Have you ever noticed how love changes? You go to bed one night completely smitten with the person you’re dating, but you wake up a week later and your smile isn’t as warm. You start to forget about the things that made you love them in the first place. The next month, you’re still racking your brain trying to figure out what made you so completely involved with them, and you’re wondering why you can’t just leave. Start over. Try again. What’s making you stay when you can openly admit that the spark is gone? Is it the amount of secrets, stories, and hard days you’ve shared with them? Do you feel like you owe them something? How can someone fall out of love, a feeling so deep and emotional that it changed who you were entirely? It happens. Love expires. It only lasts so long before it changes or disappears. Why?
1. You grow.
Here’s everyone’s favorite breakup line. “I’ve grown up and you haven’t.” While some find it hard to believe that in a short amount of time, a person can grow up and change, it’s always a possibility. Every day, we meet new people that alter the way we see things and change our life experiences. We face daily tragedies, hardships, and defeats that may break us down or build us up. We get sick, we meet a new suitor, or we travel to a new place. As people, we grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. What we experience today helps alter our perception of tomorrow, and sometimes, the person we think we love just doesn’t make the cut. We may still love them, but in a different way. It’s scary and terrifying, but growth is good. Growth means change. Change means newness. Newness implies a clean slate, and who doesn’t love having a chance at a better life?
2. Your partner grows.
If I can grow, so can my significant other. Maybe they had one of those life-changing, ah-ha moment, “I’ve seen greener grass,” experiences that we sometimes long for. They can grow too. Love doesn’t just expire for one person. Even when you least expect it, and even if you don’t want it to, their love for you can change. Accept it. Embrace it. Move on. Love will always be different, but again, who doesn’t love a clean slate?
3. Your relationship changes.
Everything changes, including people. The person you were dating six months ago may not be the same person now. It’s okay. It’s scary, but it’s okay. It happens. Maybe they grew and their values no longer matched yours. Maybe their true colors began to show and they weren’t even close to those you saw at the beginning of the relationship. Maybe you’ll never know why the change happened, you just know it did and it’s unfortunate. Regardless, the change in your relationship could mean a change in the way you love each other, and while this isn’t always a good thing, it can be sometimes.
4. Your situation changes.
People, places, and things change. It’s science. You went from seeing your significant other every single day to seeing them only on the weekends. You both went to different colleges. You moved across town. Whatever it is, the position you were in at the beginning of the relationship isn’t the same one you’re in now. Maybe this made your love stronger. Absence makes the heart grow fonder…sometimes. On the other hand, maybe you tested the limits of your love and this was the breaking point. You are not a static object. You move, you change position, and this means that other aspects around you change too. Love is not immune to that.
5. You realize they aren’t “the one.”
Love isn’t a fairy tale. There is no Prince Charming coming to save the Princess with a kiss. You’re human. You go through lots of partners in your lifetime, and not all of them are meant to stay forever. You can break up and stay friends, break up and never speak again, or stay together and get married, but each person will play a different role at a different point in time. You think they’re the love of your life when you first start dating but after some time passes, you realize their values don’t match yours, or they aren’t as fun as you thought they were. It happens and it’s okay. Not everyone you meet is meant to be your forever.
6. You find someone else.
This may be the most unfortunate way to fall out of love, especially for your partner, but it happens more often than we’d like. You’re out at a crowded bar with your friends, a cute guy walks up to you and gives you his number, and you’re absolutely elated. The newness feels nice compared to the routine you’ve fallen into with your current lover. Again, you’re not a static object. You aren’t stuck in one place with one person unless you want to be. You don’t have to be in love with someone forever, and if you see the opportunity to be in love with someone else, why not go for it?
7. You’re too busy for a relationship.
As cliche as it may sound, it happens. As we grow older, our days become more and more filled with activities like jobs, friends, and family gatherings. You love your partner but you just don’t have time for them anymore. The more you ignore the relationship, the further out of love you fall. If you cut it off before you fall out of love, there’s a better chance you can still remain a part of each other’s lives. However, if you wait and wait and wait, you’ll begin to resent each other for the lack of effort put into the relationship which can be more harmful than anything.
8. The relationship just moved too fast.
Have you ever waited all day for the big bowl of delicious pasta you were having for dinner, and then when dinner time comes, you eat the pasta fast and forget to enjoy the taste? You can do that in a relationship too. If you spend every single day together doing things and going on adventures, you run out of things to do too soon. You run out of things to tell each other. You spent your day together, you both know what happened, so you have nothing to talk about. You fall in love too fast and you get bored. Love is a marathon, not a sprint. The faster you go, the faster it fades.
9. You never talked about your expectations.
You knew what you wanted from the beginning of the relationship but your partner didn’t make their expectations clear. You were dating them with the hopes of marrying them someday, but they were dating you for the fun of it. When you jump into a relationship without giving it time to mold itself, you tend to miss the big important conversations. You fell in love and they didn’t, and now you’re stuck with a broken heart and a bruised ego because they failed to mention your lack of significance in their life. Maybe the opposite happened and you’ve both fallen in love but didn’t know that was part of the plan. Now you’re scared and running because you don’t know what else to do. You were in love but you didn’t even know it.
10. You have no idea why. It just happened.
One night you went to bed in love with your significant other, and the next morning you woke up and didn’t feel exactly the same. That strange feeling just got stronger over time without you ever realizing it. You might have grown, you might have changed, you might have had a combination of the nine things listed. You don’t know. You have no logical reason for wanting out of the love you’re in, but you’re going with your gut and ditching it fast. Everything has a reason, but you’re not always meant to know what it is.
There are a million reasons why love expires. It can be one thing, a combination of things, or a series of things unknown that make you decide you need to be with you and no one else. It happens. It’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t imply that you have poor judgment. It illustrates your ability to be a dynamic being that refuses to settle for stasis.