- Everything Irritates Them
“If your partner constantly complains about random things that may not have been a problem before, this may be a sign of emotional disconnect,” Dr. Candace Southall, Ph.D., LPC, a licensed professional counselor, says. Instead of laughing off daily annoyances or lovingly accepting your flaws, it’ll seem like they suddenly have a short fuse about it all. The reason? They were able to look past it all when they were in love, Southall says, but are now finding it difficult to do so as their feelings change.
- They Don’t Want To Argue
That said, your S.O. might also stop arguing completely or find ways to avoid tough conversations, Southall says, either because they don’t have any emotional energy left to invest or because they simply don’t have the desire to do so.
The drive to argue (in a healthy way) requires some level of care and passion. Couples get upset and argue because their relationship means something to them and they want to work things out. When a partner is falling out of love, they’ll seem very “meh” about everything — often to a frustrating degree.
- They’re Being Weird & Secretive
While partners are totally allowed to have privacy within a relationship, keep an eye out for weird and suspicious activity, like the fact your partner has a new passcode on their phone or shields their screen whenever you walk in the room.
- They Stopped Calling You “Bae”
It may sound small, but pay attention to whether your S.O. has stopped using pet names with you. “If your partner usually says ‘I love you’ or utters terms of endearment such as ‘babe,’ ‘sweetheart,’ or ‘boo’ and they no longer say these things to you, it could be a sign that love is diminishing,” Dr. Lori Lawrenz, a clinical psychologist specializing in sexual health, says. These words will feel too mushy for someone who just isn’t feelin’ it.
- They’re Iffy About Future Plans
If your partner refuses to nail down a date for your annual beach trip, take note. “Partners who are falling out of love often stop making plans for the future,” Dr. Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of “Date Smart,” says. “Whether it’s having no interest in planning vacations, reaching little life goals, or talking about upcoming celebrations, a consistent lack of investment in the future often signals that they have one foot out the door.”
- Nothing Feels Balanced
Notice any gut feelings you have about your relationship. “If your partner is feeling disconnected, you will be able to sense the distance and your intuition will sense a wonky, inadequate energy,” psychotherapist Jennifer Grant Schliessman, LCSW tells Bustle.
- They Don’t Go All Out On Your Birthday
A partner who is falling out of love will stop trying in a variety of ways, and according to Lawrenz, that very well may include making an effort on your birthday. Heck, they might even forget your birthday (and other important dates, like your anniversary) entirely — or at least pretend to because they don’t want to make the effort to celebrate. And this is a red flag.
- They Forget Your Drink Order
Another subtle sign? If your partner is decidedly less tender and sweet. “This might arise through reduced touching, brittle conversations, or a decrease in little acts of kindness,” Manly says. They won’t kiss you before bed, text to check in, or arrive home with your favorite iced matcha in hand.
- They Start Running Late
Along that same vibe, your partner could start running late to date nights and other couple-y events. If they used to be on time, Lawrenz says, and if they don’t have a good reason to be late, consider it yet another sign they aren’t making you a priority.
- They Keep Pointing Out How “Different” You Are As People
Your partner might also look for little ways to sever emotional ties, Fisher says, possibly by pointing out all the ways you’re so “different” or “mismatched” as a couple — even though these differences were never a problem before. They’ll also play up small arguments and make them seem worse than they were. If they were in love and invested, they’d find ways to smooth over your differences, reach compromises, and get the relationship back on track.
- They Can’t Look Away From Social Media
While there are lots of reasons why a person might stare unblinkingly into their phone, falling out of love is certainly one of them. “Your partner may spend excessive time distracting themselves on social media,” Schliessman says, as a way to avoid having emotional conversations about the state of your relationship. They know that any moment of dead air could result in a chat they aren’t ready (or don’t want) to have, so they busy themselves with social media (or TV, or podcasts) to keep you at bay.
- They’re “Really Busy”
Another glaring sign is if your partner’s priorities swing wildly away from you and land firmly in other areas of their life. “You’ll notice their schedule seems to include everyone but you,” clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. tells Bustle. “They won’t ask you, they won’t check in with you — they’ll simply go at it alone."
- They Light Up Around Others
It's great if your partner enjoys time with their friends, but if they're consistently happier and more “on” with others — while acting gloomy or apathetic around you — take note. As Klapow says, "These are all signals that the emotional connection and fulfillment they were receiving from you, they're now receiving from others.” It may also mean they’re checking out of the relationship.
- They’re Backpedaling In The Relationship
If your relationship was moving along at a steady pace, it won't feel great if it suddenly starts going in the opposite direction. And for good reason.
"Relationship backtracking is a surefire sign that someone is falling out of love with you," Graber says. "For instance, you lived together and now they want to move out, or if they want to 'slow things down.' Things might be moving slowly, which is fine, but the relationship should always be moving forward and never backward." If this seems to be the case, it's time to ask your partner what's going on.
- You Feel Like Roommates
It isn’t a good sign if your partner starts acting more like a roommate. When that happens, it’ll seem like you’re just politely co-existing and going about your days, without much emotion, energy, or connection.
While all of these red flags can point to a problem, try not to read too deeply into small changes. "Don’t assume that the distance can only be that they are falling out of love," Klapow says. Every relationship shifts and changes over time, and everyone has off days. "But don’t assume that everything is fine, either,” he adds.