Disappearing Reappearing Love

when love disappearsToday we’re talking about why the feeling of love seems to suddenly disappear during arguments between lovers. But I need to start with a quick story.

A king gave his wise men a challenge. “Create a ring that will make me happy when I am sad.”

The wise men succeeded. It was a plain ring with an inscription etched into the metal. It read, “This too shall pass.”

During times of hardship, the king would notice the inscription. It would remind him that hardships always pass, even when things seem hopeless. He would stop worrying and appreciate life rather than spending all his energy trying to fix problems.

But of course, the ring had an opposing effect as well. Whenever he felt jubilant, the ring reminded him that joyful circumstances change as well. Nothing lasts forever.

I used to hate this kind of story. It left me feeling empty. It drained my energy. Trying hard seems pointless if nothing lasts.

But today, I am a wiser man. If I was appointed to the King’s council of advisers, this is what I would tell him.

“Your Majesty, your wise men spoke the truth with this etching. Yet there is more to be said. While circumstances always pass, the strength of your will can endure. When you choose a purpose for your life, your steadfast pursuit of that purpose can remain a source of joy in both good times and bad.”

In other words, make your life about something worthwhile. Choosing to do so gives you an anchor of strength and joy. You can even pledge allegiance to a cause that will persist beyond your life. Achieving some end is not the goal. Living your life in full pursuit of what you truly believe in…that is the goal.

During an argument with your partner, you may feel as if the love between you disappears. This can be disconcerting.

Some women have asked me what it means about the relationship. “If we truly love each other, shouldn’t that feeling of love persist even in the middle of a fight?”

Love did not disappear. You just stopped feeling it for a short time. The feeling of being in love was suppressed while defending yourself in battle mode.

when love disappearsWhen the feeling of love is temporarily suppressed, don’t panic. Remember the words, “This too shall pass.” This will prevent you from doing or saying things you later regret. But there’s something more.

Love is something inside of you. It is a part of who you are. When you choose to love someone, it is an act of your will. Love is an active choice, not just a feeling.

Some people look for love “out there” as if it is something to be discovered. I believe love is a part of who you are. When you choose to love, you are bringing to life the choice you have made about what matters to you in this life.

Relationships will always have ups and downs. Work hard to improve your relationship, but don’t let the circumstances of the moment define your happiness.

Focus instead on your chosen purpose in life. Choose a purpose that brings you joy.

Always on your side,

James


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35 thoughts on “Disappearing Reappearing Love

  1. Kerin said:

    “Love is an active choice, not just a feeling” “Love is a part of who you are.” These speak volumes, James. Thank you so much!

  2. pheeluvr said:

    I subscribed to a lot of relationship advisors to help further inform me during my therapy and as I write a book. Just want to thank you as you are by far away the best. Your insights and wisdom
    bring the added insight needed for any long term relationship. This post reminded me of the importance of pursuing what one feels/believes to be important to them. The only thing I would add is that when those beliefs/feelings change in one’s life as they almost inevitably do, don’t give up on yourself. Put a bookmark and explore
    until your internal compass shows you the way. Thank you!

  3. Mandy said:

    What if the purpose of life for you is to fully love another person and build a life together ? I’ve thought so long and hard on this, “purpose of life” question for myself and I just keep coming back to the same answer…. As long as I can remember I’ve wanted a best friend, companion, a man I could trust to build a feeling of home with. Hobbies, volunteering, etc doesn’t give me a feeling of purpose…. I’ve tried. My experience with men always leaves me so empty because they expect me to ” get a hobby” because they are fully satisfied with their life… and the ” relationship” is never top of the list – which is what satisfies me. I express this to men when we get serious in a relationship and they say they understand and want to make it work. However, in reality, they just continue on with their own happiness expecting me to support their goals and needs without reciprocating what I need. I’m losing hope that the kind of love that makes me feel satisfied and fulfilled is all in my imagination. Love, companionship, passion, friendship with a partner is truly the meaning of life for me. I dated a lot, giving men a chance, I was married once and thought I had love, only to find out he cheated on me for many years, I’ve been through a lot. I try to be as pleasant and intelligent about relationships that I can be. People compliment me on my personality and looks all the time. I’m told that ” I’m a real catch” ha ha…. I’ve got a career, my own sense of self, etc I can go on… But I’m losing hope.

  4. Deb said:

    James, thank you for your article on disappearing love. My partner is a struggling alcoholic. And while he is working hard on moving past a divorce from 3 years ago and to process his feelings rather than drink them occasionally he finds himself in the bottom of a bottle. It is those times that some other person arises and he has recently become hurtful, even saying things are over etc. When he comes down and sober up he has had black out periods and a patchy recollection of his behaviour. His self loathing is difficult to watch… fortunately he is reaching out for counselling now… I digress though… in this roller-coaster it is sometimes so difficult to keep moving forward and to believe in us. Your article reminds me that this too shall pass… a saying I also heard in the twelve step program. And it gives me confidence that love will prevail… whether that be our love for one another or perhaps of greater importance, love of myself. All your articles are helpful. They have continually taught me and given me lessons to think about and apply. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift with me and the world. Bless you.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you for the kind words of encouragement, Deb. I can understand why your partner’s addiction makes it difficult to build the relationship you want with him. He is only “there” some of the time, because the alcohol literally impairs his brain function. He will only be a viable partner for you if he can become willing to pay the price (and endure the pain) of supervised withdrawal and a new life entirely free of alcohol. Until then, be a blessing in his life as a person who is gentle and patient, but not as a person who puts all her life energy into a man who has yet to prove he is worthy of that. Wishing you the best.

      James

      • Deb said:

        James, fortunately for me (in the long run) and unfortunately for the relationship I have discovered through self love and counselling that this particular man’s disappearing and reappearing love is due to narcissistic personality disorder… what a ride I have been on! This is such an important topic. Will you cover it ever? I think some women may read this article and mistake one for the other. Thanks again for opening my eyes! All the best.

      • James Bauer said:

        Yes, that’s a good point, Deb. There is a clear difference between using periodic absence to keep the romance healthy vs. being used by someone who just wants you when it’s convenient for them. Thanks for pointing out that important distinction.

        James

  5. Elvia 'Sylvia" said:

    James, this post about disappearing and reappearing love is such an eye-opener and so easy to grasp. Thank you for caring and sharing. And I honestly need to share that you not referring us to others’ books or videos for more in-depth material on your subjects was extremely refreshing and appreciated! For me, it made your shared knowledge on relationships more valuable and as “deep” as needed.

    Again, thank you.

    Sylvia

    • James Bauer said:

      Glad you liked it, Sylvia. Your feedback helps me more than you might guess.

      James

  6. liz said:

    I am so in love with my husband of 7 months. He’s younger than I am, and sometimes he just acts his age. We are trying so hard to blend, but sometimes I just want to give up on him…and us!
    When he does (legitimate) wrong and hurts me, I just want to quit and walk away, but when am calmer, I realise I love him. I’ve wondered why, when we argue, I can’t seem to remember all the good things we share.
    You have helped me to understand better. Now, I am going to do the right thing. Yes, there will be future arguments, but I have to remember that I love this man even though I am upset with him.
    I have to remember that we are married, so I should trust God to make him…and us…better people.
    I need to remember his better qualities, and not just focus on his flaws. I bet I have mine. He just doesn’t mention them!
    I need to remember never to take decisions when I am upset, or say damaging things about the relationship because that just fuels the crisis.
    Thank you, James for this article!
    My husband is on a trip now, but after reading this, I called him up just to say I LOVE U!!!

    • James Bauer said:

      I’m glad my article activated the wisdom you already possessed, Liz.

      James

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