So, you ask, how can you possibly help me fix my relationship?
How do you do more than swallow hard and go into shock when your spouse says, “I love you but am not in love with you anymore?”
I will present distinctions and what your confused spouse might REALLY be saying to you,which is the focus of this first part of a six-part series of blog posts.
One day, perhaps without warning, during a rather quiet moment, your spouse nervously says to you, “You know, I think I love you but am not ‘in love’ with you anymore.” And when this happens, the first thought you have is “how can anyone help me fix my relationship when my husband or wife isn’t in love with me anymore?”
Your heart sinks. You feel like you are punched in the gut. Your mind scrambles with fear-filled scenarios. It feels like your world, as you know it, is coming to an end. The “D” word flashes through your mind and terror fills your soul.
Or, something has been a little “off” for a period of time and now the words, “I love you but am not ‘in love’ with you” bring the reality of the disturbance front and center.
How do you respond? What do you say? How do you cope with the fear, disbelief and confusion? How do you move through this revelation and all the disturbing images and feelings it triggers? And you start to wonder “what things can I do to help me fix my relationship?”
You Feel Alone
You may experience a profound sense of isolation and disbelief. You never thought this would happen to you. You never thought s/he would utter such painful words. You never thought it would come to this. Marriage was to provide the love, trust and security you always wanted. For better, for worse, til death do us part, correct?
But before you even begin to go through books, relationship blogs or other sources that promise to provide ways that can “help me fix my relationship,” let’s start with the fact that the statement or concept at least, I love you but am not “in love” with you, is extremely common in a marriage.
I would be an extremely wealthy man if I received a kickback from everyone in my office during marital counseling over the past twenty some years who said, “I really care about him/her, but have fallen out of love.”
Your mind is free to imagine the worst
“I love you but am not “in love” with you.” What in the world does that mean? What is love? What kind of love is s/he talking about? Where did this come from? And, where is it going?
This statement is so vague and so generic your mind naturally and easily migrates to everything that has been ugly, bad and fraught with tension and distance. And believe me, in a relationship of emotional investment we ALL come up with the bad, the ugly and everything between.