Losing your interest and love for your partner is quite common after years and years of being married – whether it’s sexually, romantically, or both.
If the relationship has lost its passion and romance, it’s time to ask yourself some questions.
The lack of sexual desire usually means a lack of trust, coupled with a lack of communication. The lack of “feelings”, on the other hand, is more difficult to conceptualize.
Some of the reasons why this might happen include infidelity, individual differences, or changes that come with time.
People in long-term marriages often have these thoughts. That’s why I encourage you to treat them with caution.
Falling out of love can happen for several reasons, and believe it or not, recovering the love you once had is very much possible. That is if you want to.
Note: Alexandra is a professional Psychotherapist with specialized knowledge in relationships.– Worried Lovers
Should you repair your marriage?
I believe that as long as a relationship isn’t abusive, it’s worth saving. If you’re not changing history and still have some appreciation for your partner, the hope is still there.
I see relationship breakups like relationship infidelity. Often, people want to break up with a version of themselves or want to know something about themselves.
It’s not so much about the other.
As time passes, our lives change drastically. Being comfortable with that change is an essential part of a life well-lived.
How the media affects romance.
People have so many misconceptions about romantic love, and that is because of the way it’s represented. But, unfortunately, modern life doesn’t make space for true love.
Romantic comedies emphasize the whole “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” trope. The reality of marriage is often dismissed or just not shown.
Finding “the one” is a cruel concept that is embedded in our minds.
Why do we expect a perfectly different human being to complete us like we’re missing a part?
The way relationships are represented in the media is more telling of infatuation than true mature love. Even obsession seems to be more praised.
Anything that represents a perpetual state of dreaminess and awe is seen as a good sign.
Infatuation vs. real love in marriage.
You can still love someone you’re married with even if you’re not head-over-heels infatuated with them anymore.
You can still be happy with someone even if you don’t think about them every moment of every day.
But you must foster a deep emotional connection with your partner – which is different from infatuation.
In a marriage, you must constantly look for your partner. It’s a zig-zag of ever-changing emotions and situations, as well as a constant reinvention of the relationship and yourself.
In a beautifully written article in the New Yorker, Esther Perel states that love is not a permanent state of enthusiasm. A relationship is not just about romantic love.
It takes practice to be a partner, as well as tolerance of the unknown. Not to mention that it also needs the presence of other people.
Building a bond between each other is more than just about spending time together alone. It’s also about spending time with each other’s family and friends while being together as well.
If you’re finding it difficult to develop that bond, therapy is always an option. You can read more about how it helps in situations like these.
What about negative sentiment override?
Negative sentiment override is essentially a bias towards the negative aspects that your partner has.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, positive sentiment override is when you generally give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
Typically, negative sentiment overrides love because of built-up resentment. And it just goes on and on and contributes significantly to the decay of the relationship.
To leave or to stay, that is the question.
These days, about half of the marriages end in divorce, which means that we’re not that great at keeping relationships.
So if you’re asking yourself “Should I stay or should I go?”, there are some things to take into consideration.
You only have a few options here – either you stay in a loveless marriage, you work on the issues inside the relationship, or you simply leave.
Things you can do if you’re married but not in love.
1. Define what “in love” means for your marriage.
When you’re married, your definition of love can establish how you feel in a given situation. For example, you may expect that love should look or feel a certain way.
Unfortunately, some of our expectations regarding love may not be realistic.
The media and pop culture send us messages about how love should look like. But, unfortunately, these messages are often utopic.
2. Establish where you are.
You can’t build a marriage only on love’s foundation.
If you’re not feeling it anymore, but you can say you have a great friendship with your husband, you can go from there.
If your relationship is falling short in more ways than one, figure out if there’s a solution.
Notice what is missing and what is still there. There are ways in which you can know with almost absolute accuracy if your relationship or marriage has any chances.
3. Create love maps with your partner.
A Sound Relationship House includes the seven principles of making marriage work.
An important principle is building love maps.
A love map means knowing your partner’s life deeply and intimately, and much like a real map, it should guide your marriage towards the right place.
All the essential things that you need to know about them, like who their best friend is, their hopes and dreams, the things that stress them out, and so on.
Love maps can strengthen the bond between a married couple while also increasing intimacy in the relationship.
4. Strengthen the friendship in other ways.
Contrary to popular belief, friendship and love are not separate entities. A good friendship between two partners is a predictor for a satisfying romantic bond, as well as good sex life.
Love and friendship are so intertwined. It should be hard to tell them apart.
You can create a strong friendship with your partner by telling him about yourself, asking questions, turning towards him, and creating shared meaning.
Friendship means to be kind and to love the one married to you. And sometimes, the secret to love is just that.
5. Bring closeness and distance together.
It’s important to have both closeness and distance in your relationship.
People simultaneously need independence, as well as a need for closeness. Both of these expectations are important, and a healthy relationship should focus on balancing them out.
6. Ask for what you truly want from the relationship.
You’d be surprised at how many lovely things can happen if you communicate your needs with your partner.
Criticism is avoiding asking for what you truly want, so dismiss it at all costs.
If you feel like something is missing, express your needs and longings. What is it that would make you happy?
Perhaps the willingness of your partner to meet you halfway is going to make you change your mind. Perhaps not. But expressing your needs is a great starting point.
7. A loving relationship is a good enough relationship.
You should see your relationship as “good enough“.
Some people find this counterintuitive, but let me explain why it’s important to see your relationship as satisfactory.
A good enough relationship is a relationship in which you are treated with respect, appreciation, and kindness.
However, that doesn’t mean that the relationship is devoid of conflict and arguments.
In a good enough relationship, couples share meaning and offer each other chances to connect and reconnect. They also constructively handle conflicts.
We need to redefine what a good enough relationship is and do our best to honor that.
8. Scan the environment for things that you appreciate in your partner.
This takes a lot of getting used to, especially if you tend to go the other direction.
Before it becomes second nature, practice this exercise regularly. Write things that you are thankful for in your partner. Purposefully notice the things that your partner does right instead of focusing on the wrong.
And last but not least, express your newfound appreciation to your partner. Verbally, as well as by acting in a way that shows that.
9. Discuss your thoughts with your partner.
If nothing else can ease your pain, then you might benefit from expressing your thoughts to your partner. But do it kindly. If you talk about this topic compassionately, then forget about it!
Letting your partner know your thoughts may make you motivated to work on your relationship more. And it created a sense of togetherness that is important to have a good chance at happiness.
Emotional stability and kindness make for a good relationship. You can conceptualize that in several different ways.
The discussion about what love is has been going on for centuries. From Eros to the modern love we all live today.
The truth is, you are the only one responsible for your decision to love someone. You can stay, or you can leave. Anytime.
I think this is what is so valuable in relationships; knowing that you can always go away and then choosing to stay.
When you’re married, you choose to love your partner every day. Even in the days that you love him less. You constantly make that choice.
The most important thing is to do what is right – by your marriage, by yourself, and by your partner.
Recommended: Can Therapy Help Save Your Relationship?