Love is a strange thing. Sometimes, its presence is so strong and powerful that it seems like it will never, ever fade. Other times, it suddenly disappears without notice and you're left wondering if it'll ever come back. The people in this article have experienced the misfortune of the latter case. Their stories all have similar elements—a memorable honeymoon phase, a couple of good years, then a random falling out. The situations get even more intricate when children or pets are involved. But no matter how tough things got, these people all tried their best to stay for as long as they could. If you are (or have ever been) in a relationship that seemed to lose its spark sometime down the road, then you will definitely relate to these bittersweet tales:
#1 My Two Cents
I've been in a relationship for the last 14 years and what I have to say is love is amorphous. it changes what it is and is hard to pinpoint sometimes. Sometimes you will be mad at each other, sometimes you will share laughter and smiles and hugs and kisses, sometimes you will be underwhelmed, sometimes you will be bored... sometimes you will be full of pride and appreciation, other times you will take them for granted.
But life goes on. Can anyone truly say they are in love constantly and without interruption always, or is it something that ebbs and flows? I think the latter. But I am always loyal and feel allegiance to my partner and family, I always have the attitude that I am committed and we are on this journey together, and I certainly don't want to be with anyone else! So that's my two cents.
#2 Sticking It Out
I was the one super in love. I don't think he was. Once every four or five months, we'd have some sort of discussion. The last time, it was that he didn't know if what we had was love. I should have seen that as a warning. But I convinced him to stay with me after an hour's discussion. I think he felt guilty. I moved countries for him. I imagine he felt an incredible amount of guilt and stayed with me because of that. I think he cared for my well being, maybe. But he wasn't in love. And it's painfully obvious now that I'm out of the relationship.
#3 Love Takes Time
I’ve been with my husband for 21 years. Sometimes we hate each other, sometimes it’s boring, and sometimes it’s magical and feels new. At all times we love each other whether we show it or not. Even when arguing there’s no one we’d rather argue with. Love changes over time. It’s not always euphoric and exciting. Sometimes the quiet contentment is the best. And even when you fall in a rut, that doesn’t mean that the sparks will not return. Love takes time and patience to maintain.
#4 Suddenly Blindsided
I felt blindsided by the breakup and it destroyed me. I’ve since picked myself back up. Hearing her say, “ I don’t see myself spending the rest of my life with you” was hard though. We never fought and always got along great. I am a self-proclaimed spokesperson for Guy Winch. His Ted Talk, “How to heal a broken heart,” helped me become a better person. If you’re heartbroken, it’s not the end. You’re a great person.
#5 Eternal Misery
My brother can’t stand his wife. Hee hasn’t really been in love with her for a while now. He talks about divorce to me when we’re alone but he’ll never do it. He thinks he’ll never meet anyone else being 32 with no social life. Plus, there’s a strong possibility she might end it all if they broke up, so together they’ll stay. I just hope they don’t bring kids into it.
#6 Long And Miserable
My cousin told me about three hours after he got married that he didn't want to get married was terrified he would lose his house and basically all his money (alimony plus child support) if they got divorced. I told him that he should have said something three hours before and he said he couldn't. I then asked him, if this was such a big concern to him, why he didn't get a prenup. His exact words to me were "Those don't actually exist. They're just made up for movies."
They've been married just over 2 years now and I'm pretty sure it's only going to end if she leaves him or one of them dies. Considering he's 26 and she's 23 or 24, it sounds like he's in for the long, miserable life.
#7 Too Habitual
It just sort of became a habit and when I realized I didn't have the feelings anymore, we had two young children.I did n't want to break up the family, and later when we tried couples therapy, this didn't change anything. Our son was diagnosed with leukemia (two years ago), so I felt we had to stay together until he was well. My ex didn't agree and we were divorced this summer. My son is almost through the treatment and is doing fine. I have not been this happy and relaxed in years, and so far the kids have coped well with me moving to my new place.
#8 Her Only Hope
My sister is a huge jerk. She constantly calls her husband "limpie" in front of people. She tells him that she wishes he'd get in a car and drive off a cliff. I'm not saying she does this just when they are arguing, I mean she does this literally every single day, even when she's not angry at him. He's been dealing with her nonsense for 20+ years out of the 30 years they've been together.
The reason he does not leave her is that she would be homeless if he did. She has a bunch of felonies for theft, identity theft, prescription forgeries, etc. She used to be a nurse and had a decent career. Now she wouldn't be able to get a job anywhere. He knows that if he were to leave her, there's a decent chance she wouldn't make it on the streets. Other than him, everyone has abandoned her at this point.
#9 A Terrible Threat
I’m thankfully not in this relationship anymore, but I was stuck for a while out of fear that he’d do something to hurt himself. He threatened to do it when I first brought up that I wasn’t happy in the relationship, and he became incredibly manipulative.
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#10 Love Is A Practice
Being “in love” seems like a state over which you have no control. I long ago made the decision just to love the woman who became my wife. Fortunately, she made the same decision about me. Romantic infatuation has faded, but our love for each other endures. It takes work to maintain, to avoid taking each other for granted, Love is not an emotion, it is a practice.
#11 Mileage Varies
Neither my wife and I had any choice in our love for each other, it was love at first sight. Folks flatly can't believe we're together, as we simply don't appear to fit for anyone. At first blush, I'm a straight-laced, socially awkward, complete nerd. She's a beautiful, outgoing, energetic networker with two successful businesses.
Naturally, we saw immediately in each other the things no one else understood without having to even speak. It's going to be 17 years ago I met her on New Year's Day. I still love her to the point of distraction, and her likewise. We both remark that we're swept up in it.
#12 Best Friends
My ex and I broke up about a year ago and we're living together "just until we could get our stuff together to go our separate ways." Then we started getting along better. We'd go halves in a Switch. We'd look for a new place together (we were living with housemates). Functionally, he is pretty much my spouse.
We share some finances, we support each other emotionally, we still sleep together, we're just not in a relationship. Our current arrangement will end at some point, but right now it works for us— we both have a much better appreciation for each other and have built a really solid friendship. He's definitely my best friend.
#13 Comforting Familiarity
Years back, I was in a relationship with a woman who abused me. I did not love her. So why did I stay if it was so bad? Well, unfortunately—and this is true for abusive relationships as well as for mundane loveless relationships—people get wound up together and then it becomes very difficult to imagine your life without them, even if it’s not a good life.
I guess people are better at surviving the current hardship than breaking away into the unknown. There’s a lot more to my story, and everyone's story has its own details. But I think that’s the basic answer. You build a life with someone, it gets hard to throw that life away.
#14 Single Dog Dad
I had two dogs with my ex. He was a musician with a part-time minimum wage retail job, so I paid for everything, cleaned up after the dogs, cooked for the dogs on days where he was just too lazy to pick up dog food. I knew I wasn’t in love with him, but I loved the dogs and didn’t feel capable of leaving.
I finally left him when I found out he was on Tinder trying to hook up with other girls. The first thing he did was post a picture on social media that I took on MY camera of him with our dogs. The caption was a long paragraph about how difficult it is to raise two dogs "all on his own," but he’s a dedicated #singledogdad.
#15 No Good Option
"If I leave, I'm the perpetrator for breaking up a marriage, wrecking a home, and hurting and humiliating my kids, my parents, my in-laws, etc. But if I stay, I'm a victim of my miserable husband, and everyone wants to help victims."
#16 Feeling Used
When I was in a relationship with my ex, I liked her, cared for her, was there for her when she needed me, and gave her space if she needed it (I don't know if this is love). She did none in return. She just said "yes" and that's it. She was only physically attracted to me, I guess. I don't think she ever loved me. She broke up with me for nothing. One day, she wanted me out of her life. So I left.
#17 Pain Before Happiness
I realized recently that every relationship I've been in, until the current one, had absolutely no love in it. I told myself I loved them, but I was really with every one of them for convenience or because they asked me out and I was scared to say no. The last two ended so horribly—I was scared to leave the house for a long time, and routinely asked guys at my job to walk me to my car because I heard one of them was looking for me. I met my current partner online and moved 800 miles away to be with him. It'll be our two years in January and we just had a baby girl together. It just took a ton of pain to get to the happy spot.
#18 The Grey Area
Throwaway. I honestly don't know. It's been more than 25 years and it's just easier to live as roommates than to go my own way, even though in a lot of ways that would be easier. Additionally, she would be royally screwed in so many ways. No real income, no place to really go... She wouldn't be able to afford a nice place. I'd be perfectly fine but she'd be in a world of hurt. I don't necessarily love her but I don't hate her enough to do that to her. So I stay.
#19 Just Get Out
She had me convinced everything was either normal or my fault. Then she cheated and started playing the victim. I read some of her messages after I found out she lied. Now it takes a year to divorce where I live, so technically we're still married for a year. If you're in a similar situation, just get out while you can.
#20 Roller Coaster Relationship
I waited five months before breaking up because so many things came up. I didn't want him to think I was obsessed with the number three so I couldn't break up after three months. Then, it was summer break, so I couldn't see him and I wanted to do it in person. Eventually, his birthday came... Then Christmas! I finally broke up with him in January... And we got back together in April because I genuinely fell for him again. We lasted three years before I realized I was the only one putting any effort into staying in the relationship and finally broke it off for good.
#21 What Really Matters
It is impossible to love someone the same way every day. So it is normal that on some days, everything is fine and on other days, you are not sure how you feel. You might not know what love is anymore, you might feel confused and suffocated, but what really matters is knowing that you are unable to be disloyal or purposely hurt the person you have chosen to be your partner.
And when you think about the relationship you know you don't want to be with anyone else. I think that the idea we have that love should be all romantic is very wrong. Life is not like that—a relationship is hard work. At the end of the day, what matters is being there for each other.
#22 Just Not Meshing
We have a special-needs daughter who doesn’t talk. Until she’s able to tell me that something happened and she can understand more complex ideas and situations, there’s no way I’m putting her in someone else’s hands. My husband and I just don’t mesh—he doesn’t like me and I don’t like him.
For the most part, we can get along and even have fun doing things together with our daughter. But we haven’t been intimate in years. We’re both in our late 30s and we reasonably don’t have a family to help. Although, once she starts going to school full time, I believe I will have more options to do something financially productive with my time.
#23 Holding Me Back
I'm no longer with her, but I had stayed with her for eight years. I never loved her but stayed because of a combination of self-loathing and the fact that she relied on me for everything. I was afraid of what would happen if I left. Also, financially, I couldn't live on my own, but I bit the bullet anyway because I can figure out the rest and staying with her was only stunting her ability to learn how to be an adult.
#24 Numb And Emotionless
I truly don't know if I've ever loved anyone I've been with. I am committed to people. I'm loyal, I'll care for their needs, I'll talk about feelings, but I just don't feel much of anything other than anxious, angry, or numb. I was diagnosed with PTSD a few months ago from childhood trauma and I guess I never learned to recognize or acknowledge emotions.
So all my previous relationships were just me going through the motions of what I thought you were supposed to do. This meant staying even if it was toxic or abusive because if I couldn't feel love than it must just mean commitment. Thank the Lord Jesus I am in therapy now so I'll get better soon.
#25 It Just Didn't Last
My soon to be ex-husband and I had been together for almost eight years when we both decided to get a divorce. We were high school sweethearts, but we both were going in different directions in our lives and it was time to move on. I knew right after we got married (I was only 20 at the time) that I think I was more in the idea of being married and in love than actually being in love and happy.
#26 Motherly Feelings
I was with my first boyfriend for almost eleven years. I don't know when exactly it was I began to fall out of love with him but I know it was at least a year or so before I finally left. I grew up and changed and he didn't. One day, I realized I felt more like his mother than his partner, and that was the beginning of the end.
#27 Better Or Worse?
About two years ago, I had a girlfriend that was only staying with me because she was worried I'll start drinking (because I quit that habit once our relationship started. After a month of a loveless relationship, I got tired and broke up with her. Now, I drink a lot and I'm happier, so screw you, Midori.
#28 For The Kids
For the kids. My wife can't manage the children on her own, as she has shown when I go on business trips. I return from a week away and the house is a mess and the kids haven't done any homework. What would happen if I stayed away for more than a week, like forever? If we were divorced my access to the kids would be seriously curtailed. So I have been riding it out. The kids will be done high school soon. Then I'll be out of reasons not to get a divorce.
#29 Emotional Manipulation
I was in a pretty bad relationship when I was younger. I stayed because I thought nobody else would love me. He was incredibly abusive and would remind me all the time that if I left, nobody would ever care about me or love me as he does. I was just so terrified to leave... what if he was right? It’s been almost ten years since that relationship and I’m happy to report that he was wrong, although it’s taken a lot of work to realize that and I still have fleeting moments of doubt.
#30 Scared Of Loneliness
I moved to a new country by myself to start studying. Shortly after I moved, I downloaded a dating app and starting dating this guy. In the beginning, it was great—we got along well, but there were a few things that really annoyed me.
He’d invite me over but wouldn’t clean his room, so it’d be really dirty and uncomfortable. He’d chew with his mouth open even though I always asked him to stop and I was the one that always had to travel two hours to see him. I never loved him; I’m not even sure if I was even attracted to him. But I was scared of being alone, especially in the new country where I knew no one.
He also told me that he was very depressed and I was scared of breaking up with him because of some of the things he said. I feel like he made up his “depression” because it’d keep me with him. Men’s mental health has always been super important to me and he just used that to his advantage.
#31 Out Of Fear
Fear. Fear of him and what he'd do to himself... or me, fear of being alone, fear of disappointing my family and friends because they all "loved him" (spoiler alert: they didn't, they just said they did for me). Finally, I just did it and I've realized there was nothing to be afraid of all along.
#32 Playing A Couple
I'm not in love with my girlfriend anymore. We moved in together too soon. I knew better and did it anyway. We are completely incompatible living together I'm angry every day at tons of stuff. But I'm not gonna throw her out cause I do care so I'm helping her save to get her own place and we are playing a couple in the interim but I am so ready to live alone and be single again.
#33 Like, Not Love
I like my boyfriend. I love my boyfriend. I am not in love with my boyfriend. For me, being in love is a very scary, very tumultuous and unpleasant thing. My emotions and impulses are out of control. So my boyfriend and I are soft and steady. There was never a honeymoon phase for us. We clicked, we have the same goals and ambitions, we have enough similar interests.
We both try to be very stable, dependable, and faithful people. But we’re not wrapped up in each other. Like at all. We’re just here whenever we want to start settling down and building a family. We’re there for each other. We’re best friends. We’re not each other’s priorities, which is totally fine. But we do have goals in life that we would rather achieve together than separate.
Our relationship is more on the contractual side. You treat me with respect and take care of me and I will do the same for you. It’s kind of old fashioned, but we don’t believe in “true love” anyway. Once again, we still love each other. We just live in our own worlds and have agreed to let each other in.
#34 Exit Strategy
She'd probably be homeless. I've been trying to help her become more independent and responsible so I can find a clean exit strategy. Interestingly, if she had those qualities, maybe there would still be some attraction. No one wants an adult child to take care of.
#35 Long-Term Love
Maybe it is because I'm a loner or an introvert, or that I have been low-leveled depressed most of my life, but I don't feel love as it is normally portrayed. Don't get me wrong; I appreciate my wife and she makes me happy, and I plan on staying with her for the rest of my life as long as she will have me, but I don't feel long term love for her or anyone in my family in general.
#36 No Butterflies
I always thought that the butterflies in my stomach feeling were love... until I met my now DH. I didn't have butterflies when I met him, instead; I felt calm and more like myself. That's love—when you can be yourself, your true self around the right person. Besides that, I also like my husband more than I love him. Love can wax and wane, but liking someone? You're able to go the distance. Sorry, I got somewhat sappy there.
#37 Downhill Spiral
She was very attractive and she used to be an amazing person. Overall, things used to be great. However, things began to change a year later or so. Everything went downhill—we wouldn't talk anymore, not even see each other. There was just nothing special about it.
I think we couldn't even count as friends, as we had no time for each other nor any interest in what was going on. I was barely able to realize that things weren't going to improve and managed to snap out of it. I was so busy remembering the greatness of the past that I forgot how lame the present was.
#38 A Dark Cloud
I’ve been dating my girlfriend for 9 months now. Neither of us has said the magic three words. It’s because, in the upcoming summer, both of our lives are going to change out of our control. She’s a med student and will be starting rotations. I’m military and will transfer then. So no matter how much fun we have as a couple together, we have this dark cloud hanging over our heads. We’ve talked about it quite a bit, and both agree that just because the hard out is up ahead, doesn’t mean still can’t have fun together.
#39 Make It Better
The answer is always history. Anderson Paak had a great line in his song "Make it Better" that goes: "When you take somebody for your own, it can't survive on history alone." It takes more than knowing someone well to make a relationship healthy.
#40 Incapable Of Love
My father said my mother's issue was she had too many children and it gave her some kind of brain fever, much like a dog that loses its mind after having too many puppies. My mother said my father felt trapped by me. He was planning to leave when it was just my two older brothers and then my mother got pregnant with me and he felt obligated to stay.
Now that I'm am an adult with two kids myself, I think I realized that both of my parents are just extremely mentally ill and incapable of loving anyone, including themselves.
#41 Attitude Problems
I wouldn't say I'm not in love with my significant other, but I have lost a lot of the feelings I once had for her; mainly her attitude problems and the way she occasionally speaks to me. I wouldn't say for a minute she's horrible, but sometimes the way she thinks she can treat me isn't the correct way. I couldn't bear to live without her at this point even though we haven't been together for a great amount of time, but I am worried that someday she or I will say something we'll live to regret.
#42 Killer Loneliness
Not in a relationship, but I dated my ex for eight years. There were numerous red flags that it wasn’t going to work. Fear of loneliness is a powerful thing. It ended terribly but definitely taught me to prioritize everything else rather than putting all my eggs in a basket with no bottom just so I could avoid being alone.
#43 Mental Games
He was really good at convincing me I was broken and using my childhood abuse against me. In the end, I didn’t even feel like a person anymore and just felt glad that “he still loved me even though I was so awful.” It’s crazy to think about how much people can mess with your head and how hard it is to see it. It took me a long time to leave and realize what he was doing to me.
#44 Mutually Beneficial
Neither of us experiences attraction but we still care deeply for each other. He's my best friend! Also, our marriage was mutually beneficial.
#45 Falling Out Of Love
My parents did not love each other but have stayed together because of children. My mother told me when I was 13 that the only reason she is still with my father is because of me and my eight years younger sister. She doesn't love him anymore. My father, on the other hand, told me that he loves her but doesn't know what to do anymore because they argue so much. Tough stuff for a 13-year-old to hear. Nowadays, I think they will stay together until the end, just because they're used to it and don't want any change. They want to provide us the best life possible and think that's only possible if they stay together. Over time, I learned to distance myself from all that stuff, but for a long time, it was really tough.