Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What Does It Mean to Fall out of Love?

I have an agenda on this question, I'll admit, just not an emotional one. I've been talking to some friends of mine who are on completely different pages with this question, and I realized that the answer to this question may not be the same for different people. Or there may be a right answer, but I just don't know it. And I'd like to, I'd really like to.

What does it mean to fall out of love with someone?

Seriously, what does that entail? Is it easy to do, or impossible? Is love just an emotion? Is it just a decision? Is it more than just feeling something until you commit to it forever?

What's the difference between loving your best friend and loving your wife? What's the difference between falling out of love with your wife and falling out of love with your girlfriend? And what's the difference between falling out of love with your girlfriend and falling out of love with Wendy's new Chicken Sandwich? Are these differences night-and-day or shades of gray? How many of these can you fall out of love with?

And can you fall out of love with God?


At August 09, 2006 12:56 PM, Anonymous Doug said...

I think before you can answer that question, you have to truly define what love is. If you can fall out of love with anything, than does love even exist?

At August 10, 2006 3:53 AM, Blogger Kate said...

I would have to agree that without a definition of love there is no scale or measurement of falling from it. Humans are often experts at trying to figure out love, but this word that we call “love” is just tossed around to be tailored to the next agenda or made to fit in a nice little box of some sort. And that would be the reason why no one knows what love really is because they are constantly swayed and deceived by all shapes and forms of the word whose meaning has escaped us.

Biblically speaking, God’s love is perfect...thus we have something to go by even though we could never achieve the perfect standard of God’s love. Can we fall out of love with God? Yes, we can because we’re human and we aren’t always inclined to love our Creator who is just downright wiser and greater than we are. I think that we enjoy the comfort of finding our own definitions of love because our definitions are easy to access and easier to understand. However, if you change the context of this question to: (Can we fall out of God’s love?), then the answer is no. I don’t believe that we can fall out of God’s love since His love is perfect and He continues to love us even when we don’t love Him.

If we had the ability to understand His perfect love, then we wouldn’t be able to fall out of perfect love.

At August 10, 2006 9:11 PM, Blogger bs king said...

I agree that the question seems far to idiomatically technical to give a good concise answer. However, to get to what I think the heart of the matter is (in my life) love is all about choices. Love is not a steady state. Love is the choices you make every day to treat people in a certain way. Frequently we define love as "how much we like making those choices" or "how often we make the right choice". However, sometimes people make choices out of love that cause others to question their love. Example: I dumped my ex because I thought our relationship was bad, that we were both worse people while in it, and that there had to be something better for both of us. My ex thinks I did it because I'm a commitment phobe and a bitch. Did I fall out of love? According to my side, no, I made a choice to save us both a lot of pain, and I truly believe it to be the right one. My ex wonders loud and often how I could just fall out of love like that. Now we don't talk. I don't call because I don't want things to be more complicated, out of love both for myself and my ex. So how then shall we live?

At August 10, 2006 9:24 PM, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Like the words "run" or "set," the word love has multiple meanings. People can make clean distinctions in theory - and CS Lewis does so remarkably well in his book The Four Loves, which goes in depth about storge, eros, philos, and agape - but in practice they overlap. Like tobacconists or chi-chi coffee places, we each have our own special blend. We don't necessarily mean quite the same thing every time we use the word.

As to the type of love that you fall into or fall out of, I don't think it is sustainable for even a year on its own. It requires refeuling, or support, or alternation with one of the other loves or it simply evaporates. So yeah, you can fall out of love. That is in fact the natural course of events.

I remember that in my youthful arrogance when I did "Fiddler On The Roof" how contemptuous I was of Tevye and Golda's son "Do You Love Me?" which revealed their elaborate rationalizations for not actually understanding real love as I understood it with my sensitive nature. I can't remember what girl I was in love with then (though I do have it narrowed down to two).

At August 13, 2006 9:29 PM, Blogger Woody said...

I don't think that one knows what love really is until he gets older. For instance, when I was a kid I knew that my mother loved me but I really didn't understand exactly what that meant. I knew that she would die for me, but I didn't know if I would die for her. It was something beyond my mind and experience at the time. As a parent, now, I really understand and can also appeciate my kids not understanding, if they don't.

One final thought unrelated to that. I think that guys tend to fall in love and that girls tend to decide to love. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that it is almost always the girl who does the breaking up and the guy who takes it the hardest. (Not that I would know first hand.) When you look at the subject of love songs, it seems that most are about guys hurting from losing a love and wanting her back or wanting another chance.

At December 17, 2007 1:18 PM, Anonymous Leplen said...

First, falling out of love is certainly not impossible, or else all love would endure. The divorce rate at the least would make it seem far far from impossible. Fundamentaly most people move on, most people forget. Attention spans and devotion only endure for so long. Depending on what you mean by commit to in forever, I would say yes it is more than just a feeling. Love for a chicken sandwhich may not be, but for people it is. The chicken sandwhich after all, only changes you by its taste primarily, only through direcrly affecting your sensory perceptions, but people aren't like that.

Love, before committment is part feeling, part fascination. That is what draws us in, exploring and trying to understand on of the most complicated things we've ever found.

People are all fundamentally social, and all fundamentally knowledge seekers (c.f the garden of Eden, the sirens, Odin, Semele, etc.) and thus the merger of these two things, the completion of our dual natures is the key element of romantic love. Other elements are most mundane. Being "fun" "nice" etc. Because friendships are less intrusive, these things are stronger elements of love for friends. Your friends are more defined by things you did with them than by the explorations and conversations.

This is why most people talk much more with people they are dating than with their friends, and why 1-on-1conversations with people of opposite sexes last longer and delve deeper in general. Not that friends do not have deep conversations, they just tend to be harder to start and quicker to finish, because there is something inappropriate about trying to know too deeply your friends.

Falling out of love with my friends means I no longer enjoy the same things, they're too hard to get together with, or they have become annoying to me in some way. The former 2 cases being by far the most prevalent. Also, cataclysmic personal events, such as a betrayal of trust by a friend, girlfriend, or spouse can trigger an abrupt falling out of love, as they provide something for which any other negative feelings one has may collect and precipitate on.

Falling out of love is never completely night and day, but as relationship become formalized it becomes increasingly so. You can only hide in the gray so long if your boyfriend proposes. There are definite on-off states of romantic relationships in ways there aren't for friendships, thuis freindships tend to be more graduated and greyer.

I think people can and do fall out of love with God because they think they understand him and that what they know of him is not worth knowing. People fall out of love with God because they think he is a tyrant, bully, or just mean-spirited, either because of some personal loss they blame on him or because that's what they get from theology. They read about God wreaking vengeance on the infidel and they don't care to know anymore and every fascinating element of God is dismissed by that established (even if erroneous) understanding.

In response to Woody

At December 17, 2007 1:25 PM, Blogger Leplen said...

Bah, cut off.

In response to Woody I don't know that men truly are more likely to fall in love. I think love always requires an element of committment and chosen consent by both parties. I think that women are more driven in the quest for a husband and are thus more discriminating. Women are more likely to break up with a man because they don't think he'd make a good husband than men are to break up with women because they don't think she'd make a good wife.

I think love operates the same way for people of both genders, but the extra criterion men are aubjected to (and subjected to more and more strongly as the relationship goes on) makes women more likely to break off relationships late into them. That doesn't mean the man didn't choose to be in love to some extent, but unmaking the choise isn't always easy.

It's not always easy for the woman either, but she broke it off so no one has any sympathy for her.

When I move into a house, living there is fundamentally my choice, and the attitude I have toward my house is also under my control, and it's my own fault that I'm nostalgic and miss it when I leave, but I still am because I can't change how I felt as a consequence of my choices, only my choices themselves, and they're too far in the past to be undone.

At December 17, 2007 5:36 PM, Blogger Wyman said...

Your response to Woody is more thoughtful than the one I would offer, I would merely point out that anyone who thinks that girls are going to be less emotional about relationships really doesn't know anything about girls.

I found myself agreeing with you, Leplen, especially with your comments about falling out of love with God. Our inability to see God for what he is makes him unlovable to us sometimes, but God, as he truly is, shows us what love should be. One doesn't fall out of love with God, one falls out of love with the false image of God that they have in their heads.


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