We're Not In-Love Anymore

What does it mean to not be in-love anymore?

In order to answer this question, I think I have to start by defining what “in-love” is.  “In-love” means to feel an euphoric high.  You feel the flutter in your stomach.  The excitement and anticipation for his phone call.  The sound of his voice and smell are distinctive and intoxicating.  You plan your wedding, imagining the old country church and the Cinderella gown.  You’ve found your Prince Charming, your soul mate, the one.  You think about your future life with this person and plan all your “firsts” together.

Being “in-love” is very similar to experiencing an episode of psychosis.  You are spinning out of control and you are loving it.  You don’t want it to ever end.  In 6 months to 2 years this feeling will fade.  For some, this feeling can fade in 3 months.  When this feeling fades you are no longer “in-love.”  You begin to see all his faults and annoyances.  He is never around or he uses words and sounds that drive you up a wall.  The Prince Charming you saw yourself being with for the rest of your life changes to, “when can I get out of this hell.”

What is love?  And what makes it different then being “in-love?”

Love is reality and isn’t romance.  Love is seeing your partner with all his faults and loving him for his strengths.  There are words, sounds, smells you can’t stand that he makes, and you learn how to manage your feelings about these annoyances.  You learn to pick your battles.  What is important and what isn’t.

You shed the view of a savor or father who has came into your life to make it better.  Instead, you see he has fears and insecurities too.  You both are human.  You both are individuals and are learning to maintain your individuality while still maintaining a bond.  You develop your own internal strengths making your relationship stronger.

Love teaches us to be better people.  We learn to listen and communicate.  We learn to help another and empathize.  Love can be painful and tough, but there’s a faith you will make it through.  And if this relationship doesn’t work, you will have another opportunity to practice.  Because, every individual has the capacity to have multiple “soul mates.”

Going back to my original question, “what does it mean to not be in-love anymore?”  I say, thank god!  If you’re no longer in love, you have woken up to reality.  It is time to learn how to have a meaningful relationship that can teach you about yourself.  Because being “in-love” is temporary and love is continuous.  Being “in-love” will fade.  Those who fall out of love are now faced with dealing with real life.  You can no longer avoid or hide in your relationship.  You must find your own passion, instead of seeing your passion inside someone else.

There are some key ingredients for a sustainable love relationship.  You must learn how to communicate with your partner.  This includes empathic listening, asking questions and being interested in what your partner has to say.  Keep in mind not everything your partner says has something to do with you.  Effective communication doesn’t include being defensive or critical.  Both individuals must feel safe in order to be vulnerable.

Sustainable love makes time for touch and play.  You need to make time for dates and sexual play.  It’s important to address problems that get in the way of sex and sensual play.

It’s important to work out any problems from your past that continue to creep into your relationship.  Do keep in mind we can easily play out patterns from our past or continue patterns from our parents’ relationship.  Enough is enough.  It’s time to become aware of these patterns and nip them in the bud.  You’re relationship can be a mirror held up in front of you to remind you you have work to do in this department.

My best advice is stop falling in love or expecting to fall in love.  You aren’t living a romantic comedy movie.  You are living real life.  And real love is reality.  I find real life more exciting than the ups and downs of falling “in-love.”

Elana Clark-Faler
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