A Reader Writes…
I have read My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore (despite it being my boyfriend that has fallen out of love) and I Love You but I’m Not in Love With You and I think I might be rushing through them and would like guidance on how long I should be waiting to implement the techniques you propose.
My situation is that I have been with my boyfriend for 10 years and have lived with him for 7. He works and I am a housewife (we have no children). Three weeks ago he said that he didn’t love me anymore, that he saw me as a friend and didn’t see me as a lover. He said he’s felt this way for a long time and for him our relationship is totally over. Since then I have moved into the spare bedroom and he says that he would like us to work on our friendship and live as housemates. I was and am devastated by all of this and did not know that anything was wrong between us.
I bought your books My Wife Doesn’t Love Me Anymore and I Love You but I’m Not in Love With You. I have been trying to follow the techniques you lay out. I listened intently to what my boyfriend said were the reasons for him feeling this and I looked at what was my responsibility in doing this. I made a fulsome apology and worked out what I needed to change in myself to improve these things. I tried taking the pressure off and start going back to normal living but my boyfriend told me that this was making him uncomfortable.
Because this behaviour involved me trying to initiate your ideas on regaining limerence and looking at his love language I was trying to be affectionate. I would kiss him and if I saw a cake or chocolate bar he likes I’d buy it for him. These are things he used to do for me so I thought this was his love language. However he says he doesn’t want any of the ‘couple stuff’ with me anymore and that these actions are making him feel unhappy at home. Am I trying to progress things too quickly?
He also said that because I’m upset I’m pushing him away and making him realise that there definitely isn’t any hope for us as a couple. I am doing my best to focus on myself. I’m now rethinking my whole future – wondering about getting a job, considering where I might want to live etc in case he does say he no longer wants me around at all. I’m taking the fact that he still wants to live with me as a good sign but maybe I’m reading too much into this.
I want us to work as a couple and believe that if we really sorted out the problems I now realise we have we could re-bond. However he keeps saying he doesn’t see me in that way anymore and it seems that the more I try from your books the more it cements this in his mind. I worry that I’m trying to rush the healing/re-bonding process and that this is why things aren’t working. When is a good time to start implementing the intimate/romantic gestures that will start us on the path to being a couple again? Or is it not working because it really is over and should I be focusing on moving on (or moving out)?
My boyfriend has started reading I love you but I’m not in love with you but he’s pretty sceptical about it applying to us and he has said that the examples in it seem to be just about losing intimacy and how to regain it. He says this isn’t something he wants and he really doesn’t see us as a couple anymore so doesn’t think the exercises will work for us.
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face in my life and I never in a million years thought my boyfriend and I would break up. I still get very upset and angry but I try to deal with these emotions myself (I have started a diary as your books suggest) so as not to burden my boyfriend. It has only been a few weeks and I’m concerned that I’m expecting things to change too quickly but if the changes I implement and with these techniques I push my partner away what do I do instead?
First off, I want to congratulate you on being so through and reading both books. It sounds a really positive move to start a feelings diary – particularly if you’re getting angry or very tearful (as the first will push him away and the second will make him feel guilty AND push him away).
I think you’ve diagnosed half of the problem. It does take time to save your relationship and it sounds like you’re rushing ahead. However, I’m noticed – in lots of letters to my website and face-to-face work – that people are much happier to focus on reconnecting (spending more time together, love languages, tips for limerence) than the tough parts (learning to argue, communicating better and listening to your partner’s unhappiness or accepting that he or she is truly angry).
I had a couple in my office and the man who had fallen out of love described it to me as being “love-bombed”. Of course, it was much nicer than being nagged, criticised or ignored but it is still unnerving and he was fearful about what would happen if he surrendered.
Therefore, my advice would be to focus on working on yourself—rather than trying to change his feelings. I am intrigued by the idea of you being a housewife (even though you’ve no children) and your boyfriend being the sole breadwinner. I wonder how he feels about that? Do you feel beholden to him or like a child asking for pocket money. How would the relationship change if you were more equal?
So use this time constructively think about who you are and what you want from life (beyond your boyfriend). Continue with your stock take and perhaps gets some career advice. Keep your boyfriend posted about your progress and acknowledge his anger rather than trying to love-bomb away his reservations.