'Loves Me But Is Not In Love With Me' Explained


    7 Min Read


    Relationships aren’t constant, they’re always changing. This means being able to weather the ups and downs is a crucial skill for all relationships. Sadly, many couples really struggle with doing this and often fall prey to the “love but not in-love” feeling.

    I often work with couples dealing with this issue and invariably one person feels devastated because their partner said he or she, “loves me, but is not in love with me.”


    This feeling is very, very common in long-term relationships, but it doesn’t have to mean it’s over.

    Feeling, or being told, that your partner loves you but is not in love with you is one of the most painful things to face.

    In fact, most partners cannot believe it when they hear it. Hearing these words often comes as a complete shock and can send people into a tailspin, leaving them feeling depressed and desperate.

    If you’re one of those partners, take heart. There are things that can be done to cope and possibly turn things around.

    The Devastation Of Hearing ‘Love But Not In Love’

    What follows being told he (or she) loves me but is not in love with me is what makes hearing these words even harder to understand and accept.


    Often after this is said a bag gets packed and the partner leaves, separates, or says they want a divorce.

    A woman I'm counseling right now came home to find a note on the kitchen counter saying not much more than, "I love you, but am no longer in love with you," and her husband had already moved out while she was at work.

    Sadly, being told this isn’t that uncommon, so if it's happening to you, you're far from alone.

    Here are a few messages I've received from other partners in the same situation:

    I need help. My husband told me that he still loves me but is not in love with me anymore. That he has no feelings for me. He also told me that he isn't sure he even wants to work on the marriage. He said that he is leaving and isn't sure whether he will miss me and if he wants to even come back home. We have been together for 15 years. I am still really in love with my husband. I want my marriage. I want him to want me and love me. I cannot even deal with the thought of him not returning home. At this point I am certain he has the mindset he isn't coming back home." -Val

    Having your partner tell you they're not in love with you doesn't just happen to older relationships either.


    My husband of 3 years asked for a divorce for the second time. We now have a 2 year old and I love him very much. I do not want this. I am trying to make it work, which was I did last time and he did eventually came home, but we got pregnant right after he came home so everything we learned went to the way side. Then I had a few medical things for the last 3 years and now he says he us not in love with me and he has been unhappy, because I don't desire him, which I do. I want to change our relationship, but I don't know if it's to late." -Bella

    Why People Fall Out Of Love

    Being told this always happens for the same reason -- a partner has fallen out of love. Or at least they believe they’ve fallen out of love.

    Although it doesn’t change the “out of love” feeling, what many partners mistakenly assume is that because things have changed over the years and the excitement, lust, and the all-consuming interest that was there in the beginning of a relationship has dulled or disappeared, it means they’ve fallen out of love.

    That ‘new relationship’ feeling is a high and once it fades it feels like the love has gone too.

    It’s possible, however, that it’s not gone at all, it’s just changed and now the excitement and enthusiasm that was once effortless requires some work to generate and maintain it.

    There can be many additional contributing factors and triggers to the “love but not in love” feeling as well.

    are just a few.

    To understand more about what this can look like, check out Kate’s story below.

    I believe my husband may be going thru a midlife crisis. I've read a lot about it so I'm convinced that's what's happening. We have been married for 9 years and have 1 daughter; however I am also the step-mom to his children from his prior marriage. Our marriage is not perfect by any means, but I did not think it was in a position for him to tell me one day he's not in love with me anymore. He said he needed to move out on his own and figure out what he should be doing with his life because perhaps he's not meant to be a husband and only a father. This all happened 2 months after his 40th birthday, which to him was very hard to deal with." -Kate

    And it's not just men who say this to their partners, because women say it too.

    About 3 months ago my wife told me she loves me but is no longer in love with me. I found out the reason being that I was yelling at the kids a lot, drinking more and she didn't feel heard when arguments arose and basically over time just gave up and felt defeated. I've been doing everything in my power to eradicate my ways. I no longer drink everyday, am very patient with the kids and listen very closely to what she says to me." -Colin

    Coping With Hearing That Your Partner Isn’t In Love With You

    What can you do when your partner tells you they love you but are not in love with you?

    Unfortunately, there’s no bullet-proof answer. There are, however, some things that can help.

    By far the best thing you can do is to practice prevention.


    Don't let your relationship drift apart, which all relationships do unless we're intentional about preventing it. So, if you haven't heard those words yet, or you have but the relationship hasn't gotten to the point these examples have, start now to reinforce the love and connection.

    But if you've had your partner tell you this, and you're already wrestling to grasp the idea my partner loves me but is not in love with me, don’t panic or overreact.

    Take a look at Jennifer’s story to learn a little more about this:

    My partner of 17 years has said he loves me but is not in love with me. We have had our ups and downs over the years, including me having an emotional affair 6 years ago after he wasn't paying me attention. He has said he will never forgive me for this and I know I hurt him very much. The thing is he said we are over, but he is still sleeping in the same bed and wanting sexual relations. From reading your post, ‘How Can I Get My Husband to Love Me Again?’, I can see that I have been pleading too much with him about reconsidering. I realize I am at fault for some of our ups and downs. I have been seeing a counselor, and have made changes within myself to try to see if I can get him back. I know it is going to take time, perseverance and patience, but as he is still living in the house I'm hoping he notices the changes. I really do love him and we have 2 wonderful children I want us to be us again, even though he has said he don't think his feelings will change." -Jennifer

    Jennifer gives some great examples of what to do and not to do when your partner loves you but is not in love with you.

    • Don't "plead" or ask a million questions "why" (your partner often doesn't know the answers themselves).

    • Instead, make changes in yourself that will make you more confident in yourself and therefore more attractive to your partner (this doesn't mean just in your appearance).

    • Most of all, give it some time and be patient. It took time to lose the love and it takes time to get it back.

    Obviously, it will take more than just changing yourself to get your partner to fall in love again, but it’s the best place to start.


    Making changes in yourself can make them look at you in a new way and give them reasons to reconsider their loving you but not in love with you feeling. Your changes may even inspire them to make changes in themselves as well. A healthy relationship, after all, requires effort from both partners in order to work.

    I would also suggest the following:

    • Reflect on your relationship. Take time to assess the reasons why your husband may feel this way and consider whether there have been any significant changes or challenges in your lives that might have contributed to these feelings.

    • Consider potential solutions. Discuss potential solutions or changes that could help rekindle the love and connection in your relationship. This could include making more time for each other, rediscovering shared interests, or finding ways to enhance emotional intimacy.

    • Prioritize self-care. Take care of your emotional well-being regardless of your husband’s feelings. Engage in activities you enjoy and spend time with supportive friends and family.

    • Seek professional help. Consider seeking the guidance of a couple’s therapist or marriage counselor (with or without your partner). A professional can provide tools for more effective communication and help you explore feelings, expectations, and potential solutions.

    What To Take Away

    Discovering that your partner loves you but isn't "in love" with you can be a complex and painful situation. It can also (understandably) elicit an intense emotional response.


    If your partner has told you he or she loves you, but isn’t in love with you, remember the following:

    • As difficult as it may be, it’s crucial to remain calm.

    • Try to understand why this change in feelings has occurred.

    • Look for ways to reconnect and work on rebuilding the love.

    • Very often the love isn’t gone, just the exciting feelings that occur at the beginning of a relationship.

    • Consider counseling to help with communication and rediscovery of deeper feelings.

    Many couples go through a “loves me but is not in love with me” phase in their relationship. For most it doesn’t have to mean the end of the relationship, just that more effort needs to be made to keep the relationship connection healthy and strong.

    Editor’s note: This post was originally published July 1, 2015 and updated on May 12, 2020 has been updated again with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


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