“Love is for fools wise enough to take a chance.”—Anonymous
I was communicating with a friend via a Facebook thread recently (because that’s how most of the world “talks” these days), and the subject of falling out of love came up. She told me that a friend of hers, who’s been married to her husband for a number of years, was beginning to question if she still loved him. My friend wanted to know if it was possible to fall out of love.
Usually when someone falls out of love, there are signs leading up to the change in emotions. You don’t just magically look up one day and realize that you no longer feel the same way for your mate. A series of issues, circumstances and instances contribute to the change in feelings, such as lies, deceit, cheating and any other harmful behaviors. Sometimes, none of the above instances can occur and you just fall out of love for reasons that are beyond your control. On the flipside, we all know people who stay in toxic relationships due to the fact that they’re “in love.”
If you’re someone who is or has questioned whether you’re still in love with your mate, keep reading. But there’s a big difference between falling out of love and noticing that your love is actually progressing.
The most common reason for someone to feel like they’re falling out of love with their mate is when the relationship hits a plateau. The “thrill” is gone and you can feel taken for granted. Yes, we have those fairytale stories that reinforce the notion that the couples that are truly meant to be together remain “madly in love” and “live happily ever after” forever.
The truth is that love evolves, and it should.
When people who are truly in love get together, they’re usually at a stage in their lives where they desire commitment and companionship. Each person fills a void, and the emotions are heightened because you’ve finally found “the one.” But once you get used to someone, the feeling of being completely wrapped up in him or her fades naturally.
The difference between falling out of love with someone and simply feeling like you’re falling out of love with someone is the amount of certainty you have about how you feel. When you no longer are in love with someone, you know it. You might not want to admit it, but your feelings will not lie. They are consistent and nagging. The love, passion and desire to build with your mate are gone. You no longer see them in your version of “forever,” and in some cases, you’re already entertaining the idea of a lifetime with another.
When you feel like you’re falling out of love, there’s still hope of repairing any damage that might have been done. You don’t want the relationship to end, and you want to work to maintain the bond. You desire the keep the flame alive with your mate, and your roaming eye is limited, if present at all. Your feelings are more of a reflection of concern and/or fear of the relationship leading to the path of separation, as opposed to actually wanting the relationship to end.
Often, people tend to question their feelings when their mate wishes to take on a new idea, activity or pursuit. Not acknowledging the importance of your significant other’s need to achieve self-fulfillment will cause you to interfere with the natural progression of love in your relationship. It will force you to focus on the fact that things are “changing,” instead of allowing things to flow. By respecting each other’s personal evolution, you’re able to welcome (and come to appreciate) the stage you’re in your relationship.
The normalcy of love does not mean that you no longer are in love with your mate. If you’re doing life right, you know it’s important for us all to evolve and embrace change. You never stop growing as individuals, and sometimes parts of you mature at different rates.
Love is like climbing a staircase. The higher you climb, the stronger the possibility for the love to grow. Sometimes, one person is climbing the stairs a little faster than the other. But as long as the two of you commit to climbing, you’ll never truly fall out of love.
Shantell E. Jamison is an editor for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. Not confined to chasing headlines, this Chicago-based writer, radio personality and cultural critic is also the author of "Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self."