Love is a mix of commitment, affection and passion – leave any of these out and it is not love. Too many people confuse either their feeling of duty, or fondness for their partner as love. Equally only passion without commitment and affection is more akin to lust.
That is why I always say that ‘Love has an expiry date’ – maybe not sudden in its manifestation, maybe not even noticeable in its appearance, but gradually, in steps, over the years – as surely as drops of water slowly form pillars of stalactites slowly but steadily. The commitment starts feeling like an imposition, the passion is gone, and the only thing that persists for longer is the affection – and that usually lingers long after the other two are gone.
How does this really happen? How does someone you feel like spending all your waking moments slowly drift apart? I have thought long and hard on this and feel that there are primarily three broad categories of reasons.
Firstly, you take each other for granted. Most of the time, you don’t even realize it. You stop making time for each other – what seems new and novel turns into hackneyed and unattractive – both of you feel that you give too much and get too little – till a time comes when you feel that you give nothing and receive nothing in return – and that is when love is dead.
Second, the intimacy is gone, you no longer crave the touch, sex seems mechanical – more of a memory of what was there rather than what is. There is no thrill of anticipation, nor a need to touch, to feel, or to enjoy., It doesn’t happen in a day, but slowly over a period till it is all gone.
The third and final reason is that you find that over a period, your tastes grow different – and you end up having little in common – very few things that you enjoy together – when you want to go out to eat, she loves Chinese, while you prefer Mexican, you plan a vacation and would love the mountains and solitude, while all she wants is to go to the beach and go out shopping. The final result is a compromise. And once it starts you start resenting each compromise a little bit more. combined with the other two factors, this forces you apart – till you start spending more and more time with others who share your tastes rather than your partner.
So, who is to blame? In my view, no one – just acknowledge the fact that love has an expiry date and move on with it. You may discover love once again – maybe with someone else – or you may spend the rest of your life with the affection you still retain and memories of the romance that had once been.