falling out of love

I am so, so sorry. It’s absolutely not you. It’s completely me.

I know this is sudden. I know. God, I know. It’s sudden for me, too. I tried to overcompensate at first. I tried to cover. But something is too different to disguise. Something has shifted tectonically. I can’t pretend it hasn’t.

I have fallen out of love.

But I am not leaving. I will fight for this. For us.

I always hate it when there’s a divorce and the reason is “I’ve fallen out of love.” It seems so halfhearted. Why didn’t you try harder? How could it really just be gone?

But now I think I know.

I met you four years ago, which isn’t that long. It was an intense four years. The fastest moving, most aggressive, most life altering four years of my life. I had known about you before that, and I thought you weren’t my type. Too loud. Too popular. I like the quiet ones. You don’t pause for anyone, you just keep going, always in a hurry. But when we finally came face to face, I was overcome. I thought that maybe  you slowed for me. I thought that maybe I could hear you breathing in the whisper of a single, crowded tree. You blinked in the switch of the lights down the avenue. Red to green. And then the whoosh of traffic—a steady stream towards eternity.

You felt both very wise and very fresh. Full of secrets without being particularly secretive. I loved how eclectic and accepting and simultaneously tough you were. Hell, I loved everything about you. I thought I could take the heat. The rush. The strange, busy solitude.

I defended you to your critics. I swore you were the best. Always the best. The only one for me. I was insulted on your behalf. Once, someone accused you of being ugly to me, and I flew into a rage. I pointed out every beautiful part, spitting a fierce, rapid-fire list. How dare they? You were perfect!

But, like I said, something changed. It slipped. And abruptly, I find myself wanting something more. Or just something else. I find myself craving the horizon. I want to know what is behind it and what is beyond that. And so on, until I have gone in a circle around the whole world. Or maybe just halfway. But away. It’s such a big world. It can’t really all be here, inside you.


And you aren’t always nice, you know. You can be so harsh. So competitive. Sometimes you feel superficial. You only care about what’s hot right now. You only care about who is hot right now. You are obsessed with fame. Or at least, it feels that way. You are obsessed with wealth. Bigger is better. You move so quickly–  I feel like I can’t keep up. Like I’m not enough. Like I’m always gradually slipping behind until maybe I’ll disappear. I don’t think you’re listening. I don’t think you hear me at all.

I’m not so sure that I need all of the excitement anymore. I feel a little over stimulated. I’m not sure I want to keep up. I woke up one morning and looking around and wondered what we’re all racing towards. I couldn’t see it, because there were so many buildings blocking the distance. I couldn’t see where we’re supposed to be going.

I’m sorry. It feels like such a betrayal. I’m so confused. I don’t want to leave you forever. I just need a break. I just need some time to myself. Seriously. I will come back, if you let me go. I promise. It isn’t over between us. It will probably never really be over between us.

But, and this is the most painful part: when I saw you from above, lying there, so peaceful from there, I looked automatically past you, to see what else there was. I looked towards the ocean. And I wanted to sail away.


I probably shouldn’t have said anything, but I had to tell you. You and I have always been honest with one another. I always knew what I was getting into.

And if it’s any consolation—there are millions of others just like me. Who will sign their souls away for you. Who love you with every breath. You attract that kind of devotion. And rightfully. You are spectacular. You are magnificent. You are stunning. There’s nothing else in the world like you.

But maybe there are other places like me.

I hope that I’ll get to find out.

*  *  *

Have you ever fall out of love with the place you live in? What did you do?

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a long skirt. Surprising.

P.S. Bear got one of those Living Social deals for a helicopter tour of NYC. We went on it over the weekend. It was incredible, and in confirmed some of my suspicions about how I’ve been feeling about the city I have loved so intensely for the past four years. I’m not sure what to do.

Other NYC pieces, from before this crazy change of heart thing (which will hopefully pass really soon) happened: What if everyone grows up and leaves me in this city? , Love and Money, Meeting girls on trains, and My first apartment


Kate on March 26th 2012 in new york

44 Responses to “falling out of love”

  1. Jennifer Jo responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    At first I thought you were talking about the blog! Whew!

  2. Kate responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    @Jennifer Jo
    Lol! I tried to make it ambiguous, because sometimes my relationship with NYC feels like a committed romantic relationship. But I never even thought it could be interpreted as my relationship with ETDC. Hmm…that’s a relationship I never write about. Maybe one day :-)

  3. Melanie responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I knew what you were talking about IMMEDIATELY. I love to visit large cities, but could never live in one. I need quiet, and slow-paced, to go with my fast-paced mind. My neighborhood is my idea of perfection: close enough to bike to everything but far enough that there is no late night loudness or crowded sidewalks to trudge through in the evening.

    I hope it passes. Maybe you’re just having a downswing and the love is still there, only hidden for now.

  4. Valerie responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    I can relate. I absolutely loved Seattle between the ages of 14 to 26, but then one day I didn’t love it anymore even though I was careful to live outside of the city so I could feel breathless wonder every time I approached it again.

    And then it started changing. Larry’s Market closed. They tore down the skate park across from the Space Needle. They replaced Tower Records with a chain grocery store. And there was talk of removing the the rides and carnival games to replace them with a glass art museum. So Seattle was changing in some of my favorite places and I ceased to feel the wonder that I used to feel when trolling my favorite parts of town.

    I moved out of state to Boise. It’s different here. I enjoy it and there are tons of little, strange, out of the way places that are like shared secrets amongst the people that live here. I defend the status of “city” when friends from out of town bash Idaho as being “po-dunk” and “red neck”. I partake in the local festivities like the annual August Habanero pizza season at my favorite pizza joint. I like Boise, but I don’t think I’ll ever love it like I used to love Seattle.

  5. margosita responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Actually, every place I’ve loved has broken up with me, first.

    I never really thought about that, before. It hurts a bit.

  6. Celynne responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    I’ve only lived in two cities… well, one city and one small town, in reverse order. I never loved my home town, and I am only reminded of this whenever I go visit, and I think I’m only in love with my nearby neighborhoods. I used to ignore larger flaws and love Ottawa blindly but there’s too much about it I can’t overlook when I walk further than Chinatown/Downtown/Little Italy. I kind of want to move out to the country, but we’ll see!

  7. Lili @ Relatable Style responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    I absolutely thought you were talking about blogging and the blogosphere. My feelings on a bad blog day exactly. Glad to see you are not leaving us though! Whew!

  8. Donna responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Oh, you’ll move to the suburbs soon enough.

  9. LZ responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    At first I thought you were talking about Bear! And I was very confused — I thought, “Why would she post this online?”

  10. Amanda responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    I fell out of love with the place I lived once, although it was a teeny-tiny town rather than anything akin to NYC (is there actually anything remotely like NYC?). I felt smothered, as if I lived in Avonlea but with Rachel Lynde peering in every window of my home every waking moment.

    I made it through what I had to make it through, then I moved. Of course, it was just me then… so that made it a more simple matter.

    Now, when I’m sick of where I live — it’s not a falling out of love so much as a general “bleah” — my husband and I plot our retirement to the Glacier National Park area of Montana. Will we ever do it? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But it’s nice to dream :)

  11. Kate responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    So you’re the person who writes mean things on my blog sometimes, and then I delete them. But this comment wasn’t actually mean– more dismissive– so I’m leaving it.

    I know you don’t use your own email address, because I wrote back to you and someone else responded and called you as “asshat” for leaving rude comments on my blog.

    I wonder what you want. But it seems like a funny way to be a troll.

  12. Kate responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    I know someone who lives in Montana. His facebook photos are so tantalizing.

  13. Kate responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading that. And pizza season? Amazing.
    I think that’s how I felt about NYC– breathless wonder. And I understand the impulse to move outside it, just to come back and feel that way again.

  14. Kate responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    What happened?? I want to know!!

  15. CC responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Kate, I thought you were leaving the blog and although I only discovered it a couple of months ago I’ve been reading lots of it and I love it.

    Sometimes it feels like a really smart and cool friend advising me on things.

    I’m so glad (and selfish) that you were talking about falling out of love with the city and not the blog. I love coming here and finding a new post. Thank you, xxx

  16. Frances responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Similarly, I have long lost my lust for my city. Although I will remain supportive of this place forever (it’s impossible to deny having a huge Cleveland-shaped space in my heart), my desire to move on hurts me with its intensity sometimes. I’ll always root for my roots…but it’s time to go.

  17. Valerie responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 6:17 pm #


    Yes, pizza season at the best pizza place in Boise, Flying Pie Pizzaria! August is Habanero month which has a little cult following in town. My favorite pizza would have to be the Fromage A Trois with provolone, smoked gouda, and sharp cheddar.

  18. notemily responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    I have a love-hate relationship with my city, depending on the season. In winter, I hate it and I talk about leaving as soon as my lease is up, and it feels cold and unkind and like it doesn’t want me here. But in summer, it feels warm and welcoming and I fall back in love with it and don’t want to leave. Until the next winter…

    But this year, it’s been good to me. We have an actual spring this year, which is unheard-of. It’s probably bad for the local plants, but it’s been so, so nice for me.

  19. Amy responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Whew! For a second there, I thought you meant US, your readers, and you weren’t going to do the blog anymore!

  20. Kate responded on 26 Mar 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Also, guys: I haven’t been blogging for four years! It’s been almost exactly two. I mean, come on, when I’ve been blogging for four years I will definitely have gotten around to figuring out how to FINALLY thread the comments :-)

  21. Lezley responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 3:29 am #

    I’ve been living in my current city for slightly under a year. I was really into it at first… then I spent some time in another city that I adored. When I went back home, it no longer felt like home.

    I’m not sure what to do about it yet. Usually when I decide that a place isn’t working for me anymore, I move away as soon as possible. But it’s always taken more than a measly year! Plus I like certain things about living here that are unrelated to the actual city — my job, my living situation, the ease with which I can be a hermit.

    So I’m probably not going to do anything right now, just wait things out. And travel as much as I can. (In this analogy, would that make me a cheater? I’m not sure if my city would be OK with an open relationship…)

  22. Joceline responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 11:07 am #

    At first I thought you were talking about Bear and my first thought was NOOOO IT CAN’T BE!

    I hope you don’t think it’s weird that absolute strangers are invested in your life.

    That said, all I’ve ever wanted to do is go live at the foot of a mountain in Scotland, so I feel you on sometimes wanting more than a city can give.

  23. Lisa F. responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I loved this post. I agree completely that people don’t live in New York City – they have a relationship with New York City. I’ve been here fifteen years, and the best way I can describe how I feel about it is to quote Jimmy Breslin in the Spike Lee movie “Summer of Sam,” when he says that New York is the city he “loves and hates equally.” I, too, sometimes wish for more sky, more green, something smaller, less stimulating, just…easier. And then, I travel to other places and miss NYC a lot – there is no other place like it. Could I be happy in other places? Oh, most definitely. Can I imagine actually moving someplace else? That’s hard part – I cannot imagine where else I would go!

  24. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    OMG…I thought you were talking about Bear too…thank God you were not! Whew…don’t scare me like that!!!! I can’t say that I’ve ever fallen out of love with my surroundings, so you’ve suddenly made me realize that I’m not attached to them…hmmm…and should I be?

  25. Kate responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    @Lisa F
    Yes. Exactly.

  26. Kate responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    LOL! Never!!
    And I think some places are more extreme than others, and maybe they inspire more love or hate or emotion, in general. Just a guess.

  27. Gini responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    Spring = restlessness. Perhaps a little vacation somewhere quieter than NYC will rekindle your love for the Big Apple.

  28. Diana responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    I thought you were talking about Bear, because I’ve felt exactly the same way about a man I used to date. Wonderful, intoxicating, exciting, romantic, and then one day, I woke up, and he . . . wasn’t.

    I’ve moved 29 times in my life. My house is for sale, so it will be 30 times by summer’s end. I fall dizzily in love with each new place, and I rush around finding hole-in-the-wall places to eat, attend little town festivals, and try to integrate my soul.

    After the first year, my fascination wanes. By year two, I’m done. Year three and I’m moving on. I wonder how people stay in the same place, year after year, yet I also admire them. I know how to fall in love with a city; I just don’t know how to stay in love with one.

  29. Jennifer responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Perhaps you need a sabbatical. I know a woman (a friend of my sister’s) who went to a silent retreat just outside of (my) town:


    That would be a shock to your system!

    Still–perhaps just a week or two of *somewhere not NYC* would help you sort out where you need a break…or a move.

  30. Another Kate responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    I grew up in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, and when I was 13, my dad’s job moved us to Tucson, Az, or “Hell”, as I like to call it. I was sad mostly about missing my friends and family, but I missed the Valley immensely. It was so beautiful, and close to the beach, and it held my heart. I knew that Tucson could never claim any of those attributes if it tried its hardest for a million years, so when I was 23, I moved back home. I was so happy to be back, and I never thought it would get old for me. There are trees and grass and beautiful parks! I can be at the beach in Malibu in a short half hour drive, and sit for hours listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore as a gorgeous breeze caresses my cheek. I was even thankful for the constant and horrible traffic, because it was a reminder that my Tucson days were over.
    And yet… here I am, 7 years later, and I am disenchanted. The traffic makes me want to rip my hair out, I almost never go to the beach because it’s too expensive to get there with gas prices as high as they are, and while there are still parts that are beautiful, what I see most of the time is the dirt and grime, the broken down lots and shady business areas, the homeless population begging for handouts but unappreciative of any food you have for them. What’s so glorious about this place? I could definitely move on and be glad to be gone.

  31. Spelling responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    The 2nd paragraph (with more than 4 sentences) was beautifully written :)

    You scared me for a second! I used to write a blog and you were describing my feelings exactly. Except you were talking about NYC. Whew!

  32. Hannah responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    I was also worried for a minute that this was Bear, but then I saw the second picture and I got it– and then I GOT IT.
    I know exactly what you mean.

    I’ve fallen out of love with America, actually. A whole country. Well, I thought I was in love but I wasn’t really, and then I was kind of confused for a while, but one day I was just brutally honest with myself and told her there was another woman in my life, and I was leaving.

    So I’m in the process of working out details to leave within the year, and that’s both really far and really soon, and overwhelmingly exciting, because this other ‘woman’ I really do love and I hope to love forever and ever and ever.

  33. Kate responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Yes. I understand that, too. Oh my god! Where are you going?

  34. Johanna responded on 27 Mar 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    I’m in a functional relationship with my current home city. It’s cheap enough for us to buy a house and has certain important infrastructure features. But I will never feel passion for it. It’s ugly, crowded, and doesn’t even have a decent library. You have to filter the water or you get cramps. That can’t be good. I have a feeling the air should probably be filtered too, but I’m trying to be in denial about that.

    Then… there is the “one that got away”. I grew up in a lovely, green and shady suburb of Boston, filled with intellectuals and liberal political activists. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, of course — I thought all my future homes would be like that, a dime a dozen. So I left. And I took those values — academia and activism — and settled into a life with a man who shares them. So of course we haven’t a dime between us. And those gorgeous, sun-dappled memories of my childhood are more expensive than I ever realized.

    So I’ll try to “love the one I’m with” — but when I sleep, my dreams always take me back to Boston.

  35. Steph responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:01 am #

    I’m an air force brat so I always knew that if I didn’t like where we were that it was only temporary. Then I left home and discovered that I have to move every few years or I get really restless. We moved to Arizona and it’s lovely as but still doesn’t feel like home. To be honest, I’m not sure what home would feel like. We bought a house two years ago and I still haven’t put down roots. At the age of forty I’ve come to realize that home isn’t a place so much as a feeling. Sounds like you need a break…absence making the heart grow fonder and all. Maybe there should be swap site for people who don’t want to make a permanent change…you could exchange apartments or something. Feel free to come check out Arizona.

  36. Sarah responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I’m new to the blogging world but have really enjoyed your posts! I understand what you mean about falling out of love with a city, but for me, it was sort of the reverse. I moved away from the city where I grew up and didn’t realize how much I loved it until I was across the country in a small town. Now I’m back and couldn’t be happier. Thanks for the post.

  37. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Welcome to the world of blogging! And I like your story. I’ve never lived in a small town. I have no idea what that experience might teach me!

  38. Hannah responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 11:57 am #

    @Kate: I’m moving to Israel!!!! I’msoexcitedIcan’tleavespacesbetweenmywords :)

  39. Hannah responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 11:58 am #

    (I can, however, continue to use apostrophes??
    Something is a little bit wrong with that picture…..)

  40. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Are you fluent yet? This is amazing.

  41. Rapunzel responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Well at the moment I’ve never been in love with the place I am currently living (lol). The only placed I *loved* was Moab, UT where I did a 3-month (too short!) internship, and Naples, FL where I had some family but only lived there for a few weeks (an embarrassingly failed internship). I never realized how much I loved upstate NY until I moved away [permanently].

    HOWEVER……I just found out YESTERDAY that my husband was offered a job and we are moving to MONTANA by June!! It’ll be SO MUCH BETTER than this puny little town in Nevada! I’ll be living in a REAL town, with REAL people, and near an even BIGGER town with real people (“real” town = 7-8,000 population, “bigger” town =39-40,000 population. My current not-”real” town = <1,000 population).

    Not only that, but we'll be living only an hour away from Yellowstone National Park!

    Can you tell I'm excited? The caps kind of give it away.

    Ideas on where you think you could move?

  42. Hannah responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Not yet, but I’m close, and I’m working on it. Someday!
    And it is most definitely AMAZING. I wish so much that I were there already. You should come visit me!

  43. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Good for you!! That’s really, really awesome.
    Where in Israel will you live? I’m finding myself wanting to ask you a million questions, but I don’t want to be weird.
    I would LOVE to visit. My Hebrew is so bad, though. And it makes me sad. I really want to relearn one day.

  44. Eat the Damn Cake » just when it started to feel like home we have to leave responded on 01 May 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    [...] Not even a year after finding this apartment, and on the same day that I discovered the coffee shops… Sitting in the new cake and cookies place that JUST opened up a couple blocks away, I quietly resented the people walking home to their apartments. [...]