Relationship Burnout: Know The Signs and How to Treat It

Is your relationship draining you? Find out what relationship burnout is, its signs, and what can be come to overcome it.
Relationship Burnout: Know The Signs and How to Treat It

Last update: 09 November, 2023

Relationship burnout can occur in couples who are exposed to a lot of stress. It’s often mistaken for a lack of love or a desire to end the relationship, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. In this article, we’ll tell you about the warning signs of relationship burnout and what to do about it.

People are exposed to different sources of stress, depending on their age and responsibilities. When you have a love relationship, it often happens that this feeling of mental and physical overload permeates this intimate circle. However, the important thing is to know how to recognize these not-so-good stages and how to overcome them.

What is relationship burnout?

Burnout is a term that was originally coined for the work scenario to refer to “running on empty” or “exhausted”. It’s a syndrome associated with stress that, accumulated, generates demotivation to continue with the assigned tasks.

Thus, relationship burnout is understood as a latent problem among couples who are exposed to very stressful situations, both from external sources and internal to the relationship. We speak from very high workloads, to excessive dedication to household chores or family care.

According to sexologist and couple therapist Eva Moreno, relationship burnout is described as the “negative emotional state that, combined with the lack of energy, creates the perfect conditions for conflict, which grows very easily and is increasingly difficult to repair.”

Although the picture reads pretty bad for couples experiencing this syndrome, it must be said that all is not lost. Understanding that the main trigger for this burnout is stress, it is possible to save the relationship if the sources affecting the relationship are identified.

According to the American Psychological Association , “The key to managing stress is identifying and modifying those behaviors that cause it.”

What are some of the causes of this burnout?

As mentioned, the causes of burnout are multiple. In fact, they depend very much on each of the partners and their individual environments. However, we will point out some that can help you identify if you are going through this moment.


At the beginning, it is normal that love, passion and complicity are at the surface. You both do your best to please each other and to offer the best of each other. However, over time, an overconfidence that makes you feel confident about your partner, even without you doing anything for him or her, sets in.

Well, in couples that have been together for a long time, this scenario can occur, being a probable cause of burnout or amorous exhaustion. Forgetting a special date for once may be normal, but little by little this type of events will accumulate, generating stress and disinterest, as well as frustration and lack of appreciation.

Excessive workload

One of the most common causes of burnout is the overwork of one or both partners. This presents itself in endless working days, that is, less time to share moments that strengthen the marriage or courtship, relegating it to the time that is left over.

This situation of disinterest affects people, makes them feel unappreciated and unimportant, which then gives way to relationship burnout. Simultaneously, being unhappy with one’s partner negatively affects work performance, as indicated by some research.

It is advisable to find a balance between partner and work so as not to have to sacrifice one of the two.


A study of 98 infertile couples found that this condition generates pressure in the relationship. This stress can cause psychological crises that affect the bond, which is why it is a factor that can trigger love burnout syndrome.

According to what is described in the document, it is women who experience this exhaustion more than men.

Signs that warn of relationship burnout

According to what we have said so far, relationship burnout does not appear overnight. There are a number of things that can trigger it, little by little. However, it is more latent when the couple is on the verge of collapse.

Next, we will tell you about the signs that can warn that something is not right.

1. Frequent arguments

Discusión en pareja.
Frequent arguments may indicate that there is burnout between the couple.

Arguments are present in every couple, but when they become very frequent, they can be a sign of burnout. These generate a toxic and negative atmosphere in the relationship, especially if you don’t conclude it satisfactorily or it does not put an end to the conflict.

2. Sexual disinterest

Sexual desire happens in a couple for multiple reasons. Therefore, if there is a feeling of exhaustion, disconnection, and stress, the frequency of sexual relations may decrease or be null. All this further aggravates the scenario and creates a bigger gap between the two people.

3. Negative feelings

As we said, arguments can occur in any couple. In a normal scenario, you can resolve these without major problems and always under the premise that neither has anything against the other and has the best intentions.

But when there is burnout, negative thoughts prevail and make you see the other as a villain.

4. The relationship becomes a burden

Once burnout appears, the relationship becomes a burden for the one who is more exhausted. The displays of affection decrease, and there is a fear of spending time with the other person because of the negative idea that there will be arguments or bad times.

5. A desire to end the relationship

At the peak of burnout, the one who feels more exhausted dreams of running away from the relationship. The easy way out is to end the engagement or marriage so as not to have to deal with a solution that requires willpower to achieve.

This same desire also leads couples to feel attracted to other people who present them with a completely different scenario, much calmer and safer.

Changes in your relationship to overcome burnout

Recapping a bit what we have exposed so far, we must understand that relationship burnout is not synonymous with a lack of love. It is a syndrome due to multiple variables, which you can treat and overcome, if that is what you desire as a couple. These are some changes that can help you overcome this moment.

Cómo recuperar la confianza cuando te dan otra oportunidad.
To overcome relationship burnout, it’s important to reconnect with your partner, talk, and be honest about your feelings.

1. Be honest about the relationship burnout

The first step to overcoming burnout is to be honest about the feelings you are experiencing. Thus, dare to communicate, in a quiet moment, what is going through your mind.

This includes a tinge of transparency and assertiveness to expose the emotional and physical needs you may be experiencing, as well as the shortcomings. For the moment to be successful, leave hurtful and confusing words aside. The idea is to be as clear as possible.

2. Understand each other

Each person has his or her own love language. Therefore, when you are in a couple, it is necessary to identify the best way to balance and maintain them. In this way, each one will feel appreciated, wanted and loved by the other.

Likewise, it is necessary to understand that even though you are a couple, each person has tastes and preferences that may be different, but that by talking and reaching agreements they can be easier to get along with. You can even enjoy each other more.

3. Give each other separate spaces

Don’t panic! We are not talking about a divorce, but about the opportunity to enjoy separate spaces that give the relationship a break. This advice applies to couples who spend a lot of time together, work together or have the same hobbies.

The feeling of loss of independence can lead to love burnout and a negative feeling of not being able to do anything without each other. Thus, it is important to open up spaces for leisure and self-care to keep individual energy alive.

If your relationship burnout is excessive, seek couples therapy

If you have done everything to make burnout go away and it is not working, seek couples therapy. Also, a professional can help you channel your feelings and teach you how to express them better. They can also help you stick to any agreements made to save the relationship.

In fact, this is a good way to identify if you are going through a rough patch or if the courtship or marriage has become a never-ending cycle that should, indeed, come to an end. Finally, therapy won’t always give you the solution you expect, only help you better understand your scenario and make the healthiest decision.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • American Psychological Association. (2013, April 15). Comprendiendo el estrés crónico.
  • Guio, N; Restrepo, P. (2018). El impacto de los conflictos de pareja en el desempeño laboral. Universidad de San Buenaventura, Colombia.
  • Ghavi, F., Jamale, S., Mosalanejad, L., & Mosallanezhad, Z. (2015). A Study of Couple Burnout in Infertile Couples. Global journal of health science, 8(4), 158–165.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.