It has been a very busy two weeks for me. Work and most importantly family life has caught up with me. My wife ended up in Hospital for a week but she is back home now. Both herself and the baby are OK. This time apart made me realise how much I miss her when she is away. This is a far cry from where I was a couple of years ago with my rOCD. I had anxiety and panic attacks when I was with her. As I was replying to a message from a fellow rOCDer and we talked about falling out of love. I always wanted to discuss this but never really remembered doing it. SO here it goes:
From time to time, I receive an email from someone that is suffering from rOCD asking me if they fallen out of love because they can’t feel anything anymore. I will split this question into two parts: love and lost feelings (or not feeling).
1) Love – one of the biggest mistakes in any relationship is assuming that love is a static entity. What do I mean by this? I mean that we assume that if we find the “right” partner love will develop and flourish by itself and the flames will burn for eternity. This could not be farther away from the truth. Love is not a static entity. Love is a moveable or flexible entity. LOVE IS HARD WORK. If we want to feel more love for someone else then we need to give more than we normally give. Why do we hear about falling out of love? Because in most cases (excluding abuse and things alike), people at a certain time stopped giving and doing the things that NURTURE the relationship. Routines settled in, bills to pay, other interests, etc. The bottom line is that if you want to have a solid and long-lasting relationship you have to put effort in everyday. What starts as seed can only grow stronger if you water and feed it everyday. The problem is that we confuse the seed with the fruit.
2) Lost feelings – Can you feel depressed and feel happy at the same time? Can you feel anxiety and love at the same time? With rOCD the centre of our anxiety is our relationship. But the anxiety is not in our partner. The anxiety is inside ourselves. In certain cases our partners go blissfully unaware of our internal struggles and are very happy in the relationship. The first mistake we make is to try “force” feelings back. We put ourselves into two different situations. For example, we kiss our partner and wait to see how we feel. Or we imagine or see our partner with someone else and see how we react. We do these mental tests that normally do more harm than good because we do not understand a basic principle: We cannot fill a cup that is already full! If we want to regain our ability to feel, first we must get rid of the anxiety that fills our cup.
So the concept of falling out of love is mostly a Hollywood concept and out of touch with the real world. People do distance themselves through choices they make. This is where we need to start taking responsibility as a society and not blame it purely on feelings.If someone works 12 hours a day, hardly sees his wife and spends most of the time interacting with an attractive colleague is it really a mystery finding the other person interesting and exciting?
It is even more complicated when we deal with people that suffer from anxiety disorders as another level (or levels) of emotions are layered on top of what we would like or hope to experience. So don’t be surprised if it is difficult to feel at this stage.
Hope this helps someone.