“How do you know when it’s over?“
”Maybe when you feel more in love with your memories than with the person standing in front of you.” ― Gunnar Ardelius
I recently watched a movie where the main character kept asking people, “If two people love each other, but they just can’t seem to get it together, when do you get to that point of enough is enough?”.
The movie implies that the right answer to this question is “never”, and if you are romantically inclined – as I certainly am – you are tempted to agree.
But unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.
I’ve learned the hard way, and I suppose that most of you out there have too, that not being able to get it together for a long, ongoing period of time is just a waste of the same.
If you try for years, and you never seem to reach the point where you define your relationship as fulfilled, and you know that it is constantly growing, then it seems to me that the answer to the above question should perhaps be – that point is reached when the relationship is everything but the ‘real’ experience of “Authentic Love”.
Because love alone is not enough.
It has to be the true love called “Authentic Love”, and the love must be celebrated. If you can’t seem to get it together, then something is wrong.
Not getting it together for a long time becomes “Toxic Love”, and you really want to stay away from this one.
When this “in limbo” kind of relationship state happens, it would seem to me that there is something wrong with the “love” you feel. It seems more likely to me that one of you has fallen out of love, and what still binds you together is habit and the mere idea of being together.
That rises the question:
How do people fall out of love?
What happens to someone who was “all in”, to suddenly start making a 180 degree turn and proclaiming, “I don’t love you any more”?
Isn’t real love supposed to last forever?
I am sure that most of you who are currently going through a painful break-up have asked yourselves this exact question.
“How can my boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife stop loving me, just like that?”
To answer questions like these, some time ago I wrote about why people fall out love, and I want to expand a little on that because this concept is so difficult to grasp.
How can my boyfriend stop loving me, just like that?
Firstly, these kinds of things happen. Unfortunately, many people can fall out of love and start to move on long before the actual break-up happens.
Secondly, it really doesn’t happen over night. It’s a process that needs time.
People who were just confronted with this terrible finality of a break up cannot understand how a once so loving partner can suddenly turn into this so different, and often even cold, and strange person.
But we have to understand that whatever made them lose their love feeling, happened gradually over the period of weeks or months.
Maybe they struggled against falling out of love, maybe they even fought for keeping it. They may have talked to us, raised their concerns, (hopefully), and there must have been red flags that we missed.
Let’s ignore the cheaters, abusers, narcissists and sociopaths at the moment, (who weren’t really in love in the first place). Let’s just look at the “normal” “dumpers”, (forgive the word).
Whether they fought for the relationship or not, at some point they fell out of love, but stayed in the relationship anyway, (because of loyalty, habit, appearance, fear…).
When they finally initiate the break-up, they are well over it in their recovery, and have moved on in their head already – they are months ahead of us.
That explains why they are able to immediately jump into a new relationship, and many of them do. Often they even use a new relationship as a catalyst to leave.
It’s unfair, isn’t it? And beyond all pain.
Those of us who were left behind, have to deal with the fact that they were not only gone, but also that someone else took OUR place in their heart.
If your Ex is still single then consider yourself lucky. For the rest of us, accepting this fact, and starting the recovery, is a MUST.
So what are the 5 main reasons people in a relationship fall out of love? And more importantly, is there something I can do to prevent it?
Here they are:
The 5 Main Reasons Why People Fall Out of Love
1. They weren’t in love in the first place
It’s not really possible to fall out of love if you never WERE in love, right? The reason why they do, nevertheless, is because they confuse being in love with something else.
This often happens when people look for a relationship to substitute a need.
For instance, the need to not be alone, or the need for significance. Men often use women to substitute their lack of self-esteem, or use them as a status symbol.
Whatever it might be, it happens a lot, and it’s confused with “real love”.
2. A seemingly “compatibility” became “incompatibility”
As you may well know, at the beginning of a relationship we see the world, (and our new partner), through rose-colored glasses. Everything is wonderful. We have so much fun, and we are such a match… haven’t even had a single fight… yet.
Until the love-drug subsides, and slowly but certainly, we are kicked back into reality.
Suddenly there is friction. Suddenly there are differences. Suddenly there are terrible fights.
Where has the compatibility gone?
The answer to that is that it often was never there to begin with.
Often we are not who we really are.
Both of you have given your best to be the ideal version of yourselves, even if that meant becoming someone else.
We are so desperately trying to please the new partner. We want them to be a perfect match at all cost.
So we are not who we really are.
This is where we can do better in the next relationship – to always stay ourselves!
And if the new partner doesn’t like who we are? Then toss them. He or she wasn’t a fit anyway.
You don’t want an artificial relationship that explodes after the expiration date. You want the real thing, with a real you, as part of it.
3. There’s too much boredom and routine
If you don’t water your plant every day it will die. As simple as that.
As will your love and relationship if you don’t maintain it on a regular basis.
Love in a romantic relationship is not an abstract thing that exists and stands by itself. It has to be fostered, and taken care of on a daily basis.
Move away from that “Disney fairy tales, happily ever after” love-concept that’s been indoctrinated into you from early on. The prince and princess doesn’t necessarily stay together their whole life… there is drama, there is cheating, there is divorce in the real world today.
A thriving relationship is work. And only work will make it grow.
This can be done by daily love rituals, weekly communications sessions, (instead of watching TV), creating “memory-beacons”, regular live affection, and sharing mutual interests and hobbies.
Love… you have to take care of it before it will take care of you. [Tweet This]
4. The relationship didn’t go in the desired direction for both
This is not quite similar to being incompatible, this is what people call “growing apart”.
When you started the relationship, you had more or less the same goals, shared world-views and expectations on how to grow the relationship, and thoughts about how to make the next logical step together.
While this may have been mutually honest, priorities can change.
Maybe at the beginning, you both agreed to get married in the near future, with kids and the whole package. And maybe it sounded great at that time, but then for one of you the priority changed to, for example, getting that promotion at work.
Or one partner got a new job with new colleagues, new challenges and goals, while the other one wasn’t able to adapt to the new situation.
Things like this will create problems and friction in the relationship.
Unfortunate as it is – this is no ones fault – but it can cause people to fall out of love.
5. The love became toxic
The rose-colored glasses came off not so long ago, and all of a sudden behaviors come to light that were unexpected and very unpleasant.
For example, people can become obsessed by the relationship and act needy, demanding and clingy.
Or they become control freaks – they use “emotional blackmail”, and very often become verbally aggressive, (sometimes even physically).
The relationship is suddenly ran by just one person, as opposed to thriving from an equal contribution of both partners.
All in all, they create a toxic environment that chokes out the life of love. Until it stops breathing.
People fall out of love, that is a fact, whether we like it or not.
The sooner we start having a realistic view of love, and correct expectations of a relationship, the earlier we will find “Authentic Love”.
And believe me, eventually this is what we all want and deserve.
So, the answer to the question from the beginning shouldn’t be “never”, but “it’s enough when there is no hope for Authentic Love”.
Please let me know about your own experiences with falling out of love, and your thoughts in the comment-section below.