If you ever find yourself asking the question, "Am I in love?" then you aren't, but it doesn't mean the love is gone. It means you have grown and changed and realize that what you thought was love wasn't. When you are in love you know -- you don't wonder, question or ask the opinions of your friends. These are ways to justify or to try and find reasons to prove you are still in love. Love is an enduring experience surviving ups and downs, things shattering to pieces and crushing pressures when something has to give. Love unites and negativity divides. If the love cannot build and endure, it will become negative and that's when we contemplate taking a trip to splitsville.
Here are five tell-tale signs you may be headed toward a split:
1. Familiarity: When we are in a long-term commitment, we can actually stop "seeing" the person we love for who they are, all they do for us and in the ways we saw them when we were first together. They become a regular habit who is now annoying, rather than enticing. Our partners become boring, which breeds contempt within us because there is no seduction anymore. This sense of familiarity can cause us to be one foot in and one foot out of our relationship. To avoid splitsville, you have to put both feet back in where laziness once was and commit to working on the relationship. But you cannot be a one-man band. Your partner must have the same goals, aspirations and motivations.
2. Lack of conversation: Conversations intimately connect people. If we lose this piece of our relationship, then there is no common ground for us to meet and find each other. Conversations are what make us smart, interesting and sexy to one another. When we start telling outside sources all we used to tell our partner, this is a clue the love is dying. If you reach for your partner to share your thoughts and feelings and there is no interest, to save your relationship you will need seek help to get these parts of the relationship in sync again or consider if its time to call it quits.
3. Obligation sex: Once sex becomes a task, the love and lust in the relationship quickly go downhill. Men connect emotionally through sex and women connect emotionally through attention outside of the bedroom. It's a catch 22. For a man to be attentive outside of the bedroom requires he have a sexual relationship with his partner and for a woman to want to have a sexual relationship with her man she needs attention outside of the bedroom. If no balance is found, sex becomes an uneventful, passionless task. To stay in love, both partners will need to make the sex an eventful place to want to be. Without sex you are roommates -- perhaps a roommate you love but one whom you are not in love with.
4. You'd rather be with friends: When friend time provides us more love and connection than time with our partner, we are starting down that slippery slope of getting the majority of our needs met outside of our relationship. When all we talk about with our friends is the negative aspects of our relationship, it is a sure sign we have fallen out of or are no longer in love with our partner. When you see this pattern happening, try communicating with your partner about it and gauge their interest in fixing it, otherwise you could be headed toward a split.
5. Time apart: When we would prefer a hot bath and a good book to time with our partner, we must evaluate if this relationship can fill us or if it has run its course. Alone time is necessary and wonderful, but when it is used as avoidance or distraction then maybe the love we thought we had isn't there.
The love is gone when we no longer see any good in our partner or we no longer see them as a positive contributor to our lives in a meaningful way. We may need to consider reevaluating our relationship when we feel uninspired or bored, when we feel negative energy in the presence or our partner, when the idea of intimacy with them revolts us and when being alone is a more attractive option for your happiness.
"Sherapy" Advice: If you can still see the good, work it out and nurture it. If not, maybe the love is gone and it's time to move on.
Dr. Sherrie is a veteran psychologist and a nationally recognized expert helping people to empower themselves and live productive lives. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person.