ilybinilwy 215x300 I love you, but Im not in love with you.
These are some of the hardest words to hear from your spouse in a marriage – I love you but I’m not in love with you.

Often they come as a surprise. For years your marriage has been the same. Sure, there have been problems, but nothing that might put the marriage at risk. Then, out of the blue, your spouse tells you this.

What does it mean?

First, know that this is a very common phrase in marital difficulties. While the specifics might be different, generally the meaning is the same. So while your specific marriage issues might not perfectly match this (short) article, just know that you really aren’t alone. Now on to what your spouse is trying to say.

The first half of the phrase, “I love you,” means that they value the “comfortable” part of the marriage. You’re safe. You’re a known. Maybe you’re a good mother (if a woman) or a good provider (if a man). Unfortunately, the word “but” negates that.

The last part of the phrase, “I’m not in love with you” means that they aren’t feeling connected to you. This could be due to a lack of emotional connection if you aren’t communicating effectively any more. It could mean that you are no longer connecting physically, either through non-sexual touching during the day or through sex. But regardless of the specifics, it means that they just don’t feel “the spark” with you any more.

Most of the time men need more sexual affirmation of your connection, and women need more emotional and non-sexual touching, but all three are important to any marriage. These things are a big part of what makes us feel close to our spouse. And closeness in one or two of these areas will help build closeness in the third. When they’re missing, it becomes a noticeable rift in the marriage – not necessarily the cause, but definitely a symptom. Please note too that this isn’t about the “she does this” or “he doesn’t do that” things in the marriage. It’s a symptom of the other issues – probably things that you could both be doing differently.

Now for the bad news.

In an extremely high percentage of cases, when a spouse says, “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” they are either involved in an emotional affair or a physical affair or they are starting down the road to one or the other. Once they have started communicating with someone to whom they do feel the spark, they realize immediately that it’s missing in their marriage. They start feeling the quickening of their pulse, the flush, and the expectation of the other person’s text messages or calls. This makes them realize all the more that they don’t feel this way with you anymore.

So if your spouse has said, “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” your marriage very well could be on a precipice. If you don’t take positive action immediately, you could be in the middle of a real crisis.

For a great, “where do I go from here” road map, I highly recommend, Save the Marriage. In it, Dr. Baucom gives a great step-by-step approach for handling marriage problems – including how to know if your spouse is having an emotional or physical affair and how swiftly bring it to an end. Click here to check it out. It’s the only book I recommend, and I’m certain it can help you if you’ll take the first step.

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