‘My wife says she loves me but is not in love with me!’ This isn’t a riddle but it might well be your last chance to save your marriage. What does it mean and what can you do about it?
Loving someone and being in love are two different realities. When your wife says she isn’t in love with you anymore it means that spark which you both had when you first got married has gone. She still has residual feelings for you but might be looking around for better options.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight so it’ll probably not be a surprise that your marriage is struggling but if she’s telling you that she’s not in love with you – it’s time to do something about it. Your marriage is in the rocks and you’re going to have a limited window to react.
What Does It Mean When Your Wife Says She Loves You but Not in Love With You?
If we were to sum it up in a brutal but easier to understand way: The spark is gone but she’s used to you now.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘I like you… as a friend‘? We’re maybe one notch about that at the moment.
Loving someone as a partner or spouse is an act. Being in love with someone is an emotion, an intense feeling.
You can, for example, love the family dog but you’re probably not in love with them. You’re happy to see their tail wag but you probably don’t want to walk down the aisle with them.
You and your wife were in love when you got married. There was a spark, an excitement, or something which brought the two of you together initially. It was an active decision to want to be together. This spark might have faded for your wife (or at least, she can’t find it at the moment) but her residual feelings are still there.
She loves you because of the person you are, the things you’ve been through and the time you’ve spent together but that spark has gone.
It’s perfectly human (and somewhat common) to feel criticized or attacked but it’s important to accept that this is how she feels. Only then can we start to actually work on it.
Why Isn’t She in Love With Me Anymore?
There’s no simple answer to this, at least not one which is going to suit everyone. If you want to take a moment to send me the details here I can help you figure it out.
I often say life gets in the way of love and it might just be that other things have got in the way of your marriage so much so that she can’t remember what that feeling was like.
We’re going to talk more about what to do in order to get your marriage back on track in a moment and it’s going to be important to figure out what has changed. You could try asking her, she might not even know herself. These things tend to happen gradually over a long time and it’s rarely a single event.
One of the most common causes is taking each other for granted and allowing other priorities to get ahead of your relationship together. Love isn’t a one-time deal and emotions diminish over time if we don’t make each other feel special and wanted.
Is Your Marriage Over If Your Wife Is Not in Love With You?
This is another tricky one to answer.
Some women might choose to stay for lack of a better option. Being in a marriage with someone they’re not actively in love with might be for financial reasons, family or even just convenience but it’s certainly not what most would consider a happy marriage.
She might be telling you that she wants out.
She might be telling you that she’s actively looking for another option (or has already found one).
She might be trying to get your attention and get you to save the marriage.
The three most common reasons for divorce (in order):
- Feeling you’re not loved.
- Feeling you’re not liked.
- Feeling you’re not respected.
We’re certainly in the danger zone here for divorce.
How to Get Her In Love With You Again
Imagine being able to wind the clock back to your first date or your wedding day. While we might not have a time machine, we do have the opportunity to actively spend time together and work on bringing back life into your marriage.
If she still loves you, you’re in a better situation than some. The embers of your marriage are still there, we just need to fan the flames again.
I’ve seen marriages come back from a worse state than this conversation. If anything, at least there’s an open line of communication between the two of you which is your first line of defense against separation and eventual divorce. Or, potentially worse, staying in a marriage with an ever-growing distance between both of you.
A long and successful marriage requires both the husband and the wife to love and be in love with each other. But, in the short term, as long as one of you is making the effort you can bring both of you back to this stage.
It’s not going to be an overnight fix. It’s going to take effort and uncomfortable conversations but if she’s telling you that she’s not in love with you it really is now or never. The longer you leave it, the worse it’s going to get.
In short, you need to get both of you back to where you used to be.
Go on a Second First Date
It doesn’t have to be as corny as it sounds but you know what, maybe a little corny wouldn’t hurt here.
You both need a reminder of what you once had. Take the time away from work, family and electronics and spend time together again just talking. The same way as you would before you got married.
Life has a way of getting in the way of love. Conversations tend to drift away from talking about hopes, dreams and talking for hours at night to a simple ‘how was your day?‘.
The first step to getting her back in love with you again is by working on your communication. I know that’s a cliche in marriage advice – but it’s a cliche for a reason. There’s more than a few ways of doing this but I’d start with these questions to ask spouse to save marriage.
Your goal is to get both of you talking again. Real conversations and making sure she understands that you want to get back to where you used to be.
Be mindful and listen when she talks as well. Don’t try and tell her what you think she wants to hear or what you’ve gotten from someone giving you marriage advice (including me). Have a real conversation with her like you would when you were dating.
Don’t Dwell on the Past
Whenever I’m asked about saving a marriage I (somewhat annoyingly) like to answer with a question.
What do you want the marriage to be like?
If your wife is telling you she loves you but is not in love with you it’s probably not a complete surprise that there’s a problem. Unless you’re completely oblivious to what’s going on around you (which could be the problem) you’ll have seen the signs that you’re going through some problems.
All marriages hit speed bumps. Some go as far as separation and divorce before coming back together and being stronger for it. In all of these cases, it’s because the couple focuses on what they want the marriage to become.
This doesn’t mean completely forgetting the past. We need to acknowledge and learn from our mistakes but the focus shouldn’t be on reliving past fights or we’ll just end up in the same position again. Our focus should be on looking ahead and trying to get the marriage back on track.
Obviously this is much easier said than done. If it’s more practical advice you’re looking for here I’ve covered this in more detail (among other things) on my how to save your marriage guide which I’d suggest reading.
Is She in Love With Someone Else?
If she’s telling you that she’s not in love with you anymore there’s at least a chance that she’s involved with someone else – or at least considering it. You shouldn’t jump immediately to this conclusion but you’re going to need to figure that out.
Again, I’ve gone into more detail on this one before. The guide was on how to tell if your husband is in love with another woman – but the same applies if it’s your wife.
Look for changes in behavior or attitude. If she’s willing to talk to you frankly about her feelings then you might as well ask her yourself – as calmly as possible.