My colleague and friend, Genevieve Boudreault, and I were interviewed for a university podcast. At one point, the show host asked us, “Can you fall out of love?”
Gen and I are therapists who specialize in working with both couples and individuals who come to us facing loneliness, heartbreak, and uncertainty whether they can make their relationship last.
Gen remarked: “No, I don’t think that you can fall out of love…” She seemed so confident in her answer. It made me pause.
Can you fall out of love?
I pondered this question for a while, thinking about the clients who come to me for help – many who have scars based on past relationships, showing that the effects of loving another are far-reaching.
Love changes your body chemistry. It can change the way you see the world and, conversely, when love ends, the world can feel like it is falling apart. The wounds of lost love can feel devastating. Therefore, when I was asked, “Can you fall out of love?” I responded that despite whether you can or can’t ‘fall out’ of love, there are some essential ways to keep yourself together if a relationship ends:
- Talk to someone. Often when we are hurt, it can be a tendency to keep out feelings bottled up, to slink further into ourselves. Opening up about our heartache can lessen its effects.
- Realize that love can come from more than a romantic partner. Friends, family, and colleagues can give fulfillment and a sense of security.
- Take time to write out a letter to yourself about why things ended. This exercise has been incredibly useful for my clients who have had recent heartbreaks. Writing a loving letter can help keep perspective when we start to miss this person and wonder why it is over.
- Talk to a therapist. While friends can offer love and comfort, therapists are skilled at seeing patterns of relating and can help guide you to feeling worth within yourself, so when you love again, you can feel stronger.
Psychologists and clinicians at CFIR help individuals and couples discover how to identify and express their selves in their relationships with others. We also support individuals and partners on how to exit from challenging relationship patterns and become more accessible and responsive to one another. Healthy relationship functioning is essential in maintaining a good sense of ourselves.
Jess A.L. Erb, D.Psychotherapy, R.P. (Qualifying) is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) who believes that the best therapy happens when a deep trust can form between