Getting Divorced? Chances are, it’s Not Lack of Love, It’s Lack of “Like”

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

When a man or woman is getting divorced, often times, people will say, “Oh, I’m so sorry,” and ask, “What happened?” A common response: “We fell out of love.”

Hmm…The person who asked isn’t going to pursue that response with a follow up question, “Why did you fall out of love?” but that’s what I’m going to explore in this blog post.

There are countless reasons for getting divorced, but for the purpose of this post, let’s exclude the biggie deal breakers: cheating, addiction, or verbal and physical abuse. One of those could be the real reason for the divorce of a person who says “We fell out of love,” but let’s just say none of those were an issue in the demise of someone’s marriage.

Let’s focus on “we fell out of love.”

I have a friend who is going through a divorce right now and “we fell out of love” is her explanation. I don’t know her husband very well, but I happened to see him the other day, and I just kept looking at him thinking, ‘Why did these two really sweet, smart, ambitious, kind, people (who have one child and are both great parents) fall out of love? Why?!’

I was seriously considering calling my friend and asking if she would be willing to meet me with her husband for a third party unbiased counseling session. I am not a therapist, I have zero credentials in the psychiatric or marital counseling field, but for some reason I felt like I might be able to help them.

Why? Because in this particular relationship, nothing really bad happened. My guess (and I could be completely wrong) is just that the two of them got on a bad path of non-communication and instead of talking things through, one or both harbored resentment for years. When one of them started talking divorce, they probably went to marriage counseling, but at that point it was just too late. There could have been years when one or both felt lonely and sad and that their marital situation was hopeless.

We all know that feeling of being in a relationship gone bad and desperately trying to get those feelings back. You pray, ‘I wish I could just snap my fingers and be in love again’ but you just can’t. The love is just too far gone.

That makes the key to a successful relationship nipping any bad feelings in the bud by addressing them, tackling them, and solving the issues immediately. And, by both people caring and nurturing the relationship so much that they make their love their number one priority. The best way to explain it is this: if your child has the flu, you do everything you can to nurse him or her back to health, right? You don’t say, ‘I’ll deal with this later.’ Your child’s illness comes before everything else in your life. That’s how a married couple should act when their relationship is “not feeling well.”

Now, you might be thinking, “Jackie, you have no idea what happened. People are constantly changing, and maybe the attraction they had 15 years ago changed when they changed.” That might be true, which leads me to what I think is the key to avoiding “we fell out of love”:




Not just someone you love. Like is actually more important and much more powerful than love. Like is what makes a relationship withstand the test of time.

Do you like being with the person, just hanging out doing nothing? Do you enjoy having conversations with the person? Do you respect his or her values and ethical standards? Does he/she make you laugh? Do you just plain old like being in the same room?

People who genuinely like each other have a better chance of not falling out of love with someone.

Here’s the thing. There’s no one who loves a good love story more than I do. I’m a huge fan of that period of time (which could last forever) when the relationship is exciting and fun and romantic. The candle lit dinner dates where you sit and drink wine and talk for hours, the times you get home and rip each other’s clothes off, the hugs where you want to squeeze the person for a year and not let go.

Love is wonderful. There’s no better feeling. But, don’t underestimate the importance of like. It’s big. Love gets the headlines but like is what lasts.


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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

One Response to “Getting Divorced? Chances are, it’s Not Lack of Love, It’s Lack of “Like””

  1. SF74

    This post resonates with me so much. It has been hard some days even talking about the “Why?” and “What Happened?” with people. It was a bunch of little things and a few huge things, and then one day I remember just turning into a robot. And, I was a robot for about a year, knowing that one day I would just break. I couldn’t pretend to be the happy wife anymore, and by the time I entered the therapist’s office, my mind was only on one thing: How do I get out of this and find a really happy life?

    I was staying for our two boys, and I knew that. And, I finally realized I just had to break free. And, I felt horrible, but there was nothing left. The feelings were completely gone. And, I DID try. I was the only one trying. The only one working. The only one being healthy and holding it all together, and finally one day all the resentment and anger and exhaustion took over and I just said, “Enough.”

    So, liking your spouse is so very important. And, so is passion and a feeling that you really cannot live without this person in your life, because they make you better. That was not the case. I am happy I left, even though it is the most difficult thing I have ever done. But, the good news is I am not a robot anymore. Thank GOD for that.


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