“I’m no longer in love with my spouse…Now what?”

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“I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.
— M. Scott Peck

Disconnection

What one usually means when they say, “I don’t love him anymore” is really that they are in a cycle of negative interactions with their spouse and they don’t know how to correct it. The fear and shame of disconnection can feel overwhelming in these cycles. The reality for married couples is that emotional connection is at the core of a healthy relationship. Furthermore, every relationship will inevitably encounter moments of disconnection. Sometimes these moments extend into a cycle which can feel defeating in a relationship. When you go through a cycle like this it does not mean you are no longer in love. It means your relationship is normal, but in need of some help. Attending to these moments or cycles of disconnection is key in building a healthy relationship.

Self Protection

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
— Robert A. Heinlein

Most of us have a relational style that include modes of self protection. This can include some damaging tactics such as withdrawal, badgering, defensiveness, attacking etc. It’s important to identify how we typically protect ourselves when we’re faced with moments of disconnection within our relationships. If we don’t confront these maladaptive efforts of self protection, they will inevitably have an impact on our spouse and lead to a negative cycle of disconnection. It’s nearly impossible to give when we’re in a self protective mode, and because love is about giving to the other person, it will be nearly impossible to actively love them.

Taking the First step

So what should you do if you’re in a negative cycle with your spouse? Because it’s not possible to handle the entirety of a cycle at once you must be aware of the moments in a cycle when disconnection happens. A good Emotionally Focused therapist can help you with this. Once you become aware of disconnection for you and your spouse the option to choose another path becomes possible.

~ Josh Grover MA, LMHC