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.