The Attraction Is Gone. Now What?
Loss of attraction is an extremely common phenomenon in relationships, and it happens for many reasons, all of which we’ll discuss in detail later.
But before we begin, it’s important to remember that all relationships go through stages. The first few months or years are often the most thrilling.
“Will she call me back?”
“He told so-and-so he really liked me!”
“I can’t believe we kissed!”
You think about the other person all day, your life seems to revolve around them. When they walk into the room, everything’s better.
Newsflash: The butterflies don’t last.
But that’s okay.
Relationships go through stages, and every stage has its positives and negatives. When you’re in the heat of new love, you get those amazing butterflies and you canoodle all the time. But the other person also doesn’t know you.
When you’re in a long-term relationship (looong-term sometimes), your partner knows you in and out, and they’re devoted to you. That’s the positive. The negative is that the spark might have gone out.
Fortunately, relationships are like cars. When they have problems, you don’t just throw them in the trash. You fix them! And of course, in order to fix a problem, you first have to figure out what the problem is. When the attraction is gone, this is the part that everyone skips!
So without further ado, here are by far the most common problems that cause loss of attraction in relationships. And also how to fix them.
Reigniting the Passion: How to Identify the Problem and Fix It
By: Faye Roberts
- Problem: You’ve merged with your partner.
Yes, you’re in a relationship with your partner, but you’re not a unit. You are two individuals who have come together in love to choose to live your lives side by side. When you always do everything together and share your every thought and experience as though you are the same person, that’s a problem.
Solution: Relocate yourself.
When you two fell in love, you fell in love with someone who was entirely separate from you. He or she had their own life, their own interests, hobbies and characteristics. Sure, you shared some of these—maybe that’s how or why you got together. But you first came to them on your own.
You need to rekindle that. Find who you are. Make sure you are doing activities by yourself, with your own friends. Have your own hobbies, or form new ones. If both of you do this, it will make you each more appealing, interesting and yes, maybe even a little more mysterious (in a sexy kind of way).
- Problem: You have a list of things they do that bug you.
This may not be an actual list, but it’s somewhere in your head. You hate the way he chews, how she nags you about laundry, his sneeze, her yawn. Of course, sometimes the issues are obviously bigger. You may remember all too vividly the things your partner said in a fight or something hurtful they did 10 years ago.
Solution: Talk it out. Nicely.
You must communicate. Ok, some of these matters, you’ll just need to relax on. But more serious and legitimate problems can’t be left to fester in your mind. The key is to hone the skillset of discussing these things nicely. Some ground rules will help you do this.
- Be gentle and kind. Pretend like you have to bring up a problem to someone you really respect, like the President or the Dalai Lama. You wouldn’t just launch in with angry accusations. Ease in, and be respectful.
- Offer a solution if you can.
- Actually listen to what they have to say, and don’t interrupt.
- Try talking softly. Make an effort to maintain this voice level.
- Don’t dredge up the past. Talk about the matter at hand.
- No name calling.
- Problem: Your “together routine” is boring.
The classic solution to loss of attraction is to spend more time together, right? But often what couples choose to do together is the problem. You probably go out to eat, watch a movie on the couch, go to the cinema, or maybe go to a party.
Solution: Try new experiences together.
Experiencing new things together helps bring back some of the thrills you had when you were first dating. You’re in a rut with your honey, and you have to get excited, and go look for some adventure. Try canoeing, travel, art classes, charter fishing, going to a museum, doing a home improvement projects, or just cooking together.
- Problem: You feel like you shouldn’t have to put forth effort.
Often in long-term relationships and marriages, we feel like everything should be honky dory without even trying. Your partner is your soul mate, right? So you’re in love, and it’s a done deal no matter what, right?
Even if you feel like zoning out in front of the TV instead of talking. Even if you forgot his birthday, “Oh well!” Even if you’ve stopped going to the gym.
Well, no. In fact
Solution: Realize that effort counts.
You didn’t fall in love with a slob who plops down on the TV for four hours every night and goes to bed with cheesy ball dust on their pajamas. Neither did your spouse. Often this form of “letting yourself go” or even just acting out in general in the relationship are tactics to avoid other problems.
But they do affect your relationship. You don’t have to be perfect, but yes, effort does matter. It matters for your partner and for you. Invest in yourself. You’re worth it.
In addition, you might have to sit down—perhaps together—and see where you may have dropped the ball on some things. Do you …
- Say “I love you” ?(with meaning)
- Have sex?
- Buy each other gifts?
- Do little chores for each other?
- Pay attention to the current storylines in each other’s lives? (perhaps with friends or at work or school)
- Listen attentively when they speak?
- Hold hands?
- Rub their back?
- Take care of them when they feel bad? (physically or mentally)
All of these words and acts are part the relationships that great couples have—and they’re especially active in those relationships wherein the attraction is bubbling over. This is because the level of intimacy you have with someone—how closely you interact—is positively correlated with romantic attraction.
In other words, the more effort you put into the nuts and bolts of the relationship, the more passionately you’ll want to get them in the sack.
Don’t Give Up
Attraction is only one of the many benefits you get from being in a good relationship. You are hopefully also giving and receiving: support, friendship, safety, joy and—as science shows—better health.
That’s why it’s important not to give up even if the spark fades in your relationship. You can find it again. Try these tips, and see how they work for you.