Can Love Last Forever? What to Do When it Seems You’ve Fallen Out of Love?
Are you falling out of love? No matter the reason, no one wants to feel this in their relationships, especially on their marriage. With this in mind, we provide the following inputs as to how couples can deal with this real dilemma and try to work their marriage out. So, let’s bring the spark and chemistry back!
What related studies say?
A 2011 British study found that, at least in England, “falling out of love” is now the most commonly cited cause of the choice to forego trying to save a marriage and instead to seek a divorce.
Number one on the list of exit doors from marriage used to be an affair. Infidelities seemed to require a couple to give up on their relationship. Healing from an infidelity appears to be possible for most of the couples.
At the same time, falling out of love is being taken increasingly seriously with growing apart now ranking above more dramatic causes of divorce like physical abuse, bad behavior, and financial worries.
What is the nature of falling out of love and growing apart?
Falling out of love involves a gradual loosening of pair-bonding energies focused on your partner and reinvestment of these energies elsewhere.
Fortunately though, growing apart is not a death sentence for a relationship. As I’ve written about in an earlier post, healthy relationships typically accordion in and out with periods of increased closeness and periods of distance.
The key is to heed signs of excessive distance and do something to bring a return of connection. Usually, couples can do this on their own; if not, some form of counseling can help.
After years and years together, one or both partners no longer feel as “in love” as they used to before. But it is really possible to fall back in love? Absolutely, but it takes time and effort from both spouses.
What do most marriage therapists offer to those couples who are at this crossroad?
Resolve conflicts creatively.
Don’t put aside resentments that can destroy a relationship. Experiencing conflicts is inevitable and couples who strive to avoid it are at the risk of developing stagnant relationships, according to author Kate McNulty. Couples counseling can be a beneficial way to increase positive connections if both partners are motivated.
Reconnect by increasing physical affection.
According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact releases feel-good hormones. Holding hands, hugging, and touching can release oxytocin (the bonding hormone) that reduces pain and causes a calming sensation. Studies show that it is also released during intimacy and affectionate touches. Physical affection also reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone called cortisol.
Allow tension to build.
Our brains experience more pleasure when the anticipation of the reward goes on for some time before we get the actual reward. So take your time, share fantasies, and take as many trips as you can.
Spend quality time with your partner.
Carve out time to be together so you don’t evolve into “two ships passing in the night.” “When the passion becomes an obsession, resulting in him ignoring your relationship, spending less time with you and ignoring his marital responsibilities, then it’s a problem,” says Francesca Di Meglio, the former Newlyweds Expert for About.com and writer of the Italian Mamma blog.
Likewise, she suggests raising the issue with your partner. “Sometimes your spouse has no idea you’re feeling neglected,” she says. “Pointing it out can give your spouse the signal to pay more attention to you and better divide his time.”
Make sure you undergo this phase with much patience and commitment.
- Do your best to be loving, even when you don’t particularly feel like it.
- Develop the friendship side of your relationship.
- Try not to be critical of the petty things like when they leave their dirty underwear on the floor or forget to put the trash out.
- Remember that this other person is a separate individual with their own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors just as you are.
- Be willing to compromise, accept changes and try to find mutually satisfying solutions to your difficulties.
This is where good communication will really help support your marriage through to the next stage.
If you think you’ve fallen out of love, it may be because marriage requires hard work. Remember: The harder the climb, the better the view!
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