Is it possible to stop yourself from loving someone?

Daniel asks: My love wants to stop loving me. What can I do about it?

Hi Daniel –

I want to make sure we’re on the same page here.  No word in English is more confusing than “love.”  I love Handsome, pork chops, spring days, running, Glenn Miller’s “String of Pearls,” and every one of my pack members – but none in the same way as the others.  So when you say your love wants to stop loving you – do you mean that someone you love wants to leave your romantic relationship, or that they just wish they didn’t love you anymore?

If it’s the first, your best bet is to talk with them about it.  Find out why they want out.  Maybe they’re unhappy with something in the relationship, or they’re wanting to be with someone else, or they’re just bored.  Maybe they’ll say something you can change, and they’ll stick around more.  Or maybe they’ll say something that you can’t change, and you’ll realize they’re right to go.  But in either case, they’ll likely appreciate that you cared enough to ask and listen.

But if it’s the other meaning – if this person wants to stop feeling love for you – I have some tough news for them: that’s really difficult, and sometimes impossible.  If you really love someone, you just love them.

Let’s use a painful but easy example.  Let’s say a puppy gets bought by a person who’s not very nice.  Now no one falls in love more easily than a puppy – they adore everyone at once, and get incredibly deeply bonded to a person right away.  And let’s say that person treats that puppy badly – they yell at him, kick him away when he wants to play, even try to hurt him.  Well, eventually that puppy will learn to fear that person, and maybe all people.  But will the puppy still love them?  Absolutely.  They’ll just love without trust.  Which is a very sad and pitiable thing.

It is possible for love to die off.  But it takes time, and usually it requires at least one of the people to move on in their lives.

So, can this love of yours stop loving you just because they want to?  Perhaps.  But you could sure make it hard for them!  You could be extra-wonderful, and treat them great, and be kinder and more understanding than ever before, and remind them how much you love them, and…

And it still could happen.  I’m sorry to say.

Or you could do the opposite, and say “Okay, you don’t want to love me anymore?  See ya!”  And go about your life as if they weren’t there.  And sometimes, that actually does a better job of getting their love back than treating them well does!

There’s only one thing not to do.  And that’s to hang around them and complain, talk to your mutual friends about how badly your love is treating you, and altogether make their life difficult and suffocating.  That will achieve nothing, I can promise!

But anything else, you just might want to do.  At least just to see what chance the love has for survival.

Good Luck!


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