Which comes first love or friendship

Partnership: When love becomes friendship

The years have passed in a flash, we have experienced a lot together and started a family. And suddenly you have to admit as a couple: love is gone. But what to do when all that's left is friendship? How does love have a second chance? We spoke to a sex therapist.

Not only the passion and the desire for each other can decrease in the course of a relationship. The feeling of love can also sneak away secretly. What remains is a feeling of deep friendship. You appreciate each other, share your life with each other, but somehow your heart is no longer right in the matter.

Is it really love

The reasons for the weakening of feelings for the partner are different. Four triggers are particularly common. "One reason may be that when the couple got together, they mistook sympathy and attractiveness for love," explains sex therapist Dr. Kurt Seikowski from the Society for Sexual Sciences one possible scenario. "If the initial attraction and passion diminish over time, the supposed love is no longer there either."

Too many commitments harm the relationship

Another risk to love is obligations. At the beginning of a relationship you experience nice and carefree hours for two. At some point you move in together and have to cope with everyday life together. Maybe there will also be children. And then there are the professional challenges. Time quickly falls by the wayside for two. "Too many obligations in a partnership mean that the feeling of love wears off over time. Duties are very exhausting and it is easy to forget each other as a couple," explains Seikowski. "This development often takes place slowly, unnoticed by the couple."

If the curiosity about the other decreases, it becomes critical for love

Another danger to love is a decline in attention to the other. Love can never be taken for granted. As soon as the partner becomes a habit, it is critical. You always have to work on love and make an effort, says the sex therapist. Baggy clothes, missing compliments, waning curiosity about your partner - all of this increases the risk that you will "fall in love" and look for someone who could be a better fit and who gives you what you miss in your own relationship.

Missing conversations endanger love

And then there is the lack of communication. "If the couple doesn't sit down and talk about wants, needs, and common goals, love quickly comes to a point where it subsides," says Seikowski. "Regular exchange and openness are important prerequisites for a successful relationship." The expert advises couples to exchange ideas every three months in a relaxed atmosphere and to see what is going well at the moment, what is a burden and to look for solutions together.

Love works without sex

A lack of sex, on the other hand, is seldom a real relationship killer, according to Seikowski. The expert is convinced that love is not possible just because the couple rarely have sex. "Many couples love each other with all their hearts, even though there is not much going on in bed. It can be due to illness or because the passion has subsided. But that does not have to mean the end of love," he explains. However, regular sex is also not entirely unimportant. "Especially at a young age, sex is important for love. With increasing age, tenderness and sensuality are usually in the foreground."

Interrupting the routine refreshes love

But what can couples do if they want to bring love back to friendship? Does love still have a chance? "Yes, she has," says Seikowski and advises couples to think back to the days when love was still there: What did we enjoy? What welded us together? When were we happy? "Reliving beautiful things from old times can be like a fountain of youth for love," says the sex therapist. "This also applies to the bedroom - but there should always be something new to add to the tried and tested."

The more time the couple spends together, breaking routine and doing something that is fun for both of them, the greater the likelihood that the love will be maintained or refreshed.

Don't skimp on compliments

And Seikowski has another tip: "Tell yourself again and again what you appreciate about the other person and what you like about your partner. Every relationship needs a good dose of admiration for it to work." In addition, the man can be a gentleman more often and open the door for his partner or help into the coat. "Women like this kind of attention, but unfortunately I see it less and less," he says.