ERP 072: What Happens When You Hear “I am not IN love with you anymore”?
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“My wife and I have been struggling with our 19 year marriage. A year ago we started couples counseling and didn’t have much success. We both did a little individual therapy and tried again with EFT couples counseling. The therapist told my wife she really needs to do more work individually to find out what is blocking her. From day one of couples counseling she stated that she no longer has feelings for me and she doesn’t know how or if they will come back. I take that to mean romantic sexual feelings. We have not been intimate for 4 years now. She struggled with things in our marriage and shut down. My question is, what can I do to help her see me differently and help those feelings come back? Is there anything I can do?”
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Be Open To Exploring
- Does your wife want to revisit her original struggles or has she left the relationship?
- If she has left the relationship, I would have an honest conversation with her about what she wants moving forward. This does not mean you are going to agree with her or that you will move into action right away. But it does invite a real and honest dialogue. You cannot change her out of her experience. She may feel your respect and feel more open to you, despite the topic of conversation.
- If she is ambivalent about the relationship, is she willing to revisit some of her previous issues? Have you held a safe space for her to really share openly? Have you taken her perspective, understood her experience, and validated her experience?
- What has been missing within your relationship? What was happening before the issues first started coming up? How did you deal with it then?
- Is there someone else she is attracted to? If so, what is she getting from the interaction or relationship (i.e, attention, excitement, emotional validation, positivity, praise, love, etc.)?
Get Consistent Support
- It sounds like you and your wife have gotten support. For your description, it is difficult for me to tell if you felt that these professionals were a good fit. You will want to make sure both you and your wife feel comfortable and emotionally safe to reveal more fully.
- Disclosing openly and fully takes time, as you and your wife will need to feel trust within your professional as well as trust and belief in the process.
- Additionally, when you are working through 19 years of patterns and dynamics that have resulted in disconnection, it can take even more time to work through layers of protection, defense, shut down, and avoidance. Avoidance is a strategy to deal with emotional threat and pain. While avoiding provides short-term relief, it does not help shift dynamics or bring connection. Counseling, therapy, and/or coaching asks partners to go against these avoiding strategies and confront their pain and difficulties.
- If partners are ambivalent, they may not believe there is hope and may not want to tolerate the pain to try to do the emotional and interpersonal work.
- I would recommend investing and committing to a therapeutic process with consistent willingness for at least 6 months.
Be Really Present
- Try to focus on the moment rather than getting sucked into old patterns that have kept you stuck in the past.
- Try to be available for a different experience with your wife.
- See her with new eyes.
- Relate to her from your most sincere and genuine place. With Respect. With Altruistic Love.
- Be available for contact. Eye contact. Physical contact.
Find Joy & Passion
- Have you lost your sense of play and joy? What brings you excitement and pleasure? If you do know, pay attention to what peaks your interest. What books, articles, or website do you gravitate towards?
- Can you allow yourself to fill your cup and participate in enjoyable activities. Can you invite her along?
- Is she open to doing something fun together?
- Can you share your positivity with her?
- Can you do something new and different together? Or can you learn something together? You guys could take my 12 week couples program, which is full of powerful curriculum, tools, and exercises.
- Free Ebook “7 Reasons Why Relationships Fail (and how to save yours) Instant Access
Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 072: What Happens When You Hear “I am not in love with you anymore”?
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