Ask Dating Guy is a weekly View The Vibe relationship column written by a mysterious Toronto-based man. He believes anonymity is of the utmost importance when it comes to the journalistic integrity of advice columnists. How else can he divulge stories about his crazy exes, current lovers, and deal-breaking past relationship mistakes without destroying his romantic prospects for future research? Think about it… and feel free to draw conclusions about who he is, too.
Ask Dating Guy: What Are The Signs I’ve Fallen Out of Love?
There’s a reason why stories like “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” Mandy Len Catron’s essay featured in The New York Times’ popular Modern Love section, go viral. Everyone wants to fall in love… maybe not now, but at some point in the future. Even some of the most diehard bachelors I know speak casually of the day they’ll have a wife and kids as if such a lifestyle is an inevitably, and falling in love with the perfect partner will logically happen along the way.
We read tips, columns, studies, and psychological research papers trying to understand what exactly it is that leads to true love. But in my experience, falling hard for someone else always seems to hit at incredibly inconvenient, totally unexpected times in my life. I know I’m in love because I make room for this new most-important-thing-I-had-no-idea-I-wanted.
That said, I’m currently single, which means that for every time I’ve fallen in love, I’ve fallen out of it. I’ve never been married, but I’ve lived with two ex-girlfriends. Both times I shacked up thinking, “I love her, I want to spend almost all my time with her, and we may as well have our nightly sleepovers in the same place.” I’ve also been truly in love with a few other women who I thought I might spend the rest of my life with. But the feelings between us extinguished before we even moved all our worldly possessions under the same roof.
In the times I’ve been the one who broke things off, it came from a place of knowing it was over, that she wasn’t the one. Sure, it was easy to let all the happy moments of our shared history convince me it was worth saving, that my doubt in our future was momentary, but I knew I wasn’t in love anymore. I’ve seen friends stay with romantic partners longer than they should simply because they think they’ve put so much “work” into making it work. I’ve even been the best man in a couple of these weddings. Being in love shouldn’t feel like work though.
Maybe all two potential soul mates have to do to fall in love with one another is answer the 36 questions Catron featured in her article, taken from psychologist Arthur Aron’s study on the development of romantic feelings. It’s blissful to love someone you know almost as well as you know yourself. Someone who’s been there for good times and bad, who knows all the personal signatures you have. From the way you like your toast to the crazy superstitions you can’t help but believe in.
But how do you know when it’s not just comfort and security you feel when you’re with your true love? When does it mean you’ve actually fallen out of love? I’m no psychologist, but based on my past experiences, I broke off long-term relationships when I answered “no” to the following questions. (I’ve always answered “yes” to all three when I’ve been hit hard by Cupid’s arrow and was head over heels in love)…
The Signs You’ve Fallen Out of Love….
1) When you and your significant other part ways for more than a day, is there a part of you that wishes you didn’t have to be apart. Even if you could use the time to get work you’ve been putting off finally done. And even though you know you’ll appreciate getting a great night’s sleep alone and having some time to catch up with your friends?
2) Does the thought of your significant other’s little quirks – from chronic nail-biting to a strange obsession with taxidermy – make you smile? Do even the most irritating things about your significant other make him/her more special?
3) Do you know all the simple things that make your partner smile? Even if it’s a morbid type of joke or an ongoing obsession with Russian constructivism? And do you add these little joys to the life you share often because the thought of him/her smiling makes you smile? Do these little moments of genuine, simple happiness outweigh all the monumental gifts and more formal outpourings of love?
Do you agree with Ask Dating Guy? Are these three questions signs you’re either still in love if you answered “yes,” or that you’ve fallen out of love if you’ve answered “no?