Nothing is scarier than being in a committed long-term relationship and feeling like you’re alone because you don’t know how to fall back in love if you’ve fallen out of love.
On the day you found the love of your life, you never felt more complete. You could take on the world! Now, things have gotten comfortable, and it feels like one of you has changed. But you swear it isn’t you.
The way you speak to each other has harsh tones. And, not only that, it looks like the softness in his eyes is gone. Something’s got to give. You can’t go on like this anymore.
You’re thinking about ending it, yet something inside you believes it can’t be the end and you think, “can you fall back in love after falling out of love?”
Can the two of you really can learn how to fall back in love?
If you could just figure out how to stop the cycle, the love would come back, and it would all be like new again.
If someone falls out of love with you can they fall back in love? While it seems like a daunting task, guess what? It’s completely possible to fall back in love with your partner. All it takes is some work on the part of each partner, putting in the effort to bring the relationship back to where it once was.
But the first thing you need to know is that those pesky things we all tend to do — blaming stuff like stress, financial problems, and loss of common ground on each other — don’t, and won’t, work. Sure, they may initially stir things up, but the change won’t last.
Can you fall back in love with someone you fell out of love with? According to Dating Coach, Erika Jordan, it’s going to take a lot of effort to reignite that spark if you really want to. “When we feel love, oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are released. As time goes on, things start to feel comfortable, which is good but also less exciting. At this point, it’s going to require effort to reignite that spark.”
“It’s very scary when our feelings for our partner change. Suddenly, the relationship we’ve relied on and believed in suddenly feels unstable. And our natural response is to feel like ‘something’s wrong’ and we have to ‘fix it.’ But, in most cases, there’s nothing broken and there’s nothing to fix,” suggests Marriage and Couples Counselor, Jacob Brown.
Is it normal to fall out of love with your spouse? Many couples tend to drift apart in the later years of their relationship. And the reason? Well, it might sound crazy, but it’s due to familiarity.
How to Fall Back in Love with Each Other
1. Don’t assume you know everything about one another.
Feeling familiar with each other doesn’t mean you know everything about each other. Your mind has one goal and that’s to make your life easier. This can become a mistake when things are tough between you and your loved one.
If you assume that you know everything about someone, you will miss out on learning more about what makes him or her tick. You might also assume incorrectly as to why something was done a certain way, or that what was done was meant to harm you. Remember, that might be your past speaking and have nothing to do with your present.
2. Let go of the wrongs from the past.
Your brain, like everyone else’s, sometimes reads body language incorrectly. And since we all have experienced being misjudged, don’t hesitate to admit that you’ve misjudged your partner’s body language.
That look that you thought was anger just might be your primitive mind trying to protect you from a time when you really did have to worry about anger on a person’s face. Take a step back and ask yourself if there’s a possibility you’re projecting some fear from the past into the picture. That will help keep things in perspective.
“Relationships evolve, and as the relationship changes, our feelings for the other person naturally change. It’s not bad or good, it’s just part of the process of being together,” Brown adds. “The problem comes when the couple feels that to be happy, they have to recapture the feeling they used to have.”
In addition, crazy arguments are often a symptom of a possible “nervous system misfirings.” All of our memories are a combination of our past and present experiences. So, try to remember that mistakes happen, and each one doesn’t have to mean the end of the world or the end of your relationship.
3. Show compassion.
Just like you should show compassion and kindness to strangers, this is doubly true and important in romantic relationships. Couples who have been together for quite some time may find that there are moments when they just aren’t kind to each other; for example, even if your partner has done the same annoying thing for years, you might tend to snap at them after all these years.
In fact, one study found that small gestures, which don’t have to be romantic, made people feel more loved; in contrast, controlling behaviors did not. So, even if it’s something small — like being a shoulder to cry on, encouraging your partner to achieve a goal, or thanking them for doing the dishes — it can make a big impact, and affect how your partner responds to you.
4. Make time for each other.
With our days focusing on our work, kids, and everyday minutia, it’s hard to find a moment to spend with one another. But spending quality time together can make you feel closer, and it’s just one very important aspect of keeping a relationship strong.
This doesn’t mean sitting next to each other on the couch while you watch television; rather, it means planning a date night, going on a spontaneous adventure, putting your phones away for the night, or taking a few hours to really talk (and no, not about how your day was).
Doing this will make your partner feel appreciated and loved, and help both of you revisit a time at the beginning of your relationship when everything was still fresh and new.
5. Support one another’s interests.
Both partners in a long-term relationship will have their own interests, of course, but partaking in those interests on your own means seeing yourself as separate from your partner. And that’s simply not the case here.
Yes, you are two independent people, but showing interest in your partner’s hobbies means you respect them, are curious to learn more about who they are, and support them in whatever they choose to do. Take the time to notice what kinds of things your partner is into, just like you would want them to do for you.
Suggests Jordan, “Do something new together. Take on a new hobby, go on a vacation to someplace you’ve never been. Take the relationship into uncharted territories. Find things that you’re both excited about and share the experience. This needs to be a regular occurrence, so I recommend filling a jar with things you’d both like to do and taking turns to choose an item weekly.”
6. Be physically affectionate.
Along with not making space to spend time together, couples can become so involved in their busy routines that they neglect their partner on a physical level.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to have an intimate sex life with your partner, but it does mean you should express your love in other physical ways, like being affectionate. This could mean a hug, a kiss, holding hands, or just sitting close together with your head on their shoulder.
One study found that showing affection actually makes you feel more connected with your partner. And, as a plus, physical closeness and touch release oxytocin, the “love hormone” responsible for feelings of emotional connection, trust, bonding, loyalty, and even sexual arousal.
7. Express how your partner makes you a better person every day.
Sure, you may have told your partner this on an anniversary or in your wedding vows, but if you really want to fall back in love, it’s pertinent to express this to them, here and now. You may be way past the honeymoon stage, but that doesn’t mean your relationship doesn’t still benefit either of you.
Maybe they helped you realize that you have a knack for helping people and you chose that as a career. Or, perhaps they taught you to love yourself on a deep and meaningful level.
Be sure to let your partner know all the ways in which they’ve changed you for the better, no matter how big or small. It will not only let them know that you appreciate all their love and care, but that they truly made an impact on your life.
As Brown recommends, “Instead of seeing the relationship as broken, take the time to fully accept and experience how the relationship feels today. Yes, it feels different, but does that mean it’s not as good? Yes, the euphoria of the new crush has faded, but have some other wonderful parts to the relationship emerged?”
8. Laugh together.
Again, many of us get caught up in the busyness of life, forgetting what’s most important. Not only is laughter great for the soul, but studies have shown that a relationship full of laughter and happiness is a sign of a relationship that’s happy and strong.
Of course, this doesn’t mean everything you do should be light-hearted; in fact, it’s those more serious moments that can define a relationship for the better. However, there’s nothing wrong with having constant moments of happiness, silliness, and making one another smile.
Because not only is laughter great for keeping your relationship healthy, but it lowers stress, makes you more attractive, and improves your memory.
9. Think back to a time when you first fell in love.
If you’ve tried to plan date nights, be affectionate, and are showing loving kindness, but there’s little progress, think back to when you and your partner first fell in love.
What drew you to each other? What did you find attractive about them? What was the defining moment in your relationship where you knew you wanted to get married or become serious?
Reminisce with your partner, share stories from when you fell in love, and fill your minds and hearts with all the wonderful things about each other. Make a list of all the things you love and adore about your partner, from the beginning and your present relationship, and really take a trip down memory lane together.
You’ll find that you both remember that the person you fell in love with is still here, and there’s still love between you.
10. Put your relationship first.
Kids, careers, family, and everyday struggles can come between couples, but they don’t always have to. Make a concerted effort to always put your relationships and each other first.
Remember that no matter what life throws your way, you have your partner to lean on. Know that you’re going through life together, learning and growing every single day. Understand that for your relationship to get back to where it was, it needs to be a priority.
Also keep in mind that as relationships evolve, you and your partner have to change with it. Says Brown, “To keep love alive, you have to accept that love changes, love evolves. And each type of love, each feeling of love, carries with it it’s own unique feeling of joy and connection.”
Ditch the notion that you can never get that love feeling back, and focus on making it happen. Once you’ve put in the work, you’ll realize that you’re stronger together as a team.
Why do couples fall out of love?
According to relationship expert and psychologist Dr. Stan Tatkin, “There is nothing more difficult than another person.” Each one of us brings our own fair share of baggage from the past.
In his TED Talk, “Relationships Are Hard, But Why?” Tatkin explains how we bring all the good, the bad, and the ugly with us because they stay inside of our being. When we become involved with another, difficult person, these experiences color the way our mind views the present in terms of what we find familiar from the past — i.e., familiarity.
In other words, once a couple settles into a long-term, committed relationship or marriage, they are each in for an unexpected surprise. Along with the joy of falling in love and settling down comes the reality that each of their minds become less attentive — they become lazy. Therefore, the reality is that people fall out of love more than they think.
And when something occurs that triggers a negative memory from a similar experience, they wrongly perceive each other based on how other people acted back then, as opposed to how each partner is behaving right now.
For example, if you had a controlling parent or lived in a house where there was any form of ongoing anger or abuse, your mind will make things up. It may make you think that if your spouse isn’t smiling, they must be angry when, in fact, they are not.
Little by little, these negative experiences keep happening. Eventually, they create a pattern.
The mind’s misperceptions caused huge problems without either partner really understanding or realizing what is going on, and why you started overreacting. When this keeps happening, the entire relationship begins to feel negative.
No one really understands what is happening. Things get to a point where it feels impossible to find your way back home, let alone back to each other.
Yes, that’s what happens. Science says it’s because of our automatic neurobiological reflexes, or primitive reflexes, trying to normalize the brain. When we hear love makes you crazy, it can, and does.
How do I fall in love with my partner again? It will certainly take some time, effort, and dedication to falling back in love, but it’s entirely possible. And taking these steps together only proves just how much you value your partner deep down.
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Aria Gmitter, M.S, M.F.A., is YourTango’s Senior Editor of Horoscopes and Spirituality. She studies with the Midwestern School of Astrology and is a member of the South Florida Astrological Association.