“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” – Anaïs Nin
In short, love dies of a lack of love.
Which begs the question—was it really ever love to begin with?
I certainly don’t think so.
I think the love that Nin is talking about isn’t really love—at least not in any mature sense of the word/concept. What Nin is talking about, I suspect, is romantic love—love that’s based on chemistry, emotion, feelings, physical attraction, infatuation, sexual energy. It’s a type of love that in the beginning tends to be overpowering and captivating and largely automatic, and as such, as something “automatic,” it’s not really love to begin with, it’s pseudo-love, temporary love—a highly alterable and unstable (and thus temporary) pair-bonding. This type of love tends to lack depth, substance, principle, virtues, because, in short, both people (or at least one of the two) tend to be lacking in these—in virtue, principle, conscience, doing their best, honesty, a love of truth, real depth, a substantial inner life. If one or both of the people in an intimate relationship are lacking in virtue and depth and stability, then how can their relationship be something stable and beautiful and deep and lasting? A relationship tends to be an expression of the level of personhood and personal development attained by the people who are comprising it—and no better. How can it be?
And so if a relationship is to improve, then one or both (and hopefully both) of the people involved will have to improve fundamentally as human beings—i.e. become more virtuous, principled, mindful, discerning, noble, conscientious, introspective, kind, good, decent, compassionate, honest, objective, understanding, mature, et cetera.
In short, each will have to become more truly loving.
If they fail to do this, then the relationship will die. And naturally so.
The truth is, romantic love almost always dies—it has to, because most of the time, the people comprising the relationship are just not that well-developed enough to sustain such a passionate relationship and manage and conduct themselves in a healthy and mature way in such a relationship. An intimate relationship is like a marathon—make that a triathlon—an Ironman type triathlon; and most people are only psychologically fit enough and mature enough to make it a mile or two—walking, not even jogging. Romantic intoxication/love will always wear off and die unless—unless—the people in the relationship are more than just mere creatures pulsing with emotions and scattered (discursive) desires. When people are largely still leading unconscious and unexamined lives, when they’re still largely only fickle creatures of emotion and impulse and prejudice and bias, then sustaining romantic love will be unlikely (against the odds) and will be more dependent on favorable circumstances (external locus of control) rather than anything that the two people themselves bring to the table.
“The truth about love is this: If we want to be loved, we are looking for a support system. If we want to love, we are looking for spiritual growth. It’s that simple.” – Ayya Khema (Buddhist nun)