Image by Ester G
When I started this blog, I wrote for myself. The blog started as a collection of random thoughts I was having, primarily during boring business meetings (What? I thought this was about love!” You’re right, dear reader. Hang on there and we’ll get to it in a second)
However, as time has passed, these reflections have been evolving. My blog has become an interactive channel of reflection. Huh? Let me explain what I mena by that.
When I was a teenager, I had a lot of trouble finding a girlfriend. It was VERY easy for me to become friends with girls, but I continuously fond myself at the pointy end of a conversation that started with “I-don’t-want-to-ruin-a-wonderful-friendship-by-becoming-involved’; or had to listen (again!) to my crush of the moment start telling that “It’s-not-you-It’s-me-I-only-see-you-as-a-friend”. Despite an enormous amount of energy going into the pursuit of romantic fulfillment (Hollywood style, nothing less!), it wasn’t until I started University that I had my first real girlfriend. During all those teenage years I also spent a lot of time ruminating on a variety of topics. This habit of thinking and using my brain for other pursuits led me to an engaging and regular social setting. With my five best friends, we established the routine of getting together (at one of our places) every Friday or Saturday night; open a bottle of Rum, ‘Aguardiente‘, or the alcoholic beverage of our choice at the time; and have ‘deep and meaningful’ discussions on any topic. We talked about religion, art, politics, university, love, and comic books. We called these meetings our ‘Tertulias de los viernes’. (Friday’s Tertulias)
As I left Colombia and my group of friends behind, I stopped participating in these regular intellectual debates. I also found my other half; married her; and have spent the last 12 years of my life with her.
Then I started this blog. I reflected on my own. And then the most marvelous thing started happening: I found some bloggers who shared some of my interests. I started perusing their writing. Regularly. And since a few weeks ago, I started having my own virtual version of ‘Friday’s Tertulias‘ by responding to their posts in my blog.
There it is. That’s the intro to my article on whether we can fall out of love or not. What started me thinking about this topic was (you guessed it) another blogger. Moriah posted an article entitled Ramblings on internet dating/long-distance relationships , in which she explains why internet dating just does not appeal to her; and why on the other hand long-distance relationships hold a certain level of appeal (I know it sounds weird, butwhen you read her post, it actually makes a lot of sense. I suggest you head over and read her post; you will probably agree with my comments). Through the comments section of that post we engaged on a dialog. On my first response to the article, I discussed how the ‘getting to love’ someone happened along slightly different paths in today’s world than in olden times (think ‘arranged marriages’ vs ‘falling in love’)
Then Moriah asked Can one fall out of love permanently or does it take one moment, built upon another, until one’s heart becomes hard toward another? My immediate reaction to her question was that one can (and one does) “fall out of love” permanently; but that it is not something that happens instantaneously. Let me rephrase it. Love is like a viscous liquid: It takes a while for your glass to fill, but it also takes a while for your glass to empty.
As soon as I wrote this, I realised that part of the problem we’re having is one of semantics. Falling “in love” and falling “out of love” are reasonably immediate actions. Getting to love someone, on the other hand, takes a bit more time and energy; and I don’t think you ever stop loving someone you once loved deeply.
People that go from relationship to relationship without giving themselves (or their partners) an opportunity to experience a deep sense love are usually following the fickleness of their hearts; moving with the wind as they fall in and out of love with others. This notion plays very nicely to Hollywood’s romantic view. You must feel butterflies in yout stomach when you see him; want to spend every single second in his presence; laugh at his every joke, love his every hobby, and think he is the most handsome man in the world. But as reality sets in, and you realise that his passion for collecting stamps is rather boring; that he has this funny lock of hair that gets into funny places and makes him look more comical than handsome; and that his sense of humour is not as sharp as you once thought; well, when you realise all these things, you start feeling like you fell out of love with the guy. And temptation sets into your heart to look for ‘the one’ – you know, the one who is perfect. The one with whom there are no compromise for you to decide on.
But life is *full* of compromises!! As we mature, we develop the ability to recognise this fact, and to act in ways that help us be better off. With maturity, we are able to start making the right calls: We stay with a partner despite the fact that she drives us crazy with her inability to close the proverbial tube of toothpaste the right way; we stay with her because, as we look at all the positive and all the negative aspects; as we explore all the frustrations we have whilst with her, and compare them to the joy we get from simply being around her, we come out ahead. In a way, maturity gives us a process for assessing and constructing an ’emotional balance sheet’ with withdrawals and deposits, and to use it in our decision-making through life.
So to answer the original question: Can we fall out of love? Sure we can: “What goes up, must also come down”. But we never really stop loving those with whom we established a deep emotional connection. This is true for most romantic and platonic forms of love. And in this sense, we can never truly ‘fall our of love’.