Why do we fall out of love?
It's one of those questions that keeps haunting us.
How come two people who seemed so perfect for each other and so in love end up breaking up?
We see it everywhere: our parents, our friends and the celebrity power couples who seem to have everything.
But more importantly, we've all felt it.
We've all experienced what it's like to find ourselves one day looking at the person we used to love as if he or she was a stranger.
It’s confusing and devastating.
So, how does that happen?
Over time, a lot of specialists have tried to crack this particular nut.
Lack of communication or taking the partner for granted were some of the reasons ranked high on the list of answers.
However, I have always felt there was something missing in the pursuit of the root cause.
For me, some of the answers the specialists gave were still open for debate.
Here are three reasons I came up with as to why we fall out of love:
Change is the only constant in our lives.
One of my teachers used to say,
In every type of romantic relationship, there are four parties involved: you, your partner, the future you and the future partner.
It was then I realized what was the hidden reason behind falling out of love: We continually change.
If there is one constant for human beings, it is that we constantly develop ourselves and adjust the way we see the word.
As the psychologist Dan Gilbert proves in one of his famous TED Talks,
Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they're finished.
We change because we have new experiences, we learn new things, we meet new people, we live in different environments or we fully develop certain personality traits that were dormant before.
So the two people who entered a relationship one year ago are not exactly the same people they are now.
Of course, there won’t always be radical changes in the way we think or in what we hold important, but there will be small shifts that will make the difference in still being interested in our partners or not.
Isn’t this how falling out of love actually happens?
Doesn't it start with small steps, creeping up on you until one day, you realize your partner doesn’t make you tick anymore?
Love patterns change as well.
To understand falling out of love even better, it is very useful to go back to the start of the relationship to see how falling in love actually happens.
We all have a list of requirements that a potential boyfriend or girlfriend needs to check in order to capture our attention and make us fall head over heels for him or her.
Even if we aren't always fully aware of it or verbalize it, there is always a list.
One woman wants her man to be good-looking in a manly, robust way, intelligent, passionate about sports, serious, reliable and sweet.
Another woman looks for a stylish, outgoing, fun man with a sense of humor and an artistic personality.
All these requirements put together form love patterns.
Once we meet a potential partner, we overlap our pattern with his or her personality.
If most of the points are aligned, we have a match.
Now, because we constantly evolve as individuals, our love patterns change over the time.
If an artistic personality is what we valued the most in our early 20s, it may not hold the same importance in our late 20s.
Also, the requirements become more nuanced.
If a few years ago a woman appreciated the hectic artistic life of her partner, she may now prefer a more stable life with a creative mind.
It’s not you, and it's not your partner.
This perspective brings in more good news.
It also answers daunting questions like, “What is wrong with me?” “Why did she leave me?” and “Why doesn’t he love me anymore?”
Please read this over and over again: There is nothing wrong with you.
But, this also means your partner isn't to blame for leaving you.
So, forget about the famous expression, “It’s not you; it’s me."
There is nothing wrong with either of you.
You are wonderful human beings who happened to grow in different directions and took different paths in life.
Your love patterns just do not overlap in the most important points anymore.
The world would certainly have less broken hearts if we all said this in the beginning of each relationship:
I love you for who you are now, knowing there is a future you who may or may not walk the same road as my future self.
Love is a tremendously powerful feeling, yet like all feelings, it lives in the present.
This is why the most beautiful words of all times — "I love you" — should be seen for what they truly are: They're an incredibly touching declaration, but not a promise.
Some of us may grow in the same direction as our loved ones, but for others, a new journey is just about to begin.
Enjoy every minute of it.