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,


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34 thoughts on “Disappearing Reappearing Love

  1. Christine said:

    This may be my favorite post. I often find myself being so consumed with fixing problems when they arrive and getting things “back to normalize” that that is what I focus on. I think it subconsciously gives off an aura of neediness and probably adds to the situation. This is a great reminder to LIVE despite circumstance and that I am responsible for my own happiness. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I needed it.

  2. Jessi said:

    I love getting your emails, you are so great at this. Thank you for all your help and advice, I’m a big fan 🙂

  3. Maggie said:

    Once again James…thank you! …this gives me hope and happiness just to have permission to hope that a lost love will reappear.


  4. Beth said:

    Thank you! I appreciate you e-mails.
    One more thought to add: Actually Love is God and therefore can never be
    lost. It is never dependent on another person. Now that is inspiring to me!

  5. Sue Maharaj said:

    Thank you for all your sound words of advice.

    I am trying to recover from a failed marriage of 40 years. I feel so alone and just barely maintaining the status quo at this point. Really want to recover and develop a new passion and joy but I go back to the same place over and over.

    It is difficult.

    • Jennifer said:

      You are not alone out there. I too had a marriage of 20 yrs. end, when he decided to walk out and didn’t want to be married anymore. It devastated me to the point where I am stiil struggling to get over it 5 yrs. later. So yes, it passes, but sometimes very slowly. He was the love of my life, and then he told me he wasn’t who I thought he was all that time, and had a completely separate life going on, which he was not willing to give up.
      I find it helpful to focus on what I have left, and not what I have lost. I have found many strengths I never knew I had, and have met some great new women friends.
      I found having a good therapist and counsellor very helpful through the roughest times. Also some very patient and good friends who listened while I cried and cried and cried. Let the tears flow, feel the grief. It is said that it takes 1 yr. to to get over every 4yrs that you were married. I hope and pray that it will be sooner than that for you.
      I am now supposedly nearing the end of that period, but still find it painful to see him, and remember all the good times we had and the love we both felt for each other.

  6. kelli said:

    Beautiful. Just, beautiful.

  7. Eliz said:

    “Love as like in Thunder,
    Rolls & covers ,
    The Sky in Darkness,
    The out comes the Sun,
    The Movement of Love,
    It is always there
    Sometimes hidden ,
    Returning to Sight”

  8. Balogun O.Olagunju said:

    James, am always inspire with your your word of wisdom and it serves as a guide to me in my proffessional practice as a social worker. Thank you so much.

  9. Jennifer said:

    I just had a disagreement with my boyfriend last night. The impulsive side of me wanted to end the relationship for good. Your reminder about ‘this too shall pass’ is so timely ! I know that I should be more tolerant of my boyfriend’s point of view. Thank you so much, James, for your continuous supply of little gems of wisdom !

  10. Seunfunmi said:

    Keep up the good work. God bless you

  11. Vicki said:

    I’m pursuing reconciliation through the storm of separation, (my husbands pursuit). Sadly my husband struggles with lust and alcoholism. This has destroyed our marital harmony. However, my faith in God, my will to honor Him, and my hope of restoration revives the love in every fiber of my being. My purpose is continuous love; unconditional love for my husband. Glorious Spiritual growth is my reward now. It is in this storm I have found strength and love with no boundaries!

  12. Kelvin said:

    A great write up. I’m supersonically motivated and uplifted. Awesum,keep it up.

  13. James Bauer said:

    Thanks, everyone, for your encouraging affirmation of the truth you found in this post. It may seem like a small thing to you, but your encouraging words lift my spirit (and motivate me to keep writing).


  14. Isabella said:

    To the women who have had marriages end after so many years. I too did. It has taken me 7 years, but I focused on one day at a time. I am a better woman and have created the life I want. I almost became a minister! Remember God will work it all out for good.

  15. Sally said:

    My boyfriend of just 6 months broke up with me because I texted him “I love you!” and I miss you..
    We were going to have a romantic dinner at his place. I made him ribs and he wanted me to bring a bottle of whipping cream for fun later. His daughter’s age 10 to 21 years old were not to be there that week. He was all excited to see me on the phone.
    When I got there his younger daughters were there. I had a brand new dress on and was so excited to see him. I was in shock to see them still at his home that night. He helped me finish making the surprise dinner.
    The X picked up the youngest daughter at 5 pm but, then brought her back 20 minutes later.
    Dinner was ruined when the oldest daughter calls and says she is on her way over. He tells her nicely to wait 30 minutes so we could enjoy our dinner. She said she was right around the corner and just showed up. Then, she walks in and helps herself to the food I made for him and I. My stomach hurt that I didn’t finish my dinner and I had brought a present for him as well.
    His attitude changed while the girls were still there. So, he took me over to one of his friends home. I just wanted a romantic evening with just him and I. It was ruined!!!
    When we got back to his place everyone was gone and he still acted strange. Now he didn’t sit close to me or even kiss me. Then he just wanted to go to bed without having the fun that I thought we were both looking forward to.
    The next morning he just jumps out of bed and says he has a lot of things to do. We go shopping for groceries and return plants . Then we go watch one of his daughters play soccer. We go out to dinner and share a meal together. We rent a movie and watch it at his house. Then go back to bed and he does it again saying he is not in the mood. I start to cry silently. I.know that I must have done something to make him not want me.
    I go to work the next morning! He calls me and says it is over. He comes over that Friday with a bag and sits it on the table.He said it was his over nite things. I found out later it was my clothes. We go out for pizza and it feels like things were getting better. But, right in the middle of eating our pizza he says it is over and that we can be friends and that he loves me but, he is not in love with me. That I am more interested then he was .that I missed him more than he ever missed me.
    I started crying and he kept reaching over and grabbing my hand. It hurt so much and to do it in a public place was so rude.
    Then he goes to the restroom and when he comes back. His phone rings and his daughter says come get me… I am injured and can’t get a hold of Mom. So, he has to rush me home and leave. He says it was real but I don’t believe him..
    I haven’t seen him since then and that was 3 weeks ago. He was texting me ever day still and calling me every other day until… last Saturday, I wanted to see him to talk and he made excuses not to see me and I caught him in a lie. He was suspose. to go to a football game that Friday night , but there was no game that week. I called him that sat. morning before he was going to another soccer game. He never answered the phone so I left him a message. I more or less said that I know there was no game and why did he have to lie about it. I had plans that night already with my girlfriends. He never called or text me back. It has been three days now. I still have things of mine at his house too. What in the world did I do wrong to make him not want to be with me??

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Sally. I’m sorry it’s been such a rough week for you. For very personal question like this one that do not directly relate to the blog article, I ask that you submit a question to one of our professional relationship coaches. You can do that here.

  16. Sunehla Bala said:

    Hi James,
    Thank you for forever keeping me abreast through your emails on a diversity of issues. I read your emails each morning before starting work. I get so much insight and I have broadened my understanding and perspective of relationships. Today I have learnt will that circumstances pass away but strength of your will can endure…this statement has given me so much strength and foresight to life.
    Thank you.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Sunehla!


  17. Elma said:

    Dear James, First I must thank you for the valuable contributions you have and continue to make in assisting many of us on the topic of understanding this seem complicated world around “LOVE and RELATIONSHIP”
    Your topic today of “disappearing reappearing love” brings my attention to my book (Standing Tall in Echoes of Destiny) where I did my assessment on “Love” and how I as the writer believe should be its connection to Emotion. You have just confirmed my written thoughts as depicted:- “Emotions
    Is love a fiction, and if there is love, have you found your own
    description for it? Should it be lasting, one sided, imbalanced,
    connected to material values, imaginary? So then; how is it
    related to emotions? And if such emotion tells me that I love
    and it is “love,” so why wouldn’t the other connect the same
    message? What a confusion, when what should be a personal
    feeling is at times controlled by the opinion of friends, relatives,
    your integrity and standards, but should love be controlled
    in time through destiny? Love can only survive of untainted
    emotion, a beauty that pours from within, not by material
    attraction or attachment. It says to come as you are, tried and
    true, the embracing of me and you, of two persons so pure,
    so real. “Yours are for me as mine is for you”. And so it will
    last as two hearts encompasses at the same time, same space;
    even apart, your thoughts connect as no one can separate such
    emotional mesh.”

  18. LaShea said:

    so timely… thank u… thank u… thank u.

  19. Bee said:

    Words can make or break someone, and you chose to put them together to help make life and relationships better. Thank you, James. This is by far, the best message that I received from you. More power and keep ’em coming!

  20. 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.


  21. 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.


    • James Bauer said:

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


  22. 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.


      • 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.


  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

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