Is falling out of love real?


#1

The reason I ask is because...as much as I hate to admit it...I think that's what I may be going through. But I'm not 100% certain yet. I've just been having a lot of mixed emotions in the past few months about my relationship with my wife and...I don't know what's going on. But something just feels off and...I'm in terrible need of some advice. Cause this is tearing me apart and I seriously do not feel at peace with myself. I constantly find myself thinking about this on a daily basis and yesterday it was bothering me so much that I left halfway through mass just to be alone. And I normally don't ever do that. So...this is really messing with me and I need some advice.

I met my wife 3 years ago. And from the very beginning, we hit it off perfectly. We began dating about 3 months after we met and...we knew that we were in love with each other. We couldn't stand to be away from each other, we talked on the phone all the time, we were not only lovers/partners but we were also truly the best of friends. I could talk to her about anything and everything and get along with her on the same level I would with a friend. And that's something I had never had with any of my past relationships and it's something her and I still have to this day. We could be ourselves around each other, we were always so supportive of each other, we were always there for one another, I mean we were both truly head over heels for each other. I remember just being so incredibly in love with her and not ever wanting to be away from her.

We found out she was pregnant a little bit after her and I began dating (she got pregnant by the guy before me before we even got together. She just didn't know until after we were already together because she kept spotting for a while) and she ended up having a baby 9 months afterwards. Despite the fact that the baby was not mine biologically, that didn't change my love for her at all. I stayed with her throughout her pregnancy and I was still ever so much in love with her. Even after she had the baby I grew to love the child as my own and I still felt as though I was truly head over heels for her. Eventually I proposed to her and we got married last August. So, we've been married now for almost a year, but we've been together for 3.

But...shortly after we got married...in fact it might’ve been a little bit before we got married…to me…it just seemed like I wasn’t as infatuated with her as I used to be. I found myself walking down the street and gazing at another beautiful woman and being entranced with her as I would’ve been when I was single. That wasn’t something I experienced when I knew I was truly in love. When I knew I was in love, I’d look at another woman and just look right away not thinking anything of it because I knew I was in love with the best woman on the planet. But then this started happening. And then it started getting so bad that even when my wife was around, I would catch myself eyeing other women. And it made me feel terrible.

I mean, I knew that I still loved my wife. I still missed her and thought about her all the time when I was at work, I loved being around her, I loved cuddling with her and holding her in my arms, I still loved talking with her and hanging out with her, so I knew that I still loved her. But I then started asking myself “Am I IN love with her/have I fallen out of love with her?” And a part of me for a while felt like “Well…should it really matter? As long as I love her, that should be enough.” But still, even when I assumed that attitude…something still didn’t seem right. One other thing I noticed is that whenever I thought about being in love with my wife, I would always think back at the days when I first met her, but not so much about the more recent times. After she had the baby obviously she put on a few pounds and over the years she’s had a lot of trouble losing that weight. She’s still very beautiful to me, but because of that excess weight, it’s kinda caused me to not be as attracted to her physically as I used to be. Not only that, but she’s also been going through so much stress after having the baby that it’s caused her to develop a hair pulling disorder. So, that’s another thing that adds onto the physical attraction issue. She looks so different from when I first met her and she’s so depressed now with how she looks (which she reflects in her attitude now cause she’s always bashing herself and talking badly about herself) that sometimes I feel as though I married a completely different woman. I know that she’s the same person and I know that I still love her. But…something just feels off.

I really don’t know what to make of all this. I don’t know if it’s normal to feel this way (in the sense that after your with someone for so long, the feeling of infatuation just dissipates and you know you still love that person but the bond then develops into more of like a father/son bond), I don’t know if this is the devil just constantly trying to tempt me everytime I look at another woman to get me to mess up the beautiful relationship I have with my wife, I don’t know if this is me just falling out of love with her, I just don’t know what to make of all this and it’s tearing me apart. I don’t want to lose my wife, that much is clear. I know that I love her and we’ve been through to much hell to ever leave each other. I don’t feel as though I could ever bring myself to break it off with her because I love her so much. But…something is just not at peace in my heart. And this is driving me crazy. Has anyone ever felt like this?


#2

Answer this question for me: "What is love?"


#3

You are being selfish. Don’t feel too bad because society encourages this, and if you confess, you will be forgiven. :slight_smile:

Real love is not a feeling. It is a conscious decision to give of yourself. It is harder, but ultimately far better. You simply decide (1) I don’t care about what she does for me (her actions or the feelings you receive), (2) I am going to focus on the beautiful things about her, (3) I will work to not let my eyes stray, and (4) I will be thankful for all the good things and want for nothing else. It is hard, but will lead to true joy.

If it makes you feel any better, it took a very, very long time to learn this.


#4

To me…personally…love is when your dying inside everytime your away from a certain someone, because you want to be around them every single second of each and every day and never be away from them. Love is when not a moment passes by that your not thinking about that person you love. Love is when your willing to walk through hell and high water just to get a glimpse of that person when they’re far away from you. Love is when you find yourself going above and beyond for that person and doing things you nromally wouldn’t do (including things that you hate doing) just to make them happy and just to make sure they’re taken care of at the end of the day. Love is when your willing to die for that person so that they may live…This is what I believe Love to be…


#5

falling in and out of love is a myth

love is an action word, a verb, and should be treated as such. we choose to love someone, and choose to love someone. love is not an irresistable force that you cannot do anything against it if it comes and goes. some people use this excuse to cheat, get divorced, etc. “i saw this woman and i fell in love. nothing i can do.” “i don’t love my husband anymore, i fell out of love, nothing i can do.”

the chioce to love or not to love is tied to your free will. that is why God gave us free will, if we can’t choose to love, then the love is not real. falling in and out of love is a misconception and it portrays love as a mystical force that you have no will over it. but you do.

if you feel you’re not loving your spouse just as much, then willfully and conciously move yourself to love her more. we are the masters of our emotions, not the other way around. find ways to excite yourself in your relationship. remember, all of it is in your hands, they are your choices.


#6

Very good, you simply leave out an important point, IMO the most important. Love is when you perform acts of kindness towards her. All of your points could be considered to be subsets of this one, but they leave out the ever-important day-to-day tangible actions that we need to do for our spouse. It is by doing these actions, that permanent feelings of love arise.

[quote=pacoenelsaco]To me…personally…love is when your dying inside everytime your away from a certain someone, because you want to be around them every single second of each and every day and never be away from them. Love is when not a moment passes by that your not thinking about that person you love. Love is when your willing to walk through hell and high water just to get a glimpse of that person when they’re far away from you. Love is when you find yourself going above and beyond for that person and doing things you nromally wouldn’t do (including things that you hate doing) just to make them happy and just to make sure they’re taken care of at the end of the day. Love is when your willing to die for that person so that they may live…This is what I believe Love to be…
[/quote]

The part I bolded is what I really agree with. The rest, I really disagree with.


#7

[quote="pacoenelsaco, post:4, topic:198717"]
To me...personally...love is when your dying inside everytime your away from a certain someone, because you want to be around them every single second of each and every day and never be away from them. Love is when not a moment passes by that your not thinking about that person you love. Love is when your willing to walk through hell and high water just to get a glimpse of that person when they're far away from you. Love is when you find yourself going above and beyond for that person and doing things you nromally wouldn't do (including things that you hate doing) just to make them happy and just to make sure they're taken care of at the end of the day. Love is when your willing to die for that person so that they may live...This is what I believe Love to be...

[/quote]

Please do not take this as an insult or as a nasty comment. You have a very immature and fairy tale ideal of what true love is.

Love is an act of the will - not a feeling. Love is what we DO, not how we feel. The butterflies in the belly, sweaty hands, blurred vision, fast pulse, craving, all that stuff - is physical and emotional attraction. It's what may bring us together and get us to realize we want to be together, but it is NOT what will keep us together in our marriages.

Christ loves us. He loved us by hanging on a cross - that is how He showed His love for us. He did not have hearts and flowers luuuuuuv for us - He showed us that Divine Love by giving His life for us. It was an act of Will - not a feeling.

My husband has said (in speaking about human love - not Christ's sacrifice) that true love is not dying for someone - anyone can and will die. It is truly living for them. Living is the hard part - richer/poorer, health/sickness, until death.

Please watch this outstanding video about Love & Hate: Shadow Priest

~Liza


#8

If your wife gained a bunch of weight, pulls her hair, and doesn’t take care of her appearance it’s really not so surprising that you’ve lost the physical attraction for her. (I say this as a woman by the way.)

Think of ways you can change this. Maybe sneakily suggest working out with your wife. The best way would be running together as that burns a lot of calories and can make weight loss very easy. Alternatives would be hiking, or going on bike rides, or enrolling in a martial arts class together.

Since your wife seems to be having mental health issues, tell her how worried you are about her health, how you think she might have post partum depression, or whatever, and convince her to see a professional. Hair pulling is not normal, and stress/mental illness can cause weight gain too.

My guess would be that the stress/mental health issues are the biggest problem that are preventing your wife from being the attractive, interesting woman she can be.


#9

The other posters are correct: love is primarily a choice, not an emotion.

Don’t confuse infatuation for love. No one ever maintains a constant level of infatuation with their spouse for years and years. That’s not what love is about. When people expect infatuation to last is when they get into trouble because they feel justified leaving their spouse because they no longer have that emotional high.

Keep praying and actively choosing to love your wife.


#10

[quote="flyingfish, post:8, topic:198717"]
If your wife gained a bunch of weight, pulls her hair, and doesn't take care of her appearance it's really not so surprising that you've lost the physical attraction for her. (I say this as a woman by the way.)

Think of ways you can change this. Maybe sneakily suggest working out with your wife. The best way would be running together as that burns a lot of calories and can make weight loss very easy. Alternatives would be hiking, or going on bike rides, or enrolling in a martial arts class together.

Since your wife seems to be having mental health issues, tell her how worried you are about her health, how you think she might have post partum depression, or whatever, and convince her to see a professional. Hair pulling is not normal, and stress/mental illness can cause weight gain too.

My guess would be that the stress/mental health issues are the biggest problem that are preventing your wife from being the attractive, interesting woman she can be.

[/quote]

Marriage is "in sickness and in health." That includes mental illness. "Sneakily suggesting a workout" or attending classes is not a way to handle mental illness (depression, obsessive-compulsive activity such as hair-pulling, etc.). This wife requires care and treatment by a good medical doctor and possibly a psychologist. If the wife is clinically depressed, she probably won't be able to get out of bed to get ready to go to a class or even take a walk.

I agree with everyone else here who says that love is a choice to "do" an action. Love is not a feeling. When you take action and do loving things for your wife right now, not when she is "attractive" or "interesting," you will experience deep joy and satisfaction and a sense that you are doing the right thing and that you are in line with God's plan for your life. And then the more you do loving things, the more joy and fulfilment you will experience.

The Bible says that a man who loves his wife will be willing to give his life for her. That's what love is--giving up your life for the spouse.

As for looking at other women, every man does that. Big deal. The OP is not unique. It's not the first look that is sinful, it's the continued gaze which eventually will become lust. Just live with it--that's part of being a man. It means nothing to your marriage. It doesn't matter whether your wife is attractive or in your eyes, unattractive. Even if your wife was the most beautiful woman in the world, you would still look at other women because you are a man and that's how men are created by God--to be attracted by sight to women. Just learn to live with it and minimize it in your life. The more you worry and obsess about it, the more it will consume your life and make you feel that "something is wrong." Nothing is wrong. You're just being a normal, red-blooded man. Here's how you will know when something is wrong--when you don't think women are beautiful anymore.

Stop making the marriage all about you, and get in there and fight for your wife's mental and physical health, and for the child that you agreed to father when you married your wife. Forget about you and your feelings. In giving yourself to your wife and child, you will know what love is.


#11

I respect your opinion (especially since you were answering someone’s question), but to me this is how I would describe “obsession”. It sounds like you aren’t obsessed with her anymore, and that is a normal part of a relationship. As long as you stay focused and faithful with your mind, heart and body, you can pass through this stage. Some of the other posters had some good ideas of things you can do to still be loving. I love what Liza said about living for the other person. Daily grind, bills, sniffles, frustrations, joys, mealtime, chores, errands, cuddles, all this plays a part.


#12

[quote="Cat, post:10, topic:198717"]
Marriage is "in sickness and in health." That includes mental illness. "Sneakily suggesting a workout" or attending classes is not a way to handle mental illness (depression, obsessive-compulsive activity such as hair-pulling, etc.). This wife requires care and treatment by a good medical doctor and possibly a psychologist. If the wife is clinically depressed, she probably won't be able to get out of bed to get ready to go to a class or even take a walk.

[/quote]

As someone who has suffered from mental illness (anxiety disorder/OCD), I can tell you that working out is very helpful because it has a positive effect on brain chemistry. Mental health professionals will also tell patients to work out.

If she can't get out of bed, obviously this wouldn't apply. But should she go to a doctor and get medication that would enable her to get out of bed, the doctor would likely tell her to work out.

I agree with everyone else here who says that love is a choice to "do" an action. Love is not a feeling. When you take action and do loving things for your wife right now, not when she is "attractive" or "interesting," you will experience deep joy and satisfaction and a sense that you are doing the right thing and that you are in line with God's plan for your life. And then the more you do loving things, the more joy and fulfilment you will experience.

I think it's easy to say that love is a choice about what you do, but I would imagine it would ring hollow for many. When people talk about love, they generally don't mean choosing to treat a person well and do nice things for them.

They talk about the biological desire, infatuation, attraction and all that. They talk about romantic love. So it wouldn't be very helpful for a person who wants the romantic love back to be told that love is a choice of how to treat one's spouse. That is not what they are concerned about.


#13

I totally disagree with this. This sounds like someone who has been in love, or married, for a year. I’m so glad I don’t feel like I did when I first met my wife. I’d be dead by now. I couldn’t live with that level of intensity. That’s not to say that does not still appear at times. Real love is not driving through a blizzard to get to a loved one. It’s staying put when you know they are safe and you are safe because you’d never want to see them deal with you being hurt. Love is when a person feels like home to you. It’s the little simple things. Waking up to find your car filled with gas so you don’t have to stop in the morning. Recording her fave TV show she’s fallen asleep. If I told my wife I couldn’t live without her she’d tell that it’s clear I DON’T love her. Because if she were gone that is the one thing she would want the most.That said, no matter where I am or what I’m doing it’s better with here there.


#14

[quote="pacoenelsaco, post:1, topic:198717"]
But...shortly after we got married...in fact it might’ve been a little bit before we got married…to me…it just seemed like I wasn’t as infatuated with her as I used to be.

[/quote]

There's your answer right there - you're confusing infatuation with love. As most of the other posters have already stated - love is a CHOICE. It's an act of the will. It's something you have to decide EVERY DAY.

You don't "fall out of love" with someone - you chose not to love them any longer.

There are some days where I don't like my wife. I'd say I even dislike her. But I still love her. I CHOOSE to love her.

Infuation is the fun stuff when you're care-free. Love is when there are bills to pay, diapers to change, laundry to do. You can still have moments of infatuation, but the mature person loves.


#15

Well, the honeymoon period is over, and now you are in the what’s left stage. Now it’s important to realize, you get married primarily to have children, 2ndary, to grow old together. Now is both of your times to figure out just who each other are and grow together as one, not apart. The main thing, keep talking, word it all out, do not distance yourselves from each other, you were best friends before, you need to regain that element in the here and now, and that’s done through sharing.

You guys omitted the courtship stage, and you now see it’s necessity, you two would not have to go through this phase if you took that much needed time to do so, and sadly, our society has done away with it and this is the typical end result. It’s time you place those vows into context, your covenant with God with this marriage requires the utmost on your mind, and I will point out, if you find your eyes wandering, something is wrong, we have full control over where we place our attentions upon, and it’s not a whole lot of self control to remain that way. The main bit of work both of you have to resolve, eliminating pulling away from one another, and it’s a hard thing to overcome, but it can and should be addressed immediately.

The feelings do come back, but in a different, more mature manner, if you can get past this stage, you’ll be on far better, more secure ground, and the both of you will realize how valuable you are to each other and cherish things you never did before. It’s this moving past the superficial which you have based your marriage upon that counts, but both of you have to put in effort in the here and now or it will only cause frustration.

Final note, you can throw away all of the advice I gave you, but do not ignore this one, “pray together” daily, it will do wonders.


#16

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Cor. 13.4-8)

Love is also really, really hard. It seems that that is what you are discovering right now. It is easy to love when it feels good and it seems that the love we give is being completely reciprocated. It is supernatural to love when the feelings are gone and it seems that nobody is loving us in return.

Nevertheless, it is to this supernatural love that you, as a married man, are called. The only way that you will be able to rise to this is with supernatural power - and this is available to you in the sacraments. I truly appreciate that things seem really tough right now, but I believe that the Lord is calling you to let this be a moment of conversion in your life. You could use this experience as an excuse to give up on your marriage or to become depressed, OR you could reach out to Jesus in a deeper way than before. I would urge you to receive the sacraments more often, and/or try and spend time regularly/daily praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Also, finding someone to give you some sort of spiritual direction may help. Many have been through what you are now going through, but there is help in Christ, if you would seek it.

God Bless you, you will be in my prayers.


#17

[quote="pacoenelsaco, post:4, topic:198717"]
To me...personally...love is when your dying inside everytime your away from a certain someone, because you want to be around them every single second of each and every day and never be away from them. Love is when not a moment passes by that your not thinking about that person you love. Love is when your willing to walk through hell and high water just to get a glimpse of that person when they're far away from you. Love is when you find yourself going above and beyond for that person and doing things you nromally wouldn't do (including things that you hate doing) just to make them happy and just to make sure they're taken care of at the end of the day. Love is when your willing to die for that person so that they may live...This is what I believe Love to be...

[/quote]

The initial feelings you mentioned are not love. They are infatuation, maybe you could call them the "falling in" part of love. Love is what you have when those initial feelings begin to fade and you continue to choose to love the other person. Every marriage goes through this period.

The way to get through it is to focus on the things that you still admire and love about her. ACT as if you are still in love with her. What would you be doing if you were? Going out on dates, taking weekend trips together, bringing her flowers? DO those things.

Read the book, The Love Dare. It teaches you how to love by mirroring Corinthians.

DO NOT think that if you leave your wife that you will someday find someone that you will be madly in love with for the rest of your life. The only people who are madly in love for the rest of their lives are those who choose to love every day and work on it.


#18

It’s hard to add to what the other posters have said, but I’d like to comment as well.

When I married, I made the choice to be married for life. In our eight married years so far, we have been through great times, trials and times I refer to as Limbo (waiting for something to happen). I’ve been irritated by my husband and he by me. I’ve also been surprised by him, and sometimes I see him as the superman he is - sometimes I see his feet of clay.

Through all this, I’m learning (not a brilliant student) that the times that he is struggling are the times that he needs me to love him most. When it’s hardest for me to be nice or giving, that’s when I can really show my love best. And often the act of loving someone can turn your feelings around and make you see the good in them again.

Love is not selfish - it’s not about what’s in it for you, but what you can give to your loved one. It sounds like your wife is doing it tough right now, and now is the time for you to step up and be her husband. Our goal on this earth is to get to Heaven and drag as many people with us as possible. Try to remember that when you are making decisions.

And may I clarify, I am better at analysis than action (do as I say, not as I do). Sorry hubby, I’m trying.


#19

This is an aspect of love - the feelings.

But eventually, God is going to withdraw the feelings, because he wants to see if you will love that person selflessly. He wants you to love them not because you feel like it or because doing things for them makes you feel good. He wants you to love them when you get nothing out of it.

What he is ultimately calling you to in your marriage is what you wrote here:

And you would be correct! True love is giving oneself for the good of the other, even if it means you get nothing out of it. The Lord is asking you, “Are you going to love your wife this way?”


#20

Yes, yes, I need to correct that. Let me try to amend it:

Real love is not a feeling. It is a conscious decision to give of yourself. It is harder, but ultimately far better. You simply decide (1) I don’t care about what she does for me (her actions or the feelings you receive), (2) I am going to focus on the beautiful things about her, (3) I will work to not let my eyes stray, and (4) I will be thankful for all the good things and want for nothing else. **If you do that, then you’ll find yourself saying often during the day, “what can I do for Wife now, or what can I do for her today?” When you ask her what movie she wants to see, you won’t be hoping she’ll say some action/adventure movie, and when she names a romantic comedy, you’ll be delighted to go since you know she’ll be happy. **It is hard, but will lead to true joy.


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