Can We Fall in Love Again?
This question is asked by many couples who find themselves in a place where one or both no longer feel affection for the other. They wonder how they got here, and is there any possibility they can love each other again? Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Love Sense, The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, calls the journey to this place “a moment-to-moment unraveling” that occurs when two primary questions go unanswered in a relationship (or are answered with a “no”).
Those questions are “Are you there for me?” and “Will you put me first?” If the answer to these questions becomes “no,” as opportunities for connection and emotional intimacy are unmet, partners begin to feel the emotional pain of the beginnings of the unraveling. Then, what Dr. Johnson calls “little black weeds of doubt and distrust” begin to grow, and a couple will begin to develop a pattern of negativity…creating an automatic cycle of what Johnson calls “moments of hurt and misattunement.”
“Just as when a torn muscle fails to mend and constricts movement, so an injured relationship that isn’t healed stiffens and becomes less elastic, spontaneous, and playful.” The “story of the relationship” becomes one of “personal unhappiness and centers around the faults of the other.” The wall goes up and they “lose touch with the impact” of their attacks. Couples begin to notice the attacks are out of control and to protect themselves emotionally they may begin to cut off emotionally from each other and begin seeking personal fulfillment in activities and other relationships.
Couples at this point will often feel desperate for change but often do not know how to take the first steps and may feel there is no hope. “Relationship mending depends not on healing huge rifts but on mending the constant small tears.” Couples can learn that as they learn to attend to each other’s bids for connection and how to respond to those bids they can develop trust again and a sense of security. Johnson states “bonding is an eternal process of renewal.”
In order for these bonds to heal, couples must be accessible, responsive and engaged with one another. The first step is to notice the cycle and how each person contributes. Next, the triggers and emotions that propel a couple into the cycle are addressed. Once the cycle, triggers and emotions are made known the couple can begin to break the cycle by being there for each other, responding to each other’s emotional needs, and truly being present with each other. The path to healing is not easy; both partners must be vulnerable and take the risk to love again. A new cycle of renewal and security can begin.
Can we fall in love again? Yes. The in-love feelings often follow once the bonds of connection are mended. Falling in love again is not guaranteed, but yes, it is possible. At Life Enhancement Counseling Services we have trained mental health counselors that can help you and your partner begin healing the bonds that have been broken. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services located in Metrowest Orlando at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment today.