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You promised to love this person for the rest of your life, but keeping that promise has become harder than you ever thought possible.
You care for your wife, truly you do, but those butterflies that once flew around your stomach have gone. And you’re not sure what to do about it.
Simply put, you don’t have romantic feelings for your wife anymore. You want to love her, but it’s not like you can choose who you’re going to love.
Or can you?
Naturally, you can’t make yourself love someone. But loving a spouse is different. It means trying to keep that love alive for the rest of your life, and this is something you have to make a conscious choice to do… every single day.
And are you even sure that the love is gone? Or are you simply not clear on how love in a marriage should feel?
It might surprise you, but a lot of people actually confuse love with lust, excitement, and desire. We experience these things when dating, and it’s only natural for them to die down a bit once you’re together for a long time.
And truth be told, marriage is not about those fireworks; it’s about much more than that.
Above all, it is a commitment and a love that is different from infatuation and lust. So, you might actually still love your wife, even if you think that the love is gone. But more on that later.
Getting a divorce seems like an obvious choice when you feel like you don’t love your wife anymore, but don’t rush it. Whether you’re willing to give your marriage a second chance or not, keep reading to learn what someone can do in a situation like yours.
Rest assured that the way you’re feeling is not that uncommon. A lot of people have felt like the love is gone from their marriage. Did they stick around and turn their marriage into a happy one, or walk away and find someone else who can bring back those butterflies?
Well, that depends entirely on the individual in question, so there are many possible outcomes. You get to decide which one is right for you, and here’s how to do it.
1. Figure out why you don’t have romantic feelings for your wife anymore.
First and foremost, think about the reasons behind your lack of affection. When did you start feeling this way, and has something specific happened to cause your love to dwindle?
Has your wife changed, or is she still the same woman you fell in love with?
Are you happy with your sex life, or did you start feeling this way when things got boring in the bedroom?
Have things gotten boring even outside of the bedroom?
These questions, and others like them, can help you figure out why you don’t love your wife anymore.
Maybe there’s a specific issue in your marriage that you can easily identify and work on to get those sparks flying again. Perhaps you were expecting the same sparks as when you first started dating, and now you’re disappointed because your wife seems to prioritize other things and other people?
Perhaps your relationship and life together has become more complex now that you’re married. The excitement that once existed might be swamped by family and household matters.
It could be anything, but think about these things and try to identify the problem you’re dealing with. Even if you don’t want to work on your marriage, it will be good to know why, and you owe the answer both to yourself and your wife.
2. Write down everything that has been hurting you.
Maybe you’re not in love with your wife because something she’s doing is hurting you. Do you feel like you aren’t getting enough attention, respect, and love from her? More specifically, has she been abusive or mean to you?
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your expectations; you just haven’t been getting proper treatment from her. Try to be as objective as possible and consider whether your wife has been hurting you.
Maybe she isn’t abusive, but your marriage hasn’t been happy for a while. You frequently fight and use hurtful words in arguments. If that’s so, have you tried working on your marriage through counseling? Even if there have been just a few big fights recently, write down everything that has been hurting you.
If you and your wife are still communicating properly and want to work on your marriage, writing these things down can help you discuss them. Maybe your wife would be willing to work on herself if she was aware of how you feel about her now.
Most importantly, though, do you just feel like you don’t love her right now, or is divorce the only thing that feels right for you because you know that you’ll never love her again?
3. Think about your definition of being in love.
What is love to you? Is it the passion, adrenaline, chase, desire, chemistry, adventure, and lust? Or is it a safe, peaceful, consistent affection and commitment toward your eternal companion through life?
Sure, the first one sounds more thrilling, but it’s not something that can last a lifetime. The feeling of falling for someone you are drawn to certainly isn’t the same as the feeling of continuously caring deeply for someone close to you.
Actually loving someone for the rest of your life – as you promised to – takes effort and determination, even though falling for them might have seemed effortless.
So, consider whether you have really fallen out of love with your wife, or are just missing the excitement.
Marriages can fall into a rut, and things can become boring in the bedroom as well. This is why a happy marriage takes consistent effort from both sides. You need to communicate well and show your feelings for each other.
You can’t expect your feelings to magically overwhelm you every time you lock eyes with your wife. That kind of thing doesn’t happen so often with someone you share a life with.
However, you can still have magic, excitement, and lust in your marriage. So if that’s what you’re missing, consider giving your marriage a second chance and work on finding those things again, together.
4. Accept your share of the blame.
A failing marriage can rarely be blamed entirely on one person. So, once you have figured out the reasons why you’re in this situation, try not to blame your wife for everything.
Naturally, you will be tempted to, and that’s only human, but unless your wife has abused you, cheated on you, or did something that is actually causing your marriage to fail, you can’t blame it all on her.
It’s especially unwise to put all the blame on her if you are willing to work on your marriage. You need to accept the role you’ve played in all this, especially if your wife did nothing to make you stop loving her.
Some marriages just stop feeling right. Spouses might not communicate well, and there’s nothing that’s keeping them together besides kids and a shared mortgage.
Some people get married too young and they aren’t ready to commit to one person for the rest of their life.
The point is, nothing specific had to happen for you to stop loving your wife, and there are many possible scenarios that could have led you to feel that way. Whichever it may be, you’re not the only person it has happened to, and if you want your marriage to succeed, there’s always hope that you can make it work.
Even if you are ready to end everything between you, stay fair to your spouse by accepting your share of the blame, if there is any.
5. Forgive yourself and your wife.
If your marriage is failing, there might be some things that you need to forgive your wife for in order to rescue it, or even to communicate properly after a divorce, should you go down that road.
Surely there are also things you wish you had done differently, right?
So, in order to either recover or move on, forgive yourself and your wife.
If you are both willing to work on your marriage, a clean slate is necessary. So let go of any resentment and anger you might be harboring.
Marriages don’t always work out, though, so if you are ready to end yours, that’s okay. But you don’t want to carry unnecessary baggage with you. Let go of it by forgiving yourself and your wife for not making the marriage work and anything else that might have happened.
It’s normal to feel a little guilty about your marriage failing, but don’t. If you don’t want to fight for it – or you have fought for it already to no avail, that’s okay. If you want to give it a second chance, that’s okay too.
But whatever you do, try to forgive both of you, because it will help you either way.
6. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your wife.
Maybe you would give your marriage a second chance if your wife wasn’t being mean to you, making you feel bad about yourself, acting selfish, or doing something else that’s making you love her less or not at all.
But have you tried bringing to her attention how much her behavior has been bothering you?
This doesn’t mean occasionally screaming at each other about ten unrelated issues at the same time.
If you haven’t yet had an open, honest, heart-to-heart conversation with your wife, do it now.
Don’t attack her, blame her, or get hostile. If your wife hasn’t always been acting the way she is now, she could let you know what’s causing her to act that way, but you need to make her feel comfortable enough to open up to you. She can’t feel like she has to defend herself, which she will if you attack her.
Do your best not to turn this conversation into a fight, and if it turns into a fight anyway, seek the help of a professional. A third party could help you and your wife communicate more effectively.
Even if nothing she’s doing is causing you to feel this way, a professional can help, and so can open and honest communication. Talk to your wife about what’s bothering you, and if things have gotten so bad that you can’t do that with her anymore, seek help if you want to make your marriage work.
7. Make your wife feel loved.
If you don’t love your wife anymore, you don’t have to say those exact words to her to make her aware of it. It’s very likely that she already feels unloved, and you might even be trapped in a toxic circle where you don’t love her because of the way she acts, and she acts that way because you don’t love her.
If you want your marriage to return to a happier and healthier place, try making your wife feel loved, special, cared for. She’ll probably behave differently once she’s happy, making it easier for you to actually love her.
When you first fell in love with her, you were probably very aware of her good qualities. Now that you are married, you may have noticed some bad qualities that you weren’t aware of, and they have overshadowed the good ones. So, remind yourself of what you used to love about your wife.
When you married her, you might have thought that she’s the perfect woman and partner for you, but can you love her with her imperfections? When people imagine love, they imagine beauty and youth, not sweatpants and a messy house.
Try to understand that things have changed for your wife too; not just for you. But if you make her happy, she is more likely to act like the woman she was when you first fell in love.
8. Keep in mind that you have to make a choice to love her.
It’s not easy to fall in love with the same person over and over again, and it doesn’t just happen on its own. But that’s kind of what has to happen in a marriage that lasts for a lifetime.
Loving someone for such a long time requires making a choice to love them every day and sticking to that decision. It takes effort, energy, and investment.
People tend to get too comfortable in a long-term relationship and often start taking each other for granted. So think about everything your wife has done for you, everything that makes her different to other women, and everything that made you love her in the first place.
Surely she has contributed to your happiness in some ways even if you haven’t been happy with her for a while now. You have spent a lot of time together, and you have grown and changed during that time, and you can keep growing and changing together.
But you have to grow your love to do so. You have to realize that love in marriage doesn’t just magically appear or maintain itself if you do nothing about it, and it’s not the same thing as lust or infatuation.
9. Realize that it takes a lot of effort to make a marriage work.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with your definition of love, but maybe you have an unrealistic idea of how marriage should work.
You have seen happily married couples, but you haven’t seen what goes on when they’re alone together. The truth is, no marriage is smooth sailing all the time. Happily married couples don’t love each other because there’s nothing wrong in their marriage; they love each other despite it and work on fixing the broken bits together.
All couples have problems, and all couples fight, even the happiest ones. They just don’t fight all the time and communicate efficiently enough to work through their differences.
Most importantly, they focus on finding the solution together because they are committed to making it work, even during times when it seems like it can’t work.
Marriage requires maintenance, so to speak, as you would expect from a life-long commitment. So, even if you’ve encountered more than a few bumps in the road, think about whether your wife is the person you want to still be walking alongside when you reach the end of that road.
Even if you are ready to end your marriage, you might want to try one more time to make it work. After all, things can’t get worse from here, but they might just get better enough to make you change your mind, or at least reassure you that you’re making the right decision by calling it quits.
10. Seek professional help.
If you want to save your marriage, you are probably going to need some help. In truth, you could probably use some even if you’re ready to end the marriage.
You know that a therapist can help you fix your relationship, but they can also help you heal after ending it. So, don’t be afraid to seek professional help, whether with your spouse or without her.
If you are willing to give your marriage a second chance, talking to a therapist can help you realize why you feel like you don’t love your wife anymore and how to deal with it.
Your wife will probably be willing to work on the marriage too, so a therapist can help the two of you communicate more openly and effectively.
There’s no shame in asking for help, especially if you’re dealing with something so huge such as the possibility of your marriage ending.
Our recommendation is the online relationship counseling service from Relationship Hero. Here, you’ll be able to connect with someone who has experience with situations like yours and work through your issues either in terms of saving your marriage or navigating your divorce.
Click here to learn more about the service and how it works.
11. Make an effort to get your marriage back on track.
Even if you are ready to leave your wife, you are probably going to feel guilty about it unless you at least try to get your marriage back on track. So, see if it’s possible to make things work with your wife.
Follow the steps from this article and consider things again after doing everything from the list.
Naturally, you don’t have to do this, and you might even have a good reason not to want that. Still, ending a marriage is a big decision and you need to be really sure that that’s what you want to do.
For now, you know that you don’t feel the same love for your wife that you used to. But is there a possibility that you could love her again? You can always try to love her again, as long as that’s something you’re willing to do.
Even if you don’t want to make an effort, don’t rush into making a big decision such as getting a divorce without thinking things through.
12. Consider getting a divorce.
When you don’t love your wife, it’s only natural to think about divorce. Keep in mind that, although sometimes divorce is the right decision, it’s still a big one.
Just like marriage is a life-changing decision, so is divorce. You need to be ready for everything that comes with ending a marriage.
If you and your wife have kids, you are going to have to stay in touch even after the divorce. So, it’s best to end things on good terms or as good as they can be. This is why it’s important to follow all the steps from this article, even if you are ready to walk out on your wife.
Don’t stay in an unhappy marriage just because divorce is a big decision, but don’t take such a decision lightly either, and try to be fair to your wife.
Sadly, not all marriages work out, and that’s just a fact of life. Still, divorce is a big word that shouldn’t be tossed around, so think things through before you bring it up to your wife.
13. Become aware of what it is that you’re searching for.
If life with your wife isn’t what you truly want, what is?
Keep in mind that you might experience the same problems with someone new. A therapist can help you identify toxic patterns and work on them so that they don’t repeat in your future relationships.
What kind of relationship are you looking for? Be clear about what you want and what you don’t want in your future. More importantly, try to be objective and see if what you want is actually realistic.
For instance, you are unlikely to find the excitement of a one-night stand in a committed long-term relationship. Meaning, you can have excitement in a marriage, but not the excitement that comes from being with a different person that you don’t know so well.
So, if all you’re looking for is related to sex, think about your priorities. Sure, you can end your marriage and enjoy the single life for a while, but you are going to want someone to settle down with eventually. If that someone can’t give you anything more than your wife is giving you right now, consider giving your marriage a second chance.
14. Give it some time.
Most importantly, whether you are ready to end your marriage or not, give it some time.
Maybe you don’t love your wife at this precise moment in time, but is this the way you’ll keep feeling?
Marriage is supposed to last a lifetime, so become aware of how long that actually is. Surely you can spare a little more time to see if it has the potential to last.
Giving it time doesn’t even have to mean that you stay together. A trial separation is always a better choice than a divorce, at least at first. Getting some distance might be the best idea if nothing else is working. The difference is that you can always go back after separation, while a divorce is most often final.
Giving it some time also means trying the things suggested in this article. Maybe after all that, you’ll love your wife again. Or maybe you’ll know for sure that ending the marriage is the right thing to do.
In the end, know that you don’t have to go through this alone. Even if your wife isn’t going to be your companion through all this, someone else can be, and, while friends and family can give you their support, there are people that specialize in helping those in difficult situations such as this one.
Talk to a therapist and let them help you make sense of what you’re feeling and how you should go about it. Whether you are going to fight for your marriage or end it, you could use some help, and you might not want to involve your friends and family in your marital issues until you have an idea on how to go about them.
Most importantly, know that there’s always hope if you want to make your marriage work, but if you don’t, getting a divorce is not the end of the world. If you can’t find happiness with your wife, you have every right to end things and search for it elsewhere. Make sure that you find your happiness, though, with your wife or without her.
Still not sure what to do about your marriage? It’s true that love is the biggest foundation of a relationship, but love can return even after it’s been gone for a while. But to make the marriage work, you will probably want to enlist the help of a professional. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out one way or the other. Simply click here to chat.
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