Are there different ways to fall out of love? Does love every just go away? These are questions I’ve had, and I set out to find the answers.
A little bit of background on my love life: I have never been in love. I’ve loved people, unrequitedly, I have liked people immensely, but I have never loved and been loved back in a relationship. Yet. But I have love in my life, I have friends and family, and a dog, all of whom I love deeply. Most recently, I was dating someone who I really liked, I felt huge potential for our possible relationship, and then before it could start it ended. He wasn’t ready, he said it wasn’t the right time, all reasons that made sense, he was focusing on his career, this was his big break, etc. I wouldn’t say I was devastated because we didn’t date long enough for there to be heartbreak, but I was just so disappointed. I’m someone who is slow to feel but then feels deeply, so it takes me a while to find someone I really connect with, and then it takes me a while to un-connect. I really felt like this guy and I just clicked. And now I had to un-click. I tried to start using different dating apps but I realized I just wasn’t ready to connect with someone again. I realized I was still a “hung up” on that other guy. I wanted things to work with him, and I wasn’t over the loss of that potential relationship yet. No matter the level of love, there are ways to ease the connection and fall out of love, but it takes time and some work.
Here are 10 steps to help you fall out of love:
1. Accept the hurt. Feel the feels.
Sometimes the hardest part of change is accepting that something is changing. I think the same thing goes with feeling hurt. Don’t deny what you’re feeling. Say it out loud: “I am lonely. I am sad. I am hurt.” Sometimes, we mourn the loss of what could have been or what we dreamed of rather than what was. If you’re breaking up with someone you thought you’d spend your life with, you must realize that you have to heal from losing the person but also the idea of forever. And let yourself feel exactly how you’re feeling. I think too often we rush through to the healing part because we want to be ok and feel better. But accepting your current emotional status and really just feeling it and being present is an important part to healing.
2. Be alone.
Take some time to be by yourself. Being actively single, not mingling, not dating, but truly taking time to focus on just what your wants and needs is an important part of healing and growth. Spending time with yourself allows you to explore your own interests independently. You won’t be influenced by another person’s needs or desires. It’s how you’ll learn to trust your own instincts and make the best decisions for yourself in the future.
3. Spend time with friends.
There are different types of love, and non-romantic love is important! Even when you’re heartbroken, there are still many people in your life who love you. Let them show you how they care by accepting offers for lunch or having an old-fashioned sleepover with your closest girlfriends.
4. Practice self-care.
Self-care is not a new term, but sometimes we put all of our focus and energy on building or maintaining a relationship and we lose sight of taking care of ourselves. Use this time to figure out what re-energizes you, what soothes you, and practice doing something for yourself daily. Make a healthy meal plan, bake cookies on Saturday afternoon, walk around your neighborhood, go to your therapy appointment this week, call your mom. Journal your feelings. Write a letter to your past love and burn it. Or shred it. Or leave it in your journal to find years from now to remind you of how you’ve grown. Getting your feelings out is a healthy part of self-care as you start to fall out of love.
5. Replace the space.
If a relationship is ending or has ended, most likely you’ve gained a lot of new time or an empty feeling because the person you were with is now gone. You have to replace the space. For example, if you were watching a show with your former partner, replace that time with watching a new show with a friend. Sign yourself up for new workout classes. Set weekly networking meetings with new people.
6. Clear out.
Have you ever heard of Marie Kondo? If not, please read this immediately. Change is the perfect time for a fresh start. Set new intentions with your life, starting with your home. Letting go of material items that clutter our space is a great step into freeing yourself for healing. Get rid of anything that reminds you of the person you’re no longer with. Don’t leave things in a box under your bed. That box under the bed is like clutter in the heart. Let it go, girlfriend. In the same vein, delete their messages from your phone. Don’t leave them there for you to scroll through when you’ve had one glass of wine too many.
7. Do something creative.
I’m a firm believer in the power of journaling, and I tend to only do it when I’m feeling down. Writing my feelings down helps me see them from another angle and release the tension I’m holding on to. Other creative activities like painting, listening or creating music, even just singing in the car at the top of your lungs, helps us connect with our self and use a different part of our brain. It’s also a good way to work through your feelings.
8. Start something new (like a hobby).
Learning something new is a great way to build confidence and explore a new side of yourself. Have you always wanted to try rock climbing? Or woodworking? Or podcasting? The time is now, my friend, to try what you’ve been wanting to do! You’ll never get over someone if you sit around and think about them all day. You can’t move on if your head (and your heart) are stuck in the past. Start thinking about your future and your own goals.
9. Create distance.
To really heal and move on, you need to distance yourself from the person who you’re trying to fall out of love with. This is the perfect time to mute or unfollow them on social media, and really if you can create distance for yourself from social media in general, that’s the best way to take space back for yourself. It’s okay if you need to stop seeing mutual friends for a while. It’s okay if you need to unfriend their family members or untag yourself from photos. Heck, if you need to make physical distance and move, do it. Unlacing your heart from someone you loved deeply is not an easy thing to do. And it’s even harder if you have to see them everyday or might accidentally cross paths with them.
10. Accept their role in your story.
Not every love is forever. As the saying goes, some people are in your life for a reason, some for a reason, and some for a lifetime. Falling out of love often means accepting the reason this person was in your life as the season ends. The end of a love can make a time for change. It’s time to write a new chapter instead of re-reading old ones. Falling out of love is hard but not impossible. Most importantly, you have to be gentle with yourself, be willing to ask for help, and really let yourself grieve. It’s not going to be just a flick of a switch and it’s over. It’s like riding a wave or sledding down a hill that doesn’t have enough snow.
Songs to help you fall out of love:
About the Author
Marina is the Managing Editor here at GenTwenty. With a B.A. in French and an MFA in Creative Writing, she is a Writing Coach helping creatives bring their ideas to the page. Learn more about how to work with her at www.marinacrousewrites.com. In her free time, you’ll find her reading, cooking, traveling, or binge-watching sitcoms on Netflix. Website: www.marinacrousewrites.com
- Relationships evolve, and so do the feelings of love you have for your partner as you both grow and change.
- People usually fall out of love if one partner isn’t willing to grow along with the other partner, relationship therapist Matt Lundquist told Insider.
- It’s difficult to tell if you’ve actually fallen out of love, but trying to repair certain areas of your relationship like your co-parenting skills or ability to be amicable roommates, can offer clues.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more.
Something is loading. Thanks for signing up! Access your favorite topics in a personalized feed while you’re on the go. When you’re madly in love with someone, you likely never think about what it’d feel like to fall out of that love, but it can happen. In fact, it’s natural over time for couples to transition from passionate to compassionate love, or a «solid and stable form of love» that can lack the fiery passion of a young relationship, according to «The Anatomy of Love,» a site run by relationship researchers. Long-term partners also often go through major life changes together, and those changes can affect each partner in different ways. Sometimes, those experiences can bring two people closer together, but other times, they can create distance in relationship and, as a result, feelings of love may wane. Raising children, deciding to become sober, losing (or gaining) a lot of weight, or becoming disinterested in hobbies that you once shared with your partner can all drive a wedge in a relationship and make it feel like the love you once shared is absent, according to relationship therapist and founder of Tribeca Therapy Matt Lundquist. Although falling out of love can be a scary experience, it’s possible to regain that love if you have an open mind. «We think of love as binary and static, but it’s not like that,» Lundquist told Insider. He added that the «fuel that motivates the love may need to change over time,» and a couple’s ability to do that can make or break their relationship.
Falling out of love usually means your relationship is lacking in intimacy
It’s hard to define exactly what falling out of love feels like, but it’s usually characterized by actions (or lack thereof) that detract from intimacy in a relationship. If you or your partner start to communicate about relationship problems less and less, or keep secrets from each other, that could be a sign you don’t have the love-based connection you once did. Read more: 6 signs you’d be happier single Another sign you may be falling out of love is a disinterest in sex with your partner. It’s normal for a couple’s sex life to change as they enter the long-term phase of their relationship, but if you never want to be physically or emotionally intimate with your partner, that raises a major red flag. Lundquist said this lack of intimacy usually occurs when one partner goes through a significant event that changes them as a person, but the other partner doesn’t experience that same evolution. If one partner in a couple who used to bond over going to parties and drinking together decides to make a life change and become sober, for example, it could uproot a major bonding experience in the relationship. «It’s disruptive because you may want different things or different types of intimacy,» Lundquist said.
Focusing on other aspects of your relationship could reignite love
If a couple wants to fall back in love, it requires rethinking your commonalities. Getty When the interests that once brought a couple together start to diverge, it’s normal to feel a lack of connection. But if a couple wants to fall back in love, it requires rethinking your commonalities and actually putting the «love» aspect of things aside. «First, talk about what’s healthy and not, what’s aligned and what is not,» Lundquist said. «Be better friends, financial partners, and parents first before the love piece.» When a couple focuses on those day-to-day hurdles, or what Lundquist calls the «functional» aspects of the relationship, there’s a better chance for them to fall back in love. It’s also helpful for couples of any stage of their relationship to put effort into making sure their lives have enough novelty, variety, and surprise — aspects psychologists have long known are key to successful long-term partnerships, according to the American Psychological Association. One classic study, for instance, found that spouses were more satisfied when they were told to go on exciting dates like hiking than safe dates like renting a movie. Additionally, if one partner’s intimacy needs change, it’s important they discuss that with their partner so they get back on the same page. If one partner realizes they want more quality time with their spouse, for example, they need to explicitly explain that and make a plan to execute it.
It’s impossible to know whether you’ll fall back in love until you give it a try
Unfortunately, even if a couple takes these steps, it’s impossible to know whether the love you once felt will be rekindled. Still, if it’s a relationship you cherish and want to salvage, it’s worth a try. «Actively exploring is the only way to really find out if you can fall back in love,» Lundquist said. «You can’t see road ahead, but you have to trust it’s there.»
- Read more:
- 6 signs you’re a bad partner even if you think you aren’t
- 11 signs you’re ready to move in with your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together
- 7 signs your partner resents you, from starting petty fights to withholding sex
Letting go of someone you love is probably one of the most challenging things to do–but it is not impossible. So, how do you let go and fall out of love with someone?
When it’s real love, we never really fall out
What if we’ve limited our understanding of what falling in love is because the falling itself places our heart at nearly unbearable risk? And what if we need to believe that, when we’re falling, there will be an end to that overwhelming emotional state where we find our heart is beating right out of our chest? Perhaps we need to believe in the possibility of “falling out of love” because, while falling, we can’t think straight, and we sometimes find ourselves barely able to function at all. What if what happens when we fall in, is that, deep down, we know that we can never, not really, ever fall out? So, maybe the answer to the question of “How to fall out of love with someone?” is the most ironic one possible: We fall out of love with someone when we stop falling and land in real life with them (after the honeymoon, the insecurity, idealization, and obsession). After that, the road forks:
- We experience that landing as a great crash of disappointment, devalue the person—and love itself—and try to convince ourselves that it wasn’t real love after all, or
- We accept that we’ve landed in the quotidian with an actual human being, stand up and walk into our everyday lives together.
Sure, falling out of love, on first pass, sounds like either a great disappointment (you and/or this love-thing is not going to save me after all) or a defense (my heart was at too much risk and I want/need to fall out of love with you because it is either too painful or too scary). Either way, when it’s real love, we never really fall out. No, we carry the life, the love, the experience that we created, sustained and shared with each other always—we don’t get over it. We get through it, though, and take it with us for the rest of our lives. And this is a very good thing. Without each and every bit of love that we’ve experienced, we would not be, could not be, ourselves. We don’t recover from love, we’re not supposed to. We do not fall out of love. But when it’s real love we stop falling, accept the landing, stand up and walk with, in and through love together…for as long as our hearts can bear. Dr. Eric Williams, Ph.D., LPCS, LMFT, NCC Licensed Professional Counselor | Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Founder, Coastal Family Services, PLLC
Consider thinking about why it’s best to fall out of love with them
Something to consider when trying to fall out of love with someone is that you don’t have to hate or be upset with them. It’s unhealthy for you to fall out of love with someone because you prefer a negative emotion to experience instead. Consider thinking about why it’s best to fall out of love with them. Is the relationship toxic? Did they cheat on you? Are they emotionally impaired in some way that created issues for the relationship? Now consider all the qualities you look for in a healthy relationship. What are the qualities you look for in a partner fit for you? Vulnerability? Transparency? Security? Make a list of these attributes and compare them to the attributes of your past partner. Therefore, you are falling out of love with someone because you are choosing something healthier for yourself. You are choosing to live in the fullness of love as you deem healthy. Related: How to Figure out What You Want in a Relationship
Take time to invest in yourself
Oftentimes, we feel as though we’re still in love with an ex (or a crush) because we idealize their memory (or we don’t really know them). In many cases, you can use rational thought to help you to let go of feelings of attachment. If you’re trying to get over an ex, make a list of the ways in which they enriched your life and the ways in which they detracted from your happiness and fulfillment. You are likely to find that the latter outweighs the former. If you have trouble recognizing the ways in which they (or the relationship) didn’t work for you, enlist a friend to help you. They can likely look at your ex’s behavior through a supportive and more rational lens. In addition to identifying the reasons why you do not want to be with your ex, take time to invest in yourself. Change your routine to break the habits you shared with your ex. If you used to stop at a specific coffee shop on the way to work, change it up and try a different cafe. If there was a show you were binge-watching together, pick a new program to watch on your own. When you engage in the same routines, you can become sentimental and romanticize the past; instead, create new habits that allow for excitement or indulgence. Spend time with friends who are happy, as happiness is contagious; it can be helpful to hang out with folks who support you when you’re sad but try not to center all of your relationships on commiserating about your breakup. Talk about it and allow yourself to be sad (those who acknowledge negative feelings are better able to reconcile them than those who ignore them), but look for other topics of conversation as well. If you’re trying to get over a crush or someone you dated for a very short period of time, make a list of all the things you know about them, all the things you think you know and all the things you don’t know. Take a look at the things you think you know and look for evidence to confirm what you think you know; you likely will find that the evidence doesn’t exist (you idealize them, because they’re new, exciting or attractive) and you can move these items into the “things you don’t know” column. As you complete this list, you’ll likely find that you’re in love with the idea of someone that doesn’t exist in reality. You’ve filled in the gaps with your own ideal desires because you want to like/love them. Yocheved Golani Author | Life Coach Certified in Counseling Skills | Content Provider and Editor Specializing in Medical Topics, e-counseling.com
Look at it without prejudice
Your friends and family members want you to dump the person taking up your time and focus while treating you poorly. You might be struggling to understand why they don’t approve of your romantic partner and feel ready to defend the troubling behaviors. That desire to defend the person is your signal that something is amiss. Loving people don’t need defending. Though it is a struggle, step back from the situation when you’re all alone. Pretend that you’re someone watching the overall situation. Look at it without prejudice. Practice until you achieve objectivity. Now list the incidents that have been the source of debate. Ask yourself: “Is this the way I like being treated?” “Did I benefit from such and such?” “Do I want this to happen again, especially in public?” “Do I feel safe with X?” “Can I trust X with my money, my privacy, my safety, and my body?” If any of the answers are “No,” or “I’m not sure,” then you need to think longer about your need to end the relationship. It might take time to lose the sense of romance the desire to be held, the need to have someone important in your life. But the benefit of walking away from someone who undermines your well-being is priceless. You’ll be safer for the effort, especially if the jilted person demeans you later. The anger is proof that the person was harming you and would have harmed you more. Loving people make peace, not panic. Build your inner strengths and reserve your time for someone who treats you well. When you look forward to the shared activities, you’ll know that you’re in a beneficial situation aka romance. Bill Prasad LPC, LCDC Psychotherapist | Licensed Professional Counselor | Certified Trauma Counselor | Approved Critical Incident Stress Management Team Instructor
Falling out of love is a day to day proposition
I have worked with a large number of people who are trying to get past a relationship break-up where they were in love. Here are some tips:
- Disconnect all social media from the person. Staying connected will keep you connected to your pain.
- Block all incoming texts to prevent an unended break-up. I’ve noticed a growing trend toward breaking off a relationship but keeping the person dangling through ongoing texts.
- Spend some time looking at yourself and what you can do differently next time. Don’t plunge into another relationship! You may end up making the same mistakes. Plunging into another relationship can mean you are afraid to face yourself, you’d rather put your attention on someone else.
- Get quality sleep. If your sleep is interrupted for more than two weeks, get some help from a physician. It is difficult to function without sleep. A lack of sleep can feed depression.
- Put some time into exercise, yoga, meditation or church. Do a deep dive into some ongoing activities that help you to feel better.
- Accept that falling out of love is a day to day proposition done hours at a time. Your goal is simple- get through the next hour. Plan! Plan! Plan! Long periods of idle time can leave you ruminating in a dark place where you dig a psychological hole.
- Keep tabs on your appetite. A break-up can cause you to eat less or eat too much.
- Go after activities that require eye-to-hand coordination. It is very difficult to ruminate about a former love while shooting a basketball, playing tennis or hitting a ball in a batting cage.
- If you are having continued trouble (2 to 4 weeks) functioning at the workplace or as a parent, get some counseling help! This is especially true if you are thinking of harming yourself. This is even truer if you have the means (pills, handgun).
Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC Certified Life Coach | Relationship Expert and Professional Matchmaker | Founder and Owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC
Believing that our partner’s actions (or inactions) are done with ill intent and believing that they don’t have our best interest at heart is one way to fall out of love with someone. It is tough to love a person if we truly think they are “out to get us” or even simply “don’t have our back.”
Sometimes we romanticize our partner’s behavior because we want to believe the relationship is worth saving, but if you can step out of emotion and into logic and realistically evaluate your partner’s actions and overall character, you may begin to see things more clearly and begin to fall out of love.
Refusing to settle
If you have gotten to a point in your life where you want more and you recognize that your partner is stagnant and not willing to work on personal growth, then you may find yourself falling out of love. Outgrowing a partner happens, especially if one person is highly committed to working towards a goal (be it education, having a family, establishing a career or pursuing a dream) and the other is not. That disconnect can certainly factor into one falling out of love.
Lack of respect
Respect is a KEY factor in love. If you do not have respect for your partner, love is usually lacking as well. A lack of respect could stem from many factors including irresponsibility, immaturity, dishonesty, laziness or just plain apathy. No matter the cause of the lack of respect, you can count on that as being a component of falling out of love. Adina Mahalli (MSW) Certified Mental Health Expert and Family Care Professional, Maple Holistics
Remind yourself that if it’s meant to be, it’ll be
You may not believe in fate or greater power, but the truth is, everything happens for a reason. It’s easier to fall out of love with someone when you can accept that if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. Nothing good gets away. You have to accept that things didn’t work out, and if they’re going to, eventually they will. There’s a reason that it didn’t work out which you don’t realize now. This isn’t a feeling you can feel right away, but it should help in getting over an unforgettable love. Hopefully, you’ll back at these memories and either laugh that you thought this was true love or with the confidence that you knew that this love would come back in the end.
Just because it didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something for you to learn from the experience. One of the ways to fall out of love with someone and come out as a stronger person on the other side is by taking stock of the ways in which this relationship changed you for the better and what you have learned about yourself through the process. Life itself is a process and falling out of love with someone is just one small step in the journey of becoming your best self. Instead of focusing on your lost relationship, use it as an opportunity to learn about yourself and grow.
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