So, what exactly is the underlying relationship meaning of “I love you but am not in love with you”? And how do you respond when your partner tells you that?
This is part 3 of a seven part blog series on the underlying relationship meaning of the words, “I love you but am not in love with you.”
I’ve identified 14 Possible Distinctions for “I love you but am not in love with you.” There are probably many more, but these 14 come immediately to the forefront of my mind as I researched through my clinical experiences with couples.
Let’s tear apart this vague and emotionally encased phrase.
I love distinctions. Making a distinction peels back the layers of an underlying relationship meaning. A distinction helps you understand the depth and nuance of something. A distinction gives you personal power. A distinction eases your pain. A distinction enables you to communicate more powerfully than you can image. A distinction gives you knowledge, and you know what they say about knowledge: knowledge is power.
(It amazes me that you probably have more knowledge and can make more distinctions about your cell phone than you can about the workings of your marriage!)
What could possibly be the underlying relationship meaning of “I love you but am not in love with you”? Let’s explore possible underling meanings.
1. I have lost my sexual interest or desire. Your spouse may be struggling with performance issues related to his or her sexuality. He or she might find him or herself with negative thoughts about sexual performance and desirability.
Your spouse may have a limited or stagnated understanding of intimacy, vulnerability, connection and what it means to develop that intimacy over the course of marital relationship that goes through periods of change and transition.
Yes, “I love you but am not in love with you” may mean your spouse is involved with someone else or is contemplating that possibility. If so, it’s time to confront that issue and move toward some sort of resolution.
Infidelity is NOT the end of the world, nor may it mean the end of the marriage. It may point to a reconstruction and redesign of your intimacy.
2. Another underlying relationship meaning of “I love you but am not in love with you” may be an expression emerging from the confusion of what some call a “mid-life crisis.”
Here’s my take on “mid-life crisis.” You spend the first part of your life (20s and 30s) employing your strategies that you’ve learned and believed would lead to your success (be strong, be aggressive, please people, be smart, be cute, be seductive, be bold etc.) You think you know!
At some point your world unravels. You fail to reach your goals. Or, you reach your goals and they fail to give what you thought they would. You bump into a crisis. You are not whom you thought you were. Your friends, possessions, family and marriage are not what you thought they were or provides what you envisioned. You become tired. You become very weary and question.
And so, “I love you but am not in love with you” may point to the underlying relationship meaning of personal emptiness or confusion and may be a cry for understanding.