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  • Writer's pictureElise Braunschweiger

A Study on Falling Out Of Love And How It Happens

Updated: May 7

Break-ups objectively suck but they are usually what’s best for us.

When we outgrow our relationships or simply stop feeling how we used to, it can be an opportunity for us to become better versions of ourselves and to re-align our lives with our own center of gravity. Today’s blog examines a few reasons why some couples end up falling out of love and lessons we can pull from what some of the research suggests.

Let’s take a look at a 2013 study by Joanni L. Sailor which examined why couples fall out of love.

First, Sailor interviewed couples who lost the spark with their spouses, creating a qualitative report on their experiences. She found that people tended to fall into two camps - those who: a) experienced a gradual decline over time or b) experienced a ‘pivotal moment of knowing’ in which they became suddenly aware they were no longer in love. 

Secondly, Sailor found that there were commons reasons for loss of love - 

  • Loss of trust

  • Loss of intimacy 

  • No longer feeling loved

  • Emotional pain

  • Negative sense of self 

Sailor noted that there can be a lasting impact from break-ups, including developing mood disorders. Her research found that break-ups which were sudden tended to cause more distress. Rejection was also discussed in her qualitative report as particularly impactful, meaning that if one partner believed they were being rejected by the other, this resulted in intense feelings of loss and clinical levels of depression at much higher rates than a mutual separation. 

Break-ups can be incredible catalysts for
re-calibrating your life with your own values.

They can bring us back to ourselves and spur positive changes that course-correct us onto the right path. Even when they’re painful, they’re usually chock full of lessons on what our emotional needs are and how to best advocate for them. The meaning we make of our break-ups has a tremendous impact on the outcome.

Long story short - break-ups are hard and heavy. They test us emotionally and can often be painful, life-changing experiences. But when reading the above list, people should break up if this is how their relationship makes them feel. If you no longer feel you can trust your partner, if you no longer feel good about yourself in your relationship with them, something has to change.

If you’re struggling to make sense of a break-up and feel you could use some help working it out, we’re expanding our services to include coaching for letting go of past partnerships and successfully integrating the potential lessons available to us from those experiences. I’ve said before that I don’t want people to let their heartbreaks go to waste and I stand by that. They can be immensely challenging but can also be a means of connecting to the truest parts of ourselves and better defining the collection of characteristics that make a compatible partner for us.

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