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I Love You, But I'm No Longer "In Love With You"

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

As a life coach, a common concern I hear is centered around love. "I love my partner, but I no longer feel that I’m in love anymore." If this is where you are right now, that’s okay. It’s actually one of three phases of love everyone goes through to some degree. Below, I’ll share why this occurs and give you some tips to begin the process reigniting the flame.

When you start thinking that I’m no longer in love with my partner, yet still love them, this can cause a variety of problems, and ignoring these thoughts can harm your relationship further. When we begin to feel this way, it can cause anxiety and bring up deep rooted fears. You want your relationship to succeed, but keeping these thoughts to yourself, will send non-verbal signals to your partner. Mirror neurons kick in right away, and before you know it, you find yourself in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The longer you let this feeling linger, the more it can consume you. I've studied lifespan development and also relationships. Both discuss that there are stages of love.

Stage I is considered as Love Without Knowledge. At the beginning of a relationship, we are emotionally or physically attracted to someone and love the feeling this new relationship provides. We almost don't want to know everything about our partner, and certainly don't share everything ourselves, for fear if they knew me, really knew me, they would run for the hills. This phase is how we get the phrase, love is blind.

Stage II could be considered as the Knowledge Without Love stage. Over time, you shift those happy, early thoughts about your partner, to things you dislike about them. These negative little things can begin to dominate your thoughts. Without saying anything, we usually begin to withdraw, build a wall between each other, become passive aggressive, or submissive. Our default mindset is to look for the bad things that you expect will happen and minimize the positive things our partners do. It's normal human behavior and it’s destructive. We communicate on two levels. One way we communicate is with words, but words alone are only 15% of communication. The other 85% is the energy that surrounds those words and the words we fail to say. You might hide the words from your partner, but they can sense your energy. Not dealing with this issue is a losing strategy for sure. Going unchecked, ignoring the issue can derail the best of relationships over time. The great news is that we 100% can begin to shift our thoughts. The very first way to begin, is to practice, empathy. I say practice, because for many, empathy is a learned skill or trait. Having empathy for both you AND your partner is crucial. When you flip to intentionally building empathy, you begin to look at the situation through other perspectives. There are many ways to look at issues. Looking at the issue through your partners eyes, their fears, their emotional and physical state, their life's traumas or victories, you begin to see them again, and begin to see past the things that have grated on you for years. Then do the same exercise with yourself. You may have been hard on yourself and vowed that this exact situation would never happen in your relationship. Maybe it's something else, but with what I've seen, practically everyone judges themselves harshly for what the self-sabotaging left-brain calls failing. When in essence, what some might call failing, can be a gift in some way to improve your relationship.

The truth is, we don't have all the information we need, so we cobble together fabricated stories from our own upbringing, usually with the things we fear most to fill in the blanks. We have the tendency to paint a bleak picture which is usually far from accurate. So, if you want to start rebuilding that “In Love” feeling with your partner, you need to be intentional! Step one is intentionally build empathy and be extremely curious in your relationship. This leads you into other steps which we can discuss in another post. This is what we call inner work. For outer work, you'll need to find ways to spend 20 minutes a day sharing your experiences or lack of experiences with each other 5 days a week. And on top of this mutual sharing, once a week, make a point to do something together. When people say you need to work on your relationship, this is what they might be talking about. If you aren't doing things that friends do, you need to be intentional, and begin building a friendship again. We tend to get into comfortable ruts. Those comfortable ruts can be like pulling you away and creating separation from your partner.

With habit change, and this in essence is what we are now moving into, it's best to start extremely slow. If you don't already spend much time sharing your day with each other, then intentionally add 1 minute more to what you are already doing. If you aren't doing this at all, then in your first week, just do 1 minute per day. It will be very awkward at first. Just be awkward and work through it 10 times. Don't give up because it's awkward. Real growth only happens in the struggle. If you struggle with this exercise, then tell yourself," Yay! This is a struggle, so I must be growing." My guess is that after a week, it will be far less awkward. If you try to change too much too fast, then your critter brain and limbic brain will start self-sabotaging you. The limbic part of our brain hates change of any kind. This loops back to empathy for yourself. If you want to rebuild your relationship, you need to look for the spark. If you don't begin to create space for that to happen, you won't have the chance to see the spark that can turn into the flame you are missing at the moment. Begin to look for the spark. Expect it to be there and be patient with your partner AND yourself. This can be HARD for many. I was taught that small hinges open big doors. So, start small, but don't stop. Make this a systematic approach. Add another minute on week two, and perhaps a phone call once a week at lunch if date nights have fallen by the wayside.

I've seen my clients move through this process with positive outcomes. I hope something I wrote resonates with you enough to take a deep breath and step back. If you need me to share more, just ask. I've lived through stage II and am very much enjoying stage III. This year, my wife and I are celebrating 35 years of marriage with our 5th honeymoon vacation coming up. Since our 20th anniversary, we now plan a honeymoon every 5 years. We renewed our wedding vows on our 25th Anniversary and plan to do it again on our 50th.

Let me know what resonated with you the most, and what specific issues that you might like me to write about specifically for you.

The information above was pulled from multiple sources, including but not limited to: Brene Brown and her book Atlas of the Heart, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife and her course Strengthening Your Relationship, Robert Sternberg Triangular Theory: Three Faces of Love, the Health Coach Institute, John Gottman’s book The 7 Principles For Making Marriage Work, Positive Intelligence, and my own personal growth throughout my life.


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