6 Min Read
- How To Know He Doesn't Love You
- What You Should NOT Do When He Doesn't Love You Back
- What You Should Do When He Doesn't Love You Back
- What To Take Away
- What Readers Think (30+ Comments)
Part 2 of 2
One of the most painful experiences in a relationship is when he doesn’t love you back.
Unreciprocated love can leave you feeling lonely, hurt, and resentful. It can also make you feel silly for loving him in the first place and as though you need to stop.
But we all need love, and while most of us can love for a while without getting love back, we can’t do it forever. Living too long in a circumstance like that and both people will start to suffer.
So, what can you do when he doesn't love you back?
How To Know He Doesn’t Love You
In the first article, He Doesn't Love Me, we started to look at some excerpts from my Google Hangout, Loving Someone Who Doesn't Love You. Some were very illuminating. Let's look some more to see what we can learn about what to do when he doesn't love you back.
When looking at the responses from couples in this situation, the partner who isn’t feeling any love often has a passive-aggressive attitude. It can be a struggle to know how to address what’s clearly become a problem, and so it festers allowing resentment and anger to build.
Although they should, partners rarely go to the other and say,
I'm not feeling like this relationship is meeting my needs and we need to make some changes."
Instead, they will let things fumble along, allowing problems to go unaddressed and negative feelings to continue to grow. This often just seems easier than facing an uncomfortable and difficult conversation.
When people fail to address the difficult issues, however, they end up doing the things I mentioned previously and look for love outside the relationship.
Many of us avoid issues that we anticipate could create conflict. This can lead to having a passive aggressive response because the problem is still present but also unresolved.
So, instead of telling you the painful truth when he doesn't love you, he avoids it.
What You Should NOT Do When He Doesn’t Love You Back
Before we talk about what you should do when you feel he doesn’t love you back, let’s address what you should NOT do.
First, don’t ignore what’s happening within your relationship. Putting your head in the sand will not make issues get better or go away. In fact, it most likely will make them much worse.
When love has faded from a relationship, whether it’s one-sided or on the part of both partners, there are always signs. Waiting too long to respond to them makes conversations about what’s happening even more painful and difficult. If you deal with things as they present themselves the small problems may never become big ones.
Second, don’t seek love and comfort from someone else. As I mentioned earlier, living in a relationship without love makes temptations seem more appealing and what’s worse - justifiable.
Betraying your partner with someone else is never justified, no matter how "Out-of-Love" you are.
Once you’ve stepped outside your relationship and initiated an affair – physical or emotional – you’ve opened a whole new world of problems. There’s nothing about this that will make things better and no explanation that will make your partner say, “Oh, it’s okay then.”
What You Should Do When He Doesn’t Love You Back
One of the keys to dealing with this is actually being really direct about addressing the problem. A lot of people aren’t comfortable doing that. They don't know really how to communicate very well, which is why somebody like me is in business to be able to teach people how to do that.
Communication in a relationship needs constant practice. Most couples don’t realize this and fall into the trap of assuming their partner just knows or understands certain things.
- “He should know I love him”
- “She should know what bothers me”
- “He should know how much he’s hurting me”
- “She should know what I need from her”
Being together for years doesn’t make your partner a mind reader. They can’t truly know what’s on your mind or how you feel unless you tell them. The biggest contributor to relationship problems of all kinds is a lack of basic communication.
A common phrase I hear from a lot of guys is that they "love their partner," but they're "not in love" and that love is gone That difference a lot of people make between "loving" versus "being in love" is a lot of times at play when we are in a situation where someone is feeling that they're not being loved back.
What many people don’t understand is that love changes over time.
Couples or individual partners often get scared when the initial passion felt in the beginning starts to fade. They start to believe that the love is simply gone.
What good communication and effort can show is that it’s not. Couples who have been together for a long time will tell you is those passionate feelings often come back.
Life is complicated and hard. There’s work, family, kids, and many other distractions. As a couple you’ll face both good and bad times together. The absence of that star-struck feeling doesn’t have to mean things have gone bad. It may just mean as a couple (or as an individual) your focus is on something else right now.
That being said, there will be times when your husband simply doesn’t love you back. The good news, however, is that it doesn’t have to stay that way.
One of the reasons you may feel he doesn't love you back is because he doesn't love you in the same way he used to. When a man tells me, "I love her, but I'm not in love with her," his partner often feels he doesn't love her at all.
Love is something that is not just words.
A lot of people misinterpret this or misunderstand this. It's really an action. It's a behavior. It's something that we really need to be actively doing and when we’re not, that contributes to the growing apart. Typical responses for the person who is feeling that they love someone who doesn't love them back a lot of times are problematic because they accept it and it becomes something that really becomes normal.
Unfortunately, over time that enabling and just kind of accepting it allows some of the things I mentioned earlier, like an affair to happen. A lot of times people will minimize and excuse behaviors that they shouldn't be.
People don't just land in unloving relationships. They allow once loving relationships to grow into unloving ones. What started out as a loving relationship, slowly over time becomes less and less loving, until one day not loving each other back becomes normal.
If you find yourself in a relationship with someone you don’t feel loves you back, here are some suggestions.
- Talk. The love may be fading, or perhaps your partner is distracted by something else and has no idea how his distraction is being perceived. Regardless, voicing your concern starts a conversation. Remember, he’s not a mind reader. Taking steps toward improving your communication is progress in the right direction.
- Consider what has changed. What is different now than when things were good? Did you stop doing things together that you enjoy? Do you treat each other differently now? Bringing back some of the things that existed when you were happy can help re-frame things and re-initiate some of the original feelings.
- Make new efforts. Being bored in your relationship can be mistaken for lack of love. Shaking things up with new activities and new approaches to things can sometimes breathe life back into your relationship.
What To Take Away
We really need to be able to be direct with our partner when we feel like there's a disconnect, when we are not feeling like we're getting the love that that we really need in the relationship. We really need to approach them and address that. A lot of people don't out of fear of what that might lead to, and that ends up further contributing to the relationship that falls apart because we just feel like we are loving someone who doesn't love us back.
- Will he get mad?
- Will he leave?
- Will blame me?
Or, even worse,
- Will he confirm my worst fears and tell me he really doesn’t love me?
Not addressing it, however, won’t solve anything. In fact, avoidance of difficult topics will contribute further to the breakdown of the relationship. Don't fall for the false belief that 'time heals all things' – it doesn't.
Feeling he doesn't love you back is a very painful. But the key to change starts with honesty - with both yourself and your partner.
Remember, you didn't start out in an unloving relationship – you both allowed your relationship to become one. Take responsibility for that and you'll take the first step toward getting the love back that you want and deserve.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on September 29, 2013 and updated on September 4, 2018. It’s since been further updated for additional accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
- Why Doesn't He Love Me? (Part 1)
- I Feel Out Of Love - What Do I Do?
- I Have No Sexual Desire For My Fiancée
- Get More Help When the Love is Gone