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What To Do When You’re No Longer Attracted To Your Partner

Written by on December 9, 2021

You’re reading Love Stuck, where trained therapists answer your dating, sex and relationship dilemmas. You can submit a question here.

Let’s set the scene. You’ve been in a relationship for a while now – months, or even years – and everything is going well. But one day you realise you aren’t attracted to your partner.

Maybe you’ve got too comfortable in the relationship? Or perhaps there’s some built up resentment? When something like this happens, it can leave you feeling confused, especially if this feeling has come out of the blue.

If this is something you’re experiencing, you’re not alone. 

Jo Coker, who is an psychosexual therapist registered with the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists, says there are many reasons why a couple who are madly in love can find themselves no longer attracted to one other.

The good news is, it is possible to get that fire back. Coker explains some of the reasons why you could be feeling the “ick” for your partner – and how to tackle the problem. We also discuss when it might be time to move on. 

Communication breakdown

“Communication is the corner stone of a good relationship and when this goes then the relationship can feel disconnected and hollow, leaving each partner feeling uncared for and unimportant to the other,  this diminishes the attraction. We all lead busy lives and we can take our partner for granted and not realise that we still must make time and space to talk. So put the phones and computers away and make time each day to share your day with each other, and really listen!

“Many couples forget to share their goals and then wonder why their partner is not onboard with them. So communicate hopes, wishes and dreams. Share how you see your life together, this is part of valuing your partner and making them feel part of your life.”

Resentment build up

“Resentment is common in relationships but when it isn’t addressed, resentment can leave us feeling irritated at our partners. It may be something as simple as not helping with chores or a more major event such as infidelity, but nothing kills a relationship and attraction like a grudge.

“Meaningful communication is key, if you want something to change then ask, don’t expect you partner to guess, air the grievance and try and generate a solution. Also, be prepared to compromise, this is not about winning or losing but workable solutions.”

Making an effort

“Obviously if you don’t communicate and hold grudges your partner becomes less attractive and you withdraw. Also, when couples are in a longer term relationship they can stop making an effort and so not pay attention to themselves and the other.

“So don’t forget to dress up, have date nights, surprise your partner. If you live together try arriving at a date night separately, it adds frisson!”

Compatibility

“In the initial flurry of love we can overlook compatibility issues and then notice them more as the relationship develops, or we may think we can change the other person. Sometime the incompatibility may be too much, but talk and see how and if you can compromise and make changes.

“Also, as relationship progresses life can deal you new cards such as illness or job loss which can change a person. Sometimes these life events and the changes can mean the drift apart is too much to sustain the relationship as you have become too incompatible. Before deciding, professional help may help you see the situation more clearly.”

Boredom

“Often after the initial flurry a relationship settles into a pattern but that should not mean you live a boring life. Go on trips, plan things to do or they will not happen. This does not have to be expensive, a winter walk and winter picnic can be wonderful and will bring you closer by shared experience.”

Knowing love from brief lust

“Sometimes it was just meant to be a short relationship, perhaps it was formed on lust not love, or very one sided. You may have thought you loved someone who really did not deserve your love. Maybe you were in love with being in love more than in love with the person. Though painful, this is not the end of the world and moving on may be the right course of action.”

Love Stuck is for those who’ve hit a romantic wall, whether you’re single or have been coupled up for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Submit a question here. 


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