“I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You” Statement

“I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You” Statement. I can relate to this statement because in 1986 my first husband left me a note saying this exact statement. And believe me you it was the most painful experience of my life. 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.

“I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You” Statement

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in concentrating on becoming a different individual for whatever reason, i.e. partner has emotionally shut down or withdrawn for years, there’s been an addiction that had been tolerated or enabled, some kind of abuse or neglect, etc.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 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

Your relationship with your partner changed from how it was on your first date, to the time you fully committed to one another, to the day-in-and-day-out-here-comes-another-anniversary. Without deliberate, intentional work on a regular basis, your relationship may suffer. Like anything else, because relationships change, they also take continual work to maintain and improve to thoroughly enjoy. Hence the phrase, “relationships are a lot of work.” “I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You” Statement

I’ve heard many couples say to one another, “I love you, but I’m not IN love with you.” From the time the two have met until this moment, something has significantly changed; the relationship has evolved. This is normal and even healthy.

If you have heard this, practice these things to create space for healing:

  1. Be non-reactive. Yes, you are deeply wounded and confused, but it will only make things more emotionally charged or distant if you react and display harshness, judgement, or aggression.
    • You can control your emotional reactivity. 
    • You can prevent further emotional damage to your relationship.
  2. Be alert to all the various emotions you feel. There will be many; they may be unconscious, but they will unveil themselves if you pay close attention. If it helps to keep track of your feelings by writing them down, do so.
  3. Be curious. It is a very challenging task because you may want to be upset, but curiosity helps alleviate defensiveness. Questions, such as the following, are used in a curious way without confusing the issue with emotional flooding:
    • “Can you help me better understand how you feel when you say you love me but are not IN love with me?”
    • “How long have you felt this way?” 
    • “What do you hope happens now that you’ve shared this with me?”

“I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You” Statement

Once you have created space for healing to exist, you’ll have a better idea of what options you have. A good metaphor is a natural disaster. When a natural disaster strikes, it is in your best interest to get yourself to safety. Once you determine you are safe, relatively speaking, and you are no longer dealing with survival as the focus, you can then assess the situation. Once you assess and know what you have to work with, then you can plan.

As the receiver, you may want to immediately improve everything about yourself or your behavior to try to “win back” the love your partner says has been lost. While making positive changes are helpful, prepare yourself that your partner may not be receptive to your changes or it may take a lot of time and consistency to build feelings of trust and reliability.

As the partner, you may feel emotionally exhausted and drained and it may feel safer to emotionally cut-off to prevent further disappointment or hurt. You may have kept your feelings and thoughts to yourself as a way of coping; however, now may be one of the best times to give voice to your experience.

When you get to this point in your relationship, consider seeking support from a trained and licensed clinician. While these are helpful tips, there is most likely a greater history of how your relationship got to this point that may be helpful for you to work through for greater and lasting healing to occur.

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.


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