Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Falling In and Out of Love

The way that most people get to our blog these days is through searching out words such as “no longer in love,” “why do people fall out of love” “why do people stop trying” and other variations on this dilemma. We also meet with many couples where one or both of the partners are struggling with recapturing old feelings of love. What a painful time for both people … and it presents such a struggle.

Trying to recapture those feelings of love can be like insomnia … the harder that you try to fall asleep … the more awake you feel. The harder that you try to fall back in love, the more you may notice times of not feeling in love. The more that you try to push those thoughts and feelings of distance out of your mind, the more present that they seem.

The more someone struggles with these feelings, the harder it becomes for the spouse because she, or he, feels that distance and the natural inclination is to try to pull their partner closer. Then the pursuit begins and couples engage in a dance that involves one trying to get closer and the closer that one tries, the more that their spouse pulls back as he or she feels pressure.

Bill and Sandy struggled with this when their children were very young and both were working a lot of hours. It seemed that there was no time to devote to their relationship and they felt distance develop. Both were also tired a lot of the time and their conversations frequently turned to nagging and complaining about the common couple issues of housework, child care, money and sex.

Many of their problems were never resolved but they also continued to surface and slowly but surely their goodwill and friendship eroded. Neither of them wanted to give up on the marriage, mainly because of the children, but both agreed that they had lost feelings of passion and love for each other. When one of them wanted to try, the other had little interest and they just became more stuck and more unhappy.

Bill was the one to finally decide that he needed to do whatever it took to change things in the marriage; however, even with the many changes that he made, it took Sandy months to notice or acknowledge them. He found the courage and patience to persist; however, and made the many changes that he knew she wanted. He focused on rebuilding their friendship, not pressuring her, just being open to her much slower progress.

Both are in a much better place today … and can look back on this time as one that might affect many couples at their stage of life. They are very glad for themselves, as well as their children, that they were able to hang in and turn things around.

Do you have stories to tell about your change of feelings … or of your spouse? Please share them with us.


Anonymous said...

I'm in this situation now. I'm not married, but I'm in a serious relationship. I've 'lost' my feelings and I want them back. I find that as much as I try, I get nowhere. I just don't know what to do to feel love for my boyfriend again. I don't want to lose him, and he is hurting. The whole situation makes me very anxious. What do I do?

Sally Connolly and John Turner said...

It is a tough situation. We have some suggestions on our website, http://CounselingRelationshipsOnline.com.

Check out the pages, under Online Marriage Counseling titled "Staying in Love" and "Falling Back in Love".