Posted by: coachingparents | October 11, 2007

OUT OF LOVE


By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.

Being in love is wonderful!  Last Saturday, I attended a wedding ceremony held outside in the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado
Springs, Colorado.  It was a gorgeous day and the couple were quite
obviously in love with one another.  Many people marry because they “are so in love.” Indeed, most marriages begin when the couple feel themselves to be in love.  It is indeed a wonderful emotion.

After a few years of living in love with your partner however, you
may awaken some morning and feel “out of love.”  You realize you have changed.  Your partner has changed.  You may wonder, “What ever happened to that great feeling of love we used to feel for each other?”  “Am I still in love with my spouse?”  “If I am out of love, what does this mean for our relationship?”  “Will I ever recapture that old feeling I once had?” Feeling out of love can be frightening, depressing, or very frustrating.  You may also feel a certain sense of freedom or excitement about that stronger sense of being yourself, free to grow, to take better care of yourself, or try some new experiences.  You may also wonder about being trapped in a loveless relationship and may not wish to continue in it.

When we are children, it is vital to our survival to receive love
We quickly learn what behavior we need to engage in to get a loving
response from those around us.  We are afraid of being rejected, of
not being loved.  We will try anything to “earn” the love and approval of those upon whom we are dependent.  Being loved becomes our primary focus…our primary task.

As emotionally mature grown ups, our focus needs to shift.  Rather than focus on how much we are loved, we need to refocus our behavior and attention to how skilled we are at loving.  If we married because we thoroughly enjoyed being loved by our partner, perhaps we need to attend to how good we are at loving…at being a lover.

Like our national economy, love between people has its “ups and downs.”  Feeling out of love is likely to occur at what is called “transitional phases” in a relationship when a relationship is moving from one stage to another and when being a lover becomes more important than being loved.  Mature individuals discover they can function very well without the other’s love.  It is during these periods of change that recessions of love tend to occur. If you are out of love now, here are some suggestions which may
help:

  • Don’t act in a panic.  Accept your feelings of being out  of love
    as normal to any growing relationship.
  • Don’t act impulsively.  Take all the time you need to explore
    your yearnings, fantasies, dreams, and hopes for the future.
  • Risk focusing on how loving you are toward your partner, rather
    than how loving your partner is toward you.
  • Don’t allow yourself to feel trapped.  Avoid allowing your
    relationship to suffocate either of you out of your need to feel loved by the other.
  • Expand your social network.  Make new friends…both individually and as a couple.
  • Learn the language of love.  For some, a card or flowers for no
    particular reason are interpreted as love.  For others, relieving the partner of a daily task can be an expression of love.  Ask your partner what behaviors, verbal and non-verbal, s/he receives as an expression of your love.  Then speak your partner’s language.
  • Learn to recognize the variety of loving expressions.  Experiment with the many levels of love, which you can express.  Practice new ones. 

Like new growth in springtime, love can bloom again in ever expanding ways, and probably will if you shift from wanting to be loved to wanting to become a better lover out of the love you have for another…for Life.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D. has 30+ years experience as a Life Coach and
Licensed Psychologist.  He is available for coaching in any area
presented in “Practical Psychology.”  Initial coaching sessions are
free.  Contact him: (970) 568-0173 or E-mail:
DrLloyd@CreatingLeaders.com or LJTDAT@aol.com.
Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach.  He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton 2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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