Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
Last time I wrote about “falling out of love”. When I counsel people who feel that has happened to them, they often ask if it is possible to “fall in love again”, and how they can make that happen.
The idea of making it happen is perhaps a little strange, because in general falling in love just seems to happen on its own, it’s not something you work at. So trying to fall in love can feel a bit contrived, but I see nothing wrong in that. In many areas of our lives we set objectives and work towards them in a conscious way. Why should developing our emotions be so very different from gaining academic qualifications or mastering new piece of computer software? If you want something specific, it’s more likely to happen if you actively work towards it, than if you just wait and see.
However hard you and your partner work at it, you can’t necessarily make it happen, but there are things you can do to make it more likely – to improve your relationship with somebody to the point where it becomes possible to love them – and for them to love you – again.
In my last blog I suggested that love is an accumulation of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviours that are different for all of us; different feelings in a different mix. If you’ve stopped loving someone, you’ve stopped feeling some or all of those things, and so falling in love again is about finding ways to build back the feelings you’ve lost.
A common theme is trust. For many people, trust is an important ingredient of love – indeed for many it is essential; love cannot exist without trust. A good way of breaking trust is by keeping secrets from your partner, and so something like the discovery of an affair will break trust and damage love.
Secrets damage trust and honesty restores it. It can be a painful and difficult process but after an affair, being honest about what has happened is a really important step in rebuilding trust and therefore in restoring love.
If you and your partner can understand what love means for each of you, you can work at restoring it, by breaking it down and building it up. It may be about spending more time together, about making plans, about sharing your joys or fears, helping each other achieve individual goals, about extending boundaries in your sex life.
It may be about almost anything and about many different things, but almost certainly it will be about doing things together, thus fostering a sense of partnership that may have disappeared over time or through circumstances.
Love changes. When you’re 60, your ideas about love will probably be very different from the ideas you had when you were 20. As you get older, you need different things in life and so you also need different things in love. Some relationships seem to change naturally – they seem to adapt to changing needs. Love can evolve, it seems, though I suspect this comes about through good communication, together with respect and flexibility from both partners.
Not all relationships change naturally, however, and so, without any obvious circumstantial changes, couples (or one of a couple) can fall out of love. Where both partners are willing to put in the effort, I think it perfectly possible to rediscover love, perhaps a different form of love, often a better, deeper love.