Whether you have been with your partner for a year or many years, the realization that you are no longer attracted to him or her can be very unsettling.
You might feel guilty or think that there is something wrong with you. For some people, the realization sort of creeps up and for others, it’s a more conscious process of coming to the conclusion that the attraction you once felt for your partner is no longer there.
You find yourself at a crossroad- you wrestle with the idea of coming clean to your partner or keeping it to yourself. You don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings but at the same time, you don’t want to be dishonest about something so important.
Before you decide to have a conversation with your partner or feel inclined to keep your lips sealed, take some time to consider what could be causing the diminished attraction. You might realize that the lack of attraction has very little to do with your partner’s looks, and does not spell doom for your relationship. On the other hand, you might uncover a difficult truth- you are no longer in love with your partner.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:
1. Is it the normal ebb and flow of your relationship?
Long-term relationships go through different stages of maturation. For some couples, it can be very difficult to transition from the initial “head over heels in love” stage to the more stable and reality-based stage. Sometimes, people expect the initial high of the new relationship energy to last forever and find themselves very disappointed when the rose-colored glasses come off and partners see each other’s true selves.
Ask yourself if your relationship is transitioning from the wild-sexual-marathons stage to the once-a-week-because- you-have-a- life stage. If so, don’t fret- your relationship is just following the normal course of evolution and you could be interpreting the transition as loss of attraction for your partner.
2. Are you angry or resentful?
Many times, people who are angry and resentful towards their partners don’t know how to express their feelings. They begin to bottle their true feelings until one day, they explode. During the process of repressing your feelings, you are also creating distance between you and your partner. This distance could manifest itself in the form of low-to-no attraction towards your partner.
Ask yourself if you have been angry or resentful towards your partner because of something that happened in the past and if you were able to express those feelings completely. If your feelings have not been addressed, chances are that the resentment rather than a loss of attraction is the real issue. Try expressing yourself to your partner and hopefully if your partner is willing to create space for your feelings, you might experience the return of your attraction.
3. Are you attracted to other people?
At times, people struggling with a sexual dysfunction such as low sexual desire caused by physical or psychological factors feel very little to no sexual desire. In some cases, the lack of desire is global- the individual doesn’t have sexual fantasies or dreams and has no desire to engage in sex with their partner or anyone else.
On the other hand, the lack of desire could be situational- sexual fantasies and dreams are present and there is a desire to have sex but just not with their partner. If you find that you are not attracted to anyone including your partner and are also experiencing an overall decline in sexual interest, maybe a sexual dysfunction or issue is the culprit. It could be related to stress, depression, anxiety, the arrival of a newborn baby, or partner-related factors.
However, if you find yourself attracted to other people but not to your partner, it is usually a sign of deeper, more critical issues in the relationship.
4. Can we repair this?
As with any relational issue, it takes two to tango. Acknowledge the fact that you and your partner have done your part in creating this dynamic that is no longer working. Ask yourself if there is something that you and your partner can do to repair what is broken and jumpstart the physical attraction.
Remember, just because you are not feeling attracted to your partner, it does not mean that the attraction cannot be revived by resolving the underlying issues. However, in some cases, the loss of attraction is truly beyond repair and usually results from partners growing too far apart or because of deep-rooted foundational damage in the relationship.
In either case, getting the help of a sex therapist or couples counselor can be incredibly helpful in navigating where you would want to go with this.