Heartbreak

The Slow-But-Steady Way Couples Go From 'Madly In Love' To 'I'm Not In Love Anymore'

Photo: Tiko Aramyan / shutterstock.com
man and woman sadly silent

Is it possible to love someone … but no longer be in love with them? The answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes.”

We can love someone with our whole hearts, yet that doesn’t mean we should stay together. This doesn’t mean that we won’t always wish the very best for them or be any less grateful for their wonderful attributes.

This person may be someone we consider a great friend. It may be the person who we believe is the love of our life. 

But that does not mean they are the right long-term for us. 

The fact of the matter is, if our partners are not giving us what we require to be in a healthy relationship, the other parts of the relationship are moot. 

This is not to say that our partner isn't a good person. It is not saying that they don't have some very redeeming qualities — but that still does not mean they are the right person for us

Healthy relationships require us to feel emotionally balanced — appreciated, worthy and most of all loved.

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How people fall out of love

The story of Tim and Jake

Tim and Jake (all names are pseudonyms in this article) had been a couple for several years. Shortly after they first began dating, Tim noticed a pattern where Jake was drinking quite often.

Tim mentioned his concerns to Jake and Jake responded, "Don't worry, it won't ever be a problem." 

Tim gave Jake the benefit of the doubt because he was falling in love, and he wanted to believe and trust in him. It wasn't long after Tim moved in with Jake that Tim felt he needed to address the same issue. 

This time when Tim brought it up, Jake responded, "I told you, it won't be a problem." 

Months went by and nothing had changed. Jake was a decent man — he was reliable in many other ways that mattered — but he wasn't keeping his word about drinking.  

The sad truth was that Tim felt like he couldn't trust Jake. When someone makes a commitment but doesn't stay true to their word, it adds an unnecessary barrier to the relationship dynamics.

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Problems remain unresolved

Another few months went by with yet another conversation about the elephant in the room.

Tim decided to try a different approach when he mentioned the meaning of moderation, Jake got upset and exclaimed, "I don't do well with ultimatums!" 

How does this affect the relationship? It tells Tim that Jake never intended to change in the first place. Rather, all of Jake's previous conversations were just an attempt to pacify Tim.  

As time passed, the relationship dynamics between the two of them drastically changed. 

Tim wasn't willing to put continuous effort into the relationship if Jake was not willing to keep his word. The barriers of trust were severely crumbling.

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Time to move on?

Tim eventually moved into a separate bedroom hoping they could somehow resolve the situation. He needed some space to process his feelings. 

He had also hoped that Jake would be willing to look at what needed to change within their relationship. Tim wanted it to be just as important to Jake as Jake was to him.  

Tim admitted that he would always love Jake, but he felt he couldn't compete with Jake's addiction. 

He wanted to have things they could look forward to as a couple. He wanted quality time with Jake. 

Most of all, he wanted to feel like he was a priority in the relationship. This was not how Tim wanted to spend the rest of his future. 

They rarely made quality time for each other. Jake's priority was staying close to home so he could spend time together with his Mister (in Jake's case, alcohol) instead of spending quality time with Tim. 

As nothing had improved with this situation, Tim found he was falling out of love, but he would always care about Jake as a person and a friend. 

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Continuous commitment is required

The story of Marnie and Liz 

When Marnie and Liz began dating, they both seemed to be on the same page when it came to going out. 

They both said that they didn't really like to go out much. Liz in particular said, "I'm pretty much a homebody when I'm not at work." 

Marnie agreed for the most part until she realized that Liz wasn't kidding. Pay attention to the red flags. After all, you were warned.  

The majority of times when they did go out it was Marnie's idea. Along with this was the fact that nine times out of ten, Liz always expected Marnie to pay. 

Conveniently, Liz would always get up from the table to use the restroom just about the time the bill should arrive. 

Marnie brought this up to Liz and her response was, "Why don't you just leave the bill there until I get back?" 

Marnie replied, "When we are at home, you never get up right after supper needing to use the restroom. Why don't you leave your card or cash out before leaving the table once in a while?"

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Netflix and ... not much else

Liz rarely if ever initiated a date night. For Liz, staying home watching TV or having a few cocktails was her idea of fun. 

Liz seemed to enjoy watching her favorite shows and movies while holding hands or cuddling on the couch. Marnie found that she had often compromised by mostly watching what Liz wanted to watch and rarely were these roles reversed.  

Marnie admitted that after a while she felt like she didn't really matter. Why was she in a one-sided relationship? 

This wasn't what she believed love or compromise should look or feel like. 

How do we keep romance alive if we don't put any effort into our relationships? 

Eventually, Marnie admitted that she needed more than Liz had or was willing to offer. 

She wanted to feel a real connection. She wanted to be with someone who enjoyed spending quality time with her. 

She wanted a relationship that featured compromise. She wanted to feel nurtured and cared about. 

She didn't want to feel like she was the only one willing to make an effort or sacrifices. Love fades when we don't nurture it.  Just like a plant requires water and nutrients to continue to grow -- our relationships also need genuine love and attention.

RELATED: 10 Things Couples Must Be Able To Do In Order To Keep Their Relationship Alive

Love is not just a four-letter word

Letting go of someone we love or once loved because we don't share the same hopes, dreams or goals doesn't mean we have done anything wrong. It just means that we value our own self-worth. 

Love yourself first and remember how important it is that we don't "just settle" — especially when we acknowledge that we deserve so much more. 

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Kathy Thielen is an energy healer and life coach who focuses on happiness, self-care, psychic healing and relationships.

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