Some people think that falling in or out of love is outside of their control. However, take a few minutes to think of it this way:
Without purposefully working on it, in a long-term relationship there’s a continuum from fascination to familiarity to falling out of love. In other words, the degree to which you are no longer fascinated by someone means you are oh-it’s-just-you familiar with them, and shortly thereafter you will find yourself falling out of the feelings of being in love.
It’s the fascination with someone who fuels your attention on them. It motivates you to meet their needs and enables you to make allowances for their shortcomings. It’s your familiarity with someone who eventually “breeds contempt” as you no longer look for what you don’t know. Instead you make assumptions about what they feel/know/do based on what you already know about them, and resign yourself to the negatives of being with them.
The slide from familiarity to falling out of love can take a long or short time depending on how many negatives are found in the relationship.
(Side note: Not every couple chooses to end a relationship after the feelings of love are gone: familiarity can also have a comfort or convenience about it that can trump a person from acting on their feelings of having fallen out of love. This is the couple that look bored by each other but no-one intends on going anywhere.)
The truth is, fascination with someone is a choice. Any person – even the one you’re with – has a bottomless amount of intrigue waiting to be discovered by you. What there is to know about a person is infinite. But to the degree to which you’ve developed familiarity you’ll need to discipline your focus and stir up fascination again over time.
So over time you can be fascinated by your partner or fall out of love with them. You can ask questions or hold assumptions. You can look closer or turn away. You can listen to or talk at. You can find the unknown places and go there or you can play it safe.
Given the choice, I know what I’m picking.