Written by Habiba Sulliman
Edited by Ahmed Ashry
Yes, you read it right, scientifically falling out of love. Love, that generous, warm kind of feeling that surges through one’s whole being. That feeling that we can’t seem to exist without. That feeling that changes the course of so many things in life to the better or to the worse. Yet, haven’t you ever wondered why do people fall out of love? I’m sure you thought about it dozens of times. But what about in a scientific kind of way? What if it was never about the heart and always about the mind?
Let me tell you what happens when you fall in love first. It all begins with the production of adrenaline, which causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat, and the release of dopamine can give you feelings of euphoria, and excitement. Interesting I know. This release of chemicals that makes you feel as if you are beyond this world are actually just simple chemicals that make us feel like we are floating. Yet, just as our brains are chemically wired once we fall in love they also change when we fall out of it.
Falling out of love is by any means not an easy process, one that slowly takes place without even noticing. “It’s a process of forgetting habits and connections, of altering hormones and neurotransmitters, and of changing behaviors.” When your significant other stops being your pathway to happiness and comfort, you brain re-programs itself and inserts something like a code that systematically makes your significant other less and less your happy place. That’s when the world starts to seem a little less shiny and a bit duller. You start to notice the flaws and the tiny things that didn’t seem to bother you yet now they do.
Because every brain and person is different, it can take about 3 to 12 months to fall out of love. Throughout those long months, things start to gradually yet slowly change. A daily habit that used to make you the happiest, like watching an episode of your favorite TV show and cuddling can seem unbearable at times when all you think of is “Oh, I can’t do this anymore.” People start to hide more often, they start to make ridiculous excuses, and the worst of it all , they start lying more often. When the mind starts to get back to its state before falling in love, to its somewhat normal, the person gets light-stricken. They jolt and they wake up. But because at some point throughout this relationship that person was the breath they lived on, they start to lie and the miserable thought about it is that they lie just to protect their feelings. The lies increase in size and decrease in honesty and on it goes until there is nothing left but a bunch of lies and no truths to hold on to. Nothing. Just an abyss of absolutely nothing.
Falling in and out of love can be one of the hardest, most complicated processes the brain may go through. Not only our hearts, although we say that our hearts break when we lose someone or when we go through a breakup, for the mind takes a breath and reads a book. Falling out of love does not have to be this ugly truth we all deeply believe in. Because, at the end of the day, we all are mere humans with such complex brains that we have yet come to understand.
So, technically falling out of love is not just losing feelings or changing personalities. It’s so much more: it’s chemicals and science. It’s the brain wiring and then re-wiring, it’s the sudden rush of chemicals like adrenaline and then the calmness of them after a while. Just as falling in love is an addiction, falling out of it is the recovery your brain chemicals go through!
However, have you ever wondered how do we know that we’ve fallen out of love? Or is it normal? Actually yes, it is. When meeting a person for the first time and committing in a relationship, you see everything perfectly. Your lifestyles, habits, pet peeves, literally everything. But when everything starts to change, you got to ask yourself what caused this emotional shift?
Sometimes past rejections or hurt can cause us to falter when it comes to sustaining positive feelings. Other times, the actions of the other individual can trigger a loss of affection. The act of loving and being loved is a direct challenge to our basic mental defense. Humans generally learn from an early age how to adapt to prevent getting hurt, both physically and emotionally.
Change is one of the most- if not the most- terrifying aspect of life and of love. Because of change, we lose the people we love, because of change we hurt and we bleed. Yet, if change ceased to exist then nothing will ever change.