Falling Out Of Love In A Relationship Is Often Due To A Change In Intimacy
We often think of attraction as both mysterious and binary, as well as primarily physical, or at least, ineffable. While there’s plenty of mystery, changes in being in love or attraction often has very real corollaries. Our Founder and Clinical Director Matt was recently featured in Business Insider about why couples may fall out of love, as well as how they can possibly work to regain that love.
Speaking to Julia Naftulin, Matt notes, “the fuel that motivates the love may need to change over time.” Often couples fall out of love due to a change in intimacy. One situation Matt points out that can alter a couple’s intimacy is when one partner goes through a significant life event or change, while the other partner doesn’t. For instance, a couple that bonds over going to parties and drinking together may see a shift in their relationship if one partner becomes sober. As Matt observes, “It’s disruptive because you may want different things or different types of intimacy.”
Intimacy Can Also Be Impaired After A Couple Experiences A Trauma Together
While not mentioned in the article, there are other situations that can cause a disruption in a relationship. Couples can go through something deeply painful together, such as a job loss, a tragedy, losing a child, or infidelity. If that isn’t repaired or if they’re not helped to heal, then intimacy is impaired.
It’s impossible to be close when traumatized. Sometimes when a couple goes through a trauma, the trauma exposes existing cracks in their intimacy. Other times, the trauma is so severe as to create a crack where none was visible previously. In some cases, one or both partners may not be able to be close to anyone, while in others, the fracture in intimacy lives in the relationship and an ability to be intimate with that person is gone. Perhaps that person was the cause of the breach in trust (or the trauma), but possibly both partners experienced this simultaneously and the pain was too severe for trust to be rebuilt without help.
Sometimes Couples Fall Out Of Love For Good Reasons
We can also fall out of love for very good reasons. In some cases, the love was predicated on an unhealthy attraction. As any good therapist (and likely anyone who has been in good therapy) knows, we aren’t always attracted to people who are good for us or for the right reasons. Sometimes we’re drawn to people who treat us badly in a familiar way in the hope we’ll get redemption from a past wrong. Or in an effort to avoid past mistakes, we over-correct.
Rarely is this conscious. Often it simply looks like attraction or a feeling that someone is so “right” when we’re really just acting out old patterns. As we grow, that attraction fades. A relationship may end, but without this unhealthy attraction sorted out, it can be tempting to try again.