack of Communication
Similar to feelings of love, communication is essential in any relationship. Without healthy communication, a relationship will invariably suffer. An ongoing lack of communication or lack of healthy communication, such as an inability to resolve conflict, is another good indicator that love may be gone.
When people truly love and care for each other, they want to talk with one another and listen to what the other person has to say. The desire to call each other, spend time together, and simply to hear the other person's voice is both healthy and normal. When this desire goes away, it is often a sign of some problem or crisis within the relationship.
When a lack of communication occurs in a relationship, the individuals can take one of three steps. First, they can actively work to increase communication and strengthen contact with one another, often with the help of a counselor. They can also remain in denial, afraid to leave what is comfortable, or they can end the relationship.
Your Vision of the Future Does Not Include Your Partner
The manner in which one speaks or views their future can also be very telling regarding the amount of love in a relationship. When two people have a bond and care for each other, they usually want to spend their future together. This may involve living together, having a family, or simply being with each other on a regular basis.
However, when love is gone or dwindling in a relationship, people often don't see the other person in their future. They may view their future as "unknown," and they may even cringe at the thought of their current partner being in their future. In and of itself, this is a clear indicator that love has left the relationship.
If you find yourself doubting whether or not love remains in a relationship, think about whether or not you can realistically see your partner with you in the future and what that would look like. Does it bring dread or happiness?
What to Do When the Love Is Gone
Realizing that love is gone from a relationship can be unsettling, hurtful, and disappointing. This is especially applicable if you're emotionally invested in the relationship, having spent years and years with your partner.
Decide if the Relationship Is Worth Saving
In many cases when someone determines that feelings of love and affection are gone in their relationship, they may decide that the relationship has run its course and that moving on is the appropriate next step.
However, not everyone chooses to go down this path. Some people believe their relationship is worth saving, so they're willing to take whatever steps are necessary to restore the love they once felt. Relationship counseling is often the first step because it's usually helpful to have an objective third party provide feedback on the unhealthy aspects of the relationship, along with suggestions for improvement.
When it comes to saving the relationship, one partner may be more committed than the other. Therefore, it's crucial for both partners to share their feelings and be honest about how much they're willing to invest in improving the relationship.
Mourn the Loss… And Then Move On
When a relationship ends, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong you (or your partner for that matter), nor does it mean that the time spent in the relationship was wasted. In fact, the end of a relationship can be positive if you consider the fact that there is probably someone out there who is a better fit for you. It's an opportunity for you to spend some time thinking about yourself and your needs. When a relationship doesn't work, we discover what we want (and don't want) in future relationships, and we learn more about who we are.
It's completely normal to feel sadness in this situation. This is especially true when a long-term relationship ends. However, regardless of the quality, extent, or longevity of the partnership, getting on with life is a critical step that you must eventually take after a breakup. The inability to move on can have damaging emotional, mental, and even physical effects.
What Else Can You Do?
- Talk about the breakup. It can be therapeutic to unload the burden of your breakup story, but don't let telling it repeatedly weigh you down. Also be constructive. Getting stuck in the victim role won't help you recover.
- Reconnect with friends and family. Socializing will give you a positive outlet for your newfound free time, and it will keep your mind from dwelling on the breakup. Plus, let's be honest: Your friends and family have probably been missing you.
- Start a journal where you can make notes about what you learned from the relationship and discovered about yourself. Try creating a gratitude list regarding your relationship (or your decision to end it), so you can reference it whenever you need it. It may seem silly, but there are scientifically proven benefits to practicing gratitude.
If you are not sure what you want to do about your relationship, you can connect with a therapist online at BetterHelp. Our licensed counselors can also support you if you need help making a clean break or if you would like to work with your partner to make your relationship healthy again. Reach out today to get the support you deserve. Below are some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing similar issues.
"Dr. Harrell was there for me and helped me get to the issues of my problems and triggers. I am a much better person and feel like a new person. I am pursuing a dream that I never thought would be possible to achieve. Me and my wife are again on speaking terms with a small glimmer of hope. I honestly wouldn't be where I am now without her support."
"A year ago I was experiencing difficulties in my relationship, which highly affected my psychological state and interfered with my work. At one point, I decided to try BetterHelp.com. My counselor Dr. Brewer helped me to see some things I couldn't on my own and encouraged me to prioritize myself. It was a huge help for me at that point, which led to the decisions I am happy about."
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