Often when a couple comes in for couple’s counseling, one of the partners is stating that s/he has fallen out of love with the other partner. Sometimes they both feel that way, but usually it is just one spouse verbalizing this. When you are feeling this way, it is common to question whether you ever “really” loved your spouse in the first place. Usually when couples present for counseling with one wanting out of the relationship, there other marital issues that are creating problems in the marriage, that the couple may not be talking about or acknowledging.

Other typical marital issues that are frequently present are: feeling overwhelmed by “task overload”, the experience of not having enough time, energy, or other resources to invest in their relationship, and a general apathy about investing those resources if they were available.

The one who has “fallen out of love” feels unloved and lonely, and may be daydreaming about the possibility of “falling in love” with someone new. Typically, the one wanting a divorce has stopped complaining to the other party about needing or wanting more attention. They have stopped consulting the other person about problems and difficulties and tend to handle everything on their own. They have stopped complaining about the other person’s annoying habits, but continue to feel resentment about them.

The withdrawing party may have even started to develop a life away from the other partner. When the marriage is in obvious danger of dissolution, s/he may resist any suggestion of actually working on the relationship or getting help. They carry unresolved hurt and resentment and use it as a shield to keep from taking risks again and being vulnerable. They are alienated from the partner and the relationship and may believe that if you don’t feel “in love” you might as well pack it in.

What this couple does not know is that you can regain your sense of “being in love” again. That hot romantic feeling may or may not return, but the sense of connection, satisfaction, and tenderness can return. One of the main contributing factors to “falling out of love” is neglect. Time and energy gets spent everywhere but on the relationship and each other. They have stopped thinking and acting like a team. They have developed a pattern of unilateral problem solving where they deal with some joint issue separately, then get back together to try to “sell” their solution to the other partner.

No one feels heard. Everyone may feel neglected. The solution is in the description of the problem. To return to love, start to re-invest in the relationship. People change over time. It’s inevitable. Take the risks to share who are you with your spouse. Stay up all night talking like you used to do when you were first together. Go on dates. Buy thoughtful gifts for each other. Call; text; connect during the day. Try something new romantically.

The love probably is not really gone. It’s probably just lying beneath the hurt and neglect. It is also important to know that marriages go through developmental stages, just like human beings. Couples that have been together over a lifetime often report that they have “fallen in and out of love” several times.

If, and when this “falling out of love” happens in your relationship, don’t do anything rash that you may regret later. Get the help that you need to restore the love to your marriage.

Author's Bio: 

My counseling services as well as the educational information on my website are available to you. My website, a work in progress has numerous articles on “Marriage”, “Infidelity”, and “Communication”, as well as other pertinent topics to help restore the love in your marriage. Other informational resources on my website include a Recommended Readings page, a Links page, an “Ask Peggy-Conversations with an LMFT” column, Surveys, and a couples communication exercise, “The Honey Jar” is available for purchase and download. You may also sign up for a newsletter that will alert you to additional informational opportunities on this topic or others. Go to http:/peggyferguson.marriage-family.com

The information in this article (and on my website) is for educational/information purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment.

Dr. Peggy L. Ferguson, Ph.D., LADC, LMFT, Marriage/Family Therapist, Alcohol/Drug Counselor, Writer, Trainer, Consultant, provides professional counseling services in and around Stillwater, Oklahoma.