By Dr. Jed Diamond
For most of us, the dreaded words, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you,” are devastating. They chill us to the bone and we begin to fear for our relationship. Those words bring back past memories when we loved someone deeply, but they just wanted to be “friends.” Those words force us to recall intimate relationships that came to an end with the other person letting us down easy. It feels like we’re being stabbed in the heart with a knife.
If this is happening to you, first recognize that the present experience has added weight because of the losses we have experienced in the past. Although we’ve put painful relationships behind us, the memories can still be triggered when we feel that an important relationship is threatened.
So, what do you do? Here are some tips I’ve found.
1. Move beyond your fear to hear what he needs.
When we’re afraid, all we can think about are the disasters we’re sure lie ahead. We ruminate over increasingly dramatic and tragic occurrences: “He doesn’t think I’m attractive. He’s probably going to leave me. I’m going to be all alone the rest of my life.” Does any of this sound familiar?
Get a hold of yourself. Don’t go down that path. Instead, ask yourself “what does he need?” He may be telling you he needs to recapture his passion for life.
Many men say they are no longer in love with their wives, but what is really going on is that they are no longer in love with their lives. Talk to him about where he feels stuck and what things might excite him.
It may take time, but with patience he will open up to you and reveal that he’s lost some of his passion for life. Together you can recapture what was lost and find a new zealous happiness for life.
2. Become the new woman of his dreams.
When you think about it, biology tends to push men toward other women. All women reach a point, usually by age 50, when they can no longer reproduce.
However, men are able to have children later in life. For women, there’s no reproductive advantage to leaving their partners to find someone younger and more attractive. That isn’t the case for men.
He may love his spouse and want to be with her forever, but there is a biological pull, usually unconscious, that says, “Look, staying with a woman who can’t have more children isn’t going to help you populate the world. Fall in love with someone that can still make babies.”
Rather than ignoring this biological reality, make it work for you instead. You don’t have to go on a diet and get back to the weight you were when you were 20 or get your body plucked, peeled, and perked to look like a 25-year-old.
But you can take care of yourself to make sure you feel and look good at any age. You can make changes in your attitude and appearance to become a new you.
There’s a story. Maybe it’s even true. A woman puts her profile up on a dating site. She focuses on the good qualities she has and thinks about the kind of man she’d like to meet.
An interesting stranger answers her ad and the way he describes himself seems exciting and dreamy. And it turns out to be her husband.
You don’t have to go that far. You can break up the old mind-set that says, “we’re an old married couple” and think like the girl you were when you were excited about finding that special someone. It can be fun to reinvent ourselves periodically.