If you’ve been in a relationship or marriage for quite a while, you may have noticed that things aren’t as fiery between the two of you as they were at the beginning.
Maybe you’re not intimate as often as you used to be, or you’re dealing with far more arguments than laughter or comfort.
You may even feel that you’ve fallen out of love with your partner and are wondering if you need to call it quits, or if there’s a chance you can renew the spark you once had.
By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll have a solid idea as to why things may have cooled between you, to begin with, and how to get your love back on track.
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Can you fall back in love with someone?
A lot of people think that you can’t fall back in love with someone after the first blush of romance has cooled.
This isn’t the case at all.
Anyone who has rekindled a relationship with an ex, or even thinks fondly of someone they dated years ago knows how emotions can be nurtured back to life.
People grow apart and then get closer again all the time. This is often because issues that push them apart may be temporary, and once they’ve calmed down or been dealt with both parties remember why they got together in the first place.
Intimacy can wax and wane depending on hormonal fluctuations (especially after having children or during menopause), and sometimes people just need a bit more time alone, in their own heads.
If you’re feeling particularly distant from your spouse or long-term partner, there are several techniques that you can use to rekindle the relationship. The tips below can help to foster greater closeness, including shared joy and physical intimacy.
12 Ways To Fall Back In Love With Your Partner
1. Know that most relationships ebb and flow.
An intimate relationship is one in which people’s more authentic, vulnerable aspects show, and they’re more honest about how they feel, rather than trying to put on a good show to keep the other interested.
But we are not always in sync with our partners, especially when each may be going through their own personal issues or crises.
Some may just affect the individual, and some may affect the relationship, like financial hardships or serious illness.
Emotions also ebb and flow, and aren’t “on” all the time. If one partner is struggling with emotional hardships, they may not, for example, be interested in sex for some time, which can make the other feel neglected or rejected outright.
2. Figure out why you fell out of love.
Knowing that relationships have ups and downs, it’s time to figure out why your feelings have changed. Why did you fall out of love with your partner?
Was it a particular event that sparked a cascade of negative feelings for them? Did they cheat on you? Did you have a major falling out over how you deal with a grown child? Did they forget your birthday?
Or have your feelings just been eaten away over time because your lives together lack excitement and romance and physical or emotional affection?
It’s important that you think carefully about what might have prompted your feelings to change. It’s a lot easier to find solutions to issues that are clear and known rather than trying to relight the flame in the darkness.
Your efforts will be more effective when there are specific things to work on as a couple.
To help guide you, be sure to check out the section later in the article that goes into detail about several of the key reasons why couples fall out of love.
3. Talk about it.
More often than not, a lot of difficulty can be alleviated – or even avoided – if people just talk to one another, openly and honestly, about what’s going on with them.
You need to express how you’re feeling, where you are in the relationship as well as in your personal lives, your work, your overall level of contentment, etc.
Saying that you are “fine” and that everything is “fine” when it’s clearly not is being dishonest with yourself and your partner.
Many refrain from talking about their problems with their partners because they’re afraid they’ll be lessened in the other person’s eyes, especially if they’re struggling with emotional or mental hardships.
If major changes occur, but both parties want to remain in the relationship, then some renegotiation needs to occur. Think of it as revisiting and renewing a contract: situations and people change, and the parameters of the relationship may need to change as well.
Take personal evolution, career changes, epiphanies, and preferences into account, then sit down and negotiate what would be optimal for both parties.
This could address everything from personal pursuits to child/elder care responsibilities, or might even encompass moving to a different location together.
The key is to re-establish bonds, and reassure one another that you’re there for each other, even when things are difficult.
Talking about all this stuff can be awkward, even weird, especially if you’re the type to keep your emotions to yourself, but it’s so important to open up and talk to your partner about things that really need to be addressed.
If you’re too embarrassed to discuss them face to face, write letters. Or emails. Whatever it takes to open a dialogue and address issues that may have been festering for a long time.
4. Remember why you fell for this person to begin with.
After you’ve been with someone for quite some time, little habits and quirks of theirs that you once found endearing can suddenly become unbelievably annoying.
During the honeymoon phase, our hormones and emotional highs block out all kinds of irritations, but after a while, the sound of them crunching granola at breakfast may leave you wanting to bludgeon them with the toaster.
The whole “familiarity breeds contempt” adage rings true. And chances are that your partner may be feeling the exact same way about you.
Remember that bit about communication earlier? When we don’t talk about the things that bother us, even seemingly insignificant stuff, resentment builds. And builds. Until, finally, you come close to blurting out that you want to split up because they slurped their coffee too loudly one too many times.
This is the time to remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.
Look back over handwritten love letters, emails, messages, texts, etc. from when you first met, and remember the giddy little thrill you had as you were getting to know this person.
What was it that made you fall for them? Was it their smile? Their laugh? Their kindness? Were you blown away by their knowledge of a particular subject? Did they do something so unbelievably romantic that they just swept you off your feet?
These are the memories that slip through the cracks when we’re kept awake by our partner’s snoring, or when we’re folding their underwear while they’re dealing with screaming kids.
5. Get in the right mindset.
It’s vital that you banish any thoughts you might be having about separation. You cannot realistically fall back in love with someone if you are contemplating a future without them.
You should remain focused on all the things you need to do to bring the spark back and rekindle the passion. If you allow negative imaginations about the future to cloud your mind, they will taint your view of your partner and of the relationship.
Instead, try to imagine a future where you and your partner are still together and your relationship is happier and more harmonious than ever.
This will motivate you to keep trying and it will keep you in a more positive frame of mind when you face the obstacles that you will inevitably face.
The defeatist mindset of breaking up and wondering what the future will be like as a single person again should only be allowed to come to the fore if and when you decide for good that the relationship cannot be saved.
6. Put in the effort.
Relationships take effort at all times. A relationship that has been heading in the wrong direction for some time will take even more effort to turn around.
So you have to be sure that both you and your partner are prepared to put in that effort to revive what you once had in the relationship. You can’t do this by yourself—it has to be a joint effort.
If your partner refuses to put in the effort and isn’t interested in fighting for the relationship, you have to be brutally honest and ask whether you want to fall back in love with this person, or whether it’s time to move on.
You have to both want to spend time and energy reconnecting with one another and rebuilding the mutual feelings of warmth and attraction and love. You have to decide that you still want to be with them more than you do any other person.
And when they show that they are making an effort, try to react positively toward them and it.
If they buy you something out of the blue, be sure to thank them for it and express what a nice surprise it is. If they stop what they are doing and really listen to what you are saying (rather than half-listening whilst browsing their phone at the same time, for instance), let them know how much you appreciate their focus and attention.
They want to know that their effort is recognized and appreciated, just as you would like them to do the same when you show effort in your own ways.
What does effort look like? Just about every other point that follows…
7. Go to couples counseling.
It may be possible for you to work through your problems together and to come out the other side with a great relationship again. If you want to give that a go, by all means do.
But you can increase the chances of that happy outcome by seeking the help and expertise of a relationship counselor. There are so many good reasons to choose counseling over going it alone.
Firstly, they have the expertise that can provide solutions to your specific troubles so that you don’t have to go down the trial and error approach to see what works. You can speed up the reconciliation process.
Secondly, they have the experience of having helped couples who were in the same position as you are right now. They know the likely obstacles you’ll face and how best to overcome them.
Thirdly, it is often easier to have the difficult conversations you’ll need to have to rekindle the love when there is someone else there to listen to you both, and to keep things civil, positive, and productive. Whilst heightened emotions are to be expected, they won’t be as likely to take over the situation and get in the way.
You can also speak to the counselor by yourselves if there are resentments, emotions, or issues from your past or that are outside of your relationship that you need to work on, where the presence of your partner might make that difficult. You don’t get that when you try to reconnect just the two of you.
Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.
8. Appreciate the positive.
Sure, there may be several things about your partner that irritate you at times, but what about all the amazing things they do?
Make a list of all the things that you appreciate about this person.
Do they make your tea or coffee the way you like it in the morning without being asked to do so? Do they have a tendency to pick up interesting surprises when they go out shopping? Do they parent diligently, with gentle compassion and sincere care? How are they with your animal companions?
As you do this, you may discover a ton of things that you’ve been taking for granted, and realize some pretty amazing things about the person you chose to spend your life with.
Now that you’ve made a fabulous list of all the wonderful things you love about your partner, let them know what it is you appreciate about them.
Not all in one go, as that would probably make them really uncomfortable, but when the time is right to do so.
Like when they give you your morning coffee: take their hand or give them a hug, and let them know just how much you appreciate that little gesture, and that you never take it for granted.
Then watch them shine.
9. Let go of expectations and resentment.
Whenever two people interact, there’s bound to be some kind of friction once in a while.
There may be little things that cause irritation on a long-term basis—like a chronic inability to pick their dirty socks up off the floor—or there might be more serious issues, like an affair, or temporary abandonment because of personal issues.
Again, it’s important to talk about these things, and to focus on forgiveness.
To err is human, and we are all guilty of having hurt, disappointed, and angered others because we were focused on our own crap instead of really taking into account how our actions would affect them.
In the grand scheme of things, letting go of hurt and resentment is key to a harmonious relationship. Until you have healed from that hurt, rekindling the relationship will be a challenge.
So many of us have expectations about how our partners “should” be, what a relationship “should” look like… but when has reality ever truly mirrored our expectations?
People change and grow so much that they can be totally different people from one day to the next. The person you’re with now isn’t the same one they were when you met, and thank the heavens for that, else they would have stagnated.
Similarly, your partnership is likely to go through many changes while you’re together. You may need to redefine relationship parameters in order to move forward in a way that makes everyone feel content.
If you don’t have expectations, you can’t be disappointed. Accept that your partner will never be perfect and they will never become your fantasy of what you want a partner to be like (that person doesn’t exist).
Just keep communicating about each other’s needs, and support one another’s individual journeys to the best of your ability, and you might be pleasantly amazed at how great your relationship can be.
10. Consider how you think and act toward your partner.
When you are trying to fall back in love with your partner again, it’s important to be aware of the thoughts you have toward them and the way you treat them.
You must try to engage with them in the way you would like them to engage with you. That means remaining positive and not zeroing in on the little mistakes they make. You should silence that critical voice in your head that sees everything they do in a pessimistic light.
Recognize their effort, even if it’s sometimes misdirected. Thank them when they do something nice for you, and do nice things for them in return, but don’t keep score and don’t give with an expectation that you will receive.
It’s in our nature to like someone more when they show kindness toward us.
Always maintain a respectful manner when dealing with them. Pay attention to the way you speak to them; the tone you use and the words you choose. These things can have a profound effect on the way your partner responds to you, and in turn how you respond to them.
When they do something to trigger a negative emotion in you, be sure to communicate that calmly using “I” statements that highlight how you felt about something they did rather than how that thing was wrong or bad.
And take some responsibility for the things you do that might trigger negative thoughts and emotions in them.
You don’t need to take all the responsibility—they do have some control over themselves and their emotions—but if it’s something you’ve spoken about and they’ve asked you not to do it, you should apologize and say you’ll keep trying.
11. Spend some quality time together.
It goes without saying that to fall back in love with one another, you and your partner will need to spend a good chunk of time together.
After all, when you first fell in love, you probably spent a great deal of your time doing things as a couple.
And whilst it’s natural for that to change as a relationship develops, you might have swung too far to the other extreme and now spend no real time together.
You need to disconnect from the rest of the world, step out of your routine, and carve out regular time where you do something just the two of you.
If you have children, this means finding some childcare for that time so that you can just be present in each other’s company without the distractions and stresses kids can bring.
Schedule date nights, plan trips away together one weekend out of every month, make these times special and create new memories together. Bond over these moments of shared intimacy or exploration.
Live in the moment together and rediscover each other and your desire for your partner all over again. Make these moments fun, silly, romantic, or exciting – positive emotions and positive experiences will make you feel more positively about each other.
With regards to physical intimacy, you might wish to hold back for a few weeks at first to ensure that you build up that emotional connection once again.
Consider it a fresh start and wait until you’ve ‘dated’ a few times first, just like you might have done at the beginning of your relationship. This can build the anticipation and make it even more enjoyable when you finally get intimate.
But once you do get physical again, try to make it a regular thing. Whilst sex isn’t everything in a relationship, it can help strengthen the emotional connection and break down any barriers you might have built as your relationship began to struggle.
12. Set mutual goals to strive for together.
One major complaint that a lot of long-term couples have is that they’re not working together toward a common goal. Some work hard to buy a house, or to raise children, but that’s not necessarily everyone’s cup of tea.
There’s a huge difference between spending time together, working toward something awesome, and just sitting on the couch together, watching TV and not speaking or interacting with one another.
Find a way to re-engage with a goal or project that you’re both interested in. What do you two have in common? What’s a goal or project that you can dedicate time to together?
Have you always dreamt of cultivating an amazing garden? Do you want to turn your dull home into a colorful canvas full of interesting features and decorations? Could you start a simple side hustle together that might one day form a business?
Sit down and talk about some of the things that you both love to do, and then find something to strive toward. Make sure it’s fun, rather than being a project that will cause you a lot of tension and frustration, and then determine the steps needed to make it a reality.
Having a project like this will allow you both to re-engage with one another. You’ll have new energy to turn toward it, and will inevitably shift some of that new light into your personal relationship.
Why do couples fall out of love?
Several different factors can contribute to couples falling out of love. The reasons listed below are the more common culprits, but the way they manifest will differ depending on the individuals involved.
Over time, many partners end up living more like housemates than a united couple.
They’ll pursue their own interests and make their own meals, and barely even talk to one another. They won’t ask questions about each other’s plans, nor pretend that they want to know any details.
There aren’t any arguments because neither party cares enough to squabble, and they’ll see each other more like furniture than people: comfortable, and always around.
If indifference has crept into your relationship, it needs to be nipped in the bud before the damage it causes is irreparable.
You’ll need to figure out why you feel so indifferent to one another, what changed between you to cause that indifference, and how you can counteract it to save your partnership—if that’s something you both want, at this point.
Loss of effort toward one another.
People put a lot of time and effort into each other at the beginning of a relationship. They’re excited to get to know one another, and they want to make the other understand how much they’re cared for.
As a result, both parties will do sweet things for one another, such as buying gifts, surprising one another with meals (including ordering in or going out to eat), and showing sincere appreciation for all the little things they do for them.
Over time, this effort often wanes as people get more comfortable and start to take one another for granted.
They won’t express gratitude for hot coffee every morning or clean clothes in their closet, but instead come to simply expect such gestures because those are the roles that they’ve grown accustomed to.
Similarly, they may not see the point of doing small kindnesses for each other: that was for their courting days when they were trying to charm each other into being a couple. They “have” each other now, so why bother?
Resentment or bitterness.
Stress and difficulty are inevitable in anyone’s life, but instead of seeing their partners as their allies in dealing with difficulties, many people see them as the cause.
Someone whose partner is laid off and thus has to work two jobs to keep the family afloat may blame the partner for the layoff and thus feel resentment toward them.
Similarly, a person who’s shattered from caring for a special needs child may blame their partner for this difficulty, believing things would have been better if they’d gotten with someone else.
Many people find it difficult to be loving or intimate with a person whom they feel is the cause of their suffering.
The question then becomes: Should you call it quits if you feel that the other person “ruined your life”? Or should you reframe your perspective to see them as an equal partner who’s there to help carry the load with you?
Many people have grandiose ideas of what a marriage or committed, long-term relationship will look like.
As such, they may have a range of expectations about how their life should be.
Alternatively, they may have discussed expectations with their partners—such as having children or traveling—only to have those plans set aside or even dismissed without both parties in agreement.
If a person has entered a marriage with the expectation of becoming a parent, for example, only to be offered excuses and platitudes until they finally discover years later (i.e. after peak fertility has passed) that their partner has no interest in having kids, that would be a devastating blow.
In such situations, they may have a great deal of difficulty remaining in love with a person who has lied to them or strung them along with false promises just to keep them around.
Lack of communication.
This is a major contributing factor to the bitterness mentioned above, but it is a primary issue in most cases of relationship breakdown.
When people feel that they can’t communicate their thoughts, concerns, needs, or desires to their partners, both parties suffer.
The one who isn’t communicating their truth may become withdrawn, causing the other to feel neglected. Meanwhile, the one who isn’t being spoken to has no idea what’s going on and thus isn’t given the opportunity to work on making things better.
If one or both of you gets anxious about openly communicating with one another, learning to do so will take patience and understanding on both sides.
There will be miscommunications and possibly hurt feelings or arguments, but as long as you can remember how much you love and appreciate each other, you should be able to get through the initial awkwardness
Marriage and partnerships take a lot of work. For people who like a lot of excitement and variety in life, the realities of long-term commitment can end up being boring and tedious rather than comfortable.
They may compare their relationship to food choices, and complain that no matter how much someone loves pizza, they can’t be happy eating it for every meal, every day, for the rest of their lives.
In cases like this, it’s important to remember that love is a choice as much as it is a feeling. A person can choose to see the positive aspects of marriage each and every day instead of feeling like they’re somehow missing out or being “tied down” by their decision to be with this person.
People mess up, and sometimes infidelities happen within a marriage or relationship.
Even if you and your partner have worked through this issue and have decided to start over with a clean slate, there may be lingering anger or mistrust.
After infidelity happens, many people feel that they don’t love their partner “the same way” anymore.
If this is something you’re dealing with, you’ll need to address the reasons why the infidelity occurred before you can reconnect with each other emotionally.
If you don’t, you run the risk of the same thing happening again.
Once you’ve determined why it happened, you can take steps to ensure that circumstances don’t repeat themselves, which will be helpful and reassuring to both parties.
Physical changes have resulted in a loss of physical attraction.
In some cases, what people interpret as “falling out of love” is actually “falling out of lust.”
This often happens when the relationship develops out of intense physical attraction and passion rather than friendship or mutual interests.
Time takes its toll on our physical forms, and changes such as pregnancies, illnesses, and stress can do a lot of damage.
As a result, a person might look at the partner they were once obsessed with because they were so “smoking hot” and now have zero interest in being physically intimate with them.
It’s a difficult issue to navigate: most of us wouldn’t want to hurt our partners’ feelings by telling them that their weight gain or hair loss makes us not want to sleep with them anymore, but the topic can be broached in a gentle, loving way—possibly with the help of a relationship counselor as mediator.
Acceptance and understanding go a long way in this situation, especially since these types of physical changes will affect absolutely everyone eventually.
When people are in the first stages of love, opposites may not only attract—they may be exciting and engaging.
Over time, however, the opposite stances and interests may end up being major contributing factors to relationship breakdown. Instead of a relationship that’s full of adventure, there’s just irritation and misunderstandings.
Alternatively, people who were initially extremely compatible may grow in different directions over time to a point where they have little if anything in common anymore.
Most incompatibilities can be navigated by finding a middle ground, but there are some instances where people’s leanings and interests are so polarized that they’ll argue about absolutely everything.
When and if this happens, the couple may not solely fall out of love: they may grow to actively hate one another.
Still not sure how to fall back in love with your partner? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can my relationship be saved?
If both partners show a willingness to save a relationship, there is always a chance that it can be saved.
The better question you should be asking yourself is whether or not you want to save this particular relationship. Have you really given enough thought as to whether this is the right relationship for you in the long run?
Because you may fall back in love now and then find that your incompatibilities are still present and still cause issues.
With enough effort and probably some counseling, even the most challenging of circumstances such as infidelity can be healed. But what really matters now is whether or not the two of you are still right for each other.
Sure, the hurt can be dealt with and your relationship might regain some of the passion and love it once had, but unless you both see the same sort of future together, you might be setting yourself up for further heartache later on.
Don’t forget that you and your partner are not the same people you were when the two of you first dated. However long it has been since then, things have changed, and you have changed.
Don’t try to fall back in love with your partner simply because you’re used to them and the relationship feels comfortable. And don’t do it out of fear of what a breakup (or a divorce if you’re currently married) might look and feel like.
As difficult as those experiences would be, they might be the right thing to do when all is said and done.
Whatever you do, don’t try to force something that isn’t right just because it seems like the easier of the paths you have in front of you.
Will I ever be able to love them again after they hurt me so badly?
Human beings are emotional creatures, but those emotions are not fixed. How you feel about your partner right now can be very different from how you might feel about them in a few months or even a few years’ time.
If you want to love them again and are willing to work through the hurt they caused you, then it is entirely possible to regain those feelings.
Make no mistake, however, that it will take time and effort to reach that point. Forgiveness in a practical sense (i.e. not allowing the hurt to affect how you treat your partner) is one thing, but forgiveness in an emotional sense (i.e. no longer feeling the pain of what they did, and having positive emotions toward them) is far more complex.
Quite honestly, if the hurt was so great, you’ll likely need to help of a counselor to work through it. At the very least they should be able to guide you through the process and speed it up dramatically.
Will loving them again make our relationship happier?
Love alone won’t fix all the problems that your relationship may have. And the happiness of the relationship is somewhat dependent on the happiness of the individuals in it.
So you may be able to fall back in love with one another, but if you or they are struggling with other things such as work, family, or inner demons, the relationship might not reach the happy highs you are hoping for.
In some cases, it is better to love each other from afar whilst some of these other issues are dealt with. You can then decide whether or not to rekindle your relationship based on how you both feel at that point in time.
Of course, a relationship based on love is likely to be much happier than one based on other factors such as convenience, having children together, or because you’re afraid of being alone.
How long will it take to fall back in love?
Whilst there is no definitive answer to this question, if you put all the tips in this article into practice and you’re no nearer to loving your partner after a few months or so, you should probably take it as a sign that it might never happen.
Though how long you keep trying will depend on various factors such as how well you work as a couple, whether there are children involved, and how long you’ve been together.
If you have only been together for a couple of years, you probably shouldn’t give it as long as if you’ve been together for a couple of decades. Whilst a shared history isn’t a reason to stay together by itself, it matters.
Final thoughts on falling back in love.
If you feel that you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, don’t panic. Almost every couple in the world will face these worries at some point, especially during times of stress or upheaval.
When you’re questioning your feelings—as well as the future of your relationship as a whole—it’s important to remember that you two chose one another for several reasons that likely go beyond finding each other cute.
As such, aim to reconnect with the factors that brought you two together in the first place.
Sit down with your partner and talk about some of the happiest memories the two of you have experienced together. Share a meal that you may have had early in your relationship, and listen to music that’s meaningful to the two of you.
Try to reignite as many of your memory-based senses as possible and try to really see one another for who you both are, here and now.
Don’t make snap decisions about temporary upheaval, as you may end up regretting them sooner than you think.
If you feel that it would be beneficial to you, book time with a therapist or counselor to help you two find new strategies to get through the hard times. This will keep you from falling back into old habits, and will provide you with a new set of tools to navigate through whatever life may throw at you.
Most importantly, treat your partner as your partner, not just a prop in your life story. Give each other a chance to step up and be the best you can be for one another, with full support, compassion, and loving kindness.