By Dr. Margaret Paul
Are you contemplating leaving your partner because you have fallen out of love? Read this first!
We have only to look at the divorce rate—41% for first marriages, 60% for second marriages, and a whopping 73% for third marriages to know that people often fall out of love with their spouse. Why do so many people fall out of love?
Don, 37 and Megan, 32, fell passionately 'in love' soon after meeting. They had fiery chemistry and loved being together. Now, two years into their marriage, the passion is gone and they both believe they made a mistake. But did they?
Don was brought up to believe that his good feelings had to come from a woman's love. Both his parents role-modeled self-abandonment for their own feelings of worth and lovability and made each other responsible for their happiness. Don's mother took way too much responsibility for Don's feelings, so he grew up believing that his partner was responsible for his feelings.
Megan grew up with two very needy parents, who both made her responsible for their feelings. She became a caretaker, taking responsibility for their feelings and wellbeing, and learning to ignore her own.
Since we come together at our common level of woundedness—our common level of self-abandonment—Don and Megan were perfect for each other. They fell passionately 'in love' because Megan's wounded self did a great job of caretaking Don's feelings. Don felt loved by Megan, and Megan felt needed by Don.
The problem was that Megan couldn't possibly meet all of Don's needs, and when she didn't, he was angry and miserable. The more miserable he become, the more guilty and responsible Megan felt. Anger, misery and guilt do not create passion.
After two years of marriage, when they were on the verge of divorce, they consulted with me. I could see right away that these two people really did love each other, but that they thought they had fallen out of love due to their codependent relationship system.
"The two of you will not be able to feel in love with each other until you each fall in love with yourself," I told them in our first Skype session. "Right now each of you are deeply abandoning yourselves and expecting the other person to fill you and meet your needs. Don, you blame Megan for your feelings of aloneness and emptiness, and Megan you resent Don for not appreciating all you do for him. Neither of you are taking any responsibility for your own feelings. But, you are perfect for each other—if you use these issues to learn rather than run away and hope it will be better in a different relationship. Which it won't be. You will take your self-abandonment with you and eventually create the same system or a similar system. I suggest you stay together and both work on learning to love yourselves rather than abandon yourselves."
Don and Megan did stay together. They both learned and practiced Inner Bonding, and even came to an Inner Bonding 5-day intensive together. They are so glad they did.
"We have found our love for each other," Don happily stated in our last session. I really love who Megan is and I also feel her love for who I am, but we couldn't really see each other and share our love when we were so busy abandoning ourselves. It feels so great to not feel empty and needy!" Megan smilingly agreed.
Megan and Don both had the courage to look within, to discover and learn to love and value themselves so they could love and value each other. They are fortunate that both of them were willing to learn, but even if one person in a partnership does their inner work, the entire system can change. So if your partner is not interested, don't let that stop you from learning to love yourself!