Falling in love is magical and powerful. And we all know that this exciting initial phase doesn’t last forever.
But what happens when you realize that you were never in love with him? What should you do do when love isn’t the glue holding you together anymore? It can be a heartbreaking and unsettling time, but there are ways to stay afloat and handle this situation.
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Needing someone vs. loving someone
Sometimes, it’s difficult to know the difference between needing someone and loving them. But it’s an important difference to understand because unfortunately, it’s easy to confuse needing for loving.
When you think you love someone, it might be that you actually need them. Perhaps you needed your partner to complete you or fulfill something that was missing in your life.
The “sunk cost trap” in relationships
Do you ever invest in something – anything – and find yourself sticking with it even though it isn’t what you want, and it doesn’t make you happy. It’s easy to do this because after the time and money spent, you feel like it’s too late to abandon ship.
This is true of relationships, too. After spending years with someone, you’ve built memories, homes and maybe even a family together, and it seems like you’re too committed to leave.
And the sunk cost trap can keep you with him even after you realize you weren’t in love after all.
Signs that you weren’t in love with him after all
Every relationship goes through a rough patch, but sometimes there are consistent signs that let you know that there’s no love in the air. Here are some of them:
There are no butterflies
Have the butterflies gone out the window completely? Does it seem like no matter what he does, you just don’t feel that feeling anymore? You might blame yourself for this, or even dismiss it. But your emotions and how your body feels matters, and it can indicate that the love has faded.
You’re checking out other guys
If he doesn’t feel like the love of your life, you may start to have wandering eyes. And whether you do this consciously or unconsciously, you feel open to other prospects. If you notice that he doesn’t satisfy you, but other men do, this could be a good sign that you no longer love him.
Sex isn’t exciting anymore
If the idea of intimacy puts you off, or you’re not excited to make love anymore, it could be many factors, such as hormones, stress and a rut in the relationship. But if this is a consistent problem, and you’re attracted to other men, this is something to pay attention to.
Your boyfriend is your best friend
If you’ve been together for several years, or you’re even married, you’re going to get to know each other very well. But has it gotten to the point where you know each other completely – to the point where there is no more mystery, mystique or intrigue?
Falling in love is easy to identify. It’s unmistakable. But falling out of love is much more gray, and it’s hard to know when it begins. If you feel like something’s missing, or that something’s wrong, then something probably is.
You’re not excited to see him anymore
When he comes home from work, or returns from a trip, are you excited to see him? Do you look forward to seeing him and spending time with him? If not, “lovers” is probably not the best way to describe your relationship.
What to do if you don’t love him anymore
When you realize that you don’t love your partner, it can be a very difficult time emotionally. And when we’re feeling intense and strong emotions, it can be tricky to know the best decision to take.
Here are some ideas to take into consideration as you figure out what to do from here:
Trust your instincts
Your emotions tell you so much about what’s right for you and what’s not. So, trust your gut and your inner knowing, and believe that if this current relationship doesn’t feel good or right, than it probably isn’t.
Forgive yourself for not being in love
Women can be very hard on themselves for not feeling love, or for not being in love with their partner. But be gentle and kind to yourself, and respect the fact that your heart no longer loves this person. But it doesn’t make you cold-hearted or a bad person. It means that there’s more opportunities to love.
Remember that it’s okay to consider divorce
The idea of divorce may stir up feelings of shame, failure, rejection and abandonment. But try to look at divorce not as something inherently bad, but as something that may provide a solution to your current situation, which brings us to point #4: conscious uncoupling.
Consider conscious uncoupling, too
Gwyneth Paltrow made conscious uncoupling popular when she split from her husband and Coldplay lead singer, Chris Martin. But what is it exactly? It was developed by psychotherapist, Katherine Woodward Thomas, and she describes it as “the art of completion…a proven process for lovingly completing a relationship that will leave you feeling whole and healed and at peace.”
It may be a gentler and more loving solution than cruel-sounding divorce.
Consider staying in your marriage
This might sound counterproductive, however, research shows that couples who stay together when they could have divorced are better for it. In fact, in a national survey, 90% of the people who stayed married, not only survived their marriages, but thrived in them, saying they were “glad” to be married.
Tell your partner you don’t love him anymore
This is perhaps the most difficult thing to say, but if you are staying in your relationship out of guilt or because you don’t want to hurt him, keeping the truth from him will only cause greater pain down the road.
It may be difficult news to give, but remember it’s probably more difficult to receive. So, allow your partner to be upset and feel hurt. But ultimately remember that their emotions are their responsibility.