Group Therapy: What to do when you fall out of love

by Alisa on February 21, 2011

A Biggest Marital Problems Post

The Question: I am not in love with my husband anymore. I do love him, and have complete respect for him. I just don’t feel in-love anymore. We have been married for 21 years and have 4 children. I told my husband about 8 months ago about my feelings and we are trying to make it work, but I find myself very attracted to someone else. What should we do?

My Answer: There was a time, just a few years ago, when I felt the same way you feel right now. As we worked on our marriage and as things improved, I found myself feeling some remorse. I didn’t trust that I would ever been in love with my husband again. I thought we might get to “good,” but “in love”? I doubted it, and I wanted “in love.”

There are times even today when I think about this. These times usually surface whenever I realize something is wrong or missing from my marriage. For instance, yesterday my husband said something surly to me and I went to the “I’m just not in love with him” place. It happens.

To fall back in love with your husband, I suggest the following:

1.     Get real. Being “in love” is a chemical response. It’s a sensation, one that is not based in reality. It’s similar to the sensation you get when you drink too much or do drugs. Think of what you would tell yourself if you were a drug addict who was trying to get clean. Sure, you loooooove the sensation of being high. Oh, it feels so good, doesn’t it? But is it worth ruining your life? No. The mistake so many people make when they are craving and searching for “in love” is this: they falsely believe that they can have both. They attempt to have wild passion outside of the marriage and a stable enduring, but not-quite-as-exciting love inside the marriage. Whenever you find yourself pining for the passion of someone who is not your spouse, talk to yourself as if you are a drug addict. Ask yourself, “Is it worth losing my marriage over this?”

2.     Remind yourself of what you already have. Chances are your spouse is good for you in many other wonderful ways. What are they? Think about it. Write it down. Continue to seek. For instance, my husband is ALWAYS calm and he never gets depressed. This is important because I am not always calm and I have a tendency to get depressed. I can rely on him to be my rock. That’s huge, and I don’t ever want to lose that.

3.     Think about what you want. It’s probably romance. I’m guessing you want your spouse to just eat you up with his eyes, words and hands. Tell him. Teach him how to do it. Reward him for doing it. Whenever you find yourself fantasizing about someone else, think carefully about that fantasy. It will probably tell you exactly what is missing from your marriage, and most of what’s missing can really be recreated.

4.     Spend some time every day feeling in love with your spouse. Do this every morning. Close your eyes and feel in love. Now direct that sensation away from the person you think you might be in love with and direct it toward your spouse instead. Eventually you will feel it all the time.

5.     Act in love. This isn’t going to happen over night. For a while you will go through the motions and feel as if you are pretending that you are in love. Eventually, however, you will realize that you are happy again, and you will wonder why you ever felt something was missing from your relationship.

Readers: What do you suggest for this problem? Have you ever felt out of love with your spouse? If so, what did you do about it? Have you ever been on the receiving end of the phrase “I’m not in love with you?” If so, what do you wish your spouse had done and said?

Note #1: This was a Biggest Marital Problems post. If you have not done so already, you can go to the beginning of the Biggest Marital Problems series and leave your marital problem for the group to workshop together.

Note #2: I got way behind on interviews and guest posts, and I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed. As a result, I’m going to run my backlog of interviews and guest posts for the rest of the week. I hope you enjoy them.

Note #3: Thank you to everyone who wrote to me with condolences. I’m sorry I have not been able to respond to all of the emails, but I am thankful and you really lifted me up.

UPDATES

* Hybrid Mom ran a post written by me called 7 Habits that Hurt Your Marriage.

* Parent Talk Today reviews PHEA calling me, “One brave woman.”

* The Fit Marriage Show interviewed me about my envy of my husband’s bicycle. I had to learn how to use Skype for this interview. I think I sort of pulled it off. It kept freezing while my eyes were half open. That’s not very flattering, I don’t think. I also had to do my hair and wear makeup at 10 pm at night. But I wore fleece, because my biggest fear for TV interviews these days is that I’ll forget my dressy outfit and will have to go on air wearing fleece or jammies. I figured I might as well just get past it by doing it.

* The Happiest Mom interviewed me about marriage. Here’s an excerpt with me talking about the death fantasy, “My fantasy soothed me. It allowed me to have little moments of bliss. I could daydream about him being gone and my life being wonderful. I could feel good for a brief moment. Then the daydream would vaporize and the misery of my life would come crashing back in.”

A professional journalist, Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir of how she saved her marriage, and coauthor of Pitch Perfect, a must-read if you've ever had a sense of dread tie up your insides before a speech, presentation, or conversation. If you enjoyed this post, you will no doubt love her updates on Facebook and Twitter.

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

John February 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

I’ve recently gone through this with my wife (she feeling “out of love”) and I found the two books “His Needs, Her Needs” and “Love Busters” to be incrediblly helpful. I won’t summarize the books here, but one of the basic premises is that to feel “in love” you need to increase the time you spend time with your spouse when you’re happy and decrease the time with your spouse when you’re unhappy. Figuring out what I was doing that made my wife unhappy (and then working to stop it) has made a huge difference in her feelings for me… and her working on the things that made me most happy has helped to generate a very nice positive feedback loop. Basically, stop doing the things that annoy or irritate your spouse and start doing the things that make them happy. Perhaps too simplistic, or idealistic for some… but remarkably effective.

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Kathy February 21, 2011 at 10:51 am

I only occasionally feel “In Love” with my husband. It’s like being high. I don’t need or want that feeling. I’m very content with us loving and respecting each other. Being “in love” to me is that feeling you have when you first get together. I’ve had that feeling with so many guys previous to my husband and it turned out badly. Similar to drinking or doing drugs – one can make huge mistakes under the influence of “in love”.

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Pink Kitchen February 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm

This suggestion is basic, but helps with the overall problem of being disconnected. What if you both find something you’ve never done before (hobby, sport, etc), but that BOTH of you have always wanted to do?

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Rollercoasterider February 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm

“This was a Biggest Marital Problems post.”
Yeah, I bet it was.

“What do you suggest for this problem? Have you ever felt out of love with your spouse? If so, what did you do about it?”
No. But maybe that’s because he got there first. I got the “I love you but I’m not in-love with you” Bomb; in support forums that phrase is so common it has been reduced to an acronym: ILYBINILWY.
I felt Alisa had some excellent suggestions. This is not something for which I have a lot of ideas because I work with the other spouse after the point when it feels like no return, so I view this problem from a different place.

Whose fault is it?
Trick question. Marriage is not 50/50; do you want to be married to someone who gives only 50%? Marriage is 100/100. You both have flaws. I ask about fault because I was blamed for everything that was wrong.
Who is responsible for your feeling in love? What is in-love? Alisa made excellent point that we associate the in-love feeling with a chemical response. That’s what I call in-fatuation. How do you know it’s in-love? For a non nurse or caregiver it might be about care giving when your spouse is sick and things are coming out of his orifices.
I just spent a week taking care of Gram. She can no longer go to the bathroom (the room); instead there is a commode I carried from her bedroom to the living room. I helped her on and off the commode, changed her briefs, cleaned her and even applied anointment. I am not a nurse or natural caregiver and Gram kept making comments about how I would be glad to go home. Well, yeah I missed Sweetheart. But I was grateful for every moment with her; she could be gone tomorrow. I feel that way about Sweetheart too. I think I would be squeamish and repulsed about cleaning up a stranger or even most people I know. But Gram and Sweetheart… to me that is part of being a wife just as it is part of being a Granddaughter and it confirms for me that I love Sweetheart in a way that is reserved only for him. Anyone can “love” in the hormonal highs, “in health,” and the “for betters;” it is loving through “in sickness” and “for worse” that separates the real from the fantasy loves and those willing to step up and make the choice.

Does your spouse know how you feel/don’t feel?
If you are thinking “yes” because you’ve told him, think again. How did you tell him? Were you speaking Venutian to a Martian?
Has your manner of telling your spouse to beg and plead, nag, cajole…?
Has your manner of telling your spouse been to distance yourself—maybe to show him that he needs you or to see if he will pursue you?
Has your manner of telling your spouse been to pursue your spouse—leave love notes, call him or her at/from work…?
Maybe you are looking for romance and trying to get him to initiate. Are you not feeling in-love because you are not feeling loved, needed, important…?

Do you think it is your spouse’s job to make you happy?
Love is a choice. It is a verb, an action, a feeling and a choice. It’s not just one of those and it is not maintained by doing nothing. Maybe you are doing something. Maybe you are the only one doing something. Maybe you spouse feels the same way.
What can you do—on your own—to choose joy? The word happiness has the same derivation as “happen” and “happenstance;” it just comes upon you like luck. Where is choice? Joy is a choice and can exist throughout the entire range of emotions. So what can you do for yourself today to choose joy?

Okay, so maybe your spouse heard and acknowledged your admission. But he dismissed you. He might not believe you—really. Often we don’t know what we have until threatened with its loss. Maybe he listened and responded; he made promises and either did not follow-through or followed through for a few days or maybe even a few weeks.
What will it take for your spouse to catch on that you are serious or to follow through with changes?
Well, what are you doing to follow through and change? Are you expecting him to change while you do nothing? Maybe not, but does it seem that way to him? Be the change you want.

“Have you ever been on the receiving end of the phrase “I’m not in love with you?” If so, what do you wish your spouse had done and said?”
I wished that he had insisted on counseling before he became disillusioned. But did he become disillusioned or was it the idea of the other woman that created his unhappiness? Did her interest tune him in to an underlying unhappiness that might have worked itself through had she not come along? After all of his cycling during the affair, I do think his unhappiness and disillusion was due to the affair. During the affair he rewrote our history—apparently he had wanted a divorce a year before we married!

The questioner mentioned feeling attracted to someone else. Unhappiness in a relationship does create a vulnerability to infidelity, but it is often the infidelity and fantasy of the new relationship that further infects the waning happiness. People in fantasy or in-fatuation think the new relationship is the cure for their unhappiness. No, infidelity will make the situation worse beyond imagination.

No infidelity—or interest in another? First consider whether there is infidelity with something other than a person. Most of the betrayed spouses at my forum are experiencing the traditional sort of infidelity, but there are the exceptions. Instead of a person, it could be an idea, dream, job…that is alienating. In some cases the alienating force may be depression—that is often the case with traditional infidelity also.

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Jordan Hall February 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm

Wow. This is my first time on your blog, and I’m quite impressed with your knowledge and wisdom. I’m a professional counselor in Colorado that focuses on utilizing experiences to bring about change ( Rock Your Marriage ) , so when I saw how you combined cognitive techniques with action-oriented disciplines, I was again, quite impressed. Good stuff and keep it coming!

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Sasha February 22, 2011 at 5:01 am

John and Kathy are so on point. But, I’ve often felt ‘out of love’ with my soon-to-be husband BECAUSE of a lack of respect in some of his behaviors and beliefs & the disconnection felt because we see the world so differently. Alisa is right about ACTING in love & reminding yourself of the incredible gifts you already have with your betrothed. However, it does sadden me (admittedly, very much so) that I don’t have the ‘organic’, fairytale in love feeling you’re ‘supposed to have .’ We are good for each other in so many ways, but…

Kathy hit the nail on the head. I’ve felt seriously ‘in love’ w/ enough guys who were no good for me that I should be cured of that by now. But fairytales die hard.

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Richard February 22, 2011 at 6:37 am

This question could have been written by my (now ex-) wife. The difference is that the questioner at least recognises the problem and wants to do something about it, with her husband. My ex was utterly convinced that it was impossible for her to fall in love with me again.

She went through a series of other guys, some just casual sex, one more serious but distinctly self-destructive relationship, looking for what was missing. I spent 3 years (really!) trying to make it work, waiting for her to realise that what she had at home was what she really wanted, but eventually I had to admit defeat. She was still convinced she couldn’t ever fall “in love” with me again although she still loved (probably still does now) me and cared for me very much, and she still wanted to be able to see other men. I couldn’t live like that indefinitely, so I finally had to decide to move out and separate.

There were times in that 3 years we did try to reconcile and get back together, but I never really felt her heart was in it, she was never truly trying to make it work with me (and me alone).

Alisa has proven that, if you do want it, you can make it happen, you can get back the marriage you want. My experience suggests that, if you don’t commit to the effort, if your heart’s not in it, if you keep succumbing to that desire to find excitement and endorphin buzz with someone else, the marriage will fail.

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Angela P. February 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

I think that everyone at one time or another feels out of love with their partner. I know I have not been in love with my husband a couple times. A lot of times it is tied to a lack of respect or a fight. I think that as long as it is not a permanent feeling it is normal.

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Ronnie February 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

As a husband who heard this from his wife last year, I can definitely understand. What I see is that women have forgotten that they hold a great power, and with great power comes great responsibility. That great power is to make or break not only their man, but their marriage, and their home overall. Some women slip into a mindset that it is all about them, when it should be about your spouse. Funny, to get what it is you need and want, you have to give to your spouse what they want or need. If you give out of love and sacrifice, the feeling will come back and the flames of passion will be fanned. I mean you love your kids, and sacrifice for them, and you still have the same feelings for them, right?

The question is this: How does one get a wife to realize that she is selfish and give her that “Ahh-Haa” moment so she “wants” to change? This is where I am at. Any suggestions appreciated. :)

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Alisa February 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Hi Ronnie– so sorry to hear about your struggles. I’ve heard the same issue from women, too, though. Men also give up on their marriages. It’s not a sex specific phenomenon. If you haven’t already seen it, there’s a post on phea about what to do when you hear “I love you but I’m not in love with you”. I should have linked to it in this post: http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2009/09/i-love-you-but-i%E2%80%99m-not-in-love-with-you/

Also this one: http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2010/05/how-to-get-a-spouse-to-fall-back-in-love-with-you/

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Richard February 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Ronnie – if I knew the answer to that I’d (probably) still be married :-(

Hope you succeed in finding the answer before it’s too late for you too.

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Ronnie February 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Thanks for your responses. I appreciate them.
@Alisa, I have been reading “Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage” by Dr Laura, and I have to say, I identify a lot with that book. I plan on reading yours next. What gives me hope is two things:
1. God! Yes I am a Christian and pray daily that our marriage get fixed, and quickly. Right now, I cannot fix her issues, only mine. And I pray for her.
2. That others have been here and fixed the marriage problems. People have tread this road before and made it. If I can learn from them, women like Alisa and Dr Laura and now Gretchen Rubin, maybe I can say or do something that causes the “Ahh-haa” moment.

Things that fluster me? Oh, I need a lot more white space… (LOL)

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Sasha February 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm

@Ronnie, is ABSOLUTELY right. Women truly don’t understand how deeply our emotions, actions and REactions affect the men in our lives. Happy wife=happy life is more true than any man would want to admit. That power is enough to wreck a man emotionally. I think until women (and yes, men) let go of their egos, true love, companionship and trust will elude us.

‘The Proper Care & Feedings of Husbands’ is an excellent book. But many women aren’t ready for that advanced state of partnership. Men are very simple to please. They are not simplistic, but far easier to make happy.

@Ronnie, keep your faith in God. But be smart enough to know when enough is enough and bask in the blessings you have to move onto the new blessings, if it comes down to that. You can’t do it alone. The best of luck to you.

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Drummer Guy February 23, 2011 at 9:14 am

What the writer of this letter to Alisa may or may not be aware of, is this more common than most are willing to admit. As Alisa points out every relationship starts out with that whole love/lust dynamic. We all go through that chemicly/hormone based feelings where you can’t get enough of each other. Where we can’t keep our hands off each other etc. Some say that has more to do with the biological imperative to reproduce. Since I never reproduced I don’t know..HA!

But over time that begins to fade & SHOULD develop into a more mature bond that is sustainable long term. Love/Lust is not. Sadly many mistake that development for “I must not be in love with Him/Her anymore. Many of those people just jump from one monogamous relationship to another looking for that next “lust fix”. When all that has really happened is what happens in every relationship. Almost every married couple goes through times when they don’t feel in love or as in love as they once were. This is normal. I don’t know if that is what has happened here but probably has a lot to do with it.

Ad to that the writer is now attracted to another man & it has potential to turn into a real mess that can do some serious damage. It is VERY easy to get caught up in that whole “The grass MUST be greener on the other side”. But truth is it is totally fantasy based. It is easy to be infatuated with somebody that you don’t have to live with & share daily responsibilities with. But truth is we have no idea what life would really be like with somebody we are infatuated with.

With the other guy/girl we don’t have to do the daily hum drum realities that are part of married life. We don’t have to deal with financial priorities, raising kids, deciding who does the daily chores, preparing meals for ourselves & the kids, deal with the other when they are throwing up from sickness, we don’t have to see their dirty underwear, make time for kids activities like soccer games etc. With the other we don’t have to do anything that resembles real life. As soon as we do leave our marriage, get with the other person & we DO have to do all those hum drum things that are part of married life, the fantasy is over & we will find ourselves right back in the situation we were in in the marriage.

No marriage can compete with the fantasy that runs through our minds of what life would be like with an infatuation. When the reality is, we have no idea of what it would be like. Reconnecting with our life partner can be done. It is also MUCH easier than trying to build a new life with somebody else. Not to mention we could all ask ourselves when this situation comes up (& it will come up in almost every marriage) “if this person is willing to get with us when we are married, do they have the type of character that makes for a good long term partner? Even if they say “not as long as you are married”, then are they of the character that would actually be happy if my family broke up? I think if we all asked ourselves this in this situation the answer would be no.

Infatuations with others outside of our marriage will happen. But if we use a little common sense they need not be the end of a marriage. A few years ago I ran into my old high school sweetheart at a reunion. Sure my heart went pitter patter. I even got home & dug up the old school annuals. But I also recoqnized it for what it was. A pure fantasy. I have a good wife & that is indeed a rare find.

If we have a good spouse then we need to remember what it was that attracted us to that person in the first place. A good spouse is a very rare find. We need to treasure them for that. The grass will always look greener on the other side. But the reality is that it is REALLY tough out there. Finding a quality person to spend our life with is harder than most realize. After my divorce from my first wife (She wanted it). I thought it would be great. WRONG!!!!…LOL :-) The warm fuzzies come & go & if we base our feelings on that then we are destined to fail. No marriage could survive if we all jumped when the warm fuzzies fade.

The first thing I would do would be to break off all contact with the other person. If you have to see them at work then make contact as little as possible. If you work with them don’t take lunches, don’t be alone together etc. As long as you are doing this the feelings you have for them will just keep coming back up. If you totally separate yourself from them, including phone calls, text messages emails etc. they will fade. As long as those feelings are there it would be impossible to focus on the marriage.

Mainly I would focus on all the good things that make up the husband. If he is a good husband, stable, of good character then treasure him for what he is. It is something we all need to do. It is so easy for any us to get caught up in that trap of infatuation. We need to realize that infatuations will always happen. No matter how much we love our spouse it is just a part of life. We likewise need to realize that an infatuation it is a trap that can do serious damage to our family. We need to realize as well that it is very self centered. It says that we care more about some temporary “feelings” than the stability of our family. Maybe if we all remembered that when we go through difficult times, as we all do, it isn’t the infatuation that is there to provide us comfort & security. It is our husband/wife & kids that are.

Try to step back, put raw, temporary emotions aside & look at it for what it really is. Realize that the grass ALWAYS LOOKS greener on the other side. But that is before you remeber all the fertalizer (POOP) it took to make that grass green. We spend years fertalizing our marriage to create a stable home life & marriage. Maybe if the writer can take a real objective look at the situation they will see it for the fantasy that it is.

Best of Luck
Ron :-)

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Maureen February 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I saw a TV episode (somewhere but don’t recall) that they did this experiment. They had men and women look at wide variety photos (of the opposite sex) before and after doing a bungy jump and rate them on attractiveness. They found a significant increase in attraction levels AFTER the jump. Wowza! It was statistically significant, which means the adrenalin and hormone rush they experienced after the jump heightened their attraction to the opposite sex. Just goes to show what Alisa said about chemicals.
SO I guess if you really want that “in love” feeling again, why not plan a bungy jump together.
All jokes aside I agree with what everyone said and Alisa your suggestions were spot on. I know for myself, how I am treated is big and heightened physical responses most definitely can give me that “in love” feeling again.

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Sarah Liz February 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm

This is an excellent post and I really enjoyed all of the comments that followed.

I agree that love is a choice. Infatuation happens, but self-control and more importantly, self-evaulation–can help to keep infatuation from being the straw that breaks the cammels back in an unhappy marriage.

I think it’s a cycle–you’re unhappy in your marriage and start fantasizing, and then you fantasize and become unhappier. I think the key is being honest with your spouse–and have a friend you can talk to about that sort of thing–we’re all tempted at SOME point. We’re not biologically wired to be monogomous (no, I’ve never cheated on my husband or anyone else, thank you), so it must be worked at. And it does take two! Marriage is 100%, and 100%, or it will detirarate quickly.

Overall, I agree with everything everyone said and enjoyed this post.

Many Blessings,
-Sarah Liz :)

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Sherry March 29, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I came to this site today a deeply troubled and saddened woman. I was sure that I had some character defect that caused me to feel no longer “in love” with my husband. For six years we have been married. For the last two, I have struggled with not feeling “in love” with him anymore and how unhappy that has made me. I have withdrawn both physically and emotionally from my husband which, only exacerbated the problem.

Once I began to read the posts of so many others, I realized that I was normal. WHAT A RELIEF !

To understand that I wasn’t defective, but was like most all other women who love their husband dearly, was a true gift of enlightenment.

Now, I can realize why this one thing was taking such a toll on my marriage. It wasn’t the feeling of not being “in love” anymore that bothered me so much as it was the guilt I felt because of it.

Understanding the real problem brought a wash of hope and encouragement over me that was refreshing, to say the least.

When we first begin to feel that we are no longer “in love” with our mate, I think our initial response is fear. We are scared and confused as to why this has happened because we can’t place our finger on exactly what caused us to feel that way.

Secondly, I suspect, most of us feel discontentment and restlessness. We don’t know what is missing from our marriage specifically, but we know that we no longer feel as we once did. Not understanding that it is a natural response to all the stresses of daily living that take the “fun factor” out of a relationship, and never having been told that it is a normal response, we panic.

We want to feel that way again so badly that it becomes the focus of our relationship instead of our love for each other being our focus. Our supreme goal is to do something to feel “in love” again. All our attempts fail, or at the least don’t show long term results. So, we begin to search for greener pastures, either emotionally or physically.

Realizing that it is normal to have a deeper more comitted relationship that replaces the “fuzziness” of being “in love” gives me the chance to see it for what it was.

The emotion that I was letting reak all the havoc in my marriage was really guilt. I felt guilty for loving my husband unconditionally instead of being “in love” with him.

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bcc August 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Think it’s a good idea to send this to my wife?

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Cynthia Jones December 1, 2011 at 9:42 am

Very interesting!

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CJ December 1, 2011 at 9:45 am

wow, my wife needs to read this

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Not in Love July 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I have read all of these, and they all seem to be about being attracted to someone else while you are married, then feeling like you have fallen out of love.
What if – you are NOT attracted to someone else and know your not in love.
What if – you married your husband of almost 20 years because you knew you did not love him, and that you knew if you did not love him then he could NEVER hurt you? and now you can no longer stand the sadness and guilt of feeling alone, NOT in love, and for telling him you loved him for 20 years even though you NEVER did, and NEVER did show it, and he still doesn’t believe you.

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Caoilainn July 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I know what you mean “Not in Love.” I married at the age of 19. It was a stupid thing to rush into. Don’t get me wrong, I care for my husband, but sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I hadn’t been that stupid young girl who didn’t want to listen to older, wiser people who actually knew what they were talking about…go figure. I feel out of love quite often, and this is not due to feelings for another person. My husband plays video games, watches anime, and in general ignores me a lot. Not to mention the fact that we don’t really have much in common. I feel like he only pays attention to me and loves me when I clean up around the house or do stereotypical housewife things. And I’m not a housewife.

I am terribly conflicted. I want to leave because I feel like I am wasting my time and my life, and eventually things won’t work out. On the other hand, I want to stay and try because I keep hearing that marriage is just like that, and it will be the same with anyone else after a longer period of time. I feel unloved. I feel disrespected. I feel stuck in a marriage that isn’t going anywhere. I keep telling myself that people only think the grass is greener on the other side.

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Marilyn C March 31, 2013 at 3:14 am

I’ve been married for 25 years. Together for almost 30. I was madly madly in love with my husband. Great sex for years and years. I did everything for him. I made sure he would never grow tired of me and that I kept a great house for him and worked my ass off to help him. Over time I realized that our relationship was so one-sided and selfish. When we began to struggle financially, it just seemed suddenly I could never do enough. He made me feel like a piece of crap. Then when his step-father began to make sexual advances on me, instead of defending me, he asked me to not say anything in order to protect his mother (it being her 3rd marriage.) This, in addition to the many times I have forgiven him for crossing the line with my friends sexually, humiliating me, and then asking my forgiveness….finally put me over the edge. I no longer love my husband. I don’t know if I ever can love him again.

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Kristina May 7, 2013 at 4:28 am

I met my husband when I was 18. We dated on and off for 6 years before we got engaged, a year and a half later we were married. We have been married for one year and I feel so out of love. Shortly after we married he enlisted in the Navy. He’s been at bootcamp for 8 weeks and I get to see him in a few days. Since he’s been gone I’ve noticed I don’t miss him. I don’t go to bed thinking about him nor do I wake up thinking about him. When people ask me how I’m doing in his absence, I find myself having to lie and say I’m so sad because that’s what they expect, when in reality I’m doing just fine. I’m doing more than fine, I’m great. The couple of times he’s been able to call I’ve been waiting for those butterflies at the sound of his voice and there’s nothing. It’s too early in my marriage to be feeling this way. We should still be in the honeymoon stage. He’s never been the romantic type. But he also never take the initiative to plan things for us. I’m the one that has to plan everything we do, because if I don’t do it, we do nothing. Sex is a battle. Again, I’m always the one to initiate it. If I don’t initiate it, we could easily go a few weeks without being intimate. I guess I’m just worried because I shouldn’t be feeling this way this soon into our marriage. We should be all over each other, can’t get enough of one another, when really if feels like I’m living with a roommate. Im currently enjoying being on my own and im not looking forward to his return. i miss him like you would miss a friend youve known for years and has moved away, not like a wife shiuld miss her husband. How do I go about talking to him about this? What do I say? I feel he will be hurt if I tell him I didn’t miss him while he was gone, and I don’t want to hurt him. I do however want him to know how I’ve been feeling. Please help.

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Stephanie May 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm

i kinda agree but kinda disagree. From dang near every experience i have had i get men that only show that they don’t care. My emotions only come out when my heart feels hurt. I think it’s not jut a women’s part to not let our emotions affect us and get to but also for the men to start to show emotions other wise Everything else ( depression, falling out of love, attraction to another ….etc) becomes inevitable. At this current moment not i feel that “I not in-love with you” feeling about my husband. I realize that he also had many issues with me. So i tried my harder to fixed them i seriously really did to the point that everytime i think about it i want to cry. I still am trying but everything i get is ” it’s not good enough”. Work has become his life. It’s all he cares about. And when it not work its everyone else. I say ” I want you to spend time with me” I get the old saying ” I too tired” now I do understand when you work alot your gonna be tired but when you have literally no time for your wife but you can make time for everyone else. That becomes a problem and an excuse. I try to see the good and him the thing he has done instead of havent. I’ve push all my emotions back and don’t listening to them. I’ve heard and read books and it still just seem like he really doesn’t care. He says he does but shows different. I’ve have told him about my feelings in more ways than one. Negative and positive. I have been faithful to him. I have sacrifice everything i knew for him. Family, friends, everything……..at this point i feel there is no hope. Sorry i put my emotions in this.

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Kay June 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Wow Kristina, you wrote my feelings. I too am in a long term relationship that started in high school. Getting married in a month. I too initiate everything. I’ve told him that it frustrates me but he’s only initiated plans/sex a couple times after the talk. I LOVE when he’s not home. I love my alone time. I’ve actually told him this and he seemed confused. I find myself for the most part enjoying my time alone than with him.
And that scares me.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I know it did for me early on but now I think I’d probably react in the same way u are.
However, when I’m feeling disconnected towards him, or unloving, it’s because we haven’t had consistent emotional or sexual interactions.
When we go out and spend a day together, or have an hour long chat over wine or a nice session in bed, all the loving feelings come back. And I start to think to myself ‘why did I think I didn’t love him?!’ My feelings become negative again if we don’t make any of these things a weekly thing. Basically I go through phases.

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Lana July 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

If only it were that easy. I miss that feeling so much I’m thinking about going on medication.

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GE August 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Just found this blog. In very mcuh the same situtation, Kristina. I met my husband 13 years ago – we’ve been together since, married for 6. We’re very different people and it was a strength for a long time. He works away from home, and always has, for shifts that vary in length. Three years ago, we had a beautiful child. I had told my husband I needed him to be home more, but his interests and the job market are what kept him at his job. Even when he is home, there are times when he goes fishing or whatever, so even when he’s home, he’s not. I’ve gotten to the point where I not only like it when he is away, but I prefer it.
I have had a decrease in libido long before our child was born. I used to tell my husband it wasn’t that I didn’t want him, it was that I didn’t want sex. And I believed that. I do not have anyone else on my radar, and I don’t want an affair (good idea, bad reality).
Now I realize that I am not in love with my husband anymore. I used to love just watching him doing whatever, now, I don’t really care. I used to miss him when he was away, now I just miss not having someone to help make dinner, give my child a bath… We never had the same taste in movies, etc, but now it gets on my nerves. We used to snuggle all the time, and I frankly don’t want to anymore.
I’ve skirted the subject for about 2 years and I feel like I need to say something, but I just don’t know how. I don’t want to hurt him, but I feel like I’m done.
I have a child who loves their dad and I don’t necessarily want to break up a family, but I really feel like I don’t want to be married anymore.
And I’m tired of feeling lost.

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A December 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

I’ve been scouring the Internet for a situation similar to mine. I need some thoughts, clarity from others outside of my personal circle. I’m 28, divorced for 4 months. My ex husband is 38, we met when I was 21 and he was 31. Married for 2 years. It was a sudden unforeseen breakup, as we rarely “fought”. The following are why I believe we fell apart.
1. He’s a workaholic. Regional manager, extremely competitive and defined by work (this was a problem in his last marriage. He traveled 4 days a week for 5 of their 6 years) worked evenings and weekends, hated his boss. His whole personality changed, it was a progressive problem for 2 years. He refused to give it up and find something else. It was off the table for discussion though I shared how unhappy it made me.
2. I was young and haven’t dated/experienced much when we met. He was more of a career coach/father to me. He supported me through school, and on my career path. I’m now in a very good place financially/career wise because of him.
3. I fit into his “idea” of life, he didn’t want to stray from the “plan” which was to retire early, own a vacation home, have 2.5 kids, etc….meanwhile we weren’t LIVING in the present.
4. He truly neglected me, emotionally, physically. He traveled a lot for work, was stressed when he was home, wouldn’t want sex, could only talk about work, checked out in front of the tv, wouldn’t come to bed with me, stayed up late watching porn. This went on for 2 years.
5. I feel like I was too young and hadn’t experienced enough dating/life. I work in a male-dominated field, with attractive affluent men who want me because I’m disarming, funny, and beautiful. The attention I was getting at work was tempting. I found myself constantly fantasizing about other men, being single, having my own place, doing what I wanted in life. I never physically cheated, but had an emotional affair with a colleague. I was constantly conflicted.
My ex husband is a kind, funny, smart, charming man. I honestly believe he wanted the best for me, but needed to change considersbly. He’s also controlling, manipulative, ego-driven, calculating, intimidating. He’s a dichotomy…..which makes people question me about why I left. “He’s so wonderful, you need to work it out, what’s wrong with you?”
It makes me feel like my reason aren’t legitimate, and I should have tried harder. I had nothing left to give at the end, I was 110% checked out.
I told him how unhappy I was ( prior months I repeated to him over and over: I can’t live under this pressure, I’m unhappy, we need to find friends, we’re not living life, I can’t go on like this) I tried putting together a social calendar for us, read self help books, encouraged individual counseling, etc…..I tried, I did….
I came home from a two week training and completely broke down, said I was miserable with us, I was attracted to other men, we’re falling apart, I don’t even know if I want to be married or have kids…(he knew my stance on kids before)..he reacted, kicked me out.
I stayed with parents, he harassed me, calling/texting. I put together a separation agreement for 2-3 months and set a date for couples counseling. (I was so worn out and depressed I was almost hospitalized, I needed the time to get right)
He didn’t agree to it, packed all my belongings, put them in the garage, left for the weekend and told me to move out.
I did…he sent email after email about how we aren’t right for each other. He wants to be a family man, why did I put him through this if this is how I felt….made me responsible for EVERYTHING….
I emailed back describing the above problems, and he understood. He said he got it and was so sorry….This is a month later….can we agree to a “separation”. I said no….I was RELIEVED to be away from him, and didn’t miss us/him at all.
He said he was already changing when I got back from training, he knew what was wrong and had turned the corner. There was no indication of this prior, I think it’s manipulation on his part.Long story short, we’ve talked since, and can’t seem to get past any of it. He says I’m a snake, I say he’s a sociopath…
It’s been 4 months, I don’t miss him, don’t want to go back. I feel tremendous guilt for the way it ended, that he’s 38 and having to start over. That I didn’t try hard enough, I broke a promise, shoukd have listened to my heart, and gotten out sooner. I’m not capable of another relationship right now, but i worry i wont find someone for me. he really was a lot if great things, but i grew up, and we grew apart. I never wanted to hurt him, and the guilt is awful. I don’t think I want marriage or kids….not sure if its a result of my situation or I just haven’t met the right person. I married him because I loved him, he seemed like the end-all-be-all, family/friends encouraged it. However, i was always unsure…… I do know, despite my emotional struggles, I’m MUCH happier now. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, the aha moment when I want to go back and realize how crazy this is, but it hasn’t come. Thoughts please?

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Jane January 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

You are still young, you still have many opportunities. It is not right for you to feel overburdened with his problems. The porn is a MAJOR problem. He can not love you when he is spiritually empty. Porn causes many problems – read up on that. Do not go back. Go and learn who you are and what you can become. Use this experience to be very careful in choosing the next. It isn’t marriage or kids that are bad, it is having a relationship with the wrong person. Marriage and kids are God-given so those are not the evil. Those are what God gave us to be happy, But we must develop relationships founded on trust, selflessness, concern, kindness, consideration, etc.., (all God-like traits)

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Jeannette January 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I started seeing the most amazing man last May. We found each other after both having gone through so much.The more time we spent together, the more it became obvious that this was ‘it’. Fast forward to 1 month ago. Things were still wonderful. His father, who’d had really bad health, became even sicker. “J” had to go to him. “J” had a very long history of abandonment, resentment, etc. with his father, so this was not easy for him. Having a 21 year old son himself, he really wanted to set the right example. Anyway, he fled to his dad’s state to be by his side, and he passed away 1 week later. He really wanted me to go with him to the funeral, and to be with him for support. I did. That’s what you do. Needless to say, there were a lot of feelings coming up that he didn’t expect. A lot of anger, a lot of sadness, etc. We got back home, it was Christmas – another stressful time in its own. I noticed him getting a little more distant in this time, and I completely understand that considering what he’s going through. 2 days ago I volunteered to not come over to his place, to give him space, and he told me that we needed to “talk”. He didn’t feel that his love for me was as strong for me as my love for him. OMG. I’m devastated. I know this probably has a LOT to do with him grieving and not being able to handle any other emotion at the moment. When I asked him when he’d started feeling ‘not as ‘in love’ as me’, he gave me a very specific time of 4-5 weeks, as opposed to a wishy washy response. This is basically the time he started dealing with his dad. He said he’s very sorry, he wish it could have worked out, but he feels that my feelings for him (just in the last few weeks) were much stronger than those he felt. He has suffered from depression in the past after a difficult divorce and began taking medication (pretty high dose) for 3 years and stopped taking them 3-4 months into our relationship thinking he was better. I need some hugs. I need some advice. I need some help.

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