- Falling In and Out of Love
- Falling In Love
- Falling Out of Love
- You Fell In Love, You Can Fall Out Of Love – Unless You Choose Not To
- Falling Out Of Love Is Normal, But It Doesn’t Have To Be The End
- You Have To Work To Keep Love Alive
- 8 Signs You’ve Fallen Out Of Love With Your Partner
- 1. You Feel Alone In The Relationship
- 2. You Aren’t Sexually Attracted To Your Partner Anymore
- 3. You’ve Stopped Communicating
- 4. You Don’t Care If They Are With Someone Else
- 5. You Don’t See A Future With Them Anymore
- 6. You’ve Lost Respect For Them
- 7. They Are Constantly Getting On Your Nerves
- 8. You Fantasize About Ways To Leave Them
- What to do about it
- Falling out of love is a real thing, but it’s possible to rekindle romance if you ‘actively explore’ your relationship
- Falling out of love usually means your relationship is lacking in intimacy
- Focusing on other aspects of your relationship could reignite love
- It’s impossible to know whether you’ll fall back in love until you give it a try
- 8 Reasons Why a Woman Falls Out of Love
- 1. She doesn’t feel appreciated
- 2. The relationship lacks intimacy
- 3. Someone else is paying her more attention
- 4. You don’t protect and defend her
- 5. You don’t support her
- 6. She’s lost her independence
- 7. You stopped making her laugh
- 8. You don’t know how to fight fair
- Falling Out of Love: Step by Step
- Why Do People Fall Out of Love?
- Here are 10 reasons people fall out of love:
- The 10 Biggest Reasons People Fall Out of Love
- Ask Ammanda: My husband has fallen out of love with me – what do I do at Christmas?
Falling In and Out of Love
Does a person fall in and out of love the way Hollywood portrays it? Does something just happen and the light switch flips on or off in our romantic relationships?
Or, is falling in and out of love an involved process that takes time and the development of key elements? In my opinion, along with many relationship experts, the latter is the most accurate explanation.
Family Dynamics, a company based in Nashville, TN, has put a considerable amount of research and effort into the area of marriage and the “falling in love” process. Their research shows that a person does fall in love, but it is more than an emotion or “love at first sight” experience.Some material for this article was taken from Love, Sex & Marriage by Family Dynamics Institute.
Falling In Love
In order to fall in love, a person must move from independence – needing only one’s self to exist – to interdependence – being concerned about self but needing someone else to exist as well.
Some people can even go beyond interdependence and move toward the unhealthy side of relationships: dependence – needing others to exist and not being able to function without them.
In order for a person to move from independence to interdependence (the healthiest scenario), certain dynamics must take place:
- Attraction. Something registers in the five senses – hair, eye color, skin tone, body shape, etc. – when you first meet someone and are drawn to that person. This is the sensual part of falling in love.
- Acceptance. Attraction becomes mutual and moves past a casual friendship to a deeper level of intimacy. Through conversations, shared activities and social interaction, each learns more about the other, the “masks” are dropped, and you begin to “feel” love toward each other.
- Fulfillment. Acceptance of each other is complete, with warm feelings toward each other and desires to do everything they can to make each other feel happy. During interactions, they make a conscious effort to meet one another’s needs, which is usually one of the first things married couples stop doing after marriage. Courting couples spend an average of 15 hours a week together.
Moving through these three stages, the couple thus transitions from independence to interdependence.
An interdependent relationship isn’t static; it continues to be dynamic. On any given day, the relationship may move slightly toward independence or dependence. That is normal.
But some relationships move toward dependence, which is not good. Continued movement toward dependence causes a relationship to become unhealthy and ridden with psychosis.
This process also involves three stages:
- Isolation. One or both partners in a relationship begin to isolate themselves from other people and focus only on each other. Healthy periods of isolation can take place in any relationship, but isolation becomes unhealthy when it becomes a habit or lifestyle.
- Sole Source of Fulfillment. Continued isolation from others leads to depending on the person you love as the sole source of need fulfillment. This extreme is unhealthy and impossible to continue for extended periods of time.
- Obsession. Isolation and seeking fulfillment from only one person cycles a person back to the immaturity of a small child, with fears that, if the loved person ceases to exist, he or she will also cease to exist. Many murders take place each year because of obsession.
Falling Out of Love
Since falling in love is a process of moving from attraction, acceptance and fulfillment, falling out of love is just the opposite.
When a person moves backward through the three stages (from interdependence to attraction), the feelings of love diminish. Not only will passion disappear, but commitment will eventually disappear as well.
The trip backwards begins when one or both partner stops meeting the other’s needs and when negative behaviors, like selfish demands, disrespectful judgments and angry outbursts, become a daily practice.See the book Love Busters by Dr. William Harley
Continued movement away from interdependence indicates that your marriage is in trouble and needs to be addressed. If not, the relationship is headed for at least one of three destinations:
- Resignation. The relationship fulfills no one but continues because of some external glue like children, religious beliefs, or difficulty of getting a divorce, etc.
- Infidelity. One of the partners discovers someone else who will fulfill his or her needs.
- Divorce. Frustration with the other partner leads to anger, resentment and withdrawal. The spouse decides he or she would be better out of the relationship than in it, despite any negative consequences that may occur because of the divorce.
Thus, if you find that you or your spouse is falling out of love, you must begin at the beginning and start over:
- Change. Bring the attraction back into the relationship by changing the way you dress, look or act.
- Accept. Start accepting and trusting each other again by spending quality time together: date again; learn to communicate properly; learn to drop your masks.
- Fulfill. Start fulfilling each others needs by putting your partner’s needs above your own. Seek to please your partner first, which will ironically lead to having your own needs being met.
As simplistic as this process sounds, it works. Hundreds of couples are beginning to learn how to fall back in love by following the same pattern they followed to fall in love in the first place. By seeking professional help and making a commitment to this process, you can too.
When you first started your relationship the idea that you might fall out of love probably seemed impossible. The love was so strong that it felt like nothing could, or would, ever shake it. But what happens if you or your partner start feeling like you are falling out of love? It can be one of the most painful and confusing times in a relationship.
Falling out of love is a common problem for relationships that are in trouble. When it happens, it’s easy to jump to a lot of conclusions about what that means. You might assume like most people that it means the end of things and there is no hope. What people don’t realize is that the feeling of falling out of love can occur for many reasons and not all of them have to mean an end to the relationship.
Let’s look at some excerpts from my Google Hangouts on Falling Out of Love and see what falling out of love can really mean:
Our topic this week is falling out of love. It’s a follow-up from our discussion last week where we talked about when you’re loving somebody who’s not loving you. This is a little bit of the flip side of that, where you actually fall out of love with the other person. It is actually fairly common that this happens at some point in some way or another. It happens to all of us. The relationship kind of lessens to some degree and then for some of us we actually do fall completely out of love with the other person. So it’s not uncommon whatsoever.
One of the things that we really need to understand about love is that it’s not a constant thing. Love is something that really does come and go and varies depending on what the status of the relationship is. A lot of relationships go through stages that affect how we feel about our partner, and that’s normal. To expect that level should stay the same throughout our relationship is actually really problematic, and that is one of the expectations that gets people into a lot of trouble. They get into a situation where they fall out of love because they think that it should always stay the same.
So the first thing that can get us into trouble when we, or our partner, are falling out of love is the expectation that it should never happen. Wrong.Relationships go through phases and love can change over time.
You Fell In Love, You Can Fall Out Of Love – Unless You Choose Not To
That’s the first thing that we really have to kind of recognize: that it is normal to have some give-and-take and ebb and flow to how we feel about our partner. It is common for relationships to grow and to change and, to some degree, for us to grow apart if we are not intentional about growing together. Because if we are not constantly nourishing and growing our relationships, we do at times feel like we are falling out of love with our partner. It is important that we recognize that that is normal and it is okay.
The most important part is that we actually do something about it. This is where a lot of couples miss opportunities to be able to keep the relationship together because they are not working actively at engaging with their partner and identifying this when it starts to happen.
The next thing to note is that we shouldn’t be surprised when falling out of love happens, but actually should expect to fall out of love if we’re not both working to grow the relationship. We’re either growing together or growing apart, and which one you’re doing is within your control.
Many assume the love they start with in a relationship is all they need for the relationship to last forever. That’s simply not true. In order for a relationship to grow both partners need to put time and effort into it. It’s fairly common for couples not to realize that because in the beginning love comes so easy. When that starts to change, and when each partner starts to change, is when you need to work together to keep the love and your relationship strong.
Falling Out Of Love Is Normal, But It Doesn’t Have To Be The End
So the first thing is to recognize is that this is normal and the second part to be aware of is actually addressing it. This is where a lot of people really fall apart; they make assumptions when they are not feeling that connected to their partner, when they are feeling that they are not loving them anymore or are not in love with them. That is a common phrase that I hear a lot in counseling, particularly from men: they still love their partner, but they are not in love with their partner. A lot of guys really make a distinction there, and this is where some of the assumptions get us into trouble.
We assume that we should still feel the same way about our partner as we did when we first met them, and that is just not going to be practical. The awareness of loving the other person, but not being in love them is one of the things that often happens around feeling like we are falling out of love. Too many people feel that when they reach the stage where they are not loving their partner that it means the relationship should be over; that is just not the case. Again, it is typical that this can happen, and it really comes about from us not addressing some things and actually nourishing the relationship. It can get corrected if we will actually address it.
The biggest, and easiest, mistake we can make when falling out of love is to believe that it means the relationship has died. We must remember that just like there were things we did and did not do that caused us to fall out of love, the same is true for falling back in love. The difference now is that you have to be much more deliberate and focused about regaining that feeling and making things strong again. Falling in love in the beginning is fairly effortless. In fact, some people will say they never wanted to, or weren’t even looking for love – it just happened. The problem is that staying in love and creating a long lasting relationship doesn’t “just happen” and most people don’t get that.
You Have To Work To Keep Love Alive
The problem that I run into with a lot of people that actually come to see me for counseling help is that they have reached a point where they have just decided that this means the relationship should be over. A lot of people at that place have actually already checked out of the relationship; they actually take the feeling of not being loved anymore or loving their partner and they cheat on the spouse or relationship and get their needs met in other ways. This is where affairs often happen and originate out of how we reach out and get over-focused at work and hobbies and other things that get us distracted from having to focus on our partner.
A common thing for people is that they really avoid this issue. A lot of times this is originating from us avoiding addressing our feelings and sharing it with our partner. I want to add this point: love is a feeling that changes. It’s not a constant, and that’s okay and that’s normal. It’s just important that we do something about it. When we’re not feeling as connected with our partner, we need to address trying to get reconnected and grow back together. Falling out of love is normal. The real key is what we do with it.
Read those last two sentences again. The truth is that falling out of love is normal and happens in all relationships. The most important thing is what we choose to do about it.
Relationships and people change. Who we are at 25 and what is important to us then is likely not to be the same when we’re 40. The same can be said for your partner. When you add to that the many things that life can hand us – family, kids, job and financial stress – it’s no wonder that many couples find themselves feeling as though they’ve fallen out of love. More than likely what has happened is that for a long time they’ve failed to maintain their love as they were dealing with day-to-day life. This isn’t uncommon at all. And like a car (or nearly anything else), if you don’t pay attention to it and do regular maintenance, it’ll stop working properly. Sadly, in many of these cases couples just call it quits.
As discussed above, ending the relationship because it doesn’t feel the way it used to isn’t the answer. Feeling different isn’t the same as being over. If you look hard enough you may even realize that what you have is actually stronger than what it was in the beginning. That fun, romantic, “in love” feeling may have actually grown into the kind of love that sustains a family and home, and weathers life’s good times and bad. With time and effort the original “in-love” feeling you recall can come back.
So if you feel like you’re falling out of love, stop and ask yourself some questions. Do you really want to be without your partner? And have you really done everything you can to help you and your partner stay in love? If the answers to those questions are no, it’s probably time for you to do some work.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published October 26, 2013. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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8 Signs You’ve Fallen Out Of Love With Your Partner
Falling in love is awesome. Every look, touch, and word they say fills you with anticipation. You feel swept up, full of hope and desire. It’s just magical. Falling out of love… well… not so much. Sometimes, falling out love happens as a slow descent into apathy and, when that happens, it can be hard to see the signs you’ve fallen out of love. Other times, it can hit you like a freight train — one second you’re all in, and the next your skin wants to crawl right off your body and move to another zip code at their mere touch. It’s the worst.
While that latter scenario makes it pretty clear what you’re feeling, sometimes it can be more confusing because it’s a subtle shift or, most likely, you just don’t want to want to believe things have have changed so much. Because, if it’s true, you have to do something about it. Something that will likely hurt someone you once loved. Before you do anything drastic, the first step is to really understand what it is you’re feeling. Here’s what the experts have to say about how to know when you’ve lost that loving feeling, and it’s time to move on.
1. You Feel Alone In The Relationship
The first sign that you’ve fallen out of love, according to Three Day Rule’s date coach and matchmaker Nora Dekeyser, is that you feel alone in the relationship. “Love eventually turns into a true partnership between best friends that are also attracted to each other,” she explains. In other words, when you’re in love, your partner is the person you always want to share the important moments with, as well as whom you want to lean on in hard times. If that has changed, or you find yourself actually wanting to avoid them, then it’s a strong indication that the love is gone.
2. You Aren’t Sexually Attracted To Your Partner Anymore
When they’re first together, most couples can’t keep their hands off each other, which is amazing, but eventually naturally will slow down a bit. But relationship expert and best-selling author Susan Winter warns that if “the idea of having sex with your partner feels like a chore,” it doesn’t bode well for the relationship.
But just because the sexual side of the relationship has slowed a bit, it doesn’t automatically mean the love is gone. Sometimes, as Dekeyser explains, it’s more of a symptom of other problems in the relationship: “I believe sexual attraction comes easily when the relationship is working – so don’t focus so much on the fact that you aren’t having sex; focus on the reason behind that non-action.”
3. You’ve Stopped Communicating
Communication is beyond essential in a relationship, but it can be super hard and take a ton of emotional labor. If doing that work has stopped feeling worth the effort, Dekeyser warns that it’s a red flag that your heart just isn’t in the relationship anymore. “The most important part of a relationship is communication – if you do not have this, you are not respecting each other and clearly don’t feel for the other as you do for yourself,” she says.
4. You Don’t Care If They Are With Someone Else
The thought of your partner with anyone else was once unthinkable. But recently, you realized you don’t really mind the idea of them finding someone new. Unless you’re poly, then Alessandra Conti, Celebrity Matchmaker at Matchmakers In The City, says this kind of apathy is a big red flag that you’ve fallen out of love. “In a healthy relationship, this thought should leave you upset and unsettled, but if you are out of love, you essentially do not care,” she says.
5. You Don’t See A Future With Them Anymore
When you think of your life in the coming years, is your partner still part of it? Or are you fantasizing about a solo adventure? Conti says whether or not your SO is part of your “story” is a big indication about how you feel about them.
“A huge element of relationships is hope and excitement for the future: you both want similar things, and share common dreams and goals. If when you close your eyes and think about the future, if you are more often fantasizing about being with another man, or being alone, these are signs that you have fallen out of love.”
6. You’ve Lost Respect For Them
A loss of respect for your partner is probably the biggest sign that you’ve had a change of heart. Disdain is an absolute relationship killer. If you’ve lost respect for your partner, there is really no turning back. As Conti explains, respect is one of the most important elements in any long term relationship: “This supersedes lust and puppy-dog love; respecting your partner is vital if you want your love to be a forever kind of love.”
She adds, “When you find that you are loathing the person you are with because you feel like you are finally seeing them for who they truly are, this is a sign that the love spell is wearing off.” Besides, who wants to be with someone they can’t respect? And who doesn’t return the respect they deserve?
7. They Are Constantly Getting On Your Nerves
According to Winter, you’ve likely fallen out of love if “you find yourself irritated by everything they do (and don’t do).” So, if all the little habits that you once overlooked or maybe even found adorable now make you want to claw your eyes out, well, honestly, what are you waiting for? No one should have to live like that. Cut your SO loose so they can find someone else more compatible.
8. You Fantasize About Ways To Leave Them
If your day dreams about the future of your relationship have turned into fantasies about breaking free, then I think its safe to some you’ve lost that loving feeling. Winter says that frequently imagining leaving your partner is an indication that there is a “palpable emptiness in the relationship.” If this sounds like you, it’s time to make your dreams come true and bid your partner adieu.
If, after reading this, you’re feeling discouraged and feel like love is dead, let me leave you with something a bit more hopeful from Conti. She says, “Many couples say that they don’t just fall in love with their partners once; they fall in love with their partners over and over again and in different ways. Even if it may feel as though your old way of loving is gone, you can absolutely rebuild a new kind of love that may even be stronger than the first.” Feel better?
This post was originally published on Oct. 17, 2017. It was updated on Sept. 13, 2019 by Elite Daily Staff.
“Dress yourself up and throw yourself into making your loving relationship sexy, too – you’ll never regret having fun or enhancing intimacy.”
Working with couples for over 25 years has taught the New South Wales-based psychologist that “all relationships take work.”
“It is impossible to NOT fall out of love if you are not actively working on your loving relationship. In my experience, the stopping work precedes the falling out of love every time.”
Amanda tells Mamamia that “if a couple has both been working on their relationship, but the work is getting harder, more tedious, and less rewarding” it’s a key “red flag”.
“The work I’m talking about is the simple everyday work of communicating – communicating respect and concern, interest in each other, the specialness of the relationship,” Amanda explains.
Actually, the health of your marriage is often apparent in how you first interact with each other in the morning, and how you communicate upon walking in the door that evening. Is it a kind exchange, or is it tainted with resentment?
“It can happen as you leave the house in the morning or on your return – the way you greet each other can mean so much (or so little). It can happen when you get up, as you go to bed, when you’re doing the chores. Practice makes perfect.”
Listen: Does your relationship pass the loaf of bread test? It involves crusts. (Post continues…)
What to do about it
“If you do feel you have fallen out of love, and you’d like to rekindle the flame of love, the first step is to look for the good things in your partner,” Amanda says.
“They won’t necessarily be the things you fell in love with in the first place, because love changes over time and so does our perception, but there will be some good things there if you look. And I don’t mean his body, or his income. Rather, I mean the greeting he gives you, the way he pours you a drink when he gets his own, the things you enjoy together, your mutual goals, the joy he gets from being with you.
“Looking for the good actually tends to change the way you respond to positive things, and can help you get even more good from him.”
Amanda also strongly advocates “having an affair! … with your partner.”
“Make sex different, exciting, a priority, just as you would with a new lover. It will help your loving feelings and make you feel younger,” she says.
What was the first sign that you were falling out of love with a partner? Let us know in the comments below…
For more advice and guidance from Amanda Gordon, visit Armchair Psychology or call 02 9362 3490.
Even couples in healthy relationships argue, we know this. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out whether a prolonged period of arguing and feeling frustrated and angry is just a “rough patch”, or a sign that the relationship has reached crisis point – that you’ve fallen out of love with each other.
It’s easy to shrug off a few weeks – or even months – of crappy times in your relationship as a rough patch, hoping things will get better. But, according to Ammanda Major, a relationship therapist and head of service quality and clinical practice at Relate, some behaviours or issues in your relationship could indicate that it’s more than a rough patch, and that the love you once had for each other may not be retrievable.
Please note: Ammanda’s advice is based on general relationships, and should not be applied in situations involving abuse of any kind.
Are rough patches normal?
“Every relationship has rough patches, and they are normal,” Ammanda says. “They can arise at any time and be about anything. But, they’re usually about two people, so you should be aware of the part you have probably played in it. It’s about addressing what is happening in the relationship.
“Be aware of the part you have probably played in it”
“You might have been working late, or coming home and being snappy for example. Often, what people are trying to say is, ‘I need your support and help’, but they don’t actually put it that way. Being sad and angry are often the ways we show somebody we’re unhappy. It’s much easier if you can ask for that directly. Because otherwise this “rough patch” will become routine, and if it isn’t addressed that’s often when it leads to people becoming unhappy.”
What constitutes a rough patch?
It really depends on you and what’s going on at that time, Ammanda explains. “Clients will often come to me and say they’re having a rough patch after a baby, because they’re getting no sleep and sex is a distant memory. In that case, it’s about being able to see how what’s happening at that moment sits into a wider picture, and knowing there will be light at the end of the tunnel. But, you have to be able to help and support each other through that journey if you want to get through the rough patch.”
She explains it’s when the communication starts to break down, that it can become a bigger problem that may need addressing with professional help.
First, determine what “being in love” means to you
Ammanda says before we can figure out if we’ve fallen out of love with a partner, we should ask ourselves how we personally define being in love. “People often talk about it as feeling butterflies and excitement, having fantastic sex, not being able to get your mind off your partner, and visualising your time with them. They are the centre of your life and existence.”
But, as relationships mature and develop, it’s normal for those feelings to die down a bit. Instead, they get replaced with a deeper knowledge and understanding about that partner. So, if you’ve stopped getting those butterflies, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t love that person anymore. It just means that perhaps that you’ve moved to another stage in the relationship – one that most people find more rewarding.” So before you can know if it’s a rough patch or the end, remind yourself what being in love means to you.
How do you know if the love has gone?
“Sometimes after a significant event like an affair, and what you thought you had you now realise you didn’t have. Sometimes it can be because you find something out about a partner that causes you to severely question what you had,” Ammanda explains.
“Couples can reconnect and find each other again”
“Very often I see people coming along feeling whether they’re not really sure if they love their partner. It’s usually because life has taken over, whether that’s children, or relatives or the work/life balance. It’s now become very difficult to see a partner as a partner rather than just someone to share the chores. Often, sex has flown out of the window and they can’t remember the last time they did it.”
But this doesn’t necessarily mean the love has gone, and it isn’t coming back. “It’s very often the case that couples can reconnect and find each other again,” she says.
When you’re constantly having doubts about the relationship
Having doubts about the relationship and questioning if it’s right for you, is totally normal Ammanda says. “There’ll be bumps along the way and just because you start feeling something isn’t working doesn’t mean your relationship is over. What it does mean though is that something has changed, and you need to do something about it.”
Of course, you may seek help and still decide to end the relationship. However, Ammanda says usually, “when people do address the problems at an earlier stage, they go on to reinvigorate the relationship and carry on in a way that’s happy for both of them.”
When one of you has changed as a person
It’s super common for relationship counsellors to see couples who feel they’ve fundamentally changed since they got with their partner. She explains, “That might be that one partner has very much changed and feels their partner hasn’t changed in tandem with them. Or both partners might feel they’ve both fundamentally changed and can’t meet each others’ needs – emotional and/or sexual – anymore. Although you can discuss what those needs might be, it could be impossible to rekindle what you had in the first place.”
When it’s more than just a rough patch
But, of course, sometimes the love really isn’t retrievable. “In this case, couples need to decide what to do about that. Do they want to live in a relationship that is not based on love? And instead stay together in a companionship?” she says. “Some people know if a relationship isn’t meeting enough of their needs that they need to end it.”
At the end of the day, everyone’s needs and boundaries are different in a relationship. Determining whether your rough patch is actually something more, comes down to what you want and need in a relationship. Regardless, it’s always helpful to seek professional advice.
If you’re in need of relationship support, visit Relate’s website for details of their services. You can also find your nearest Relate clinic here.
Related Story Paisley Gilmour Sex & Relationships Editor Paisley is sex & relationships editor at Cosmopolitan UK, and covers everything from sex toys, how to masturbate and sex positions, to all things LGBTQ. She definitely reveals too much about her personal life on the Internet.
Falling out of love is a real thing, but it’s possible to rekindle romance if you ‘actively explore’ your relationship
- Relationships evolve, and so do the feelings of love you have for your partner as you both grow and change.
- People usually fall out of love if one partner isn’t willing to grow along with the other partner, relationship therapist Matt Lundquist told Insider.
- It’s difficult to tell if you’ve actually fallen out of love, but trying to repair certain areas of your relationship like your co-parenting skills or ability to be amicable roommates, can offer clues.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more.
When you’re madly in love with someone, you likely never think about what it’d feel like to fall out of that love, but it can happen.
In fact, it’s natural over time for couples to transition from passionate to compassionate love, or a “solid and stable form of love” that can lack the fiery passion of a young relationship, according to “The Anatomy of Love,” a site run by relationship researchers.
Long-term partners also often go through major life changes together, and those changes can affect each partner in different ways. Sometimes, those experiences can bring two people closer together, but other times, they can create distance in relationship and, as a result, feelings of love may wane.
Raising children, deciding to become sober, losing (or gaining) a lot of weight, or becoming disinterested in hobbies that you once shared with your partner can all drive a wedge in a relationship and make it feel like the love you once shared is absent, according to relationship therapist and founder of Tribeca Therapy Matt Lundquist.
Although falling out of love can be a scary experience, it’s possible to regain that love if you have an open mind. “We think of love as binary and static, but it’s not like that,” Lundquist told Insider.
He added that the “fuel that motivates the love may need to change over time,” and a couple’s ability to do that can make or break their relationship.
Falling out of love usually means your relationship is lacking in intimacy
It’s hard to define exactly what falling out of love feels like, but it’s usually characterized by actions (or lack thereof) that detract from intimacy in a relationship.
If you or your partner start to communicate about relationship problems less and less, or keep secrets from each other, that could be a sign you don’t have the love-based connection you once did.
Read more: 6 signs you’d be happier single
Another sign you may be falling out of love is a disinterest in sex with your partner. It’s normal for a couple’s sex life to change as they enter the long-term phase of their relationship, but if you never want to be physically or emotionally intimate with your partner, that raises a major red flag.
Lundquist said this lack of intimacy usually occurs when one partner goes through a significant event that changes them as a person, but the other partner doesn’t experience that same evolution.
If one partner in a couple who used to bond over going to parties and drinking together decides to make a life change and become sober, for example, it could uproot a major bonding experience in the relationship.
“It’s disruptive because you may want different things or different types of intimacy,” Lundquist said.
Focusing on other aspects of your relationship could reignite love
If a couple wants to fall back in love, it requires rethinking your commonalities. Getty
When the interests that once brought a couple together start to diverge, it’s normal to feel a lack of connection. But if a couple wants to fall back in love, it requires rethinking your commonalities and actually putting the “love” aspect of things aside.
“First, talk about what’s healthy and not, what’s aligned and what is not,” Lundquist said. “Be better friends, financial partners, and parents first before the love piece.” When a couple focuses on those day-to-day hurdles, or what Lundquist calls the “functional” aspects of the relationship, there’s a better chance for them to fall back in love.
It’s also helpful for couples of any stage of their relationship to put effort into making sure their lives have enough novelty, variety, and surprise — aspects psychologists have long known are key to successful long-term partnerships, according to the American Psychological Association. One classic study, for instance, found that spouses were more satisfied when they were told to go on exciting dates like hiking than safe dates like renting a movie.
Additionally, if one partner’s intimacy needs change, it’s important they discuss that with their partner so they get back on the same page. If one partner realizes they want more quality time with their spouse, for example, they need to explicitly explain that and make a plan to execute it.
It’s impossible to know whether you’ll fall back in love until you give it a try
Unfortunately, even if a couple takes these steps, it’s impossible to know whether the love you once felt will be rekindled. Still, if it’s a relationship you cherish and want to salvage, it’s worth a try.
“Actively exploring is the only way to really find out if you can fall back in love,” Lundquist said. “You can’t see road ahead, but you have to trust it’s there.”
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8 Reasons Why a Woman Falls Out of Love
Women fall out of love every day. However, the loss of these loving feelings doesn’t happen suddenly. Usually one or both partners get too comfortable and stop paying as much attention to each other as they used to. As the relationship begins to slowly break down, the union enters a point of no return. One day you wake up next to each other and realize you’ve become strangers — or worse — enemies. If the woman in your life has recently broken up with you and you can’t seem to figure out what went wrong, here are some reasons why she may have fallen out of love.
1. She doesn’t feel appreciated
A woman needs to feel appreciated. | iStock.com
If you want your lady to stay in a relationship with you, you’ll need to show her how much she means to you. Make her feel like she is important and loved. If you treat her as if she’s an afterthought, she will begin to feel unappreciated. Expressing your love and appreciation for the woman in your life is one of the best ways to nurture the relationship.
When a woman feels appreciated, she will make more of an effort to make her partner happy in return. Don’t reason that she should already know you appreciate her if she’s still with you. She might just be toughing it out until someone better comes along.
2. The relationship lacks intimacy
Every relationship needs intimacy to survive. | iStock.com/Ridofranz
When a woman feels emotionally connected, she feels a greater capacity to love and be loved. Psychologists Judith Sherven and James Sniechowski said a woman needs to feel that her partner wants to know and understand her deeply. In their article for Power to Change, Sherven and Sniechowski write:
Most people associate the word intimacy with sex. But real intimacy is so much more than that. It’s about being open, sincerely wanting to know about, understand, learn from, care for, enjoy, like, and love the person you’re with — for who she really is. … o matter the occasion, or even at the end of the day, don’t miss out on being emotionally intimate with the woman you love.
3. Someone else is paying her more attention
Do you pay enough attention to your significant other? | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem
An attention-starved partner is bound to stray. A woman needs to know that she is desired and that you are happy to be with her. As soon as someone starts giving her the attention she craves, this can be enough to make her fall out of love with her partner and fall head over heels for the person who is fulfilling her need for love, attention, and approval. Affirm your partner often and don’t take her for granted.
4. You don’t protect and defend her
Women don’t need to be saved, but their partners should protect them. | iStock.com/Jean-philippe WALLET
If your family or friends say something disrespectful, do you come to her aid? Or if a random person at a bar tries to make an advance, do you step in? Of course, women aren’t weak human beings in need of protecting, but they do need to know that you care enough to show concern for their physical and mental welfare. If you demonstrate a lack of concern for her well-being, this sends the message that you don’t care about her at all. You are only in the relationship to get your own needs met. If you really do care, show it with your words and your actions.
5. You don’t support her
Women want to achieve professional goals, too. | Thinkstock
A woman needs someone to share her hopes and dreams with. The last thing she needs is someone telling her she isn’t smart enough to get that promotion, or not pretty enough to land that acting role. You should be each other’s cheerleader. So cheer her on and let her know she’s pretty, smart, and doing a good job at just being her. We all need some encouragement from time to time, and there’s no better person to hear it from than the one we love. Nothing is more wounding than being put down by the person who is supposed to be in your corner.
6. She’s lost her independence
Couples should still have individual activities they enjoy doing separately. | Getty Images/Antonio Guillem
In the beginning of your relationship, you and your lady were probably inseparable. But now that some time has passed, she may be making too many compromises to accommodate your needs and missing the freedom of the single life. This can lead to a lot of resentment and cause her to fall out of love in the future.
Randi Gunther, Ph.D., suggests to Psychology Today that you should understand your partner’s most important personal freedoms and not hinder those, and she should do the same for you. You should also let her know she can talk to you about any feelings of entrapment so you can work through them together.
7. You stopped making her laugh
Laughter is important to any relationship. | iStock.com
Have you stopped trying to make her laugh? According to a recent study, the more a woman laughs when conversing with a man, the more likely she’s interested. And if both people laugh together, well, that’s an indicator of a definite romantic connection. These results were discovered by Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies from the University of Kansas, while researching a link between humor and intelligence.
8. You don’t know how to fight fair
Yelling will just make things worse. | iStock.com
Don’t let arguments turn into a blaming match. Humble yourself, and admit when you’re wrong. Also know when to end the argument and come to a compromise. It’s not about who wins or loses. There’s no point in winning a few arguments if you eventually lose your marriage.
“It would be nice if a marriage meant that everyone always got along and never had any disagreements, but that is not how things go down. Whether it is today or 10 years from now, there will be something that starts a fight. Fighting is not necessarily a bad thing when it is done right, when it is fair,” writes Emily Chinnery in Solve Your Marriage Problems Now!
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo
Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler.
Falling Out of Love: Step by Step
“Love makes the world go around.”
No, it doesn’t. It’s gravity or angular momentum. Something like that.
I would like to write about romantic love objectively, if it is possible to do so without hurting anyone’s feelings. It is a subject that people sing about and write poetry about and feel especially strongly about. People who have recently fallen in love tell me, “Finally, I met Mr. Right,” as if there were only one right person out of all those hundreds everyone meets in the space of a year or two.
If I point out that paring off and mating is the normal and natural consequence of being an animal, that person is likely to get angry at me. I am belittling the very special character of this other person; and, along the way, I am making light of being in love.
It’s normal that when someone feels anything very strongly, it seems as if that feeling will last forever. Grief has that character, and so does romantic love. It is pointless, and annoying, to tell someone who has just been jilted, for instance, that the feeling will go away in time. Everyone who has any experience of the world knows this is true; and yet this particular relationship, the person feels, was a little different. They had something very special. People romanticize their romantic relationships. Here are some relevant facts:
1. People fall in love repeatedly. Sometimes they marry repeatedly.
2. If a beloved person is away for long periods of time—in the army, or at college, or in jail—people tend to fall out of love, even when their love was passionate and all-consuming.
I might mention in this context a book I read quickly one day while I was taking a bath and got so angry I splashed water all over the floor. It was The Bridges of Madison County. This immensely popular story was about a middle-aged lady in a sort-of drab marriage—not loveless, which suggests the couple hated each other—just drab and boring. Like a lot of marriages.
One day, she opens the door and finds the love of her life wandering around outside. They enter into a passionate affair. They make love all the time, as I remember. (Since I destroyed the book, I cannot be sure of the details.) Then, out of respect for her marriage, they do not see each other for the rest of their lives! That is not the way people behave in that situation, as far as I am concerned. The man, at least, will attempt to convince the woman to leave her husband. He would not honorably and quietly recede into the distance.
But that was not what bothered me. This passionate man stays away from this woman for the next 20 or so years, and because he cannot make love to the woman he loves, he remains abstinent for all that time! Not in a million years! Forget it! Some ascetic and phlegmatic men can be abstinent for long periods of time, but not someone who makes love day and night when he is otherwise in the mood.
3. Romantic love—that exciting, passionate, enveloping feeling that can entirely preoccupy someone—serves a psychological/biological purpose.
It is to draw two people together so powerfully that they do not see each other accurately. They do not see faults in the other person. They rush headlong into a sexual relationship, which serves the evolutionary purpose of sustaining the survival of the species. I know this is not a romantic view of what is going on, but it is accurate. We fall in love in order to stay together—no matter what—until children are brought into the world. When that happens, there are many other psychological and economic factors that hold a couple together in a more mature love. In a family. This later kind of love is no less powerful and compelling than romantic love. One merges imperceptibly into the other.
By then the initial excitement of romantic love may have faded, but the couple will likely say that they are still in love. Maybe, even, more in love. But they do not call each other on the telephone every few minutes to repeat a joke or just in order to hear the other person talking. They do not make love at every opportunity. They are not preoccupied with each other. The critical importance of romantic love is at the very beginning of the courtship when the relationship is otherwise fragile.
4. Romantic love does not always lead to a permanent relationship. A number of psychological factors have to be just right. It can fall apart for a number of reasons.
First of all, a romantic relationship will tend to fall apart if the timing is bad. One or both parties may not be “ready.” Although falling in love is still exciting, even enthralling, it does not outweigh the adventure of being independent. On the other hand, there are some who have detailed plans to start a career, but suddenly find that the appeal of being with this particular person matters more, even though, had they been asked, they would have said that they were not ready to settle down.
In the background are the opinions of others. A relationship that might have worked perfectly well when supported by others will not if there are family pressures or pressures from friends to continue dating other people. This is often a reaction to how old the couple is. In previous generations, social pressures pushed people into marrying at an early age. Nowadays the pressures operate in the other direction. Except for certain religious groups, most college graduates are not expected to settle down until they get into their late 20s or early 30s. These pressures are subtle, but very real. Sometimes the same couple will meet again at a more propitious time and fall in love. More frequently, they will have moved on and fallen in love with someone else.
Of course, these social pressures change again when someone approaches and then passes a certain age. As women, and men also, get older, the possibility of not being able to have children becomes very real, and then everyone encourages falling in love and settling down.
Some people feel that meeting the right person should be left to chance. They take a fatalistic view, like the view of the sergeant in war movies: “You only have to worry about the bullet with your name on it.” This is an argument for not worrying. It is also an argument for not doing anything. Actually, it is an excuse. There is scarcely anything in life that is not made more likely by putting in an effort to make that happen.
Just being in love is not enough of a reason to make a permanent connection with a particular person. Anyone can fall in love with anyone, but marriage should be reserved for those who are likely to fit emotionally and in other ways. People should make an effort to be around suitable persons so that falling in love is likely to work out.
But there are other circumstances that are likely to make a couple fall out of love. Although these are varied, the emotional reactions they elicit are similar. A couple who fall in love, and then out of love, tend to pass through certain stages. They tend to feel particular ways on the way out of the relationship.
Imagine a young couple, Timmy and Jane, who met just a couple of months ago at a college reunion. She was 21, and he 24. They both would have said that the first thing they noticed about the other was that they were good-looking, but each found the other interesting too. Timmy was poised and good-natured. Jane was bubbly and gay. (Other imaginary couples could have been different. A bubbly woman appeals to some men, but not those others who might prefer someone who is demure and thoughtful, or shy, or sensitive, or restrained.)
Timmy and Jane see each other frequently during the first few weeks after they meet and soon enough are sleeping together. They become a couple. They get to know each other’s friends. They even meet each other’s parents. If they have any reservations about these other people, they are subdued. Everything seems fine. They go on outings together. They walk through the park together, watching the leaves change color. They are in love. But then little things begin to go wrong.
Two things seem to happen simultaneously (at least, it seems so to me as I watch from the sidelines). Timmy goes off on a short cruise with family at a time when he could have been with Jane—who was not invited to go along. Jane starts to think and talk aloud about an old boyfriend. Both are hurt just a little. Timmy explains that this is an annual cruise paid by his parents. Jane says that bringing up her old boyfriend was a mistake. The past is past, she reassures him.
In the next few months, work seems to interfere with Timmy’s ability to see Jane even when she tells him she misses him. He does not seem quite as ardent as he did at first. He points out, like the song says, their love was “too hot not to cool down.” Jane is vaguely annoyed by Timmy’s not being around very much, but she too goes off for a weekend with a couple of friends. Timmy points out that she is not always available, despite what she says. He notices that occasionally when he wants to make love, she is too tired.
Both of them are distracted by issues at work and in their respective families. Each tries to be sympathetic to the other’s problems, but both feel just a little taken for granted. Jane purposely works one weekend, so that Timmy knows how it feels. Timmy comes to their dates late, as he always did; but now Jane complains. He apologizes, but still comes late. On a couple of dates, he spends the evening watching a football game. Although Jane does not complain (much), she has become discontented.
Timmy is resentful when he discovers that Jane went out to lunch with an old boyfriend. He makes a point of seeing his friends regularly after work at a downtown bar. Jane asks me if it isn’t immature for a man his age to spend a lot of time in bars. She also does not like the way he dresses, although he dresses the same as he has always done. For his part, Timmy complains that Jane puts her family first.
Nevertheless, in an attempt to save their relationship, they both go on a vacation for a week to the Bahamas. It does not go very well. Jane notices that Timmy looks at every woman who walks by. He accuses her of being jealous. It is not jealousy, she says; she just does not like to be treated rudely.
Also, she notices that he makes noise when he eats.
Both express feelings of dissatisfaction to each other, without getting any response.
And both are beginning to feel bored a little.
At this point, or at any point along the way, a separation for any reason for any length of time might end the relationship. If either meets someone else, it can end abruptly. Otherwise, it peters out over months, until someone says, “We need a break for a while.” They may get together again briefly, but they have fallen out of love.
The things that I have attributed to Timmy might just as well have applied to Jane. For instance, I have seen men complain bitterly about their girlfriends being too caught up with professional sports. Either person can develop problems with their partner’s parents or friends. Either is just as likely to be jealous. Either can be the first to lose interest in sex. And these issues are only a few of all those than can make love dwindle.
Of course, most dating relationships are not characterized by falling in love. Most are not emotionally charged, and breaking apart leaves no mark. Someone who has been in love, however, can pine for the other person off and on for years. Sometimes I think they are remembering not only the other person, but the way they, themselves, used to be when they were feeling exhilarated and exuberant and loving.
(c) Fredric Neuman
Why Do People Fall Out of Love?
There is almost nothing more tragic for intimate partners than to watch their once-hopeful relationship fall apart.
I have faced many of these saddened and disillusioned partners as they endlessly ask themselves and others, “How and why did our relationship fall apart? Why didn’t we see it, and why couldn’t we stop it from happening?”
Many times, the stressors that caused the ending did not even come from within the relationship. Some of those partnerships might actually have blossomed, yet fell prey to outside factors that neither partner could control. Sometimes there are unexpected pressures that may have overwhelmed the couple’s capacity to rebound. I’ve witnessed the power of relentlessly unwelcoming families or prior relationship partners who are intent on destroying the relationship.
So often, even once-beautiful relationships that have everything going for them fall apart when there are unpredictable illnesses, financial crises, past traumas, or other losses that can stretch the once-confident lovers beyond their capacity to rebound.
Then, there are the issues that happen within the relationship, itself. Each couple has to deal with their own unique blending of histories and personalities. One or both partners too often bring unresolved issues into the relationship, some of which don’t emerge until the relationship matures. Or, unequal appetites create pressures for performance and guilt for inadequacies. Disappointments and disillusionment can mount when desires are higher than resources can provide.
Sometimes, old, unfinished relationships come back to haunt and take precedence over the current one. A couple who could once speak openly and authentically to each other suddenly cannot speak their truth or listen openly anymore because of a threat neither anticipated. Negative issues that were once only a small fraction of the relationship slowly overwhelm what positive experiences once counteracted them. Betrayals happen. Promises don’t pan out. And dreams change.
Most often, there is a period of growing disharmony that precedes a breakup that the partners may not want to recognize. Conflicts happen more often, last longer, and hurt more. One partner may push while the other runs. Repeated arguments become ritualistic and eat away at the core the lovers could once rely upon.
By the time the actual separation occurs, both are often ragged and begin to blame each other for their waning capacity to rebound. They are too wounded and too disillusioned to remember what they ever treasured in one another.
When I’ve spent time with these understandably discouraged patients, I steer them away from regret, guilt, or blame. It is far more important that they understand that even seemingly true love can fail its most committed partners. They must not allow themselves to fall prey to cynicism or giving up their belief that they did their best.
Most people have the capability to end a relationship without losing love or respect for the other partner. But, sadly, most people have not been taught the skills to be able to do that, or even know that they could. Their role models have never shown them that it is possible for partners to love each other beyond a breakup and that separation always leads to disconnection.
When couples who have once loved each other deeply can leave their relationship feeling grateful that they’ve been able to live in it, they can maintain their love for one another forever. Even after years apart, they talk to others about those past relationships with pride, determined to remain grateful for what blessings they did create together, despite the outcome.
I have long advocated that those who are able to do that are the people we should hold as the models of what true love is like. I have met them in my practice, and consider them the unsung heroes of what love should be like for all of us. They are people who seem to herald the essence of unselfishly loving another and the real sacrifice it may ask of us; to want their partners to be fulfilled and successful in life, even if it means they have to separate for them to achieve those goals.
Because they are so rarely profiled, I’d like to share two stories that illustrate what this kind of love looks like. I’ve protected their identities by altering the details to ensure their privacy, but I assure you that they exist.
Also, in both scenarios, it is the women who left the relationship. I’ve purposely chosen these two illustrations to challenge the widespread belief that men are more likely to leave a relationship before women do.
Kate and Tanner
“Before Tanner and I met, neither of us had ever stopped long enough in our careers to even think of settling down. My commitment to being a reporter necessitated that I be away from home far more than I was there, and often without much warning. My friends and family knew that my bags were always packed and my keys were on the counter, ever-ready to embrace any new adventure.
I only had a few relatively serious relationships that had promise, but my work came first for me. In my twenties, it didn’t matter. I was fine the way things were.
Then, somehow, I stopped long enough to look at the clock. I was thirty-five and everyone I’d known since forever was planning a future with someone they adored. I began to wonder if I had truly missed something.
Tanner was only a 10-year-old kid when I met him. He was my best friend when we were young and androgynous.
Later, I met him again at a mutual friend’s wedding. The night morphed into weeks and months of what felt like genuine and true love. He was an artist and loved the times I was away so he could paint without feeling that he was neglecting me.
My family and friends loved him. Everything seemed perfect.
We had never discussed a family and, seemingly out of nowhere, he was more connected to time, and knew that, if we were going to have a family, we’d better get going. At first, I thought he was just musing, you know, kind of like, “shouldn’t we have a kid, Kate? I think it’s time.” So, I pretty much ignored him. Until I realized that he meant it. We began to argue. The conflicts escalated and it seemed that was all we talked about. I kept sweeping it under the rug, focusing on what was still so good and easy between us, pretty much refusing to take him seriously.
I came home one day to find all of his things gone. The note was simple: ‘I will always love and treasure you, Kate. I believe in your hopes and dreams. But they are no longer mine. I’ve met someone who is more in line with my desires. I would never have started an affair without leaving first. The honesty we’ve shared has fed my soul and it will always be that way. Stay on your path, Kate. Hold onto your own light.’”
“I loved Kate when she had braids and a face full of freckles. We were just kids but life was always more fun when we were together. She was my best friend until I went to boarding school and she worked hard enough to get into a great college. But we always kept in touch.
My folks wanted me to be a doctor, but art held my heart and I persisted. I dated enough women to know that I wasn’t ready to commit, and maybe never would be. Maybe I just never found anyone who touched my heart in the same way.
Until that wedding.
When Kate walked in, my heart stopped. I hadn’t laid eyes on her for almost 15 years. She was an amazing kid, but a phenomenal woman. Smart, beautiful, charismatic, welcoming. I tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around. It was mutual synergy. We hugged and talked throughout the night, and never left each other’s sides for a decade.
I was an only child. When I turned 40, I felt an urge within me that I’ve often heard women talk of. I wanted a family. I wanted to be a dad, rather than the uncle I’d become to a hearty tribe of young people. And time was running out. I began to bug Kate. After a few months it was clear that she was just not on board.
I could not let go. I could see my desires threatening and entrapping her need for freedom and her devotion to her career. I knew, deep in my heart, that true love is about letting someone go if they would be better off without you.
Then, my next wife showed up one day in my studio. We hit it off. She had a two-year-old and had been widowed since the baby’s birth. It was as if some universal angel had interfered. We are still together.
Julia and Sean
“We met on a college trip to Uganda. Julia was full of hope for the world and open to everyone and everything that came her way. She was a true adventurer, like a jigsaw puzzle without edges. Every moment we spent together, I felt that I was expanding my world views and learning things I would never have seen without her.
I may have been overwhelmed at times, but I was never bored. She filled my head, my heart, and my soul, with ever-changing dreams and possibilities. I never would have lived a life anywhere near what we had without her constant and amazing eye for the next meaningful adventure.
We had agreed that one day, we would have a family but that it would not stop our way of life. We’d have double backpacks, carrying our two children around the world as we continued our adventures.
The kids came, and for a while, everything worked like magic. We stayed with our folks when we weren’t traveling and with the many friends along the way when we were. When Julia wasn’t spurring a cause, she’d find work in whatever country we were in and we managed to survive. Those years before the kids and following were the most beautiful of my life.
We didn’t prepare for the fact that kids are better off settled in one place once they start school. I could work from anywhere, so my career was unaffected. Julia had to find a non-profit that shared her dreams and could utilize her multiplicity of talents. She applied everywhere. Nothing came up that could meet her needs.
Being her unstoppable self, she tried over and over to start programs that might further the causes of those in our area who were less fortunate. People would rally, and then drop out. She became disillusioned and then gave in, joining the other moms. She’d often tell me, ‘I feel like there is a phone growing out of my ear, and I listen to most conversations in a trance. I just don’t know if I can do this, Sean.’
I listened and comforted but just didn’t see it coming. One day she said to me, ‘You are a great dad. The kids are happy with you. I feel as if I’m smothering to death and you seem okay. I just got offered an amazing job overseas. It’s for a year. Sean, please understand. I have to go, or I will not be able to intellectually or emotionally survive.’
I looked at her and realized that the adventure that was us no longer filled her hunger to make a bigger difference in the world. And I knew she would not be back.”
“I truly meant it when I said ‘forever.’ We were the most perfect team I’d ever known, totally and completely compatible in every way. Those first years were like a fantasy. Sean was up for anything I wanted to do.
I never noticed that it was always me who created our never-ending discovery life. He was so enthusiastic and participatory when we did things, that I just assumed he would do them on his own were I not to be in the picture.
The kids were a joint decision and they didn’t stop us. We had friends all over and defined ourselves as an easy couch potato family. We never looked back and never regretted any of our decisions.
I’d begun to notice Sean’s reticence to travel so much as the kids got a little older. He wanted to volunteer to coach soccer and hang out with the other dads. He convinced me that we just needed to enter another phase of life and it would be equally joyful. He seemed so confident and sure.
I settled down and immediately became aware that I was sinking into a depression. I began putting all of my energy into creating new ideas and shaking up the community in a good way. No one seemed interested. Even the non-profit I worked for seemed to be sluggish and uninspired.
On the other end of me, Sean was truly happy. He’d settled into the life that he might have always wanted had he not met me. The kids and he embraced their life, their new friends, and the community activities. I still loved him as much as ever but boredom began to erode my attraction to him and we stopped making love. He complained a little, but not heartily.
I knew that I had to go. It was the hardest decision I ever made. We stayed married for five more years and I visited often and kept in constant touch. I took the kids on vacations when I could and visited them often, but they became closer and closer to Sean’s family and the people who had become their ‘forever tribe.’ It had to be that way.”
All relationships face hurdles that stretch their resources. All couples must learn kindness, patience, maturity, and sacrifice to keep love alive and growing. Any couple who has managed to stay in love knows to feed and nurture their relationship no matter what threatens to drive it apart.
But, sometimes the most beautiful of promise cannot fulfill itself, even when all indicators point to success. Sometimes separation has to happen. Most often it is not important who was write or wrong, only that what intimate partners once loved about each other is not lost, even when the relationship must end.
Most people cannot end a failed relationship easily, let alone maintain love beyond that loss. But getting as close as possible to that no-fault, no-blame outcome should be something we all strive for. Holding a past beloved relationship in mind as we search for the next, is the surest way to find love again, and to cherish it as we bathe in what we have honored in the past.
Dr. Randi’s free advice e-newsletter, Heroic Love, shows you how to avoid the common pitfalls that keep people from finding and keeping romantic love.
Relationships take work. They require nurturing, love, and appreciation. No one wants to feel they are taken for granted, betrayed or misunderstood.
It takes more than friendship and commitment. Love requires the presence of trust and respect. Falling in love is easy. The difficult part is remaining in love, and committing to your partner forever.
Here are 10 reasons people fall out of love:
1. Lack of communication.
When you start a new relationship there is an abundance of sharing. Couples talk about anything and everything as they get to know each other. They fall in love with those parts that relate to one another. Unfortunately, as time goes on, communication withers. For over 40 years the psychologist Professor John Gottman has been analyzing relationships. He says that there are 4 ways that communication is affected: criticism, contempt (sarcasm and name-calling), defensiveness, and stonewalling (the silent treatment which is caused by the other three). In the comfort of knowing your partner, there is the discomfort of not wanting to ask again, or say the same thing again, as not to upset them. Communication shuts down because there is no effective way to sit and discuss issues in a healthy manner.
2. Feeling invisible.
After long periods of time, couples begin to take each other for granted. There is a feeling of merely existing in the relationship. Making love becomes the thing of the past. You stop touching and complimenting each other. You stop looking at one another. You begin to act like roommates rather than lovers. Love grows cold. It’s not a good idea to blame your partner for all the relationship problems. Sometimes we need distance in order to recognize how important our partner really is and retrace what made us sparkle in the first place. But it takes work.
3. Magnifying insecurities.
When the “in love” part vanishes, the truth of who we are starts to play. We begin to feed off each others’ insecurities. Jealousy starts to play a role in the relationship. Because we feel invisible, we begin to notice that our partner starts to behave differently with others. It’s not that he or she is cheating. It’s that we want to feel like we used to in the beginning. His insecurities are passed on to you. Her own issues began to play a huge role in how he reacts. It’s a constant battle of self worth and acceptance. The best way to move past this is to discuss the issues without blame or criticism.
4. Boredom sets in.
April Masini, the relationship author of Romantic Date Ideas, says: “Over time, people can change — or more often, they become who they really are. Someone who loved his steady business career may suddenly realize he always wanted to be a stand-up comedian and throw caution to the wind to chase his dreams. The kind of change that leads to love lost is always about a buried desire to be someone that’s repressed inside. It’s important to really know your partner to avoid this lost-love syndrome.” A way to avoid this is to be open and accept your partner’s choices in what makes him/her happy. Changes are suppose to happen in relationships. You must go with the flow, otherwise boredom will extinguish the flame that was once the reason you fell in love.
5. Attraction is gone.
What kills attraction? The inability to have fun. You fall in a rut and can’t get out of it. You stop going out on date nights, or doing special things for your significant other. Most times it has nothing to do with physical appearance but the things that go unsaid or undone. You fell in love with that person for many reasons. It’s about revisiting those parts of the relationship. Attraction is ignited through appreciation and compassion.
Related article: 11 Signs It’s Time For A Relationship Makeover
6. Holding on to grudges.
Nothing is worst that holding on to past resentments and grudges. The quote “forgive and forget” does not play well when we are still reclaiming hurtful situations, bringing them up constantly, and throwing them out there. It’s hard to move on when you are still keeping tabs on what your partner has done. Neither of you can possibly move on. Either let the past go or simply move on. Neither of you can live a healthy relationship when reliving pain.
Cheating and other secrets destroy relationships. And it’s not just infidelity that destroys trust, it’s the things that are purposely withheld. It could be that your partner is keeping another bank account, or doing drugs, or has actually lost his/her job. Not sharing is the same as lying. It diminishes all credibility in a relationship. Communication is the start of unraveling all those things.
8. No one wants to compromise.
There is a point in every relationship that egos begin to dictate. You stop caring about the other person’s feelings and you want what you want, when you want it. Even through arguments, and discussions no one wants to compromise. This begins to show the lack of respect and love. You cannot love another without the give and take. You cannot get back to peace without compromising.
9. The fairy tale is over.
You got married believing that this person was your prince or your princess. You believed that you had found your happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, what they don’t share in those children stories is that after the love comes the payments on the castle, the tending to the land, and all the other problems that arrived. You met someone and he was exactly who he was. You created an idea of that person, and after some time the love potion wore off and you began to deal with the reality. As couples begin to know each other better they realize that they are incompatible.
It’s a matter of sharing those things with each other and learning to be individuals who can have separate interests, friends, and hobbies. Co-dependency is never a reason to remain in a relationship.
10. The love wasn’t really love.
Sometimes we mistake lust for love. What we thought was passion and true acceptance was the effects of lust. If a relationship started out from an affair, or on rebound, you are more likely to mistake the desires and wants as true love. Love is timeless. Its not to say that relationships don’t go through rough stages. Parenthood is brutal in any relationship. People also go through difficult life changes: illnesses, financial strains, and other life alterations. But, when you are in a loving relationship there is still a commitment and a choice “for better or for worse.” Lust diminishes when all the responsibility starts to take over.
Related article: Is it LOVE, or just lust? Here’s how to tell…
Relationships are never perfect. There is help out there through support groups, therapist and friends. Remember why you fell in love with this person. Recall all the times he/she brought you joy. Focus on that and try to find a happy medium for the both of you.
The 10 Biggest Reasons People Fall Out of Love
Love. Sometimes it doesn’t last a lifetime.
Here are ten reasons why people fall out of love:
1. They stopped communicating. Conflict went unresolved, needs went unexpressed, and affirmations went unspoken. If good communication is key to building a healthy relationship, the lack of it can surely dissolve one.
2. They took each other for granted. It’s easy to assume that love is unconditional and to subsequently get lazy with each other. When respect and kindness disappear, so can the love.
3. Expectations weren’t met. In the beginning, it’s easy to accommodate your partner’s needs and wishes. Over time, however, people often default to “just being themselves” and stop bending to the expectations of their partner if those expectations are not shared ones.
4. One of them discovered something new about his/her partner. Betrayal can radically alter how someone feels about their partner. Discovering that your partner has hidden something from you, cheated on you, or behaved in a way that’s inconsistent with who you thought they were can do irreparable damage to the relationship.
5. Overwhelming jealousy took over. Yes, it’s reassuring to know that your partner wants you for himself. But when jealousy takes over, there’s no room for trust.
6. The relationship wasn’t built on a solid foundation. If the relationship started poorly, moved too fast in the beginning, or was the product of an affair, it’s likely not rooted enough to withstand time or overcome any real relationship obstacles.
7. Incompatibility. As a couple gets to know one another better — and the initial fireworks die down — they may discover that their lifestyles, priorities, and values don’t align.
8. Boredom. Or exhaustion. The relationship has either lost its spark or become too much work for one or both people to handle.
9. A major life event changed things. She’s given birth and he no longer sees her as a lover, just as a mother. He got fired and suddenly retreats into depression and refuses her help. Instead of embracing life’s adventures together, some couples crack under the pressures of hardships or the unknown.
10. It wasn’t love in the first place. Lust can disguise itself as love. Once the honeymoon is over, however, it can also leave a relationship feeling empty and lacking.
Have you fallen in…and then out of love? What was the reason?
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I really like it that “love is a verb. It requires real action to exist and thrive”, and “love isn’t a feeling, it is a practice”.
My significant other just told me that he doesn’t love me like he used to anymore.. But he still loves me.. We used to be so close and understanding and we could talk and conmunicate abiut everything..We used to tell each other that we were best friends. And now it is the complete opposite. For months now, all we seem to do is argue, bicker, put each other down. Its never ending, i love him so much and its so hard to met him go. This article really opened my eyes and gave me a little hopebc he’s everything to me. He’s my world. I will do my part snd try and change for the better and sake of us. Im not ready to give up even though i can seeand feel that he’s already started to. I love him so much imwilling to do anything for him. I hope and pray that it works out
I pray for you, too.
I know exactly how you feel. I feel this 100%. I can’t say things will get better, but let’s just hope for the best, and that they don’t get worse. It really does hurt when your bestfriend/boyfriend is pulling a way from you. Like the cute little kisses, the jokes, the laughter..etc. I’ve been with my guy 8 years, and it hurts everytime I think about those years draining. But, you never know what God has inspired for you. That’s why you just pray until you can’t pray anymore. Once you pray, let it be, give it to God! I know the feeling. Stay strong!! The truth will be revealed soon, and God will answer you.
My boyfriend of three years have fallen out of love with me because I was gone for the summer to work. He admit to talking to a girl for a week which gave him excitement that he haven’t gotten from me. I’m very hurt because I been gone for work just to make enough for the both of us to spent more time with each other and it’s just trigger me to the core, I’m very heart broken over this, he said he only to talk to her and nothing psychical but he basically cheated on me emotionally. He broke this news to me the week of my birthday. I do not know how to react. He wants to still take me out for my birthday but we already breaking up so it’s hard to just go out with him after he rips my heart out.
I have been in this relationship for years and we have broken up for the same thing over and over again because he would rather spend his time working overtime, Holidays or with his family But Always comes up with an Excuse when I mentioned spending time with me, or he had no Money, As of now My Love for him has died a long time ago and I can’t stand the sight of him or his touch, he walks around like there’s nothing wrong I want him out of my apt. and My Life (Love Doesn’t Live here anymore)
Thank you so much for this article. I was crying throughout and wished it would never end. It gave me so much clarity and what started as me feeling as if I am falling out of love with my lover/best friend of 3 years ended up with me coming to terms with my fears, my unlovingness and tendency to control. Thank you!
I very much had a similar reaction throughout this piece Lola. <3 I too have fallen out of love with my partner and I’m still trying to piece together why. This article was exactly what I needed to read right now to learn how to better myself and address my past and how it affects my ability to maintain a relationship. I hope things get better for the both of us.
Ask Ammanda: My husband has fallen out of love with me – what do I do at Christmas?
My husband has only just told me this week that he is very unhappy being with me and that he has fallen out of love with me. I’m totally devastated because I still love him so much. My dilemma is what to do before Christmas. I would like him to go now, to give me space. He wants us to pretend that things are fine for the kids then he’ll leave after Christmas. That’s torture for me! How do I tell my girls (9 and 11) or do I let him stay for them?
This is so painful. Hearing that you’re no longer loved would be difficult to face at any time but for many, the added pressure of managing something this like this at Christmas just adds to the misery.
Your letter to me is very short so I don’t know if things between you and your husband have been difficult for a while or if his decision has come out of the blue. I suspect the latter and if that’s the case, the rush to make a decision that lessens the pain is even more understandable. But quite frankly, the truth is that whatever decision you make will be as painful as the one you didn’t choose. That’s why I want to say something here that will probably sound rather challenging. While I completely understand that you feel you have to put some distance between you and him (after all, seeing someone who you love more than anything and believing that they’re about to leave is an impossible cross to bear), I actually think your husband is right, but not for the reason he gives.
When we’re confronted with something like this, we often run to extremes by making big decisions immediately. Telling the person who’s hurt us or who has let us down know exactly where they can go, telling the kids that our partner is a dreadful human being – all these things are so very tempting. Relationship counsellors all over the country will be very familiar with the problem that your husband seems to have landed you with, that is, that he’s no longer in love with you. Men and women often talk about this feeling in therapy. The heart stopping passion, the butterflies, the just knowing what the other is thinking (in a good way), and often, anything approaching regular sex somehow slip away as we manage life, kids and all the complexities that go with them. Couples often find that the last time they looked, things were mostly good and then all of a sudden, time has passed and they’ve actually lost sight of each other. It’s very common and the good news is that sometimes, there is a way back. But right now, that’s hard to see when both of you are dealing with his intention to leave. But I would say that, if possible, you should slow things down. Difficult I know, but this is likely to offer both of you the chance to really work out what’s happened and if there is a way you can repair your relationship and go on together. Quick decisions taken to alleviate the immediate and overwhelming pain are often a short term antidote. They feel OK at the time but with hindsight a different approach would have been better.
So, what to do? If at all possible, you should try and spend some time with your husband alone. No kids, not when you’re tired or rowing. Be clear. Say how devastated you are by what he’s said. Say what he wants is not what you want. Then, and this is the really challenging bit, tell him that you can do Christmas as a family because, immediately afterwards, you want the chance to talk together at length about what’s not working in your relationship to see if together, there’s a way forward. Be very clear that you appreciate there may not be, but you want the opportunity to find that out together.
I’m sure this may seem like a tall order. You’re devastated and I imagine very angry too and all he seems to want is that you pretend for the children’s sake it’s all happy families. Of course it won’t be. You both know this. But throwing him out now will most likely bring you nearer to the outcome you most fear.
Your husband may also like to reflect on why he believes pretending things are fine over Christmas and then leaving immediately afterwards is a helpful step. All this leaves the kids with is that they had a good time and then Dad left, so how can they ever trust ‘good’ again? So many children struggle with the ‘what did I do wrong to make Dad (or Mum) leave’ question which can have a resonance even into adult life. So, if at all possible, agree that the two of you will get through Christmas together. It will be challenging and call on both of you to make concessions. But the agreement should also include getting some couple counselling. Many, many couples face what you’re going through now and though couple counselling won’t seek to make you stay together if one partner is sure they wish to leave, it may at least help you both see what could be possible either together or apart. The difference between being ‘in love’ with a partner and ‘loving’ them is a complex thing. They’re both equally important but often occur at different stages of a relationship. Consequently, moving between the two can be confusing. Occasionally a partner might confuse the lack of butterflies as a sign that the relationship has gone stale when in fact, its moved to something deeper. It may be that your relationship is over but even if that’s the case, you owe it to each other to make sure that is indeed the case and not simply a sign that something needs to change so you can go on together. Christmas will clearly be difficult but hopefully in the New Year, you can both address what’s happening.
Ammanda Major is a Relationship Counsellor and Sex Therapist and Head of Clinical Practice at Relate.
If you have a relationship worry you would like some help with, please send it to [email protected]* All communications will maintain anonymity and confidentiality.
*Ammanda is not able to reply individually to every email we receive, so please see our relationship help pages for further support.
Q: My wife and I married just under two years ago. She recently confessed that she thinks she can no longer stay in the marriage.
She’s fallen out of love with me.
She says she’s felt this way for the last six-to-nine months. I suggested counselling together but after three sessions she said she doesn’t think our marriage is reconcilable.
She describes feeling empty inside, which I think signals her needing additional professional help. I also now feel that she was unprepared for marriage.
I’m a very good husband. I’ve sometimes questioned our lack of intimacy/sex and she responded that she didn’t feel confident within her own body.
I encouraged her to attend a gym or start a physical activity. She did neither.
I still love her.
Given the lack of intimacy, I snooped in her phone as she’s been working late recently and going out with male co-workers.
She’s been texting with one male co-worker. One of the messages was very flirtatious and I called her out for it.
Now she says she cannot trust me anymore. I admit snooping is wrong, but I felt the need to know if something “more” is/was going on.
We’re currently living in separate homes. Is it best to file for separation since she sees no way for us getting back together?
A: There’s little hope for this marriage while she’s unwilling, untrusting, and flirting with one or more men.
Snooping is “wrong,” but you had an understandable need for seeking (and finding!) some reasons for her early insistence on ending things.
Even if she won’t go to counselling, you should continue. You’d benefit from professional guidance on how to move on after your separation.
Reader’s commentary regarding the woman warning of the future results of marrying someone much older (June 24):
“She’d married a man 22 years older than herself and he’d passed away at 81, while she’s a young-feeling, healthy but lonely 61-year-old woman..
“My experience is so similar to hers, that I want to assure her that her choice should not be regretted.
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“I’m a 62-year-old gay male who met my partner when I was 21 and he was 41. We were together almost 40 years until he passed away last year of a heart attack.
“He was my best friend, and we were inseparable. I too, am now lonely and struggling with what to do with how to move on.
“I went for grief counselling but at some point you have to accept what happened and decide a new path for yourself. I’m not there yet.
“She may’ve felt she gave him the best years of her life, as do I, but those were the best years of our lives because they were in them.
“I’d never have had with anyone else as wonderful a life as I had with him.
“She should realize that she could’ve married a man her own age who could’ve died two years ago too.
“None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so cherish what you have (had), because it can all disappear in a flash.
“My only regret was not being able to say, “Thank you for the wonderful life you gave me,” and “Goodbye”.
“Unlike her, I’m not even interested in finding someone else. I have to find me first, and after 40 years of “us,” that may take a while.
“Just let your letter-writer know that it wasn’t a mistake.”
Ellie’s tip of the day
When a partner’s suddenly “fallen out of love,” there’s more going on than you’re being told. Without joint counselling, there’s little hope.
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Ellie Tesher is an advice columnist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected]