9 Subtle Signs Your Husband Isn't In Love With You Anymore

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husband and wife standing together

"I will always love you. But I’m not in love with you anymore," my now ex-husband said matter-of-factly over breakfast.

I was beyond shocked. He had just returned from a month-long business trip. I knew that he had been acting distant and withdrawn while he was away, but I didn't know my husband had fallen out of love with me. To say I felt like I had been punched in the gut would be a massive understatement.

Falling out of love is one of those awful parts of life that we don’t want to think about until we sense that it’s happening to us. At first, you might think you’re imagining things. But pretty soon it becomes clear that something is really, really wrong.

"Does my husband still love me?" you ask yourself.

Many of us view this whole "falling out of love" thing as something people have no control over, even when it happens to us or to someone who loves us.

When a relationship that was once hot slowly transforms to not, we are usually thrown into crisis mode, especially if we still love the other person. Then, without serious understand of how to fix a relationship, we either frantically try to make the other person fall back in love, or we completely stick our head in the sand.

RELATED: 10 Uncomfortable Signs You've Fallen Out Of Love With Your Forever Person

We might even start idly Googling things like "why men lose interest" or "signs your husband doesn't love you" while fantasizing about the hot affair we could have with someone else. Or we might call our friends to endlessly analyze what we think he might be doing and obsess over what we should or shouldn't do about it.

Since, stereotypically, women are usually the ones who monitor, protect, and nurture relationships — I’m writing this to women, even though these signs someone is falling out of love with you really apply to anyone, regardless of gender.

From awful, painful personal experience and extensive research, here are 9 signs your husband isn’t in with love you anymore:

1. He needs a lot of space.

Remember that feeling of not being able to get enough of each other? That bliss has been slowly replaced with the sense that your loved one is avoiding you or suddenly needs to "find himself."

He might go missing for hours or days at a time. You might still spend time together, but now he doesn't stay in touch like he used to. If you live together, he might avoid coming home after work. If you used to reliably spend your weekends together, he starts making other plans.

At first, he might have a reasonable excuse like "I have to work late" or "I’m really exhausted from my week" or "I have plans to do X, Y, or Z."

Eventually, his excuses for seeing you less seem more and more flimsy. But no matter what excuses he uses, it becomes harder and harder to connect with him.

When he does spend time with you, he acts like he’s doing you a big favor — which only draws attention to the fact that something is wrong between you.

2. He stopped doing things for you or passive-aggressively commits but doesn't follow through.

In the beginning, he would run through fiery hoops to make you smile. But, when a man loses interest in you, he becomes more and more selfish.

He might have stopped bringing you little gifts or showing that he cares. If he’s falling out of love with you, at the very least, he’ll withdraw from you emotionally.

3. He discusses your relationship in a hopeless, negative light.

Men tend to be problem solvers. If they see a problem, they launch themselves into solving it. This naturally extends to relationships with the women they love. A committed man will want to fix conflict and smooth things out with the woman in his life. Barring major extenuating circumstances, if he loves you, he will want to make things better between the two of you.

Sometimes that process includes letting off steam and getting relationship advice from his friends. This is pretty normal.

When he falls out of love, his tone will turn from one of genuine curiosity, love, and respect toward one of resigned, hopeless complaint. He will often start wondering out loud, "Is this all worth it?" and saying things like, "I’m just not happy anymore."

These are red flags that he doesn't love you anymore and he’s trying to figure out how to either fix your relationship or undo the life you shared together.

4. He has lost interest in staying in touch.

Communication between you is strained, irregular and tense. It feels like there is an elephant in the room that neither of you has any control over. He used to be flirty, chatty, and conversational, now he’s withdrawn and short.

It’s natural for someone to contact you with less frequency as your relationship goes on. And, if you live together — the early days of constant texts, calls, and contact naturally level off. But, when someone is falling out of love with you, they tend to dodge frequent contact with you.

5. The way you process conflict has changed.

When people fall out of love with each other, they handle disagreements differently than they used to.

All couples disagree and everyone has their individual conflict style. Some people fight like cats and dogs but making up is so passionate that the energy of reconnection sucks all the oxygen out of the room. Others rarely disagree but still make the effort to work together to resolve problems.

When a relationship between two people is working, they’re using some relatively consistent method to handle life’s arguments. When the love starts to go, so does any attention to managing conflict.

Often, people will completely give up on arguing or they will pick confusing and abrupt fights and use them as an excuse to leave the scene — thereby, gaining more precious alone time.

A partner who is falling out of love will often simply give up on disagreeing with you in any way — settling, instead, for placating you (then doing whatever they want anyway) or completely avoiding conflict altogether. Instead of caring about fixing the relationship, they care about minimizing the simple inconvenience of disagreeing.

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6. He stops responding to your bids for connection.

You know those ways you connect with your partner throughout the day like flirting, texting about the weather, sharing little stories, or a certain a look, a little touch? Renowned relationship researcher and marriage counselor Dr. John Gottman calls these attempts to connect, "bids."

In Gottman’s research, he found that people who stayed together responded positively to each other’s bids for connection 86% of the time. Couples who got divorced responded positively to each other only 33% of the time.

I don’t recommend that you start tallying up the times that your partner ignores you. But if you’re dealing with someone who is regularly turning away from your attempts to connect with him, most likely, it’s a sign that they are falling out of love with you.

RELATED: 3 Ways To Respond To Your Spouse's 'Bids' For Attention

7. You've started walking on eggshells around him.

Your once-loving partner has started treating you rudely. He makes disrespectful or negative comments that might seem little or minor on the surface but really aren’t.

He might compare your relationship to another couple’s in a negative light. He might compare you unfavorably to other women or his exes. He might say mean things under his breath when you’re talking, then refuse to acknowledge it when you call him out on it.

Suddenly, your little quirks that he used to think were cute and part of what made you unique irritate the heck out of him. It seems like everything you do suddenly happen to annoy him.

Whatever he says, the loving voice of approval has been replaced by the disapproving voice of discontent. It starts to feel like you’re walking on eggshells — waiting for the next insult or nit-picky criticism.

8. Your physical connection is in the toilet.

There many normal reasons why your sex life may go through a slump. However, if it feels as though the passion has completely died and your partner isn’t interested in reviving it — either he’s falling out of love with you, your relationship has crept into platonic "roommate" territory, or a mixture of both.

In a healthy relationship, it doesn't matter how often a couple is intimate as long as they agree upon what's optimum for them. Usually, when a relationship gets rocky, one person has lost interest in sex and the other completely gives up on trying to initiate, has started acting out, cheating or suffers angrily in silence from the lack of intimacy.

Couples who turn away from each other in the bedroom cultivate an environment of hurt, mistrust, and lack of desirability. When someone is falling out of love with you, not only does this make you feel terrible, but your pleas to connect are likely to only fall on deaf ears.

9. He’s gotten weird and protective with his phone.

While he might not see communicating with you as a priority when you’re apart, he may stay glued to his phone when you’re together as a way to distract himself from spending real time with you.

If he’s flirting with other women, he might never, ever leave his phone out for fear that you will find out he’s been at least emotionally unfaithful (if not worse). At any rate, he distrustfully guards his phone like a dragon protects its gold.

If you’re seeing these signs he doesn't love you anymore, what do you do?

We’ve been taught that when someone falls out of love, that’s it — game over. Sadly, this is not true.

Ask any happily married old couple how they stayed together all that time and if they’re honest, they’ll admit that their love story wasn’t 24/7 perfection. People fall in and out of love with each other all the time.

However, there are a few things that will drive him away forever.

Be sure not to panic and frantically start trying to do all kinds of loving things to force him to reconnect with you.

This never works to make a man fall back in love with you. Not only have I tried it and failed myself, but my successful clients report that when they do a bunch of stuff to make someone fall in love with them again, it always fails.

You can’t make someone love you by forcing them to pay attention to you. Love is like a see-saw. When one person does more, the other person automatically does less. That’s why doing a bunch of loving actions in your partner’s direction will only lose his respect and inspire him to move toward you even less.

If you feel an overwhelming urge to do something right now to prevent him from leaving, I don’t blame you. I know exactly what that feels like. But you must keep your wits about you.

People fall back in love with each other all the time, but you can’t force anyone to see your value. You must back off.

You might be thinking, "Back off?? that’s the last thing I need to do. I need to fix this!"

Often, backing way off and working on yourself is exactly the powerful kind of magic you need to get things back on track.

RELATED: 3 Fail-Proof Ways To Make Him Fall In Love With You — All Over Again

Elizabeth Stone is a Dating and Personal Development Coach. Find out more by getting yourself a free copy of her book, Why Men Lose Interest and her daily (almost) email series now.