Here’s Why They Call It Falling (in Love)

It’s a long way down into the abyss


Romance: That pink squishy rose, full of sweet pulp, has much to answer for. We call it love, and sometimes it is the real thing. But it always starts the same way. You meet someone and something in your heart distinguishes them from other people.

“This one is special,” it says.

The heart skips and pings from side to side in your chest at the mere thought of your ‘special one,’ and the game is on. You’re falling in love.

Down you go, into the heart’s abyss. Love, we’ve been told, lifts you up. It’s ‘uplifting,’ so you don’t expect to plummet.

Falling isn’t unpleasant, though. It’s the best thing ever. Fear and excitement mix into a strange magical glue that sticks you to your beloved.

If all goes well, the special one finds you special too. You dance in the sticky mixture of love, those depths of intimacy and wonder. You tell each other everything. How you’ve longed for someone to hold you in the dark. The way you’ve grown tired of being alone. And you pledge a silent agreement to take care of the other’s heart.

It’s easy to carry their heart during the early days of your relationship. It’s agreeable to have something so important to take with you wherever you go.

And you are happy to leave your heart in the special person’s arms where it’s cradled and sung to with soothing lullabies.

One day, however, you awaken in the place you’ve fallen and note the darkness.

“Where am I?” You ask.

It’s become chillier of late, and weirdly enough, falling in love begins to remind you about how you felt when you were lonely in the days before your beloved was on the scene.

You mull around in the dark place and wonder if your heart is in safe hands. There’s a tension between you and your special one because things have changed. The moment’s shifted to the next stage of your relationship: The one in which you have no idea where you ought to go next.

You assess your injuries because falling doesn’t happen without consequences. You gave your heart away and swapped your usual way of living for an unsustainable one, and now it’s time to face reality.

You need to resume certain habits you’d overlooked, like sleeping in on Sundays rather than attending your beloved’s football match. Or you prefer vegging out in front of a cheesy movie now and then rather than dancing with your partner into the wee hours every weekend.

There are also distasteful household chores to consider. The dirty dishes are piled in the sink and you must take the dog for his walk, even though it’s tipping with rain.

You shine a flashlight on your beloved. They are still attractive. It’s just that your heart doesn’t scramble about as much when you’re with them anymore. Not to mention how you note they seem less carefree in your company. And they’ve slunk back to their old way of life too: the life they had before you met.

It involves taking out the trash, not bothering to primp and preen as much, and letting a little resentment flood out of their head into the atmosphere now and then.

You know you can’t stay in the abyss any longer. So, you begin the steady climb back out into the daylight where your beloved’s faults, and yours, are easy to see.

At this stage of the relationship, you can walk away, beginning the journey all over again, falling for someone new. Or, you can recognize you and your beloved were never as perfect as you imagined and accept each other, warts and all.

You can grow accustomed to the way the special one drums their fingers on the kitchen table when they are bored or burps in the evening. And you can hope they overlook the way you get grouchy when you’re tired and love wearing sweatpants on a Friday night.

If you can accept each other’s foibles, and get over the loss of the cherished illusion of romance, it’s possible to begin the real voyage to love.

Falling in love is exciting. But you will scrape your knees and wake up in the dark. Then, it’s up to you whether you embrace your beloved as their true selves or break free and fall down another hole.

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✨ Bridget Webber

✨ Bridget Webber


Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.