Why People Fall Out Of Love With Each Other

I ran you a warm bath and took off your clothes. I cooked spaghetti and meatballs for you and handed you the paper so you could do the crossword puzzle. I even took you to a work party! And then somehow, I stopped wanting to cook for you and bringing you to social gatherings started to stress me out. Maybe it’s because I started taking a different route to work, or because the season changed from summer to fall, or you know what it might’ve been actually? I started to get into comic books. At the end of the day though, I’m not exactly sure why. I just knew I could no longer love you.

I swore I would love you to the ends of the earth. I spent so many nights in bed with you, promising things I knew I had no business promising. And then somehow, I changed my mind. Maybe it’s because I stayed too late at the bar, or because I lost my keys that one day after going to the video store, or because I started to eat dinner at 6 p.m. instead of my usual time at 7. I can’t give you an answer. I just knew I could no longer love you.

I introduced you to my parents and they liked you, except my mom would sometimes involuntarily scowl at you during dinner. Sorry babe! I told my parents that you were important to me and that I was right on track to being loved and married and all that gross stuff. “Mom, Dad! I’ve been accepted into Somebody Loves You University. Can you believe it? They don’t just accept anybody!” And they let out a wan smile and passed the potatoes and everything was fine, I guess. But then somehow, things stopped being fine. Maybe it’s because I looked too long at my mother’s scowl, or because I don’t like to eat potatoes, or because your body started to feel slimy and foreign. I can’t honestly tell you. I just knew I could no longer love you.

I took you to the doctors because you weren’t feeling well and I felt like such a good person when I was in that waiting room. I wanted to scream at the coughing 80-year-old woman, “Excuse me! I’m waiting for my significant other right now. Because I am a really good partner, the best really. So you can shut up? You’re depressing and I’m happy!” And then somehow, I no longer wanted to wait for you in a doctor’s office. It seemed like the worst activity on planet Earth actually. Maybe this was because I hate hospitals, hate old people, or maybe it’s because I started to hate you. I mean, I’m at a loss, honey! I just knew I could no longer love you.

I couldn’t keep my hands off of you. It was crazy! I was kissing you in parks, in restaurants, during business lunches, when you were getting ready for bed. I became that PDA person I never thought I could become. But then, somehow, I reverted back to my usual self. I stopped kissing you in public or even in our bedroom. Maybe it’s because you had bad breath, or because I have weird intimacy issues, or maybe it’s because your tongue started to feel like sandpaper. I don’t know, okay? Leave me alone. I don’t love you.

People spend so much of their time wondering why and it gets them nowhere, besides eating Lithium ice cream in a diner for sad people. It’s because they don’t want to know the truth, which is people can be cruel and falling in love can be just as random as falling out of love. We don’t want to think of ourselves that way, don’t want to admit that we have the capacity to be so fickle and heartless. But we do. It’s not our fault. It’s how we’re wired. If you want to blame anyone, blame whatever created us. “Hey you! Why did you give humans the ability to be such pricks? That was like sooo not necessary.” NO COMMENT. TC mark

image – Neal

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    “People spend so much of their time wondering why and it gets them
    nowhere, besides eating Lithium ice cream in a diner for sad people.” – That line made the whole piece for me. That line is wonderful.

  • Andrew Edminister

    Sorry about you getting into comic books. That’s the saddest part.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

      Hey, now…

  • Come on, Man

    “I wanted to scream at the coughing 80-year-old woman, “Excuse me! I’m
    waiting for my significant other right now. Because I am a really good
    partner, the best really. So you can shut up? You’re depressing and I’m
    happy!”

    God, that is brutal. Really?

    • AA

      that’s how i felt when reading this part

  • xra

    this is the kind of thing i’d consult a scientist about

  • eh...

    everything is a choice…IMO

  • Guest

    Maybe the question should be how..not why

  • Jtmeier23

    Sigh, I don’t know about this one. I think I understand the falling out of love part more so than I would like to admit but as an Irish person I have this built in guilt where I will try ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING to not fall out of love. 3-some? Sure. Vacation to Hawaii? Ok. New Puppy? Lets do it. If all else fails, I guess one has to realize that people do actually fall out of love.

    • Assirammmmmm

      Irish guilt Lmao that could explain why I force myself to “make it work”… oh the psychological implications of being raised by a 100% psychotic Irish womab

    • AA

      I think most people *Wish* they were like this! At least I do. Once one little bit of doubt creeps in, I take it as a sign to run away immediately–Which is much more destructive, I think, than trying threesomes ;)

  • Sophia

    Very well-written, and rather poetic. I liked it.

  • Aja

    I consider myself neither fickle nor heartless.  You want me to fall out of love with you?  Start treating me badly.  Stop taking care of yourself (basic hygiene), get really mad during an argument and call me names.  I’ll fall out of love with you quickly.  But it has to be provoked with a legitimate cause. 

    • No

      um no

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670581745 Stuti Nanda

    i loved the line “falling in love can be just as random as falling out of love” ..!! never happened to me before..but it somehow does ring the bell..!! 

  • Markhamf

    “because your body started to feel slimy and foreign”

    That’s when I know it’s over every time.

  • http://twitter.com/tinilatini tinilatini

    ryan, we all know where you stole the lithium ice cream in a diner for sad people from.
    the jig is up.

  • Stan

    Sounds exactly like what I’m going through right now. You can’t explain it, but the love just isn’t there anymore. I feel like it should be there, but I just can’t seem to find it. Knowing me, I probably left it on the bus somewhere.

  • nick

    Umm, what IS “lithium icecream”? I’m dumb.

    • Holly

      Comfort food. 

    • Jamie

      Sex and the City reference.

      • Ryan O'Connell

        its actually from reality bitez

    • http://twitter.com/AbeAxis Abe Lara

       Lithium is a pill you take for depression and ice cream is a comfort food.

      “1+1 = 2”
                 -Beyonce

  • http://jmgonzalezphoto.tumblr.com/ Jim

    I totally became “that PDA” person with my last boyfriend, and same as you, I never ever thought I would become them. And after talking of engagement rings and “spending forever together” on a daily basis, we prematurely parted ways thanks to life getting in the way. Our parting words were  “I love you. I’m going to miss you so very much.” So we didn’t fall out of love, but I have fallen out of love with a different boyfriend, and it was the most amicable split ever. Thank goodness. Love is rough.

  • http://jmgonzalezphoto.tumblr.com/ Jim

    I totally became “that PDA” person with my last boyfriend, and same as you, I never ever thought I would become them. And after talking of engagement rings and “spending forever together” on a daily basis, we prematurely parted ways thanks to life getting in the way. Our parting words were  “I love you. I’m going to miss you so very much.” So we didn’t fall out of love, but I have fallen out of love with a different boyfriend, and it was the most amicable split ever. Thank goodness. Love is rough.

  • http://jmgonzalezphoto.tumblr.com/ Jim

    I totally became “that PDA” person with my last boyfriend, and same as you, I never ever thought I would become them. And after talking of engagement rings and “spending forever together” on a daily basis, we prematurely parted ways thanks to life getting in the way. Our parting words were  “I love you. I’m going to miss you so very much.” So we didn’t fall out of love, but I have fallen out of love with a different boyfriend, and it was the most amicable split ever. Thank goodness. Love is rough.

  • Kokocha

    I don’t think love is ever really lost. I believe it evolves. The guy I was passionately in love with, all of a sudden i just felt like i did not love him anymore, I thought it had literally gotten up and walked out the door. But over time I realised it was still there, it had evolved from passionate, sexual love to companionate/agape love. Companionate love lacks that FLAME in passionate love so it feels empty like it isn’t there anymore but it really is…
    I never believed it before, the saying that true love never dies…but it truly and really never dies, It just lays dormant, waiting for life to be breathed back into it.

    • http://twitter.com/vickstahs Vicky Nguyen

      I liked the last comment. I think you may just be right.

      Lovely article, as always, Ryan.

  • Kokocha

    I don’t think love is ever really lost. I believe it evolves. The guy I was passionately in love with, all of a sudden i just felt like i did not love him anymore, I thought it had literally gotten up and walked out the door. But over time I realised it was still there, it had evolved from passionate, sexual love to companionate/agape love. Companionate love lacks that FLAME in passionate love so it feels empty like it isn’t there anymore but it really is…
    I never believed it before, the saying that true love never dies…but it truly and really never dies, It just lays dormant, waiting for life to be breathed back into it.

  • Anonymous

    This is why I’m scared of falling in love. I don’t want to have to ever tell someone that I need them to go because they’re no longer special to me. I’d rather not lose the people I have in my life over a few months (or days) of out-of-my-mind passion. Please don’t tell me I “have to” listen to my urges. I like being single, even if it means I miss out on one or two kisses.

    • http://twitter.com/no_cazador hunter ray

      there are so many people on this enormous globe that if passion with one doesn’t work out, you can still find and maintain plenty of new and different long-term friendships. You miss out on a lot more than just kisses being single, but so too when you are in a relationship. Both are experiences worth having and both can be great and both can really fucking suck. Don’t be bitter grrrl.

      • Anonymous

        I can’t agree more with you. I do love being in love, but I’m also happy being footloose and fancy-free. (More or less, with the latter.) What could happen might happen, and if it happens, it’s beautiful. 

        Still, while I’d like to share a life with someone else someday, I think friendship suffices for now. I’d just rather not try on partners like pairs of jeans, and chuck them out if they don’t fit. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if dating a person just screws up the way you see them. 

      • mustardrabbit

        Dating a person does not necessarily screw up the way you see them but rather exposes a truth about them that you have initially failed to see. I’d like to think it is in the long run..for the better. Being able to see any amount of goodness in them despite their negative idiosyncrasies does not make you a fool, it should remind you to look at and evaluate yourself the same way.

        If you can still love them regardless of that and any other hardships, then they’re lucky to have you. It is up to them whether or not they want to cultivate, need or want that of you. If they don’t, then all that says is your investment is meant for someone else out there or yourself. Someday, they’ll be in the same position so up theirs! 

  • http://twitter.com/AbeAxis Abe Lara

    I literally felt like you started to hate me.. and it broke my heart :[

  • Vicky Shazam

    being human sucks.

  • Anonymous
  • Damien O'Keeffe

    Well written and honest up to a point. We fall out of love because we can’t be bothered to put the effort any more, because we think there is something better just over there, because we can’t take responsibility for our actions. The comment about love evolving is very true. The initial passionate, physical spark fades with time and familiarity and routine. We have to work at it. Something deeper and caring takes the place of the urgency. Perhaps I’m just lucky…I’ve been with my partner for sixteen years, married for fourteen, we have three kids and busy lives…and I still find her the most attractive woman in the world. We argue and annoy one another, sure, and sometimes we have wished we were somewhere else with someone else. But we are committed to being with one another, whatever happens. That only develops with time and trust and effort. In my opinion she is worth it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josephgrantmusso Joseph

    Ryan, marry me.

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