Signs of Relationship Burnout

Jan 23, 2023

Therapist doing online therapy Telehealth

When two people have a strong bond, they both feel happy, connected, and safe in their relationship. But when your relationship no longer feels like a source of happiness and support, this might signify relationship burnout.

Learning more about this condition can help you overcome it and restore connection and intimacy in your relationship.

What Exactly is Relationship Burnout?

Relationship burnout involves feelings of disconnection and a lack of emotional investment in your partner. It is about feeling generally pessimistic and cynic about your relationship. You may find that you no longer enjoy your partner’s company and dread spending time with them while also experiencing guilt for feeling this way.

Burnout occurs when the stress in a relationship becomes chronic and wears you out emotionally, mentally, and physically. In many cases, it is accompanied by signs of anxiety and depression.

What Causes Relationship Burnout?

The partners may experience burnout in a relationship for several reasons, such as:

  • Different needs and expectations from a relationship
  • Different sexual needs
  • A feeling that you have grown apart from your partner
  • Feeling unvalued
  • Lack of support
  • Stress caused by external factors
  • Lack of understanding

Also, some couples may have felt emotionally, mentally, and physically depleted from spending too much time together in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Couples Therapy and other resources can assist you in identifying signs of burnout in your relationship and developing strategies to overcome disconnection.

What are the Signs of Relationship Burnout

A lack of understanding and detached communication between the partners are among the first signs of relationship burnout. You may be experiencing emotional burnout in your relationship if you find yourself emotionally detached from your spouse’s feelings, unmotivated to repair after a fight, or having difficulty listening to what they have to say.

Below are some common signs of relationship burnout that can help you figure out what’s wrong and get back to feeling stable and happy.

1.    You Feel Emotionally Distant

You no longer feel affectionate toward your lover. You seldom display loving behaviors such as holding hands, hugging, or kissing your lover. You may often be cynical about your partner or your relationship.

Also, you don’t feel at ease being alone with your spouse, so you retreat and spend time alone, seldom attempting to connect with them.

2.    You Don’t Feel Like You’re Being Heard

Relationship burnout may occur when you feel frustrated, judgmental, and resentful most of the time. You may also need help with ongoing communication challenges such as poor listening, failure to understand each other’s points of view, unrealistic expectations, etc.

Lack of communication and understanding may generate tension, unhappiness, and separation in your relationship, whether it is due to a lack of communication, double messages, blaming, or poor listening skills.

3.    You Have a Lot of Disagreements

Many couples become trapped in negative cycles in which they frequently fight and act in harmful ways that strain their relationship, unable to handle arguments with confidence, empathy, and honesty.

Although conflicts give people a chance to improve and learn how to communicate better, when you don’t know how or don’t want to come together and mend after a fight, this can be a sign of relationship burnout.

4.    You Lack Intimacy

Many couples find sex to be a significant component of their relationship. So, a lack of intimacy is one of the potential relationship burnout signs.

You may lack passion and enthusiasm for sex with your spouse, or you may just no longer feel sexual attraction to them. Your libido may have dropped, resulting in a decrease in sexual frequency.

Different sexual needs and desires, as well as a lack of sexual interest in one partner, might potentially result in resentment, dissatisfaction, and an unwillingness to make things better in your relationship.

5.    You Fantasize about Escaping/Having Other Partners

You may fantasize about a coworker, a friend, or a complete stranger, or daydream about being single again. Because such ideas relieve ongoing relationship tension, you may indulge in them too frequently, putting off your work or everyday chores.

You might also have an emotional affair or look for sexual partners outside of your marriage.

6.    There Is no Humor in Your Relationship

A strong, healthy sense of humor between two people indicates a meaningful, healthy relationship. Laughing together helps you connect deeper and form a genuine link with your partner. On the other hand, if your spouse doesn’t make you laugh anymore, this might be a sign of relationship burnout.

How to Overcome Relationship Burnout

Making specific changes in your relationship patterns can help alleviate stress and reduce the symptoms of relationship fatigue.

Here are some tips to help you overcome burnout in your relationship.

Set Boundaries

Relationships need boundaries. Setting boundaries in a relationship is not a sign of selfishness but an essential aspect of self-care and relationship health. So, respect each other’s time alone and have separate hobbies and friends.

Be open about your wants, likes, and dislikes, letting each other know what you are uncomfortable with (in terms of sex, communication, and shared life in general).

Also, schedule quality time together. This will help you start having fun with your partner again and strengthen your bond.

Discuss Your Sexual Life Openly

To reestablish intimacy in your relationship, you must be willing to engage in open and honest discussions about sexual issues.

The partner with stronger sexual desire typically feels rejected and ashamed. This lowers self-esteem. At the same time, the spouse with a low libido may also feel guilty for not meeting their partner’s expectations.

The goal is to discuss your sexual needs and feelings without blaming, shaming, or being defensive.

Seek Out Couples and Sex Therapy

During couples counseling, your therapist can help explore the causes of relationship burnout, open up about your needs and concerns, and find common ground to meet each other’s needs. Additionally, couples therapy can help you get comfortable talking about intimacy and sex. It might assist you in focusing on connection in ways that strengthen your relationship.

As a marriage and family therapist, I specialize in Couples Therapy and the unique difficulties that someone is facing in their life as a result of lack of emotional and physical intimacy. Let’s connect soon so we can set up a consultation.

Filippo M. Forni, LMFT is a sex and couples therapist in Los Angeles, CA. His goal is to provide high-quality and effective goal-oriented sex and couples psychotherapy to the Los Angeles and Century City community. He has extensive training in sexuality and multiculturalism and serves as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology.