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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow Overcoming Relationship Burnout: Signs, Tools, and Techniques

Overcoming Relationship Burnout: Signs, Tools, and Techniques

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 8, 2023
7 min read 1326 Views 0 Comments
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No relationship is perfect, but when it feels like more effort than it’s worth, it might be time to reassess things. This article explores emotional burnout in a relationship, the warning signs, and how to overcome these feelings and save your relationship.

Relationship burnout

Are you feeling frustrated in your relationship, or perhaps you feel nothing at all?

Any form of negative feelings can have a significant impact on your relationship. You might have been with your partner for a long time and feel like you no longer have a connection, or work commitments have unintentionally led you to neglect your relationship.

Whatever the cause, it’s necessary to talk to your partner, resolve conflicts, and decide if you can find a way back to one another. Even healthy relationships require a refresh from time to time. You can overcome relationship burnout and move forward with a bit of communication.

Here we discuss relationship burnout and how to recover.

What Is Relationship Burnout?

Relationship burnout occurs when two partners in a relationship develop emotional exhaustion and begin to run out of motivation in the relationship. Communication breaks down, and they may slowly disconnect from each other and pay little attention to the relationship’s success.

There are many warning signs of burnout, but it can vary from couple to couple. Those experiencing relationship burnout may feel disengaged from their partner, increasingly irritated by their partner’s habits, and cynical about their relationship and future plans.

Multiple factors can cause partners to experience relationship burnout. It is important to address the signs, as they can trigger a breakup if left ignored. There are lots of opportunities to overcome burnout and save the relationship before it’s too late.

7 Signs of Relationship Burnout

Everyone can become frustrated in a relationship at one time or another. It’s not always easy sailing. Sometimes, a romantic relationship takes work to succeed. But if you frequently have negative feelings within the relationship, you might be experiencing relationship burnout.

Look out for these 7 signs of burnout:

#1 Constant fighting

Constant fighting can be a sign of relationship burnout, especially if it never used to be this way. There’s nothing more draining than fighting with a loved one, and while it’s normal and healthy for couples to argue and disagree, frequent fights can indicate a toxic relationship.

If you can’t find a way to resolve conflicts and are repeatedly playing the blame game, you may need to reassess whether things are working. Constant fighting is unhealthy and detrimental to your physical and mental health. It may even trigger harmful and self-destructive behavior.

#2 Negative thoughts about your partner

Another sign is that you are thinking about your partner in a negative light. Habits you once found sweet might now irritate you, and you might prefer to spend time alone rather than hang out with them. These feelings can keep you in a bad mood and lead you to resent your partner.

#3 Feeling disconnected from your partner

Sometimes people grow apart over time and feel disconnected from their other half. There might be a lack of physical intimacy, quality time, or other factors that make you feel disengaged. If you don’t resolve matters quickly, you risk growing further and further apart.

#4 Stressful environment

Your relationship should provide some balance to your life. Your partner should be someone you can come home to and feel comfortable around. If you’re already feeling burnout from chronic stress in the workplace, the last thing you want is to enter a hostile environment.

#5 Lack of laughter and humor

Do you remember the last time you and your partner had fun together?

The humor and joy might have slowly slipped away if it feels like forever ago. Laughter is a positive reaction with therapeutic benefits. This powerful energy can improve behavior and affection between two partners. When it’s gone, the relationship might feel tired and dull.

#6 Emotional exhaustion

A negative relationship can zap your energy and make you feel emotionally drained. You might feel tired, low, and unable to cope with the relationship strain. If you feel too exhausted to communicate and fix things with your partner, it may clearly indicate that you’re no longer invested.

#7 Attraction to others

Finding yourself attracted to others can indicate that you’re no longer satisfied with the relationship. You might find yourself avoiding sex, physical intimacy, or spending quality time. Your wandering eye may even lead you to fantasize about sex with other people.

What Are the Reasons for Burnout in a Relationship?

All relationships are unique, and that means there is no one cause of relationship burnout. That said, there are some common triggers that many partners might share. Often, it can come down to a lack of healthy communication that leaves certain feelings unaddressed.

Some common causes of relationship burnout include:

  • Not spending enough time with your partner
  • Becoming complacent and taking each other for granted
  • Unbalanced energy, where one partner makes more effort than the other
  • Unresolved issues in the relationship
  • External factors that negatively impact the relationship, such as stress, mental health issues, and family and work commitments
  • Different personalities

5 Ways to Overcome Relationship Burnout

You might care for your partner deeply, but relationship issues can leave you exhausted. Before you think about ending things, you need to know that there are ways to heal relationship burnout and get things back on track. It’s worth a try if you love your partner.

Here are 5 key ways to work through relationship burnout:

#1 Express your needs

Bottling up how you feel will never allow you to get what you need from the relationship. Communication is key to solving matters. Your partner might be unaware of your feelings, and communicating your needs with them will give them the opportunity to make things right.

#2 Celebrate the positives

It can be easy to lose sight of what is keeping you and your partner together when experiencing burnout. Therefore, it becomes essential to reflect on the positives. Take the time to think about the successful aspects of the relationship and the things you are grateful for.

You could start by remembering the connection that brought you together in the first place. Then, think about the happy times you have shared together. When a relationship suffers neglect for an extended period, it’s easy to forget what you love about the other person.

#3 Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself puts you in a better place physically and emotionally. When you feel good about yourself, you can then dedicate time to the relationship. Practicing self-care will also reduce stress levels, and stress often contributes to impaired couple functioning.

Nowadays, mental health apps are an unbeatable tool for improving your mental wellness. It can help you cope with mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression by tracking your mood, recording your thoughts, and allowing you to participate in mindfulness activities.

#4 Make your relationship a priority

Making your relationship a priority can help get things back on track. Like most things in life, it can start to decay when left unnurtured. So, focus on putting your energy into the relationship. This allows you to prioritize each other’s needs and begin to make amends.

Spending time together can work wonders for any relationship. Make sure you spend quality time, show affection, check in with each other, and always be kind. It also opens up the opportunity to have fun together. You could plan a date night, book a romantic getaway, or go for a morning walk together.

#5 Consider therapy

Therapy can help you identify and resolve issues. It’s helpful to gain perspective from a person outside of the relationship. Couples counseling can help both partners interact better and healthily communicate their emotions while implementing new techniques to improve the relationship.

When to Give Your Relationship Another Chance and When to Break Up?

All relationships have their ups and downs. It can be difficult to determine when to fight for a relationship or give up when it’s not going smoothly. It depends on various factors, such as the issues, whether they are short-term or long-term, and whether you want to make things work.

If you love your partner and are adamant that you want to succeed, it’s worth giving your relationship another chance. If it all feels like too much effort and you’re not willing to put the work in, that might be your answer. If the motivation isn’t there, you will never make progress.

Sometimes, relationships just don’t work. You might care deeply for your partner, but you must rectify mistakes to avoid being at risk of relationship burnout. Talk to your partner, and you might reach a mutual agreement that you will be better off apart. Breakups are tough, but you can overcome the emotional pain and work on loving yourself again.

A Word From a Psychologist

Burnout is a psychological syndrome that can be categorized as emotional exhaustion and a sense of cynicism. It can affect any person in their life, both personally and in relationships. It can occur in romantic or platonic relationships with family members, colleagues, and friends.

In romantic circumstances, it may arise once you pass the honeymoon phase and things become more comfortable. Many factors can contribute to the negative emotions of burnout, such as mental health struggles, external stress, and an inability to communicate effectively.

Constant overthinking in a relationship can leave you feeling exhausted. Once the energy and motivation to continue are gone, you run the risk of relationship breakdown. Prolonged periods of relationship burnout can lead to significant stress and, eventually, a breakup.

Talk to your partner openly about how you feel, and together you can attempt to rebuild the relationship.


So, can relationships experiencing burnout survive?

Relationship burnout can affect anybody if the right measures are not taken. It’s essential to nurture your relationship and ensure that your and your partner’s needs are met. You can try several strategies to overcome relationship burnout before thinking about calling it quits.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 8, 2023
7 min read 1326 Views 0 Comments

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