->''"Are we like those poor couples\\
you feel sorry for in restaurants?\\
Are we the dining dead?"''
-->-- '''Joel''', ''Film/EternalSunshineOfTheSpotlessMind''

AliceAndBob went through the whole RomanceArc. They started out as JustFriends. They developed some UnresolvedSexualTension. Then the two shared their FirstKiss and it was magical. Alice and Bob were on the road to HappilyEverAfter (or at least HappilyMarried).

But that was all a long time ago.

Now they're the couple who sit silently across from each other at the restaurant, eating perfunctory dinners. The sex is rote (assuming they [[SexlessMarriage even have sex anymore]]). Alice finds herself noticing that Chris is looking especially good lately and wonders what it would be like to kiss him. All the little quirks Bob found endearing about Alice now drive him up the wall.

Maybe there was passion here once, but now there's nothing but [[TitleDrop Dead Sparks]].

Unfortunately TruthInTelevision.

Compare NoAccountingForTaste, NoSparks, AwfulWeddedLife.


[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/EternalSunshineOfTheSpotlessMind'', we first meet Joel and Clem when they are at the Dead Sparks stage of the relationship. The rest of the movie is about how they ignited those sparks in the first place and ends with the hope that they could be reignited.
* In ''Film/{{Unbreakable}}'', the Dunns' marriage is like this.
* In ''Literature/OrdinaryPeople'' (both the book and the film), the death of their oldest son pushes Beth and Calvin to this point. It doesn't end well -- she walks out at the end.
* ''Six Degrees of Separation'': John and Louisa Kittredge's relationship is DeadSparks throughout.
* In ''Film/TheSixthSense'', we're led to believe that Malcolm and his wife have this problem. Subverted with TheReveal that [[spoiler:[[ItWasHisSled he's dead, and she's in mourning]]]].
* One of the oldest and most concise examples can be found in ''Film/CitizenKane'', where one scene tracks the progression of Kane's relationship with his wife by looking at their breakfast discourse over the years.
* ''Film/ThePowerAndTheGlory'' (1933): Tom and Sally were once deeply in love but later, after they've become rich and Tom has become a great businessman, their marriage has descended into sniping. Sally begs Tom to take her on a trip to Europe so they can re-connect, but it's too late; Tom has fallen in love with Eve. Tragedy ensues.
* In ''Film/MrAndMrsSmith2005'' the eponymous characters' marriage has hit this stage. But it seems that trying to kill each other creates enough [[StuffBlowingUp sparks]] to [[FoeYay revitalize]] the relationship.
* In ''Film/DateNight'' Steve Carrell and Tina Fey play a married couple who have lost the spark. But not to worry! Nothing a few spy-related adventures can't fix!
* ''Film/BlueValentine'': The present day Dead Sparks scenes are made much more painful by being intercut with [[{{Flashback}} scenes]] of the couple falling in love.
* ''Hope Springs''
* This ends up being the whole arc of ''Like Crazy''.
* In the beginning of the film, ''Film/VacationFromMarriage'', Cathy and Robert (played by Creator/DeborahKerr and Creator/RobertDonat) are just together because they’re used to each other; sadly, there's no passionate love between them.
* ''Film/LaNotte'': Giovanni and Lidia once had a passionate marriage, but the sparks are dead. He barely blinks when his gorgeous wife gets up from the tub, naked. She shows only DullSurprise when he kisses another woman. At the end, she pulls out an old love letter and reads it. He asks who wrote it, and she says "You did."


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Margaret Peterson Haddix's ''Literature/JustElla'': The premise is that this is experienced by Literature/{{Cinderella}} sometime following her marriage to PrinceCharming.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In ''Series/PeepShow'', [[spoiler:this is what happens after Mark finally gets together with Sophie. It doesn't stop him from marrying her (or, at least, from calling off the ceremony)]].
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}''. After her husband admits to having an affair, Ellie Bishop is sadly forced to admit that their heretofore [[HappilyMarried happy marriage]] has become this.


[[folder: Music ]]

* This theme is covered in a lot of CountryMusic songs:
** Music/JohnnyCash and June Carter's "Jackson"
** Tanya Tucker's "Love Me Like You Used To"
** Music/GeorgeStrait's "I Know She Still Loves Me"
** Music/RebaMcEntire's "Somebody Should Leave"
** Tracy Byrd's "I Wanna Feel That Way Again" is right there in the title.
** As is the BradPaisley/CarrieUnderwood duet "Remind Me".
** Lorrie Morgan's "Five Minutes" and "Maybe Not Tonight", a duet with Sammy Kershaw
** Music/LukeBryan's "Do I"
** Jill King's "98.6 Degrees and Falling"
** Andy Griggs' "Tonight I Want to Be Your Man," about a husband who realizes his relationship with his wife has hit the stage and wants to fix it.
** Music/ClayWalker's "This Woman and This Man"
** Faith Hill's "It Matters to Me"
** Garth Brooks' "Somewhere Other than the Night"
* Clay Davidson's "Sometimes" is a variant. In the first verse, the female fears that this trope is setting in; she wants to be assured that he still loves her, and not just sometimes. He asserts his position in the second verse.
* Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" starts out this way:
-->I was tired of my lady\\
We'd been together too long\\
Like a worn-out recording\\
Of a favorite song
* Music/CarlySimon's "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" describes every marriage the narrator has ever seen as having turned out like this.
* Music/SimonAndGarfunkel's "The Dangling Conversation" and "Overs".
* Music/GordonLightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind"
* Music/CaroleKing's "It's Too Late"
* Music/AmandaPalmer's "The Bed Song"
* Bobby Goldsboro's "Alice Doesn't Love Here Anymore"
* Music/NeilDiamond's duet with Music/BarbraStreisand, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers".
* Music/TracyChapman's "Smoke and Ashes"
* Israeli singer Arik Einstein's song "Tsa'ar Lakh" ("You are Woeful"), about a couple that's been reduced to this having a casual conversation over lunch.
* "For No One" by Music/TheBeatles. "And yet you don't believe her when she says her love is dead, you think she needs you."
* Music/ReverendAndTheMaker's "Heavyweight Champion of the World" has a first verse entirely about this.
-->Now that she's older
-->As the embers of romance
-->Fade to mortgages and 'leccy bills
-->Been comfortable and that
-->Nobody told her
-->That she'd ever reach the stage
-->Where her husband bored her
-->Or she lied about her age
* Music/{{Shenandoah}}'s "Ghost in This House" has the narrator comparing himself to a ghost who makes his presence scarcely known in the house. The second verse reveals that he perceives his lover identically.
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "You Don't Love Me Anymore" hilariously takes it UpToEleven when the girl in the song, [[ReallyGetsAround gets with everyone on the local hockey team]], tells her friends that the protagonist in the song is the Antichrist, and then she starts trying to kill him on multiple occasions.


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* In ''Theatre/TheBarberOfSeville'', Figaro helps the OfficialCouple get together. By the time of ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro'', that same couple is now pretty dysfunctional, and the plot of the latter revolves around Figaro trying to bring those DeadSparks back to life before the Count decides to bed ''Figaro's'' wife instead.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* During the backstory to ''VideoGame/TheSecretWorld'', the FallenAngel Samael and the HumanoidAbomination Lilith used to have a truly loving case of UnholyMatrimony, having first partnered up out of a mutual love of domination and power. However, after several millennia worth of failed schemes, Samael lost his passion for trying to take over the world and went native on Earth [[spoiler: as the CEO of the [[MegaCorp Orochi Group]], Samuel Chandra]]; genuinely hurt by the rejection of the very goal that brought them together, Lilith never forgave him. By the start of the game, their relationship is all but dead, and the two have only remained a couple out of nostalgia for the good old days. [[spoiler: It's gotten so bad that Lilith's actually been burglarizing Orochi resources to carry on world domination schemes behind her husband's back.]]


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* In the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' after its [[UnCancelled UnCancellation]], Lois starts [[WrongNameOutburst calling out male celebrities' names during sex]] instead of Peter's. He fears that it's the first step towards a life where all they do is sit at the table across from each other talking about Special K cereal.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Psychologists assume that the powerful initial infatuation and powerful sexual drive will last (at maximum) for four years. Unless the partners have anything deeper (hobbies, interests, likes) in common, the prognosis of the relationship is poor after four years.
** Colloquially this is often referred to as the "Seven year itch", though seven years would appear to be optimistic as far as psychologists are concerned. The conventional wisdom was that 7 years is the time required to reproduce and raise the offspring to a point where they would be able to at least see to their own most basic needs, after which a relationship no longer serves any procreative purpose.