How we fall in love and why love extinguishes

There are still no certainties about the dynamics that lie at the basis of how we fall in love, although many studies have been carried out in this regard that have ascertained the incidence of certain physiological factors (smell, posture, appearance), psychological, emotional and social.

We can define falling in love as a series of physical reactions that we call emotions. Unlike what is commonly thought, falling in love and loving are not synonymous.

We have already talked about what love is now we face another aspect that will make us see it in a different light.

The falling in love

Falling in love is characterized by the tumultuousness of feelings, by a strong passion. It is something that happens suddenly, that surprises and overwhelms us. It can be considered the first step to reach love, but it can also happen that it runs out before reaching the supposed goal.

But falling in love is more than just an attraction, an infatuation, because it manages to go beyond the physical aspect to dwell on other characteristics, such as intelligence and character.

The attraction for another person arises from the need to find something that we lack, so it is a feeling still characterized by a strong selfish drive that makes the other person see more as a means to satisfy our desire, our need, than a person with their own needs. In reality, we love ourselves above all and project our aspirations on the other. The desire to merge with each other is a way of masking the desire to affirm ourselves.

Often, when we are in love, we project on the other all the qualities possible and we end up loving, more than that person—his idealized version.

Falling in love does not live on reality, but on fantasy and illusions that many times prove to have little to do with the real situation. It is a way of experiencing sensations and satisfying desires that reality has not yet satisfied.

Inevitably, however, reality ends up colliding with what is only the fruit of our imagination, giving rise to a disappointment difficult to overcome. That’s how falling in love can end before it turns into love.

The charm of power

As we said, it’s not the physical attraction that determines the falling in love or, at least, it’s not just that. We fall in love not only with the beautiful but, for example, with the rich, with the famous and powerful. The goal is always to improve our position. Who is considered in a privileged position automatically becomes “beautiful” because it gives a sense of security (false) and, in reference, gives the other a sense of protection (equally false).

Wealth and success are held in high regard and therefore it is thought that those who have it can choose to have whoever they want close, this means that the person who manages to attract his attention will feel “important”.

In conclusion, we fall in love with those who make us feel more fulfilled, so it makes us feel better. We want to be desired by those who have a lot of choice because it gratifies us by making us feel, in turn, superior to others.

It must also be said that, in every relationship, two people never love each other in the same way. Generally one tends to be accepted, the other already knows to be accepted. So this one can fall in love with the other’s love for her.

Falling in love as a transitional phase

Love presupposes that there is acceptance of the other, even in the awareness of his limitations and defects.

In love we have seen that the partner is idealized and that our imagination comes to our aid by masking its limits with our illusions. In a relationship, however, it is inherent in the desire to attend, to know each other better and knowledge leads to having to take note of what is really the other. At this point the illusions are broken, but this applies to both partners.

How difficult it can be to accept the other for what he is, so it is difficult (and perhaps even more) to discover ourselves with the other by showing ourselves as we are. We must be the first to love and accept ourselves if we want to be strong enough and confident enough to “offer ourselves” to someone else, even at the risk of facing rejection.

Falling in love is the hope of being accepted by someone else. In the case mentioned above it is the expectation of acceptance by the individual who is considered higher. For this reason it can hardly have a long life, once it is realized (or that proves impossible) it has an end. At this point, true love may begin or all may end, depending on the type of falling in love.

A love based on idealization and symbiosis with the other makes our love more the image we have built than the person as she really is. True love is love and acceptance of the person, with even its defects, that we like because they are part of her and characterize her. Falling in love is an illusory feeling. Love is real and it is more than a feeling: it is a commitment, a promise.

Why does interest go out?

Couple silhouette breaking up a relation on the beach at sunset

We have seen what determines the birth of an interest and the choice of a certain person as our partner.

Sometimes, however, what was believed to be the great love, the eternal passion, the person with whom we wanted to spend our whole life, turns out to be a flash in the pan. All the similarities that we had found, at a certain point seem to disappear, we find ourselves in front of a person who seems to have become a stranger, who has nothing more to say to us and to whom we have nothing more to say.

It may be that something in that person affected us so much that it clouded our judgment. But it may also be that that person was really not as it seemed to us. The same person we liked, with whom we felt so good, on whom we had invested so much, at a certain point no longer corresponds to our needs.

Time can change the balance

The reason is simple, even if a bit cruel: time passes, people change and not always the change of two people follows the same direction. Sometimes the roads traveled take different directions, regardless of our will. When we realize that we can no longer communicate our feelings to each other, when we realize that the other one’s behavior is no longer as familiar as in the past, problems begin to arise.

It happens that a couple splits even if, at the beginning of their relationship, everyone would bet that they were the perfect couple. This shows that the end of a love is not the consequence of a wrong initial choice but rather the consequence of the inability to predict the future, the changes that will come and the new needs that will arise.

Robert Sternberg, a well-known American psychologist, has proposed a subdivision of the qualities that seem to increase in importance with the passage of time and those that, instead, lose importance or have a variable importance.

Identifies the qualities that increase in importance in the following:

  •  sharing of values and religious belief
  •  desire to change in tune with your partner
  •  tolerance of other person’s defects

Qualities that tend to lose importance are identified in:

  • interesting personality
  • attention to each other
  • relations with family members

The qualities that can assume a variable importance have been identified in:

  • physical attraction
  • sexual ability
  • ability to empathize
  • predisposition to express one’s feelings
  • similar intellectual level

The problem is to be able to predict which of these features will be more important in the long term in our relationship and how our partner will evolve in these respects.


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