Synopsis: First we introduce you to an emotion you may not know; followed by the question “Is real love something you can fall out of?”; then the topics: exes who keep loving each other; research explorations into falling out of love; what’s religion got to do with it; and we end with looking at falling in and out of love versus growing in love.
An Emotion You May Not Know?Have you ever thought you were really in love with someone only later to have strange feelings telling you had fallen out of love with that person? Can you look at past ‘in love’ experiences in which your feelings changed to a ‘not in love’ feeling or awareness? If you are in a current, spousal type, love relationship, are either or both of you getting feelings of the love starting to lessen?
Do you know that people in certain language groups are aware of different emotions than are those in other language groups? The Russian language has a word for the emotion a person feels which tells them they are or have fallen out of love with someone. That word is “razliubit”. Some have described it as a bittersweet emotion, a bit akin to the emotion called nostalgia plus a sense of something as finished or finishing, and it is time to look toward something new and unknown.
Sometimes it is interpreted as telling a person they were not in a real love but just in an infatuation or some other form of false love which could never last. It apparently can have both glad and sad parts and maybe a sense of relief or freeing.
Note that when we have a label for an emotion and use it, we much better can identify it, think about it, talk about it and understand its guidance message. By labeling this ‘falling out of love emotion’ Russian speakers can deal with it apparently quicker and better, and act on it sooner and better than those without this label in their conscious awareness.
Is Real Love Something You Can Fall out of ?Some theoreticians think once you have real love for someone it is forever. They suspect that it is only various forms of false love that can actually end. There are many who say they could never stop loving their children, or their parents, or their brothers and sisters, or their best friends – no matter what.
There also are a lot of people who say they still have a love for someone they used to be married to, but it has changed some, or is in a sort of ‘inactive’ status, however, it is still there in their heart. Some people say things like, “I still love all my exes”, “My ex is just like a brother or sister who I dearly love”, “Certainly I love my alcoholic spouse but I dare not do anything with that love because it would destroy me, as it nearly did” and “It’s sad we were so wrong for each other but we still love each other a lot, even though we hardly ever have anything to do with each other anymore”.
Exes Who Keep Loving Each Other
There is a lot of clinical evidence in case histories that points to
couples who have broken up or divorced, who actively keep loving each
other. Many family counselors commonly hear things like, “My ex and my
new husband get along just fine. That’s good because I love them
both”. “Yes, I love my new wife tremendously but in a different way. I
still love the mother of my children just as much and I will always
love her. I couldn’t stop if I tried”, and “In our family our ex-mates
and even some of our ex- lovers still are family members. They all show
up for birthdays and Christmas, and everybody still loves everybody.
Newcomers have to accept that”.
Often times post-breakup or divorced exes who keep loving an ex cause a lot of trouble, especially for new spouses. It is not uncommon for a new spouse to feel very threatened by their mate’s continuing love for an ex-spouse. The mindset or schema for how divorce is supposed to work in a lot of people’s heads, does not include room for love of an ex. For them, once you divorce you are supposed to stop loving, or are supposed to have fallen out of love and even perhaps made an enemy of your ex. In other’s schema or mind pictures, it is okay to love whoever you love, but how you do it changes in various ways when a new spouse comes along.
Research ExplorationsFairly recently research into falling out of love has begun and its findings, though somewhat meager, are quite intriguing and certainly pioneering. Evidence points to ongoing, successful couples fading out of romantic love and that romantic love being replaced by a more solid sense of deep, abiding love which is longer lasting. Other couples also experience the waning of romantic love and with that dimishment often comes the dissolution of their relationship. It seems some romantic love relationships are killed by repeated emotional abuse and neglect.
The falling out of love experience seems to go with couples in which one or the other, or both, markedly reduce their acting with the behaviors that are known to convey love (see mini-love-lessons on the Behaviors That Give Love – The Basic Core Four). Deceit, loss of trust, sometimes sexual issues, feelings of repeatedly being undervalued and too frequently being lovingly undealt with seem to often precede the falling out of love experience. There is confusion as to whether one falls out of love or the love is killed by anti-loving behaviors and neglect.
What Does Religion Have to Do with It?It is thought that the popular concept “real love is forever” came from various religious teachings which interestingly are found in a wide number of the world’s religions and theological writings. Perhaps it was traveling monks, along with troubadours, who spread the stories and myths that love is a forever thing.
The concept that love never ends is distinctly and clearly scriptural in Christianity. However, certain religionists have made an exception for carnal love, even for those married. Any love, even if it is quite real, is seen as sinful and corrupting by any pleasurable sex according to those religionists. However, a growing number of theologians, more love-focused than only strictly faith-based, strongly disagree and support the idea that all forms of real love may be forever.
Especially in certain Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic traditions there are teachings promoting the idea that all love, even passionate and sexual love, is of divine origin and, thus, is everlasting. Similar thoughts can be found in the Scriptures and theology of Judaism, Taoism and a good many other smaller religions. Thus, the thesis that one does not fall out of true love but only falls out of false love is quite arguable from a wide range of religious perspectives.
Falling In and Out of Love Versus Growing in Love
Here is a concept to consider. Couples who ‘fall in love’ can also
‘fall out of love’, but couples who ‘grow in love’ cannot. That is
because falling in love may be more a symptom of infatuation or some
other form of false love, like the one called limerence. Some couples,
perhaps many, may start their relationship by having a ‘falling in love’
experience but then grow a different, more real love that is lasting.
Still others experience the falling out of love phenomenon because it is
a false love and not lasting. Couples growing a real love through
loving effort and loving actions, plus some time, are thought to do much
better and be much more long-lasting than those who rely on the falling
in love experience.
Much has yet to be learned about all aspects of love, including the falling out of love phenomenon. Hopefully this mini-love-lesson discussion will assist you in pondering your developing understandings of love.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Do you still love all the people you have ever loved?