She said it, but is she really not in love with you anymore? Are her feelings just blocked? What can you do in this situation to move toward reconciling?
Women can and do fall out of love. Love is not some fixed quality like having an arm or a head. It can come and go. Which also means that it can come back again. Knowing the factors that lead to both can help you to: 1) make sure your wife does not fall out of love with you, and 2) help her to fall in love with you again.
I help men with both of these goals on a daily basis. My hope is that you will not be stuck on her words because it doesn’t mean your relationship is over. But, you will have some specific work to do.
If you want to reconcile with your wife, you need to accept this
When women say they are not in love, it is not an intervention (but it’s not the end either)
Interventions are one of the reasons women separate. But, they don’t say they don’t love their husbands when it is an intervention. With an intervention, they do still love their husbands. Women will even say they want a divorce in order to get their husbands to take them seriously. Most of the time with very good reason.
In over 20 years of reconciling relationships, I have yet to find a woman tell her husband that she is not in love with him anymore in order to get him to do anything but give up on their relationship.
Why accepting the reality that she is not in love with you is helpful for reconciling
Accepting the reality of what she is saying can help you to avoid making mistakes that will only lead to her further rejecting you. Many men, after hearing their wives say they are not in love with them anymore, start to turn on the charm and shower their wives with love and affection. This goes over about as well as trying to feed broccoli to cats.
A woman who is not in love and has decided to leave is not going to enjoy your display of love at this time. The time for you to have done that is back when she still loved you, in order to maintain your wife’s love for you. Now, that behavior will just make her want to get space from you.
Be very careful about following any books that encourage you to just love, love, love your wife at this time. That will not only lead to you being rejected, it will ultimately make you feel like giving up, when there are still much more effective things you can do. Usually, you can still do the regular maintenance things that help wives to love their husbands.
No need to give up on your relationship
Most of the men I work with reconcile with their wives. But they don’t do that by convincing their wives with arguments, being needy and pleading with them, or by showering them with love. That is single step thinking. Very few goals can be accomplished in a single step.
Before you can get your wife to be in love with you again, she is going to have to:
- relax with you,
- enjoy talking with you again,
- enjoy doing things with you again,
- trust you, and
- be attracted to you
These can’t all happen at the same time. When I help men to reconcile, we focus exclusively on helping their wives to feel relaxed and comfortable again with them. We actually decrease the conversation and time together until this first step is accomplished. Because, until that is accomplished, they will get no further. Failing to do this first step is where most men mess up on their own.
Once she is relaxed and comfortable again, you will have managed to get to square zero (you started in the hole). Your relationship can start to build from there, provided you can go at her pace, be attractive, and use good connection skills.
How accepting reality will help you to work on the right goal
With the goal of helping her to relax with you, an entirely different set of behaviors is suggested than if your goal is changing her mind. Of course you want more from your relationship than just getting your wife to relax and feel comfortable with you. But how are you going to re-connect with her if she doesn’t?
Reconciling is like climbing a flight of stairs. You will get there easier taking one step at a time.
While you are working on helping you wife to relax, you can also work on being more attractive and secure. That’s because these are things you do on your own.
Why she is not in love with you at this time
Most of the time, men look for single causes for why women do what they do. The reason that women are so hard to understand is that there are multiple reasons for what they do. And, because of their emotions, each of those reasons may be more or less emphasized on any particular day. What she says today may contradict what she said yesterday, but they both will be true.
The two of you became emotionally disconnected
Most often, couples become emotionally disconnected because they don’t make their relationship a priority as they did before they got married. They become focused on their careers, raising the children, running a business and so on. They neglect the basic components of a good relationship:
- regular dating (without the kids),
- interactive one on one time every day (without electronics), and
- having a sex life that is enjoyable for both.
When one of these three are missing, the relationship slowly degrades. If two are missing, the relationship quickly degrades. And when all three are gone, you no longer have a relationship and are living together for some other reason (e.g. raising children).
When that reason no longer exists (e.g. children are grown), there will be no more reasons to stay together. Most of the time, when women say they are not in love with their husbands, their husbands also did not feel in love until their wives said this.
You stopped being the attractive man you once were
Think about the man your wife fell in love with long ago. Are you still that man? Many times what attracted a woman to her husband the most has not been present for years. It may have been the way he made her a priority, or it may have been characteristics like his being social and successful.
Many men have lost their wives’ attraction either by treating their wives like mothers, daughters, or counselors. One particularly common mistake is using your wife as a place to dump your problems. Married women don’t enjoy that any more than single women do.
If you were single and treated a woman you were dating the same way you treated your wife, how long would she stay with you? Marriage is a committed dating relationship. If at any time you stop treating your wife like your girlfriend, she will eventually miss that and gradually disconnect from you.
Marriage is a lifetime, committed, dating relationship. If that goes, the marriage goes with it.
She lost her hope in your relationship ever being better
Most of the time, women did let their husbands know that there were serious problems in their relationship. Typically this was about two years before telling their husbands directly that they don’t love them anymore. When your wife complained to you earlier on, she still had hopes for your relationship.
When she stopped complaining, it wasn’t because things got better. It was because she gave up. That would have made her depressed for awhile, but the depression would have lifted when she started having hopes for something better–for a new life without you.
When she says that she is not in love with you anymore, she is not just leaving you–she is moving toward what she sees as a better choice. Your suddenly making changes is not going to make that choice any less appealing to her.
No matter what she says about not wanting another relationship, the odds are that she will soon be in another one. You are in a competition for your wife. The challenge is to re-attract your wife without trying to convince her. What resources will you use learn to do that? And, do you know how to respond if she says she just wants to be friends? How about if she asks for a divorce?
What you can’t convince your wife to do
If you get your wife to go to counseling with you, the counselor will not try to talk your wife into feeling in love with you, because the counselor knows that is not possible. No one can be convinced to have a feeling they don’t. Your wife’s family and friends can’t do that either. The only way is for you to create the conditions that will lead her there, step by step.
You will need to be careful not to create resistance and you must never try to reconcile before she is ready. If you need help with a step by step approach, please see my Re-Connections Coaching Package. If you still think you can convince your wife or get her to change her mind in a single step then please bookmark this site. Then you can come back here when that doesn’t work. I have helped many men to reconcile after they have failed with coaches or books who sold them what they wanted to hear, but which were not effective.