What a topic for Valentines Day! Falling out of Love. Someone wrote me to ask about what they called "Emotional Shutdown." There are so many situations that can be described this way, that I asked for more background. The writer used several key (for me) phrases.

"flipping off of a switch for their love" "it can't be unflipped (or is difficult to unflip)" "Where would you conceptualize this ("involuntary"?) state of emotional shutdown in your map?" "she lost her feelings of romantic love for me" "she has used the terms "shutdown, flip, switch, numb, no romantic feelings"

This is such a normal situation that I was sure I must have written about it many times, so I was looking for references in the Map of Relationship and elsewhere. But I found that while I had spoken of it clearly, I had not really entered into the experience of it very deeply in my writing.

Yet in the office I often to get deep into this. Since I imagine that most people who come to Marriage Advocates do so cuz the "stuff has hit the fan," they are at that point where What to do when he/she leaves is right up their alley. The experience of often-non-reversible loss of romantic feelings, sometimes described as Emotional Shutdown, is frequently in the experience of their partner. So last night I decided to make this a new topic.

Couple of thoughts first. While this seems a normal, oh almost 100% experience, I find that almost no one expects it. So I think of it as a) a huge surprise and b) the source of a strong sense of betrayal.

I gather this shock is not so common in some parts of our U.S. culture and even less in most of Europe. Many friends from across the water tell me that "everyone knows that romantic love ends." They call it "infatuation." I recall a woman who tried to change the U.S. habit of calling it "Love" and who invented the word " Limerence," a word I like (and often mispell).

Originally Posted By: alturtle
Romantic Love A temporary state of awakened connection, often called infatuation or limerence, that is primarily an experience of deep yearning of the Biological Dream. It may occur when connecting to a partner, a family, a community, an association.

I believe that generally in the U.S. marketing people have created the fantasy (cuz it sells products) that this kind of "love" is lasting and eternal if you find the right person and do the right things for and with them, and buy the right products - a.k.a Valentines Day gifts, etc.

Almost all of my work is to dispel this fantasy and replace it with reliable understandings of the dynamics of relationships. (My work is to replace the fantasy of some magical Biological Dream with the reality of achieving a Biological Dream state called Vintage Love.)

If you feel betrayed because that glorious brilliance of being in love goes away, you have a right to that and to a whole bunch of pissed-offness. You were betrayed by those who knowingly or unknowingly kept you blind to what is and will and has happened. Since your Lizard loves Predictive Information, all those people "screwed" you. But then, after you get through processing the feelings of betrayal and anger, now you know. And perhaps you can help others not feel so betrayed. I don't know. It is a tough-sell telling people that "everyone falls out of love". One can sure sound like a "downer." Not my goal.

I can now say a couple of pretty solid things, almost MasterTalk. I really believe this stuff!

  • Falling in Love is a profound shift in feelings
  • It is not under any conscious control
  • The Lizard is the driving agent
  • I believe "Infatuation" is a gateway experience to the possibility of obtaining Vintage Love
  • In everyone it stops more or less suddenly
  • Can seem to fade out or can stop overnight, over dinner, over reading a card
  • Rarely can it restart with the same person (tho you can fake it)
  • It can easily happen again with another person (affairs)
  • It is based on the belief, by the Lizard, that the Biological Dream is becoming a reality
  • It stops when the Lizard decides, based on data, "whoops, ain't gonna happen with this turkey"
  • Often stops in one person much quicker than the other
  • Often stops after an event which solidly reminds the Lizard that "things are not better with this person"
  • In most relationships its stopping marks the beginning of the Power Struggle
  • Since it stops based on acquiring new data, one cannot go backward and start it again
  • You cannot get rid of data - go back to being "stupid"
  • You cannot push the Lizard

Let's see how this topic grows. smile

Here are some questions.

How do you go about validating a person who has "dropped out of love," and is trying to describe the experience by saying, "I don't feel for you?"

How do you validate the person who experiences a partner having gone into "emotional shutdown?"

How do you approach "emotional shutdown" in a way that increases or decreases the likelihood of achieving Vintage Love and shortening the Power Struggle?

Principles are simple. Applying them is a tough U-Do-It project. Go 4 it!
Al Turtle