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It is interesting to have been on both sides of this. I felt strongly for someone, even love and saw all the goodness in them and even saw how they’d be a wonderful partner. But I did not feel romantic love. So I didn’t let it go past a couple months — after I had some time to explore, to see if it was something that would grow. It didn’t, and I was honest about my feelings the entire time.
Recently, I was on the other side. I was with my ex for nearly a year. We were deeply in love and had many serious conversations about the future. We were part of each other’s friends and family circles. But around month 6 things started to drift a little. When I brought it up he said it was just the normal phase of getting comfortable after an intense honeymoon phase and all was good. As time passed, we talked less, the sex was not as passionate, he became busier and busier. I remained patient but tried to bring up on multiple occasions I was feeling distant and he would respond with defensiveness. I felt he was putting in less and less effort. He would accuse me of not understanding how much he had on his plate. I’m not sure what came first — him falling out of love, the natural progression of a relationship feeling “comfortable” or my insecurity as he started to take me for granted. But some energy began feeding off another. These things don’t just suddenly happen – there’s always a reason. Because if you love someone (romantic love aside) and you value them as a person, you value the relationship, those things count for a lot. Far more than fickle feeling that comes and goes. When you hinge your relationship on a “feeling” it has very little oxygen to survive or thrive. Passion and spark are separate from love. Those things help to start a relationship and set the foundation for bonding, but they are not what sustain a relationship. If you are committing to someone and telling them you love them and see a future with them, you owe it to yourself and them to better understand the source behind your feelings, so you don’t keep repeating this pattern. Through therapy and having honest and compassionate conversations with your partner. But please don’t treat it as a powerless emotion where the only solution is to end your relationship, to relieve yourself of guilt. If you are focused on “recovering” the feeling, it’s a losing battle. Feelings are indications to something else and often not what you think. Often it is bc of thought patterns that are so programmed in us we are unaware. But saying ‘everything was amazing and suddenly I woke up, saw my partner and felt nothing’, is immature love (aka infatuation) and offers no insight to anyone. All it does is indicate that you were feeding off of how this person made you feel for a time and you were not actually “loving.”
Falling out of love happens, bc we see it as an invisible force that we are powerless to. It’s true, we can’t force ourselves to love to someone if we don’t want to. But if we value this person, we can practice how to love better. I prefer Esther Perel’s description (via Erich Fromm I believe), it’s much more empowering:
“Love is a verb. It’s not a permanent state of enthusiasm. It’s not about finding the right person, it’s about being the right person. If you just want to be dazzled, then you will have an adventure. You will be infatuated. You will have a love story, maybe, but you won’t have a life story. And a life story is different than a love story.”