My brother is getting a divorce. He and his wife have been married for 14 years.
“We are no longer in love,” he told me in a text message.
I relayed the information to W.
“Is it possible to fall out of love?” I asked her.
This question has been occupying my thoughts.
I vividly remember falling in love with W.
I know why someone somewhere once referred to this process as falling in love. It’s a lot like falling down a flight of stairs or an elevator shaft. There you go, head over heels into the darkness. You can’t stop plummeting, even if you wanted to. It’s all a ginormous adrenaline rush.
But can you fall out of love?
You can fall into a whole lot of things. Traps and clutches and cracks. Pits and holes and trouble. You can fall into place or fall into line or fall into a kiss or fall into someone else.
What do people fall out of? Maybe a plane if you are extremely clumsy and unlucky. Or, a window (see clumsy and unlucky in previous sentence). Generally speaking, people do not fall out of things.
W and I have been together for about seven years now. Often when I write about her and us, people say that they have been waiting all of their lives to find their W.
Obviously, I only post snippets of our lives. Situations that I find amusing (like the time that we trapped a groundhog inside our house) or sweet (when she brought me home flowers for Thanksgiving) and that lend themselves to the telling of a story.
Our relationship has not been without conflict. We have weathered our share of ups and downs just like any other couple.
But even at our lowest point, I have never fallen out of love. Not even for a second.
Our love looks very different than it did seven years ago. I couldn’t keep my hands off of her back then. Our kisses were hot and heavy and urgent. We steamed up our eyeglasses and our windshields on a regular basis. Everything was urgent. Me and her and us together. We made time even when we didn’t have any because, yes, we had to be together. Now. Right now. Things were new and fresh and hot. It was like getting a half dozen warm Krispie Kreme donuts from the drive-thru for free every single time that we were together. Heck, it was better than warm donuts.
Things aren’t like that anymore. I still can’t keep my hands off of her. Go ahead, ask her. What’s missing is the urgency. Now has turned into how about Wednesday night? Or, maybe sometime next week. And that’s ok.
In those first few months of a new love relationship, you never know how long it’s going to last. So, yeah, there’s a sense of urgency. I mean, if you heard a rumor that White Castle was closing down in a month or two, you’d probably make a lot of late-night runs for sacks of tiny warm cheeseburgers.
But when you’ve committed to someone for the rest of your life, where’s the hurry? Sure, life is unpredictable and tomorrow is never promised. But the beauty of commitment is that that person is there, has agreed to always be there, through good and bad, thick and thin.
What about love though? Can it just disappear? Can you fall out of it? One day, you’re eating tiny cheeseburgers and loving every bite. The next day you can’t stand the sight of a mini burger. Is this even possible?
When I was in college, my roommate and I would go to the grocery store every week or so. We were on a tight budget and bought economical college staples like ramen noodles, peanut butter, bread and pasta. We always splurged by purchasing a single jar of marinated artichoke hearts on each shopping trip. We thought we were fancy and sophisticated and that we deserved such a delicacy to go with our peanut butter sandwiches and cans of Busch pounders. Eventually, we tired of jarred artichoke hearts and stopped buying them altogether.
Had we fallen out of love with marinated artichoke hearts?
I don’t think so. We had just eaten too many in too short a period of time. We hadn’t spaced them out enough. We were young and impulsive after all.
The truth is we would always love marinated artichoke hearts and tiny cheeseburgers and warm donuts. You can’t change love.
You just have to give it room to breathe sometimes. You have to be patient and understanding and give it space every now and again. But know in your heart that it’s there forever.
Beautiful post. I believe, like everything in life, Love does change. How could it not. I am not who I was and whoever I am with changes day by day as well. Love is a daily commitment to who someone is in that moment, not who they were…or who they could be. I have been with S. for over 18 years now and there have been ups and downs, urgency and patience. Through it all, it is the love I have for myself that decides my relationships. Sometimes that love is passionate, sometimes it is simply exhausted. I think it is important for us to remember that even when we need to end relationships, we shouldn’t throw away the beauty and love that relationship brought to our lives. Anyways, I enjoy your blog…Thank you for sharing.
I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic. But, yes, we enter relationships as one person. Who we are years later can be very different. Maybe it’s growing together that’s key.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
THIS. Growing together. Without sacrificing individuality or the relationship. It’s a delicate dance. And like a dance, we twirl and dip, occasionally stumble or have two left feet… But the choice to come back together, to feel the tension in the rumble and sway, and to communicate consistently with our partners as we move along… It’s a CHOICE.
It is “a delicate dance” as you put it. Not losing ourselves in the relationship but still growing beside one another. And I agree that there is choice. Choosing to stay and make things right when there are problems and remembering the love that brought you together in the first place. Relationships are messy creatures.
I think that when a person says they “fall out of love”, it simply means that the bad in the relationship is now outweighing the good – because obviously, there is always both. Yup, that’s it. That’s all I think LOL. Great post.
I guess it’s the phrase “fall out of love” that caught my attention. Just words … true enough. Sometimes love isn’t enough.
I think you are just a true romantic, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. 🙂
I think you’re right. There are worse things to be.
I think it is possible to fall out of love, particularly if you stop trying to be in love. I try to stop and appreciate Donna every day. Otherwise the ordinariness of life creeps in and it is all about what needs to be fixed and who needs to do what, and there is no time for fun and we forget why we are together. Keeping a relationship “in sync” takes a lot of effort, but it is worth it. Congrats on 7 years with W.
I think that’s the key. When two people are both trying, it’s all good. And relationships do take a lot of effort. But in the end I get to go to sleep at night with the person I adore cuddled up right next to me. And that makes it all worthwhile.
Beautiful post. Simply beautiful.
Gee, thanks. Glad I’m not the only one who’s a hopeless romantic when it comes to affairs of the heart and cheeseburgers.
Beautiful and so so true.
Thanks for reading, hauswife. Who knew anyone would get my comparison of love to cheeseburgers?
It could not be any truer than this post. I don’t think people fall out of love either. I think sometimes people think they are “in love” and aren’t or they simply stop taking the time to grow together and grow apart instead. When they realize what’s happened, the distance seems to great to overcome, so they give up. Good thing I’m hard-headed, going on two years and it’s as good as day one, if not better. Love wins.
Ah, you are a hopeless romantic like myself. Good for you on keeping the romance going.
As a divorced guy, I can say without the slightest bit of uncertainty that one can, indeed, fall out of love. Unless you prescribe to the theory that it was never truly love in the first place, which seems silly on the surface but – in my case – we started dating at 17, and truly, does a teenager know how to define love, or differentiate between that and lust? Doubtful.
Either way, I’m craving White Castle now, and the nearest one is approximately 2000 miles away, so thanks a lot for that!
Thanks for sharing, Mark. I thought it was an interesting question worthy of a blog post.
And sorry for that whole White Castle thing. We don’t have one nearby either.