One of the hardest things to hear from your husband is that he no longer loves you. It’s so devastating and often seems like it came out of nowhere. And it can be very hard to know what to do next – do you cry and beg, try harder to please him, divorce, or is there a chance that you can bring the love back?
At Guy Stuff we hear from women daily who are heartbroken, worried and say, “My husband told me he no longer loves me.” Understandably, they’re looking for help and direction to figure out how to save their marriages and what to do to get their husbands to love them again. Below you will see a question from Gabby, who’s in precisely that circumstance. My advice to her follows.
My husband of 8 years told me that he no longer loves me and he is sorry this did not work out. We had been going to marriage counseling for 7 weeks and I thought we were making progress. I still love him deeply and hold on to the hope that this is temporary and he just needed space. What should my next steps be now?" -Gabby
Gabby’s situation isn’t that unusual – all couples can go through a rough time. It may seem like 8 years is a long time to invest just to say, "Sorry that it didn’t work out," but relationships of any length can be vulnerable to the “out of love” feeling by either spouse. The good news it that it doesn’t have to mean the end.
Your first instinct to give him space is correct. I can't say for sure what's going on for your husband, but based on my counseling with other men in his shoes, here are some possibilities.
- Sometimes the process of counseling can be overwhelming for men. Many men are uncomfortable talking about their inner thoughts and feelings with anyone, let alone a stranger. In response, some men withdraw and want to give up. It can seem to a lot of men (and their wives) like counseling is taking more time than it should and therefore not working. More often than not, however, this isn’t the case and with some patience you’ll see some results from your efforts.
- When some men realize they've fallen out of love with their wives, they conclude that it must mean that the relationship is dead, so they decide to leave the marriage. What they may not see is that the love isn’t always gone, sometimes it’s just changed. The challenge for both partners is to rediscover what love looks like at this stage of their relationship and determine if it’s enough for them to be happy.
- Some men go through periods when they're unhappy with their lives. Work, family, and interests just don't meet their expectations any longer. Not knowing what the problem is, or how to fix it, they just start making changes in their lives and often their marriage is the first place they start.
What should you do?
- Give him some space, as you thought.
- Continue to go to marriage counseling on your own.
- See what you can learn about yourself and the relationship through counseling and make changes accordingly.
- Read this two-part article I wrote for women who's husbands don't love them anymore: My Husband Doesn't Love Me - 5 Things You Can Do About It.
Will My Husband Ever Love Me Again?
There’s no black and white answer to that question. There is, however, always hope. Very often the feeling of being out of love is really a symptom of something else, and if that’s identified and resolved then it can be possible to bring the love back.
It’s also important to remember that relationships go through phases and love changes. It can be easy to mistake a lack of lust and intensity that the early years of a relationship had with a loss of love as the years go by. Many fail to realize that maintaining love takes effort and without it the love will fade.
Love can also look different over time. Life, kids, and mundane responsibilities tend distract as well as dampen the fire and make the love feel less exciting. This doesn’t have to mean it’s gone though, just that you need to focus and work harder to keep it strong.
If your husband has told you he no longer loves you there are no quick tricks to get him to change his mind. This is an extremely painful time for any wife who has heard these words and many are looking for reassurance that their husbands are suffering temporary insanity, or there’s a formula for fixing things. Although neither of those things are realistic, if your husband told you he doesn’t love you anymore it doesn’t have to mean your marriage is over. It does, however, mean you need to take some action.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published May 06, 2010 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness
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