Why Do You Fall Out Of Love In Long-Term Relationships? An Expert Explains, & Ugh, Sad
It's the million-dollar question everyone seeks the answer to: Why do you fall out of love? I've been in several relationships, and almost every time, I've been the one to end things because I fell out of love with my partner. But each time I've called it quits, I've tried to fight myself on wanting out. I don't want to constantly hurt the people I care about. Even if I don't want to be involved with someone romantically, I still care about their happiness. But there's a difference between caring for someone, and wanting to spend the rest of your life with them. Why is it so easy for me to fall out of love?
Masini attributed falling out of love to three main things: a lack of prioritizing relationship growth, not taking care of "family business," and money issues.
The one thing we never stop doing in life is growing. Even when our bodies physically stop — our minds, emotions, and aspirations never do. Since we're constantly evolving, our relationships are too.
"If you’ve got a partner who’s changing and doing new things all the time, and you’re not, and this gap is growing, and at the same time, the love is waning, you need to step up your relationship growth," Masini explains.
In order to step up your relationship growth, Masini advises giving yourself and your partner the opportunity to grow together instead of apart.
"Create opportunities to do new things together," she says. "Take bucket list trips — whether it’s to somewhere exotic, or simply a road trip across the country. Go camping together if you’ve never camped. Volunteer together at hospitals, animal shelters, orphanages — wherever your hearts take you. Make a sexual bucket list and do things together you always wanted to, but were afraid to broach and try."
While family is most certainly a priority to most, it can cause plenty of hardships in a relationship.
"I’ve seen marriages break up because couples fall out of love with each other over relationship issues with in-laws and kids. They feel that if their partner really loved them, they’d put them and the relationship first," Masini says. "If you’ve got a mother-in-law or father-in-law, or step-kids or exes who are creating problems in your relationship, over time, this will take its toll on the other person and the relationship. When that happens, couples blame each other."
To avoid falling out of love because of family matters, Masini explains that you and your partner have to put in the hard work:
Make sure your relationship with your parents and your children from a different relationship is healthy and respectful. If your children treat your partner poorly, depending on their ages, take measures. Same goes for your parents.
Finally, Masini says that money issues can also result in falling out of love with your partner. "When couples realize that they’re incompatible because one person is a spender and the other is a saver, or one wants to focus on retirement savings and the other wants to buy sports cars and vacations, or one makes all or most of the money and the other makes none," it could be a critical deciding factor in the relationship.
You don't usually notice a person's spending habits when you first start dating them. Oftentimes, the issues begin to show themselves down the line when your money becomes our money.
"Couples dig in and can’t find their way around these issues, so they get angry and angrier, and that anger festers, and they fall out of love," Masini explains. "To offset this problem, start talking about money during the very first date. You don’t have to exchange FICO scores, but you do have to talk about how you live, how you afford to live, and what your dreams are. Balance is the key, and flexibility and understanding are crucial."
If you catch yourself emotionally distancing from your partner early on, you can take measures to try and reconnect with them. Take some time to self-reflect, and try to figure out why you're feeling the way you are, Masini advises. It may take a little internal digging, but all the hard work will be worth it. Communication is also key to a healthy relationship. Talk to your partner, try to get the words out about what you're feeling in the nicest way possible. Don't point fingers. Don't get defensive, just explain, she says. And if ultimately, you don't feel like figuring out why you may be falling out of love and communicating it with your partner hasn't been beneficial, it might be best to consider going to couple's therapy.
If by the time you notice you've fallen out of love, it's too late to salvage the relationship or learn from the mistakes you may have made. "Understand where you went wrong or where you could have done things differently," Masini says. "Failed relationships are gifts in that they are opportunities for you to process, consider, and make changes in yourself, in who you choose next, and in your next relationship."
Try not to be too hard on yourself. This relationship may not have worked, but now you're one step closer to the one that will. Love comes and goes, until one day it sticks. That relationship will make all the other not-great ones worth it.
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