What It Really Means If You're Not Attracted To Your Partner Anymore

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woman looking at her partner wondering why she's not attracted to him anymore

I wanted to share my experience working with a woman I'll call Maria recently (not her real name) and the problem she came to me for.

Maria had been married to Darren for eight years, together for 16. He is the only person she has ever had a serious relationship with.

She loved him deeply, but what kept her up at night was the fact that she no longer found him attractive anymore. She wondered what it would be like to be with someone else. She couldn't help but reflect on the past and what had happened to them and their relationship since they first met.

It broke her heart just thinking about how hurt he would be if he found out she was bored with his company and his talk of work and that she no longer wanted to kiss or be held by him. She wondered if this issue was a sign that their marriage was over.

They had a beautiful boy and girl, which kept life busy, but the relationship had zero excitement. She was sick and tired of the same routine and how they were relating daily.

The problem was she did nothing about it. She was too scared to bring it up because she didn't know how to say it without making things worse.

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Darren was always tired, and so was she, and it wasn't easy for her to share information. So Maria stayed silent. Suffering from her own circling doubts, she soon became depressed.

Maria felt stuck. Sometimes she thought it best to leave and questioned why she was staying in a marriage where the love and passion were dead. Other times, she would tell herself she should be grateful for what he has. He hadn't done anything wrong, after all. Plus, she couldn't imagine what would happen to the children if they split.

She didn't know how to address this problem, so she did the worse thing possible: she started believing that married life was like this and that she needed to accept being miserable and bored and wait it out until something changed, the children grew up, or forever.

She had already lived in this turmoil for a few years. More recently, though, the constant flip-flopping back and forth was draining her and starting to affect how she reacted toward the children.

She would tell herself, "Life is too short. You only live once." Yet, that just confused her even more and made her feel depressed. She asked, "Does this mean I need to stay or go?" To which I replied, "It does not mean either. It means you must focus on creating greater happiness in your life and your relationship and then see."

It's difficult to decide on anything when we are deeply unhappy or caught up in a negative spiral of thoughts.

Two miserable people will create more misery. If one or both are happy, the chances of knowing what to do and getting the clarity you seek are much stronger.

The core of change must start with our health and happiness. Worrying or feeling low and not taking action will not improve over time.

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Why do people stop being attracted to their partners?

The truth is that people lose their attraction to their spouse or long-term partner because they grow bored and start taking their partner and their relationship for granted and stop trying to find things to be excited about.

You don't get excitement, passion, desire, and interest by waiting for them to appear. These are things you must work to create.

Maria realized that to be more attracted to her husband; he would need to smell better, shower more, always keep his breath fresh, and appreciate her efforts more. Together, they would need to talk about more interesting things than work and make more time for each other without being on their phones all night.

When she shared this with him, she found that he wanted more appreciation for how hard he worked and how tired it left him, to do more fun and exciting things together, and to be more physically intimate. They started focusing on each other's needs and listened. Once they did, things changed for them quickly.

You excel when you make an effort in any area of your life. Think about your fitness, health, work, or other achievements you are proud of. You put in the effort, gave it your focus, and set a steps plan.

So why don't we always put in the effort required for our relationships? Often, our thoughts get in our way. Thoughts like: Why am I in this relationship? What am I doing here? Is this right for me? Shall I stay or go? Why is it always me? Why am I giving and getting nothing back?

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It is natural and normal to question a relationship — we all do it. However, if the same thoughts keep resurfacing and affecting your relationship, health, work, and children, start moving towards steps that create more happiness.

If you want to be happy in your marriage, act! Either alone or with your spouse. You don't have to wait for them. A lack of attraction is often linked to relationship boredom.

There are many ways to create more spice in your life and marriage. So many wonderful things you can do to ensure that happiness and passion increase. Attraction and passion will follow when happiness, excitement, and love exist.

If you're losing interest or feeling stuck on whether to stay or leave your marriage, take action and get support. The first step is the hardest part of a change, but those who do something don't regret it.

RELATED: How To Fall Back In Love With Your Partner (And Why You Fell Out Of It In The First Place)

Nicola Beer is a couples counselor and expert in relationship psychology and transformation. She co-authors four best-selling books and has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and Huffington Post.