When You Lose Attraction To Your Partner
Is it normal to not feel attracted to your partner?
Desire for a partner does not typically come naturally in long-term relationships. That does not mean to say it doesn’t come or can’t come back - but it does require a bit more effort than it did in the beginning.
Just think back to the early stages of your relationship… For many people, it’s a period of time when they couldn’t keep their hands off their partner. Maybe you spent hours kissing and making out and staying up until the early hours just chatting…
This is because much of our desire and attraction is linked to novelty and newness. So, a few years down the line when we’re so comfortable with our partner - things can get a bit stale (regardless of who they are!).
Part of that is also, especially for women, because their desire style transitions from being spontaneous, onto being ‘responsive’.
This means - they need a little sexual stimulation in order to kickstart their arousal. Oftentimes, this can be confused with a lack of desire or a low sex drive, but in reality, it’s just a natural process and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong in your relationship.
On top of that, you’ve got your everyday stressors and life commitments to be thinking about, unlike when you were young when your relationship could be the only thing on your mind.
So, yes, it is very normal to lose some attraction to your partner. The important thing is to not catastrophize when this happens. Many couples have to deal with this issue, and the best thing you can do is hold one another with compassion.
That said, it’s worth reflecting on whether your lack of attraction is because of a loss of heart - and not a loss of desire. The two are different, and they will require a different form of attention. A loss of sexual desire is generally something with many potential solutions (see here), but a loss of heart might require some external help.
What do you do if you don’t find your partner attractive?
It can be pretty daunting when we feel we aren’t attracted to our partner anymore. In relationships, it’s almost expected that you should be consistently head over heels for one another... But in reality, this isn’t really the case! It’s just that no-one is talking about it...
Firstly - all relationships go through ups and downs. This can be caused by life changes like a new job, maybe a newborn child or even just having more hectic busy lifestyles. Sometimes, our loss of attraction is simply a loss of desire - and our desire is very reliant on us having a stress free, happy and healthy lifestyle. So, if this resonates with you, maybe check in with yourself, and see what areas of your life you could pay some more attention to.
Also, if you’re wondering why you’ve lost interest in your partner, it might be simply because you're not engaging sexually with one another. If you haven't been spending much time in the erotic - make it your priority. Many people find scheduling in time for sex easier if you both have busy schedules.
On that note, if you have kids - stop calling each other 'Mommy' and 'Daddy' - this can zap that erotic desire you once had! Your partner is your lover...and using this language can sometimes make us forget that...
As we mentioned, desire naturally transitions from spontaneous to responsive desire in long term relationships, so be conscious of this. By making the active effort to add in more touch and affection, you may find it relights the spark and attraction between you.
Also - make the effort to see your partner doing something they’re best at. Maybe giving a presentation or doing a team sport. Watching your partner through the eyes of a stranger will remind you that you don’t know quite as much about your partner as you thought. And novelty and newness are two of the great drivers of desire and attraction.
Finally, if you feel your lack of attraction runs deeper, it’s always best to visit a couple's therapist. They’ll guide you in having an open and honest discussion with your partner. This will be really important for preventing any bigger issues bubbling under the surface that can lead to bigger problems.