How to Fall Out of Love

28 Responses

  1. I am still in the midst of a separation, and it is frustrating. I keep creating these dreams in my head, of certain hopes, but then when we speak, I have the most harsh realizations. I am pretty sure you understand, because honestly I do not feel like explaining, it is too exhausting. My faith has me holding on, because I know that God can overturn anything, but, both people really have to want change, acknowledge it, and be humble to admit to any wrong doings that led to separation and/or divorce…..but does this humble admittance ever happen? It’s like, “Don’t you realize that if you can see AND say that you were wrong, that could be the beginning of a new beginning?” I’m willing to admit, but I am not willing to take the blame. But, pride comes before the fall. How long does one wait for answers and the satisfaction of a REAL apology………and both may never happen, and this is where my anger and nerves get so pinched. Fights become a back and fourth effort of stating who was wrong, who was right, who needs to change more, and justifying wrong doings. I don’t want to let go, and he does not either, but what are we holding on to? He will not acknowledge how he hurt his family, and I will not accept taking the blame for our marriage going down hill, AFTER I left, because we both know, that my decision to leave, took years of agonizing decision making. This did not happen over night, nor after I left. You just got a portion of how our fights usually go (SMH). I am having the hardest time reaching out to people, because most of the time I just want to be left alone…….but I know that I shouldn’t be, and I have this beautiful little 7 year old, needing my joy. I just have this feeling, that he has not changed much from when I left, almost a year ago, and my heart is changing and that feeling is very uncomfortable. It almost feels like, when you are driving away from something beautiful, and the further away from it that you drive, you begin to see it less and less…..and while you are straining to keep that beautiful view in sight and in your grasp, eventually it is going to be gone. That is how my heart is feeling right now. I still love this man, but I don’t have enough love in me to handle what changes don’t happen. I do not expect perfection, but I do deserve respect. I could go on and on with my decisiveness, but there are millions of things going on in the heart and mind……..

    • I love your analogy to the retreating view. Poignant.

      It sounds like your heart and head are in disagreement. You have feelings for him, yet you know what isn’t working. That distance you reference can be the key to being able to see what is rather that what you wish.

      May 2016 be your year of clarity

  2. justadad55 says:

    Lisa, your writings are some of the most heart-felt, thought provoking, personal thoughts that I have ever read. The courage that you show with your posts could, should, and probably do find the eyes/hearts of people that need help coping and coming to realizations at the most poignant time in their lives.

    You are an inspiration and I can only wish that one day my writings will be as transparent and pure as the things that you communicate everyday. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  3. Him and Her says:

    First, I’m enjoying your articles. I’ve been divorced twice, so I can identify with a lot of the struggles you’ve outlined. In this piece, while most of your ideas make a lot of sense, I do have to quibble with a couple. First, “depersonalizing rejection” takes away the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If all the blame is deflected onto your former partner, you are denied the very valuable lessons you can take from looking inward during these difficult times. It’s easy to say “It’s all his fault,” but I don’t know anyone who would walk away from a perfectly happy marriage. In a partnership, both sides have an equal role to play, and if your partner left, you need to be honest about why he would want to do that. Is there something you could have offered him, noticed, or done differently that will help you avoid the same pitfalls in future relationships? The only way to avoid regret, I believe, is to learn from pain and failure.

    The second thing I would say is that “focusing on the negative” is rarely productive. Yes, you need to get over him, but fostering hatred is not helpful. You’ll be tempted to hate him naturally. What would be more helpful to the healing, I think, would be to try to honestly understand him – both his strengths and weaknesses – in order to understand why you weren’t well-suited for each other. Having a clear-headed picture of what lead to the end of the relationship will, again, ensure that you know what to avoid in your next partner. And I now have very pleasant relationships with both my exes (and their partners) because I resisted hatred. We are able to raise our children without animosity.

    I would also add something to your list: get back out there. The best antidote to lost love is new love. With all your new freedom, self-knowledge, and sexual energy, go find a man who is worthy of you! I finally found my soul mate, and it makes the pain of those two failures seem so completely worth it!

    From, HER

    • Great points! I fully agree and have written quite a bit about personal responsibility and the use of understanding to temper anger. The reason I took a different approach here is that I believe that you have to be out of love before that work can occur. In other words, you need some distance and perspective so that you can process without excess emotion clouding the picture.

      So happy to hear you’re happy!! To me that’s the best part of breakups- the amazing love that can happen once you do that hard work and the gratitude that’s comes after you’ve faced loss.

  4. Tortured says:

    Going on 5 years post divorce now, and I would be hard pressed to say I’m not in love with him still.
    It’s hard to fall out of love with someone you started loving at the age of 16. Now here I am, 22 years later, trying to unwind all that love and all of those memories.
    You would think that when someone betrays you, lies to you and manipulates you it would be easy to not love them anymore. For me it feels like torture.

    Now every other weekend I feel like I’m sending our son off with a stranger, I dont know this man standing in front of me. Not only has his physical appearance changed, but so has his character.
    And every now and then I can look into his eyes and catch a glimpse of the man I stood next to at the alter and promised til death do us part; and that’s where that tiny little spark flickers in my heart and says quietly “hold on a little longer, he’s coming back”

    He is set to marry another in just a few months, I’m bracing for that final blow.

    I don’t think he will ever know the depth of hurt he has caused me, nor will he ever know the depth of my love for him, even still

  5. Madeline Harper says:

    Great piece!!

  6. This is a great advice piece! I recently left my husband, and know exactly what you’re saying. While my divorce was my doing, it’s still extremely painful and you still go through all of these things. The loneliness I felt in my marriage doesn’t even compare to the desperate loneliness I felt after leaving him.

  7. joe says:

    I can’t seem to move on! No matter what I try to do, I can’t stop loving this woman that broke my heart and hurt me so badly. Three years since she removed herself from our relationship and one year since the divorce was finalized and nothing seems to have changed, I’m still angry, sad, lonely, unable to trust people with my feelings, and that just the beginning. We have 3 kids so we need to be in contact with each other but as soon as I feel like I can start filling this emptiness in my heart, she wants to talk and be friendly and then I fall for her again. I just don’t know what to do, when does this end? when does the pain and sadness go away? or is this just my life now

    • So sorry you’re suffering. It sounds like you’re following a pattern getting out and then falling back. Can you figure out a way to interrupt that pattern? To create enough boundary that you don’t respond to her friendliness with misplaced hope?

    • Jodi says:

      I know exactly how you feel! 5 years since he left, 3 years since we finalized the divorce. We have a son together so we also have to have contact frequently. I have to say it does get easier, at least for me it has; but I still have days where it’s difficult.
      I’ve come to realize (through lots of counseling) I don’t really want to be with him, I want to be with the idea of him. I want us to be together for my son’s sake so we can be a family and I don’t have to watch my son suffer the fate of being a product of a broken home.
      I also had a hard time with mourning the loss of our future. We had so many dreams, plans and hopes that when he left they were all shattered and I didn’t know how to rebuild from there. I couldn’t picture a future without him, which made me feel hopeless, lonely and depressed.
      It has taken a lot of mindfulness to find myself, to find my own identity that is not linked to being his wife. It is a daily process that has to be worked at, but over time it has become my norm and I have found happiness in being single and enjoying my ‘new’ life as it is. Yes, there are hard days, especially when my son asks “why can’t you and daddy be together”…so we talk about it, we cry together and we move on.
      I promise you, it does get easier, you will have to do some difficult work to get there…..but it’s so worth it 🙂

      • Well said! Thanks for sharing:)

      • Joe says:

        I’m still trying to find a way to break this pattern but like many of you, this was my teenage love so all those memories, all the beautiful moments we shared are so fresh in my mind. I say I forgive her but then I start to think of all the terrible things she said (claimed she never loved me, threatened to throw herself down the stairs or bruise herself and call the police to arrest me, the nights she never came home, and how she scared and confused our kids) and then the anger comes but she was always the one person I could never be mean to. I still can’t be but it just feels unfair. Feels like she ruined our lives to be with this other man, which turned out to a fling, and wants me to feel sorry for her. Jodi’s words are so powerful and meaningful to me because all her emotions, thoughts about the past, present, and future is what I’m going through. As a man, it is so difficult to find a group of people who understand this process of hurt. I’ve stopped telling friends about it because I always get the same answer, “F her! she was never worth it, you’ll find someone better, someone who deserves you” but they are all married and get to go home to their spouses and enjoy all those little things that I miss so much. These are the same people who made me feel like a caged animal while I was laying down depressed, coming over just to look at me, feel sorry and then move on. One thing I have learned about myself is that I wasn’t a typical husband. She was my best friend who just happened to be my wife. I loved to cook for her, clean up the house, made it a priority to make her laugh everyday, always told her how beautiful she was, and I am a tremendous father. In retrospect, I suppose I gave her the right to abuse this relationship but I never thought she ever would or could do that to me and especially not our children. So here I am, waiting in this present self I’ve been forced to become for a change to come and being afraid that I won’t recognize it when it does. Thank you for this website, I’m so grateful that it exists.

        • It is so difficult to find that balance between remembering the good and also letting go of the person you thought she was. And nothing you did or didn’t do justifies her acting badly. It is so painful losing the marriage and person you thought you had. You deserve to have somebody that will treat you and marriage will the same level of respect.

        • Jodi says:

          I’m so glad my words were able to bring at least some comfort or the feeling that someone else out here understands the pain.
          Everything you have said pretty much describes what I have felt and gone through. We were also high school sweethearts and although we did have a few years that we broke up before actually getting married I still see this as a 23 year long relationship. That’s a lot of memories to ‘forget’.
          Although he betrayed my trust and had an affair I always kept trying to find a way to make it work, to forgive. But he continued with the affair, it took me 5 months of living with the knowledge of him cheating before I finally kicked him out. His only priority was himself and because of that our son suffered greatly and to this day still suffered with abandonment issues and anxiety. He put us through a lot in order for him to have this relationship with this other woman, and yet they aren’t even together anymore. She kicked him out about a year later for cheating on her.
          Needless to say it has definitely been a roller coaster. As I said befote, it does get easier. It will take time and a lot of effort on your part to learn how to live this ‘new’ life. Surround yourself with positive people who support you and pull away from any negativity. Do things for yourself to take care of yourself do you can be the best dad to your kids.

          Sorry to ramble here, I just feel like I have so much to say on the subject!
          Stay positive 🙂

  8. Strong says:

    LISA – I will be making a copy of your incredible article to try and rebuild what used to be the essence of me. I have so much work to do. Thank-you for this excellent essay.

    Now, I am wondering about those who wrote in this Comments section a little over 3 years ago when this article was first published. Are you able to update how your life has gone since then JOE and JODI, as well as, TORTURED, HIM AND HER, JUSTADAD55, and PREDESTINED30?

    • stilllearning2b says:

      That would be awesome to get updates!

      • Joe says:

        Hello! What a nice surprise it was to wake up this morning to see this! I can’t believe that time has passed so quickly but I’m in a much better place in my mind, body, and soul. I’ve realized that I let someone dictate who I should be for their own selfish purpose and that was much my fault as it was hers in taking advantage of it. The easiest way for me to move on was to completely shut her out of my life which was difficult because of our 3 children. I think the turning point for me was all 3 of them told her they no longer wanted to live her and even though the 2 younger ones (who are now 15 & 17, our oldest came to live with me full time about 5 years ago) still split their time between us, I felt a sense of vindication, like there truly was a reason for all of the terrible things that happened. She hurt our kids, her children so much and so selfishly and I thought I’d never respect anyone who hurt my kids, why should I respect her? So I stopped. I started to focus on my needs and realized that there was no way I could make anyone happy if I wasn’t happy or in love with myself. I’ve traveled, gotten tattoos that I’ve always wanted, began staying fit and active (kickboxing mostly), earned a bachelors degree and will earn a masters this May, and thanked all of the people in my life that have were there for me when I needed help – believe me when I say that would completely understand if they never wanted to see me again but they helped so much during that dark period. Depression still tears it’s ugly head every now and then but staying busy has been my key to overcoming it. I’ve had a couple of relationships but it’s difficult when someone wants to take priority over my kids, that just won’t happen but I’m chalking it up to “I just haven’t found the one” yet mentality and I’m fine with that even if she never is found. If it’s meant to be, we’ll find each other somehow. I have profound and unconditional love in my life and I want to return it to those who deserve it. Thanks for hearing my story!

        • stilllearning2b says:

          What a wonderful update! Thank you for sharing 😊

        • Strong says:

          Joe – You have it all together! Every negative from 3 years ago (and even before that) has been turned around to your advantage! And it sounds like your kids adore you and so much appreciate the safe environment that you have provided for them. You also sound like the Cool Dad, goal-oriented, in-shape and with tattoos and such. ;-). So glad that you let us know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. (Maybe he was before your time?) In any event, thank-you so much for the update. It gives a girl hope that there is indeed much to look forward to for the future.

          • stilllearning2b says:

            Paul Harvey ❤️

          • Joe says:

            Thank you Strong! It’s so great to know that other people can identify what you’re going through. I’ve found it even more gratifying when I’m able to help people know that. Thanks to Lisa for her website, wish I thought of this!

            ..p.s. Paul Harvey was so great!

  1. June 10, 2019

    […] Coach, Lisa Arends. Arends writes the blog Lessons From The End Of A Marriage and here’s her How To Fall Out Of Love article. Arends also has a YouTube […]

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