What Does It Mean To Be Falling In And Out Of Love?
Love is one of the most complex and poorly understood emotions for all that it has been talked and written about throughout history. What does love feel like? It can feel so baffling, frenzied, euphoric, and contradictory all at once, and it certainly does not help that we are all inundated with images in the media of what the perfect relationship should look like -- especially when it does not necessarily match up with our real life experiences.
We are taught that love is supposed to be everlasting and anything but capricious, but some people may experience the vacillation of falling in and out of love with a partner over time, which is an experience that could make absolutely anyone feel unstable and uncertain. Understanding how men fall in love, as well as how women fall in love, can help you determine your own feelings around this topic too. In this post, we will look at what happens when you are falling in love or, alternatively, falling out of love.
Why Do People Fall In Love?
Falling in love is ineffable – it is hard to explain exactly why or how anyone does it at all, and attempts to describe it in concrete terms often fall short.
However, people attempt to nonetheless model the emotion and how it should work. Many psychologists subscribe to a “triangular theory of love,” which proposes that there are three dimensions which describe different types of love -- intimacy, attraction, and commitment -- and constitute consummate love. What we think of when we envision the perfect marriage or long-term relationship is typically a perfect consummate love.
With intimacy, the two of you have some kind of energetic connection, which can feel electric. Friendships are intimate, as are familial bonds, and true love needs to have the same kind of connection or else it can run into trouble. Knowing your partner and wanting to know them more deeply every day is part of what makes love so beautiful, and is part of why many people who are deeply in love might call their partner their best friend.
What is romantic attraction, you may ask? It simply means that the two of you are physically or emotionally attracted to one another. Sexual attraction is prevalent at the beginning of a relationship, and true love will often involve some form of sex throughout the duration of the relationship. This aspect distinguishes true love from friendship or other forms of companionship.
Short-term commitment is usually an intentional decision or passive acceptance to be with someone in a romantic capacity. In a long-term commitment, there is usually a desire to build some sort of life with a person, to be there for them consistently, and to deepen your connection with them. Being committed to someone might mean you want to move in with them, collaborate on the same life goals, start a family, and grow old together, or it might simply mean you want to be with this person in whatever capacity you can.
Research shows that love involves a release of hormones. When you fall in love, your brain releases feel-good chemicals that are associated with reproduction, calming, and happiness. If you have ever looked at a past relationship and wondered, "How did I ever fall in love with them?” hormones could be partially to blame -- there was possibly something about that person that prompted a release of chemicals which influenced you to associate that person with good feelings and bliss.
Regardless, the experience of falling in love is deeply complex and difficult to pin down to any one single theory or cause -- many people who have gone through it describe it as an awakening, like being struck by lightning when this new person came into their life.
We fall in love all the time with people whom we never expected to love, or even people who do not follow any of our traditional formulas. Given how little we understand about the human brain, there is at least a little leeway to chalk up the experience of falling in love too fast to magic, fate, or any other myth of the sort – it is only fair.
Falling Out Of Love
Does love fade away? Yes, it happens when one or both falls out of love. Falling out of love is quite interesting. Sometimes, it can be a gradual process. Little things about your partner bother you and break down the feelings you have, or you endure enough knock-down drag-out arguments with your partner over time and feel resentful or mistrustful.
However, sometimes you fall out of love instantly, and sometimes you may feel like you fell out of love for no good reason. It can be a disturbing thought. Not only might you one day suddenly completely change your own life when you realize your feelings have dissipated, you might also devastate someone you care for without much warning.
Often, however, the process of falling out of love can be somewhat predictable; it is rare that it comes completely out of nowhere. Let's look at a few reasons you may fall out of love.
Lack Of Communication
This is a big reason why relationships fail. When you're first in love, you likely spend a lot of time talking to your partner. Naturally, as you settle in with them and feel as though you know them intimately enough, communication may decrease. However, in a healthy relationship, communication is an ongoing process. In an unhealthy relationship, couples barely talk, and when they do, it is to argue. Miscommunication is another thing that can lead to relationship problems, and it can be due to the lack of communication.
Boredom And Routine
The brain requires stimulation, and if the relationship repeats all the same events each day, then it may affect how in love you are with a person. An enduring couple will try different ways to deepen their connection and enjoy life, such as going on adventures to keep the love going strong. While it can be hard to escape the monotony of life, you should try your hardest to make it as entertaining as possible.
A significant part of being in love with someone else is caring about their feelings and point of view; the experience of love is often marked as one that compels lovers to be exceptionally giving, selfless, or charitable to their partners. While it is certainly not a mark of a lack of love to argue or get testy every once in a while, a pattern of constant arguing that is never resolved can lead to resentment, hidden grudges, and a significant gap in communication and intimacy that result in relationship problems.
Sometimes, your partner stops looking as appealing to you as they once did; they may gain weight or have age poorly. Other times, your attraction simply fades over time, regardless of your partner’s appearance. Changes to non-physical attributes that may have once attracted you can play a hand as well -- perhaps their personality changed in a significant way that no longer appeals to you, or perhaps your preferences changed over time.
Who we are at the outset of a relationship is liable to be quite distinct from who we might evolve to become afterwards, especially when we are young or if we go through significant life changes. The ideal is that we might grow through these changes alongside our partners, but the reality is that sometimes life morphs us into people who are incompatible with the people we once loved.
Worse yet, sometimes we may put up a false front at the beginning of the relationship to seem more appealing than we actually are. While this is natural to an extent, it can sometimes lead to big changes and a breach of trust later on when the act is dropped and we realize that our partner is not who we thought they were.
Why Do People Suddenly Fall Out Of Love?
It can be a very jarring experience to fall out of love suddenly. A simple explanation for why you might have fallen out of love at break-neck speeds might be that you were never actually in love with this person in the first place. Instead, you might have been experiencing lust or mere infatuation.
Lust is when you are sexually attracted to someone but there is little to no true intimacy. You do not feel connected with a person, and you do not feel like you are committed to spending the rest of your life with them. What is infatuation? It is an intense admiration for someone, but the passion is merely fleeting.
Confusing love and lust frequently happens with young couples who do not yet understand the difference between the two feelings, but it can also happen to anyone, too. Love blindness happens at any age, and it can affect even those who think they're experienced.
Sexual attraction is often temporary, and once you get your fill, there needs to be something to keep the love afloat. Usually, it's because you have a connection to that person, and you feel like you can spend the rest of your life with them. If there's no connection, you may call things off suddenly.
Additionally, you might have been swept up in the excitement of a new fling and have ignored your partners’ flaws and indiscretions; this is what we call infatuation. We define infatuation as a term used to describe the initial stages of a relationship. This is a problem with feeling infatuation for a partner -- you may revel in their attention and feel as though you know them intimately, but the good feelings might leave you blind to their flaws.
When your feelings settle down, you may see that they are in some way fundamentally incompatible with you and call things off.
On Again, Off Again
Another phenomenon that is quite interesting is when a couple falls in love, maintains a relationship for a while, ends the relationship, and then gets back together. This usually repeats in a cycle that is frustrating to watch for an observer, and it can be frustrating for the couple as well. This can happen with young couples but may also happen at any age.
There are many reasons why a couple may break up only to make up again later down the line. Beyond external factors, like separations of great distance or other prohibitive life circumstances, it can be because of the couples’ personalities.
Some people may break up easily because of one fight but find it easy to forgive and return. Other times, it may be because they can't find anything better and find comfort in returning to a well-worn relationship. Some people who come from emotionally turbulent homes may find the process of fighting and making up reminiscent of childhood patterns with caretaking, and necessarily feel comfortable in patterns of chaos and uneasy in periods of stability with a partner.
If you're in a cycle of on-again-off-again, it may not be good for you. Try to figure out the reason for your behavior and end the cycle, be it keeping the relationship on again for good, or ending things forever.
Seeking Help For Relationship Challenges
If you're experiencing difficulty within your relationship, you may think there is shame in seeking a relationship counselor; you might feel negative emotions about reaching out for outside advice and help. In truth, a counselor can help you to strengthen, fortify, and rejuvenate relationships, in addition to helping you to make sense of your love life, no matter how complex it may seem.
Our habits when it comes to our love lives can be confusing and hard to unravel on our own. An online therapist can help you to uncover the patterns of what attracts you, and can guide you in your journey to find ways to improve those patterns if they’ve left you unsatisfied in your love life. If you’re struggling to come to terms with a breakup, sometimes an online relationship counselor can teach you skills to cope with your feelings, in addition to helping you figure out why the relationship might have failed in the first place.
Additionally, pursuing online therapy individually might give you insight into other issues with your emotional health that can cause problems in relationships, such as anger, anxiety, attachment issues, eating disorders, or obsessive compulsive disorder. The advantage of Regain is that the online therapy platform enables you to schedule therapy sessions at convenient times, and you can attend virtual meetings from any location with a secure internet connection.
Many couples have experienced benefits from engaging in online couples’ therapy. In one study, researchers sought to determine the differences between face-to-face and online couples’ therapy for those experiencing challenges within their relationships. After the intervention ended, study results yielded no statistically significant differences between the positive experiences each group reported. Overall, participants in both cohorts showed improvements in relationship satisfaction and reduction in their symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Online couples’ therapy may be the key to resolving marital challenges and sustaining a long-term commitment. Your online therapist can help you identify the reason why you keep breaking up as a couple, make changes to bring in novelty to your everyday lives, or practice more effective communication patterns. When you’re ready, you can connect with a licensed online therapist at Regain who will work with you to reach your relationship goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Normal To Fall In And Out Of Love With Your Partner?
It is perfectly natural -- and even expected -- for one’s romantic and sexual passion for their partner to fade over time, which can often feel to an individual like they are falling out of love. However, in long-term committed relationships, it is more likely that you are lifting the veil of infatuation to see the more stable version of real love, and this can feel like you are falling back in love.
It is also quite normal to have your interest in your partner wax and wane intermittently, just like it is perfectly normal for you to crave one food more than another depending on the day, or to be crankier one week than another. As for falling fully out of love, it is quite normal -- it happens in a lot of relationships. There is always the potential to rekindle that romance.
In fact, arguing and seeing your partner’s flaws is one of the phases of love. First comes the infamous honeymoon phase, then comes a more serious and deeper love, when you may start thinking about settling down with this person. Next, there may be a phase of arguing, when you become fixated on each other’s flaws, and you wonder if you can overcome them. This is a healthy, and normal part of love, because if you decide that you accept this person along with their flaws, the love you have becomes much stronger.
The biggest shift that happens after a phase of serious fighting is that you may begin looking at your relationship differently—asking yourself what you can do for your partner to make them happy, rather than expecting this other person to prove themselves to you.
Perhaps you never made that shift. Maybe you have decided that your partner’s flaws are incompatible with your desires, and you simply are not a good fit. This is an acceptable conclusion, and it is why we tend to date before settling down with someone permanently. You might benefit from “trying on” a few different relationships and identities before you find the person you really want to be, and the person you really want to be with.
What is potentially unhealthy appears as extreme fluctuations between liking and disliking a partner, or on-again-off-again romances with dramatic break-ups and tearful make-ups. The chaos and drama can be stimulating, but it also potentially marks a romantic pattern that revolves around turbulence and undue forgiveness of slights.
What Does It Mean To Fall In And Out Of Love?
While affection, crushes, and attraction can be fickle, true love is more often than not long-lasting. If you love someone, you love them even when you do not like them. If that loves comes and goes then it may not be unconditional love in the truest sense of the word.
It also depends on what you are looking for. Some people prefer to keep their distance in romance, which may mean never establishing a long-lasting, consistent love. For people like that, the on-and-off of falling in and out of love can be exciting.
If this is not what you want, and you prefer more stability, then you need to be honest with yourself and your partner about your needs.
People change and grow over time, which means that your relationship will, as well. Sometimes people get married, divorced, then married again. Sometimes couples break up, lose contact, then form a healthy friendship and love each other in a different way. These are the normal and healthy ebbs and flows of life and there is no need to stress yourself out about them.
Is Falling Out Of Love Normal?
Of course. Human relationships will always change over time. Sometimes people fall out of love, fall back in love, then fall out of love again! There are no rules when it comes to matters of the heart, and there is no reason to feel guilty or wrong for feelings that are natural.
Why Do People Fall Out Of Love Suddenly?
Without a dramatic inciting incident like infidelity -- which can be in-and-of-itself a good insight as to why the feelings of love dissipated -- people generally do not fall out of love all that suddenly. Instead, it might be the case that you were never really in love with your partner in a deep, authentic way.
Additionally, it might be the case that your feelings of love were fading over time, but that one particular moment helped you realize the severity of your lovelessness in an impactful way.
How Do You Know When You’re Falling Out Of Love With Someone?
Falling out of love is quite aptly named, because in many ways it is like falling in love in reverse. As you lose interest, your priorities and attention might shift away from your partner and your relationship; you might feel more stingy with your time, attention, or money. Additionally, you could begin to experience feelings for other people or feel disdain, disgust, or resentment towards your former partner.
Do Guys Fall Out Of Love Easily?
Studies show that men fall in love much more easily than women, but it is hard to say the extent to which they fall out of love, simply because every person is different.
If you are attracted to and fall in love with men, do not get wrapped up in anxious thoughts about that specific gender being incapable of loving you the way you love him. Every single person is different, and especially when it comes to matters of the heart, the variety is vast and dramatic.
Some men fall in and out of love quickly and easily. Others never fall in love. Others love one partner their entire lives. The key is finding a person who wants the same things as you, and building a relationship based on mutual love, respect, and trust.
Openly communicate with people, and do not be afraid to say what you really want. If you seek commitment and stability, it is okay to be up front about that. That way, you can weed out the people who do not want the same thing.
Can You Stop Loving Someone If You Truly Loved Them?
It is possible that you may always feel fondly towards someone you used to love, or care deeply about their well-being, but it is more than likely that you will stop being “in love” with them over time. When we are getting over a breakup, the time it takes to move on may feel interminable, and it may seem like we will be hung up on the same person forever. The reality is that those emotions almost certainly will not last.
Can Love Fade Away And Come Back?
While it is admittedly somewhat rare, if not merely ill-advised, for people to fall back in love without committing to making major changes to whatever caused them to drift apart in the first place, it is certainly possible.
There is always that small spark or feeling that causes two people to fall in love in the first place; though many people do not rekindle it, it is not really like it ever fully goes away.
The key to rekindling love is the same as in any other aspect of life: create and maintain a deep respect for your partner and his or her emotions. Vocalize that respect and admiration, and also set your own boundaries and be consistent about them.
Can People Fall Back In Love
Of course they can. As we all change and grow throughout our lives, our relationships change with us. These are natural changes. It can even be fun to fall in love a second time and get to know a whole different version of someone. Couples could set goals on how to stay in love. But remember that life is short, and it is best to spend it surrounded by people whose presence we enjoy; people who make us happy, who challenge us to grow, mature, and be better, people who we love and who love us back.
Can You Save A Relationship After Falling Out Of Love?
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