The top 5 reasons why we lose our attraction for our partners

December 08,2020

Be honest – have you lost your attraction to your partner?

At the beginning of a relationship, attraction seems so easy. Everything about your partner seems new, exciting, and sexy. You find yourself endlessly fascinated by the mole on their cheek, or how adorable they are when they sing in the shower. 

But then the years, or even decades, go by.

All of a sudden, you notice that that little mole has a gross hair growing out of the middle of it. Or that they sing not just in the shower, but EVERYWHERE, and that they’re actually not particularly great at holding a tune. 

It can be sad – and scary – to notice that you’re just not as attracted to your partner anymore. 

A few weeks back, I polled our Instagram followers to ask them if they had ever experienced loss of attraction in their relationship. 

The responses I got back blew me away. I received SO MANY DMs with long stories and detailed explanations of losing attraction.

I started sharing the responses, and getting even more responses in return. So many people told me that hearing that there were other people out there who had experienced this made them feel so much less alone, and so much less judgmental of themselves for it! 

The response was so overwhelming that we scrapped our original plans for December, and decided to focus on this topic. 

We’re going to talk about why you lose your attraction to your partner and what to do to get it back. 

Because it is possible to get it back!

Today I’m going to kick things off by talking about why we lose our attraction.

First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that part of what happens is chemical. 

When you’re first attracted to your partner, the neurotransmitters in your brain go wild. The serotonin levels in your brain are similar to someone who has obsessive-compulsive disorder, and to being high on cocaine. It’s that intense!

But this stage can only last for so long. Anywhere from 1-3 years max. 

At that point, we shift into creating deeper attachment to our partner. The serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine get replaced with oxytocin and vasopressin, which are designed to help us relax and bond. We become more focused on forging a strong, secure, lasting foundation. 

Brain chemistry isn’t the entire picture, but it’s useful to know that your brain is physically incapable of maintaining that same level of lust and attraction long-term! 

And then, of course, there are all of the complicated dynamics that can pop up when two complicated human beings create one relationship. 

When I put up the Instagram poll, people shared a lot of perfectly understandable reasons for losing their attraction, like a partner checking out emotionally, not doing their fair share, or being under a lot of stress. 

I was surprised to see that most people judged themselves for losing attraction in these scenarios, even though it made perfect sense to me that they would!

So I think it’s really important for you to validate your unique reasons for losing attraction to your partner. Because they probably make sense!

Next, let’s talk about the patterns I saw. Here are the most common reasons people gave for losing attraction to their partner:

Here are the 5 most common reasons people gave for losing attraction, along with some of their stories, in their own words:

1.Your partner has lost their motivation.

“My husband has lost motivation or drive to commit to a task and follow through on it. I just hate that he doesn’t keep his word.”

2. Your partner isn’t working on improving themselves. 

“I feel like he’s at a stand still and I want to keep finding ways to better myself or to learn something new.”

3. Your partner has gained weight. 

To be perfectly honest, I hesitated to share this one because I realize weight is SUCH a sensitive subject. I want to be super clear that we are body positive over here. We don’t think that thinness equates health or that the only desirable bodies are thin ones. 

Instead, I think this one is more about your partner’s relationship with self care than their specific weight. 

For example, I received this comment:

4. Your partner’s behaviors.

5. You’ve gotten too comfortable with each other. 

What do you think of these lists? Which of these reasons do you relate to the most?

Finally, I want to share that it’s OK to want to be attracted to your partner.

So many people judge themselves for being “superficial” or “shallow” for wanting to feel physical attraction.

If physical attraction is the only thing you’re looking for in a relationship, then sure, maybe that’s shallow. 

But if you want to be physically attracted to your partner on top of appreciating their kindness, their sense of humor, their grace under fire, or their intelligence, that’s not superficial at all! 

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HI THERE!

I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!