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I wonder; is it possible to learn what can cause people to fall out of love with a significant other?

NiceFarm 5 Aug 6

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Dopamine release is your brain telling you: “good job!” or “keep doing that” or “this is good”... Unfortunately the brain is designed to also get a smaller dopamine release when exposed to the same experience. That’s why for many things you can never reexperience that “first time” feeling, or that’s why the first bite of that cake is so delicious and makes you want to eat more...

Ideally once that dopamine trick wears off, relationships have found other means of survival, but often that’s not the case. When too many misunderstandings, regrets, hard feelings, little rejections get associated to the other person, the pleasure of spending time together dies off. Your brain feels no benefit in the other’s company and it stops making you feel rewarded when next to the person you once loved (made your dopamine receptors go nuts).

The trick is to make sure those little negative things are cleared away from both partners brains so that even though dopamine levels are not as high as in the beginning of the relationship, they are sufficient to give meaning to the bond and aren’t completely offuscated by the negative feelings. It’s not easy to achieve though, because after many years dopamine levels triggered by the partner aren’t very high, and all the bad fights and misunderstandings have piled up. So it’s hard to always be good at keeping things balanced and clear the bad things without letting them stack up. On top of it, many people seek things that provide higher dopamine release as compared to their partner: nights out, work, kids, hobbies, internet, pornography, other partners, you name it! We also may not treat the other very well any longer because over time we’ve grown used to each other and not only do not trigger much dopamine release, we have negative pathways that get reinforced each time they are triggered. Pathways are like highways in the brain. They can be created in our childhood (very hard to destroy) but we can make new ones also (it gets harder and harder though). That thing he/she does that just drives you nuts is an example of negative pathway. they can trigger rage, anger... All sorts of bad or good feelings... When negative pathways are triggered: forget dopamine! It’s just all red.

Many people just decide to simply go for another high dopamine releasing relationship, but with time even new relationships aren’t as effective at that. Inevitably all relationships will advance into the next stage and its challenges. Clearing things and keeping relationships meaningful is easier with some people than others though. So it matters a lot with whom you choose to give it a shot.

It may seem like on oversimplification, but:

  1. We aren’t that complicated emotionally
  2. This only applies to “normal” people

Not being confrontational, but I truly do not know who you would be counting out by saying only normal people?

@LionMousePudding Anyone with severe mental illness: Extremely Bipolar, very autistic, very OCD, severe masochistic tendencies... I am not qualified to speak about the ways these people may function within relationships.

Since I was generalizing, I wanted to make sure people wouldn’t think it’s true for anyone. I was just sharing things I’ve studied or read here and there about our brains.

@Lucignolo ok maybe somehow a different way? In general, no one wants to be called not normal.

  1. This applies in most cases; there are various reasons why a person's brain might not function this way.

Or something?

@LionMousePudding I iphenated “normal” to signify, nobody truly is or isn’t.

Normal simply means customary. I am 6’5”, which means my hight is not conventional. I am not normal. Normal is not a compliment, how can the opposite have a negative connotation? Things can be not normal and extraordinary: genius, beauty, rare events, special occasions...

You state that in general, people don’t like to be called not normal, but many people wouldn’t want to be called normal either, because they don’t want to be perceived as conventional and ordinary.

It’s easy to see my post was not offensive and how I use the word “normal”. It obviously meant typical and had no negative connotations. You look for discrimination were there is none. English is not my native language, I try to use the words that best describe my ideas. In addition to that:



  1. conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
    "it's quite normal for puppies to bolt their food"
    synonym: usual, standard, ordinary, customary, conventional, habitual, accustomed, expected
  2. technical
    (of a line, ray, or other linear feature) intersecting a given line or surface at right angles.


  1. the usual, average, or typical state or condition.
    "her temperature was above normal"
  2. technical
    a line at right angles to a given line or surface.

  3. informal
    a person who is conventional or healthy.

@Lucignolo I grew up never wanting to be normal, always different. But that was a CHOICE.

Now I have a TBI and there are ways that is painful, more than physical. I just want to be normal, in so many ways. I want to be able to work at a job, to be able to support myself. I want to have normal length days, not be mowed down with the pain that takes over for hours or sometimes days.

I also have BPD. That basically means my emotional pain is off the charts, even though I act "normal." Add to that, I am an empath. So all the pain I see hurts me. I wish I could be normal and not experience such intense emotional pain.

Wishing you could be normal means it stabs like cold steel when someone tells you you are not normal; or worse, asks you why you can't just behave like a normal person? Why can't you just be normal?

Telling someone like me as a kid, that I was not normal, was a compliment. But calling someone not normal because they have a hardship and not just suffer from the hardship, but emotionally from being unable to overcome it, is unintentionally cruel.

Dictionaries tell you definitions but not nuance. They do not say when to use a word, and when you will hurt someone. That, we learn from each other, in context. And that is what I am doing now.

I am not looking for discrimination; on the contrary, if I thought you wanted to hurt people I would not engage (or do so in a much different tone). And that is again the same point. As a nonnative speaker you also miss the nuance which is my politeness and intent to point out something you might want to do differently a different time, to avoid causing anyone pain in the future; rather than an attack or accusation.

I am sure the dopamine scenario applies to me. And I did not at all feel targeted by the statement. I was worried that others did. Most people do not speak up when they are hurt. And actually, most of the people you identify will have as normal dopamine reactions as you or I.

In any case, your original comment was very interesting and elucidating. I gave you one of those thumbs up!

I really appreciate your comment. I basically know this stuff, but when you’re in the process of falling out of love and breaking up with someone (as I find myself, or should I say, find myself being dealt that hand), it’s tough to be objective and see the science behind it. I’m not an addict, but my current said beau is, as was the previous beau, and my ex before him. All gentlemen with dopamine issues, you could say. It’s a very prevalent problem in our society. I hope to make better choices going forward.

I agree 51%. 😉


Communication. When conversations stop being enjoyable there is less intimacy and laughter.

Betty Level 7 Aug 7, 2018

Growth is usually the real answer. One partner grows or changes while the other stays the same. At least in my experience. The real question is: How does one go from being "In Love" with someone to not liking them? The hard answer is we force things until they are broken. It's okay to care for someone you used to be intimate with but not want to continue loving them. We imprison our selves and in doing so we limit what love really is. Loving someone can also be letting go, because being together isn't working anymore. Codependency plays a major part in that whether it be financial or emotional.

It's true.


I submit that the reasons are always multiple, and these reasons to which you allude reside only in the mind of the one who was doing the loving. And still, with that being the case, even an individual who is well-practiced at self reflection would likely only consciously be able to identify a few of the precipitating factors. We perceive and feel much more than we ever could verbalize or consciously process, and the expanse and depth of a human's inner world is nearly infinite.

It's so true -- We perceive and feel much more than we ever could verbalize or consciously process, and the expanse and depth of a human's inner world is nearly infinite.

@APaleBlueDot You are a wizard of words. Would like to read more. ?

@AnandaKhan That is very kind! I shan't promise to always be eloquent or even deep, but sometimes a question hits me just right!

@AnandaKhan, @NiceFarm A followup thought is whether it is actually possible to EVER know a "why," from someone else or even yourself. Not to go too far off into the weeds here, but many studies in the past 30+ yrs concerning consciousness and free-will imply a disconnect between decisions and explanations one gives for "why" that decision was made. Studies have also shown that the reasons given are typically made up on the spot, and we often choose the ones most salient at the time. And, as time changes, so does the reason given! Followup reading: Ray Kurzweil's "How to Create a Mind" or any of the wealth of debates uncovered by searching google for "do we have free will". This link seems a promising overview: []


I think it comes down to lack of commitment...and I don’t really mean marriage. Both parties need to be committed to working on the relationship in an ongoing manner if they want to maintain mutual feelings of love. Communication is key!


My experience is a 'falling out of' or loss of admiration, respect, trust or combination thereof.

Too many kinds of disappointments to list here. Tne causes? Primarily, agaim to me, is insufficient time and clear minded observation and familiarization with the person/s.

It works both ways. Fantasies and wishful thinking spurred by physical attraction (lust) drive people to use too much mortar and not enough stone. They don't want to risk losing a catch, even if it's still in a poke.

"Fantasies and wishful thinking spurred by physical attraction (lust) drive people too use too much mortar and not enough stone. They don't want to risk losing a catch, even if it's still in a poke."
Are there truer words? I don't think so.

@Freespirit64 Thank you for the kind comment. The reward for expressing ideas is evidence of understanding because language guarantees nothing. 🙂


Shift in perception
Feeling rejected
Loss of trust
Loss of intimacy

Fort night… ?


Surest way to destroy a relationship is to avoid communicating about needs/desires. One or both people will start to harbor resentment. That will fester and love will fade. As much as people would like to meet each others' needs, those needs must be clearly communicated for that to be possible.


I fell out of love with my ex husband when I lost respect for him. He dropped out of grad school, could not keep a job, manage his time or money, could not finish the most basic things around the house, and needed me to pretty much be his mom. Later after we separated he was diagnosed as bipolar which explained much of his behavior. I couldn't be in love with someone I no longer saw as a partner but a child.


Familiarity breeds contempt--and boredom.

Sad, but really true. It needs to be guarded against somehow..

@LionMousePudding I was married for 25 years; we met when we were 17 and 18 and married at 20/21. While I am sure that some couples can be together than long and not grow bored (well, I grew bored, he did not), it did not "work" for me. I see couples sitting in restaurants and they do not talk; it is not a companionable silence, but more of having nothing left to say.


It's very easy to fall in love, to want all those feelings that come along with it....its not as easy to truly love someone, with all their faults, in times of weakness, after learning they may not be all you thought.


Too many factors which are highly individual.
One thing that's hard to account for is the other party being completely
fraudulent in their intentions. Unless you're a mind reader, or a forensic
psychologist (and a damned good one), it's really hard to spot those folks
up front.


There are many kinds of love, but when one is talking about relationships and partners and marriages, that is long term relationships and significant others, well we are talking about intimacy not just love. Love or when one has a crush on somebody is just a physical attraction where strong chemicals such as Opiods are involved, they are very strong but they tend to last only a few months. After that you need more than physical attraction, including sexual attraction, intimacy which is more psychological and requires a certain maturity and good communication in order to last. I would say the natural thing is to fall out of love, but then intimacy through good communication, understanding of roles, and personal space should grow and should foster a deeper intimate spiritual close relationship that beats love.


Unmet expectations? I thought he would change, I thought she would never change, I thought you would make me happy. I didn't think he would turn into my/his father.


The opposite of love is indifference. I became indifferent to my ex because he consistently put his xian website above time w/me and the kids. That and he was a condescending conservative twit with no imagination. He watched Fox news when he wasn't working on his website.

I agree: the opposite of both love and hate is apathy.


There are a LOT of kinds of love , but when you get to the base and look to see what each of these have in common , the lowest common denominator is , "Love is what we feel , for those who make us feel good about ourselves ." If your love makes you feel special in the way that you are , you will want to be around hem . You will want to please them . Love dies , when they no longer make you feel special - they put you at the bottom of their priority list , when your favorite movie star actor marries someone else , when they tell you nothing you do or are is good enough , when the politician you worked hard to get elected , suddenly only cares about getting rich , instead of helping those who need their help . People kill love .

People make love and people kill love.


Good luck with that! My guess is that they were never REALLY ''in love''....more ''in lust."

Disagree entirely. Many of us have several or numerous long term relationships. How long can infatuation last? Do think it was infatuation because it ended after five months? Two years? Three? Five? Seven? These are the lengths of the relationships I have had. If the very fact of a relationship ending means you are going to call it infatuation, only after the fact, then you don't believe the predicate here at all; which is that love can end. In other words for you, it can't really be called love until you die, because at any moment, if it ends, what you have been thinking is love, must suddenly be categorized as infatuation, even after twenty or thirty years.

@LionMousePudding The topic asks an opinion....I gave it.

@LucyLoohoo I concede.


Sometimes it's just time, but honestly I think it's mostly lack of effort.


Not likely.
Probably can't explain why it works so well with people either... but if it is why are you wasting time thinking about it and analyzing it. Just be present in that moment as much as possible.


Lackluster sex, inequality in house tasks, lack of affection, lack of gratitude, lack of both having independent finances. No shared back accounts. Infidelity. Boredom.
Not listening to each other.

Livia Level 6 Aug 9, 2018

I don't think anyone can answer that. We change. Our relationships change. Everything changes, We don't have the same helpless, worship, love for our parents at 10 that we have at two.


Love is a powerful emotion and difficult to explain. It explodes, it fades, it changes directions, sometimes it multiplies. Falling in love can be just as hard to corner. Love can be lust, love at first sight, love that develops from friendship, love that builds over time or love that is never returned. It always bothered me when someone said that the person they were in love with lied to them when they said they loved them too. It is generally not that they lied, but that the feeling of love just faded away. The reason is not always evident even to the person who lost the feeling, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t love you when they said they did.

@Barnie2years, that's a good answer.I think you could add that people change. And we don't change in an identical manner. It's not only couples. It's true of any relationship we have with anyone. Starting with our parents.


did you ever see the movie "The Serpent and the Rainbow"? This journalist wanted to learn the secret to the myths of how people were made into zombies in Haiti. But he found out far too late that the only way to truly understand was to go through it.

So, with that in mind, I would wish that you never truly have to know the answer to your question.


Sticking ya dick into someone else is a common reason


Lack of trust will do it every time. Ultimate trust is the key to ultimate love.

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