The I love you, but, “I’m Not In Love With You” Statement. Couples often come into Marriage Counseling with many different reasons why they don’t get along. Communication is a big issue as most people are unable to say what they need to say to one another. They could be conflict avoidant, meaning rather than express themselves they shut down and keep from expressing their feelings to avoid an argument or risk being vulnerable. In relationships, people are Individuals first and Couples second.
In relationships where there are Co-dependency traits, meaning someone in the relationship is continually overfunctioning (doing all the work), that includes thinking for and telling everyone how to feel rather than concentrating on their own thoughts and feelings, people can lose their Sense of Self. The person underfunctioning may or may not realize this creates discord within the relationship as the one doing “everything” becomes resentful and angry. Over the course of time, people in relationships who don’t put forth the effort to Individuate and Differentiate or become the “Individual” needed in the relationship to hold their own, become more different from the other and can emotionally shut down and stop meeting their partner’s needs leaving him or herself to concentrate on getting their own needs met. With this process occurring the intimacy has been broken between the couple as now the individual who is concentrating on themselves is no longer emotionally invested in the relationship. All the energy in concentrating on becoming a different individual for whatever reason, i.e. partner has emotionally shut down or withdrawn for years, there’s been an addiction that had been tolerated or enabled, some kind of abuse or neglect, etc. is being utilized to develop a more differentiated self. When the differentiated person develops a stronger Sense of Self they no longer need to rely on the other for their emotional needs. If the partner who has not differentiated does not do what is needed and expected to maintain the emotional connection the feelings of romantic intimacy will dwindle and the couple could feel just like roommates. They like each other enough but have no interest in wanting to be emotionally or physically connected.
As a Marriage Counselor, when a couple comes into see me, I make an assessment where both individuals share their perspective of the problems affecting their relationship, share their thoughts and feelings and help them determine what is needed to move forward. Problem areas and individual issues are sorted out and identified and a Moving Forward Plan is developed. Practical tools are acquired and a process in which to implement these tools are learned to facilitate the necessary changes needed for improvement. As a Marriage Counselor, I help Couples with the Individuation and Differentiation process so they know what they need and want as an Individual so they understand how to ask one another how to get those needs met in their relationship
If you or your partner has said the phrase “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” please call me at (858) 735-1139 and we can explore more about what that phrase means to you and where to go from there.