What to Do When You're Not "Feeling It" Anymore
It's normal for relationships to lose their spark at some point.
Posted April 22, 2021 | Reviewed by Chloe Williams
- People often think that a relationship has run its course when it loses its special spark or when there's a dip in feelings of love and romance.
- The longer couples stay together, the more likely they are to experience periods of distance, doubt, and staleness.
- Partners can support and check-in with each other during periods of distance, which can end up strengthening a relationship.
Many believe if you’re not feeling it anymore, something is wrong. The relationship has died. It has run its course. There’s nothing you can do. It’s time to sit down and have the “It’s not you, it’s me” conversation. So you break up, go on your single on purpose journey as you connect back to you, then meet someone that makes you feel alive again. It’s powerful and dreamy and you realize you were right. That last relationship did expire because this new one gives you butterflies instead of bats. Until things get hard. But you stay in it and swim past the breakers. And things get better. But even then you get to a confusing place where you’re not feeling it anymore. Again.
Here’s the truth: You’re not going to “feel it anymore” at some point. Even if things are good and no one’s fighting. Even if there is no anger, resentment, or eggshells. The longer you do life with someone, the higher the chance of natural drift and growing apart. This is the natural default. You are human, which means you are wired to be curious and evolving. Drift and doubt come with the package. They are baked in. Also, relationships take a sh*t ton of work. You may simply just be exhausted. This doesn’t mean you want to invest in someone else or should. It just means you’re human.
One of the most damaging misconceptions about relationships is that you should always be feeling it. That love and attraction are constant and if things dip for no apparent reason, that’s a sign that something is wrong. Yes, it could be. But it could also just be that things get boring and stale like your favorite bag of chips, the one you always make sure to put a chip clip on because you don’t want to go bad. Yes, relationships can be boring and stale. I’m sorry if that just made your face cringe but that’s real life. Not the love movie trailer we constantly play and compare our relationship to in our head. That’s called programming.
The reason why relationships are not a constant is because we are not a constant. We go through our own inner journeys. Daily. Besides external factors like pressure and anxiety from work, direction in our career, managing our relationships with friends and family, parenting, investing in hobbies and passions, there are also internal factors, like our relationships with ourselves. One day we really like ourselves, who we are and what we’re doing, and the next day we don’t. Drift and “not feeling it” can come from our own relationship with self not our relationships with our partner. There is an ebb and flow within each of us and this directly impacts our relationship with others, especially our partner. And since there are two people (assuming you’re in a monogamous relationship) going through their internal journeys — ebbs and flows — there’s going to be distance at times. Long stretches of this distance can create the feeling of "not feeling it anymore."
Now, if you don’t come back, if you ebb while your partner is flowing and both stay at that distance for too long without checking in (doing life alone), yes, that "not feeling it anymore" can be legit. Both people can drift too far to turn back — feelings start to permanently change. But if you and your partner are aware, respect, and support the ebb and flow of each other yet continue to hold hands, look each other in the eyes, and check in, it’s totally normal and healthy. It can actually create a love rubber band that snaps you guys closer together after being stretched. This can deepen the relationship.
How to manage distance in a relationship:
Explore your own inner journey. What are you going through? Is there something happening in your life that’s disconnecting you from yourself and the relationship? Are you in your head? Did an ex call, triggering something? Do you have anxiety about your work/career? Are you generally not happy because things aren’t going your way? Are you holding onto anger or resentment? What are you doing to work through this? Reading self-help books and trying to sort it out yourself is not enough. You need to be processing it with someone. Preferably a therapist or relationship coach.
If it’s not you, is it your partner/relationship? If so, what is it? What’s happening that needs to be resolved or worked through? What do you need to express to your partner to get this going? Or is it more simple, like not having enough quality time with your partner? Have both of you become too busy? Maybe you need connection and romance? Express your need without blame. Approach it like you guys are on the same team. Because you are.
Love is making a choice every single day, to either love or not love. That’s it. It’s that simple. Either to continue the process or not. We fall in and out of love. We feel it then don’t. This doesn’t mean we don’t love the person. It means we are left with a choice. There is a difference between feeling love for someone (caring about a person) and loving someone (choosing to love that person). We may have love for someone forever, but that doesn’t mean we choose to love that person forever. The choice to love is not a feeling; it is an action. That is why it is so difficult. It requires us to do something. Sometimes it is easy to love. Sometimes it is extremely difficult. And sometimes it has more to do with us than them. But at the end of the day, it’s always a choice.
Although love varies, it also deepens. This means the longer we stay on that flight and embark on the journey together, the more fruit the process will bear. Our investment pays off. Our choices become easier. We not only become stronger as a couple but also as individuals, assuming the love process is healthy — which means we are both doing work. The choice to love creates an opportunity to hit notes in life that we could never hit alone, and this is what makes our choice worth it.