Falling Out of Love

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    7 Min Read

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    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’re falling out of love? This can bring on 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.

    DOES YOUR PARTNER MEASURE UP? TAKE THIS QUIZ AND FIND OUT

    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 the relationship and there's 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 the of the flip side of that since we’re now discussing what happens when you’re the one who’s not feeling the love. It is actually fairly common for this to happen at some point in a relationship.

    The feelings in the relationship change 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.

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    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 the status of the relationship. 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 unrealistic, 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 need to recognize – it’s 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.

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    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. You actually should expect to fall out of love if you’re not both working to grow the relationship.

    You’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. Many couples fail to realize this 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's 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 your connection strong again.

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    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 understand that. Relationships that last for years and years take work – a lot of it.

    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.

    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 bring us,

    it’s no wonder that many couples find themselves feeling as though they’ve fallen out of love.

    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.

    More than likely what has happened is that for a long time they’ve failed to maintain their love for each other as they dealt 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.

    Before you do that, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do you want to continue the way you are and simply run out the clock?

    • Do you want to divorce and lose everything you’ve built together?

    Or,

    • Do you want to step back and make an effort to get back what you once had?

    If the answer to the first two questions is, no, and the answer to the last question is, yes, then there’s hope.

    I Don’t Want To Fall Out Of Love – What Do I Do?

    This is the point where many people get stuck.

    I’m not happy with the way things are and don’t feel in love anymore. But I don’t really want to get a divorce either. How do I start feeling like I used to?”

    The answer to that question is through:

    But communication at this stage is more complicated than simply talking more. Making an effort can be more difficult than it sounds too. Change can be hard without some expert help, especially knowing what to do and how to do it.

    In fact, many couples find the help of a marriage counselor to be necessary in order to get back on track.

    FIND OUT IF YOUR PARTNER IS HAVING A MIDLIFE CRISIS

    As you’re working to make things better, you may find that the fun, romantic, “in love” feeling has actually grown into the kind of love that sustains a family and home, and weathers life’s good times and bad. And that this change isn’t bad, but rather good and what you need at this point in your life.

    With time and effort that original “in-love” feeling you recall can return.

    Be aware, however, that this feeling can fade again as well if you don’t keep up the effort. Relationships that stand the test of time never go on autopilot.

    You don’t stop maintaining your car, why would you stop maintaining your relationship?

    What To Take Away

    As discussed we 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, and if you look hard enough you may even realize that what you have is actually stronger than what it was in the beginning.

    It’s important to remember the following things:

    • Love changes over time

    • Life and all its trappings can bury the "in-love" feeling

    • That feeling can come back with communication and effort

    • You may very well need help to get back to happier place

    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?

    • Have you really done everything you can to stay in love?

    If the answers to those questions are, no, then it’s time for you to do some work.

    Editor's Note: This post was originally published October 26, 2013, updated on November 20, 2018 and updated again for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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