We all have doubts from time to time. If you’re like many who contact me, you will have questioned your partners true feelings for you on more than one occasion (“hey Michael, did my boyfriend love me?” — so common, guys asking about girlfriends? Less so. But still happens.)
It really isn’t so strange to wonder if someone loves you, or to wonder if they loved you as much as you loved them.
The problem with this uncertainty is that it can put an unnecessary level of strain on the relationship. As such, it is vitally important to tackle your doubts as soon as possible. Confirm or squash them, and act accordingly. Otherwise you only prolong the pain, and in turn, further increase the possibility of a breakup occurring.
If the breakup has already happened, you should consider if your doubts about your partner contributed to the separation. If so, this gives you an idea of what you need to address if you are to get a second chance.
Below I have identified 3 areas of a relationship you can use to help determine if his or hers feelings for you have changed.
3 Ways to Tell if They Loved you
There could be many reasons why you have been questioning your partners true feelings for you. Each being a potential clue. But rather than list every possible one, I found it easier to break down a relationship to the following 3 zones, which can then be examined to establish if love has gone cold.
- Presence / Attitude
It is my hope that you can use these to help gauge your partners affections for you.
Let’s break them down and see how they play out …
As the saying goes, it’s not what they say that counts, it’s what they do. And while I wouldn’t suggest you take that literally (what people say matters, too) this is a great place to begin our investigation.
Look back at your ex’s regular pattern of actions in the relationship. What do you notice? Here are a few examples of actions that someone may perform regularly in a relationship:
- The giving of gifts, like flowers and chocolates;
- Holding your hand;
- Willing to drop something they had planned to do … for you;
- Taking you out to eat;
- Cooking for you;
- Taking the time to kiss you, even when in a rush;
- Opening doors (especially guys);
- Taking the time check in and see you’re OK;
- Will hug you without being asked to;
- Giving massages;
- Running you a nice bath;
- Taking care of chores on your behalf;
- And so on …
I’m sure I’ve missed some obvious examples. But, can you identify any actions that your partner had either stopped doing, or did less of? If so, that could reveal a loss of feeling for you. And the time it happened? That would be a potential turning point to investigate further.
You should also include any efforts they made in their overall appearance, and frequency of taking showers etc. These are all clues.
However, something to keep in mind:
The longer you’ve been dating, the more likely some actions will occur less and less, as a matter of course. Quite normal. And not necessarily because we fall out of love. Rather, it is because we become more comfortable and familiar with our partner. And so we tend to do less of certain actions.
You have to judge for yourself whether any reduction or change of actions you noticed are due to increases in comfort in the relationship, or due to a genuine loss of love and affection.
However, if you noticed your partner was doing less of something rather suddenly, it would not be unreasonable to wonder why. Because normally actions change gradually. A reduction of doing something deemed “nice” normally doesn’t stop overnight. We are creatures of habit after all.
Something to keep in mind.
And what if they’re doing MORE of a given action? Well, that could point to guilt. But be careful with that. It might not be guilt. You have to tread very carefully here.
The point here is that there will always be a reason for noticeable changes in your partners actions.
Your job it figure out what that might be.
Using the same principle, we can now look at the other 2 areas for your consideration.
2. Language or Communication
Men certainly differ to women on the communication front. But that is for another article. Instead, we are merely interested in seeing if the pattern of language between you both had changed and when?
Typically you will notice this most in face-to-face exchanges. Especially when you combine it with the 3rd factor, which we’ll touch upon in just a moment.
With communication, you may — for example — note subtle changes in telephone calls. Not just in frequency (which is more of an action example,) but in the choice of words and general openness to communicate with you.
It would be silly of me to also not mention the tone and sincerity in their voice as yet another factor to watch, though this will be explained below.
We don’t just talk on the phone or face-to-face. You might also note differences in their text messages to you, and in the emails.
Did the wording (and therefore meaning) change?
Questions you might ask yourself are:
- Did he ask — and did he genuinely care — how I felt?
- How often did she tell me just what I meant to her?
- Was he as open with me as he was at the start?
- Were her text messages shorter than they used to be?
- Did he tell me “I love you” without being prompted?
Observe how the communication and language between you both evolved (or devolved) over the course of your relationship, especially of late.
Openness, the willingness to share, and that level of intimacy is a sign that someone trusts you and points to a connection. If you noticed a reduction of this, you might have a clue that love was going cold.
The last clue entwines with the above 2 rather nicely …
3. Presence or Attitude
Have you ever felt as though there was a disconnection between you and your partner? Ever been in a situation where everything appeared to be in order, but something was clearly “off” or wrong?
This is what I mean by presence.
This clearly overlaps with both “action” and “language,” as it is at the very core of your boyfriend or girlfriends behaviour towards you, and in everything they do. This is something which can not be faked easily, at least not for long periods of time. Some argue that it can’t be faked at all, period.
An example of this is when your partner is a little distant with you, as though their mind is elsewhere. This is an invisible factor, but one clearly felt.
Did they sound genuinely pleased to hear from you when you called, or when they saw you? You can often tell.
This, out of the 3, is the aspect that is perhaps the most telling. One way to measure it is to monitor your feelings in response to whatever it is your partner is doing at that time. How did you feel when you were with them? Did you feel something was missing, or lacking? You can sometimes use your feelings as a gauge for what is going on.
Caveat: annoyingly, while feelings can be useful, they can also mislead. If you’re upset, if something has happened to cause you emotional angst then their usefulness as a tool to guide diminishes.
Be Careful How You Proceed
I have purposely avoided giving you a “if this do that” instruction on this page.
You have to be careful how you proceed based on what you discover. It is quite easy to interpret almost any action, language or presence factor wrongly.
Start by looking at your partners actions, language and presence in recent times, compared to when you felt the relationship was surer or more fulfilling.
Then consider whether any of those changes might be due to factors that occur through the natural ageing process of a relationship.
Allow for natural dips or off-days.
Any number of noticeable changes in your partners actions, language or presence could hint at a problem in your relationship. But? It is also perfectly possible that these changes are caused by something completely unrelated to you, and how he or she feels about you.
This is a point worth remembering. I wouldn’t want you jumping to the wrong conclusion.
For example, they may have had family problems, stress at work, or a health condition. A different plan would be needed if this was the case. In this instance, the real issue might be why they felt they couldn’t confide in you (assuming you didn’t know of course.)
However, if you are sure it is about you and the relationship, here are some common causes of a general drop in interest:
- They may be irritated by something you do (you may not even be aware of it);
- They might feel you are not trusting them fully (perhaps they give you reason not to);
- Perhaps they have misunderstood your good intentions (are you trying too hard to be helpful?);
- It could just be boredom!
Those are the more general causes that you might start with. While the specifics will be unique to each couple, you can generally round them up into issues of trust, freedom, and importance. In other words, we all want to be trusted. And we also want to trust. Secondly, we all want freedom, rather than feel trapped. And lastly we want to feel important as well. I am sure you can think of some others along the same line.
Wrapping This All Up
It won’t surprise you to know that relationships have been known to end abruptly, not last forever, or simply sizzle out. Talk about an understatement! But that is just how it goes.
If your partner was beginning to run a little cold in the relationship, it is quite possible that their love for you was diminishing. And unless you figure out why and act accordingly in your future interactions with them, you may not get a second chance (or one that lasts.)
It is worth taking the time to understand what went wrong, and why as it will help you get back together down the road.
Before we end, I have one final question for you: how had your actions, language, and presence change, in the course of the relationship?