Falling Out of Love Doesn’t Mean it Was Never Love

I often see sappy Tumblr posts containing the statement, in some sort of way, “If you can remain friends after, it was never really love” or “if you fell out of love, it was never really love.” This may be a statement used as a coping mechanism for those suffering a break up, or those convincing themselves their significant other's exes and your current significant other were never really in love. Unfortunately, these statements are often harmful, and discount what truly makes the world go ‘round: loving another human being.

I am a firm believer that love is not a feeling; it is a choice. Feelings are fleeting. Especially for an emotional person like me, they can change in seconds. There are moments I truly hate the people who overall I love the most. This is natural and human, for me and many others. If you want a relationship to continue, you should not rely on your feelings to guide you. This is not invalidating your gut feeling that something may be off or feelings of neglect and other forms of negativity in a relationship. This means that if you are in a healthy, loving relationship where you once felt was true love, you choose to keep making it true love.

Relationships go through times of doubt, dry spells and just plain weirdness. Our feelings can change without notice because of something we heard a friend say, or something we felt in a song. Just like you and your significant other are living and breathing, a relationship is to be treated like another live organism. You feed it with the attention it needs, and it will continue to grow. Love is an action.

I often ask my significant other to tell me I am his first love. He was mine, and it crushes me that he had another, real and long-term relationship before us. While this is a coping mechanism for me, and while I do hope I am his one true love, I hope with all my heart that he loved the girl he dated for 4.5 years before me. I hope people are being honest with their significant others, and I do know that – at least at some point in their relationship – he truly, deeply loved her. Without this, I think the dishonesty in telling her he loved her, combined with the waste of 4.5 years being with a person you didn’t actually love, is a sign that I should run. What if I’m being lied to? What if he changes his mind after we are together for 4.5 years? Their love may have been different, or may even have been more shallow compared to what he feels now. That doesn't mean it wasn't very real for them then.

Finally, people can fall out of love, and that does not make the time they were in love any less significant or true. It doesn’t mean they stopped trying, either. People grow and change. Despite what some may believe – your heart, mind and who you are at your core can develop into someone new with time and experience. Giving something all you have, and realizing it wasn’t right, doesn’t make it any less real. You don’t have to think that falling out of love made your relationship a waste of time. It made you human. While you may wish you had never felt that deeply about another person, there are people out there who wish they could experience something that can be so wonderful. 

It is okay to fall out of love. And it is okay if your first love isn't your last. A beautiful aspect of this life is the feelings that come along with being human. Choose to be happy with that.

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4.