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My husband says he loves me but is not in love with me

(180 Posts)
cath1969 Sat 04-Jul-15 12:12:56

Two weeks ago my husband told me he loved me but wasn't in love with me anymore.

I felt immediately there was an OW. Over the next few days of talking to him I gradually discovered that he had been interested in someone who he had got close to and kissed. He says that they didn't have sex as he literally couldn't do that to me. He was racked with guilt and spoke of how he didn't know who he was anymore. How he was not a cheater and that he hated/dispised himself and needed time away to sort his head out. He swears that he has ended it with her - that it never really began and called her 'irreleant'. He went to his dad's.

We've been together almost 25 years and married for 19 of those. We have two children age 6 and 11. During our time together we have had our fair share of stresses and strains - business problems that have resulted in financial issues/infertility issues and subsequently going through the adoption process (twice)/he lost his mum/my mum had a devastating stroke.

I know that especially the last year or so I have been undemonstrative and not been as intimate as we were once but I foolishly thought that was just part of being so busy with life and at some point things would improve - that our marriage was strong enough to take the rut that we'd found ourselves in and that things would get better. I know that I gave so much of myself to the children and that there was very little left for him.

He comes sparodically to see our children and we have made time to talk late into the night before he returns to his dad's. I have been honest about the fact that I played a part in all this. I acknowledged that I had been distant/not affectionate/tired and moody with him and that I had been stuck in rut which I have now been catapaulted out of and never want to go back there again. He has admitted that he should have spoken to me sooner and that he now knows that would have been enough for me to make changes if I thought he was even considering not being with me anymore.

I've explained how life would be for us if he chose to return and thought he would jump at the chance to be with the 'old'/new improved me. Instead he has said that even with changes, he doesn't know if he'll ever feel the same way about me again and needs more time to think.

I cannot believe that he would even consider being on his own/a part-time father rather than giving it another go with a woman who clearly loves him enough to forgive him/share the blame for what has gone wrong in our marriage.

Vivacia Sat 04-Jul-15 12:22:06

I cannot believe that he would even consider being on his own/a part-time father rather than giving it another go with a woman who clearly loves him enough to forgive him/share the blame for what has gone wrong in our marriage.

I think that this sounds a very sad and difficult situation for you both. But he's being honest with you, and can not conjure up feelings he doesn't have. It also wouldn't be right for you to be trapped in a dishonest relationship with someone who doesn't love you.

Milllii Sat 04-Jul-15 12:22:38

Sorry your going through this. I would say that he is still seeing this woman and that is the reason he didn't jump to come home. He finds himself not in love with you because he feels in love with her. That feeling has caused him to reassess everything. I'm sorry but I feel that there is much more going on.sad

fhdl34 Sat 04-Jul-15 12:25:15

Would he/you consider counselling?

temporarilyjerry Sat 04-Jul-15 12:32:04

Having had that conversation, it may be time to give him the space he's asked for. I'd advise you go out when he comes to see the children or he could take them out. Don't be available for talks into the night. He needs to see the children regularly at predetermined times, not sporadically. Don't do the 'pick me' dance, OP. Good luck.

Beachcomber Sat 04-Jul-15 12:32:39

Sorry you are going through this.

You say that 'he would jump at the chance to be with the 'old'/new improved me.'.

Mmm, that is big of him.

What about him? What effort does he intend to make? After all it is him that has strayed/been tempted, not you.

What does he intend to do to improve things and get back on track? Has he considered that you might not be able to get the love back after he has been with someone else?

Does he do his fair share with the children/house etc?

I agree with you that a marriage should be strong enough to weather periods when one or both partners are tired/taken up with other things/not intimate or demonstrative for a while. I would be asking him what his 'attention span' is for your marriage to be frank. Is he needy?

Vivacia Sat 04-Jul-15 13:00:20

*You say that 'he would jump at the chance to be with the 'old'/new improved me.'.

That's how I read it first, but what she said is different.

Milllii Sat 04-Jul-15 13:19:46

OP thought he would jump at the chance to be with the new/old her.

If he was very unhappy in the relationship then it would take time before he himself would notice any changes in you.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sat 04-Jul-15 13:21:12

It sounds like it is already over, sorry. flowers
He is seeing someone else and has moved out. That is the reality...proceed from there. And no, it isn't your fault...he chose to do this.

I agree with pp who said don't do the "pick me dance". You also don't want to be his fall back option.

Perhaps you should go ahead and file for divorce, legally structure child visitation and maintenance. That may clarify his feelings. If it doesn't, then it is still best for you as you would not be caught in an awful state of limbo (as well as the children's disappointment wondering when they might see him again).

worserevived Sat 04-Jul-15 13:23:03

Having been in a very similar situation I would say that he has done an awful lot more than just kiss her, and she is still very much in the picture. He's hedging his bets, waiting for you to jump through hoops while he decides who he wants.

Don't give him the satisfaction. Pull the rug from under him, tell him you are worth so much more than this, and if he can't see that then you don't want him and watch him come crawling back

Probably not what you want to hear.

CrispyFern Sat 04-Jul-15 13:27:18

He doesn't think his other option is to be on his own, as I imagine he is still seeing the OW. I'm sorry.

Annie34 Sat 04-Jul-15 13:30:19

I've been in a very similar situation to you. I know at the moment you will want to do anything to try and get him to come home but as other posters have said he is probably involved with OW and is probably hedging his bets. As hard as it is don't let yourself get stuck in limbo whilst you wait for him to decide who he wants to be with, it's awful and don't do the pick me dance. The best thing for you to do would be to try and get on with things as much as you can for you and your DC's and keep your distance from him as much as you possibly can.

morethanpotatoprints Sat 04-Jul-15 13:33:21

I too think there is more to it OP and believe the time away would have made him realise his feelings towards you before now.
The ow is clearly still in the picture, even if they haven't moved in together or accelerated a relationship.
Pulling the rug from under him will no doubt make his mind up for him, better for you all in the long run.
No more late night chats or doing anything to consider his feelings, you need to treat him like you would an ex.
So orry you are going through this. thanks

Dowser Sat 04-Jul-15 14:06:36

Been there. Had the exact same words sent to me. He denied there was an ow for 10 horrible tear filled, angst ridden months while I tried to improve onthe old me.

At least yours has half admitted to some philandering ...mine didn't.

Soooo, what to do now. Take advantage and control of the situation.

Like I should have done if ihad some of the facts.

My life went into limbo for 10 months while he played happy families with me and our toddler grandson who lived with us before going off for his shag.

See a solicitor and start divorce proceedings. Don't wait until he turns nasty like mine did.

As a pp said it will either bring him to his senses or you will be in a stronger position to negotiate what sort of settlement you want .

So sorry to hear that. I was 30 years married when the shtf and 34 years after we divorced.

Rebecca2014 Sat 04-Jul-15 14:16:07

He left you so he could pursue this other woman, I am sure he feels better about himself as he did not physically cheat on you while you were still together.

Sorry you are going through this but time is an great healer.

cath1969 Sat 04-Jul-15 14:25:19

Thank you everyone. I cannot describe the devastation, fear and utter panic when the man you have loved for 25 of your 46 years tells you he is not in love with you anymore. If I could go back and talk to myself, I would tell myself to never stop holding him/touching him/telling him I love him/telling him what an amazing husband and father he is/telling him how lucky I was to have him. I cannot turn back the clock and my actions have cost me the man I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with and created a broken home for my two children. Whether or not the OW is still in the picture (he has sworn on our children's lives she is not) he would never have looked at anyone else if I had not withdrawn. I feel now looking back I was in a bit of a depression - I'd gained a little weight and was very lethargic and just didn't feel I had the energy to give him all the attention he needed/was used to. I am a very strong person and I know life will go on etc but it's not going to be the life I thought/wanted for the four of us which I am finding hard to absorb.

gamerchick Sat 04-Jul-15 14:34:33

Stop blaming yourself.. Your husband is off dipping his wick in something new and exciting while keeping you on the back burner to return to.. Someone who is grateful he's returned while you bend over backwards to accommodate his feelings and needs.

He's a cock and he's treating you badly.

Take the control back.. Tell him there's no going back and it's time to formally seperate.

It's the only way you'll start to heal but you really need to stop beating yourself up.

cath1969 Sat 04-Jul-15 14:49:22

Does anyone else think 2 weeks is a bit soon to start taking about divorce? I am obsessed with other couples I have heard about who have weathered an affair etc and are now together and happier than ever. What if people had advised them after 2 weeks to formally separate?

HootyMcTooty Sat 04-Jul-15 15:01:52

I think 2 weeks is too soon to be spending money on solicitors if you want a reconciliation. However, I agree with others that you shouldn't be making yourself available to him. Set up a regular access to the DC and maintenance payments, he still has responsibilities.

Fwiw, I wouldn't be at all surprised if he has slept with her, he'll have told you the absolute minimum he thinks he can get away with. IME people who swear on other people's lives are lying. Sorry, but I don't think you have the full picture here.

He is probably in touch with her, and is probably enjoying having two women begging for him, don't allow yourself to be that woman and stop blaming yourself. Plenty of marriages go through low patches, he could have worked at improving the marriage, instead he went elsewhere, that decision is on him not you.

Vivacia Sat 04-Jul-15 15:04:26

I think that it is possible to weather this storm, but the only way to do that (if possible) in my opinion is to do the opposite of the Pick Me Dance. Take him at his word and make moves to separate. Show him what life will be like if he leaves you (formal, civil but not friendly and separate).

If you try to chase him and attract him back you will lose your dignity and his respect. Your very actions to attract him will actually repel him. Be the strong, capable and independent woman that you can be. Show him that you don't need him.

Vivacia Sat 04-Jul-15 15:05:36

(And for what it's worth I think it's perfectly possible that he's not lying about not being in touch with her. He might well be in shock about his own choices).

Milllii Sat 04-Jul-15 15:08:06

I think that appearing to detach from him and appear strong and telling him that as he feels nothing that you are now over and he is to stop dropping in whenever he feels like it is what people are advising. By showing/shocking him into waking up and seeing that he could lose you is a good step. He shouldn't see you as just waiting for him. If you want him to see the new you then start being her. Yes many women in your situation have turned things around and gone on to have a better relationship with the husband falling back in love with their wives. It's a long road though.

BloodontheTracks Sat 04-Jul-15 15:16:41

You are tremendously disempowered in this situation and it must be awful for you. I am so sorry.

The reality is that yes he has moved out probably because he has been engaged in an affair with this woman and is minimising the extent of it so as not to 'hurt' you. Yes it does not make sense he would choose to do this otherwise. I would suggest that you get to the truth in order to decide what it is you really want to do.

You are in danger of being made to feel that you have been a bad partner and driven him away when the reality is that he has fallen for someone else and it trying to extricate himself from him marriage with the best possible, most flattering view of himself. Alternatively and alongside, he will also be seeing if you 'fight for him' and make it worth his while to choose you over the OW in the meantime by being more attentive, sexual and malleable. This will lead to an erosion of your own self-respect and, if he has fallen in love with OW, will be pointless anyway since he won't give her up unless forced.

You are in a very vulnerable position and you need to understand that you will not be hearing the full truth from him yet and you need to surround yourself with real life friend and supporters to get through this. I would also consider talking to the OW to burst this bubble. You taking full responsibility for the affair is not going to help. You are being forced into the pick me dance and you are basically 'pitching' to your unfaithful husband the advantages of being with you. You are worth more than that.

BloodontheTracks Sat 04-Jul-15 15:22:44

You were in a depression because your partner was having an affair. Not the other way around. As many people have said before me, people don't cheat because they are not getting enough from the relationship, often they cheat because they are not GIVING ENOUGH to the relationship. We innately value those things that we are most invested in. When people aren't that invested, they value something less, and they treat it poorly. I would sit down and think hard about how much your partner has been giving to you over this last year.

And swearing on children's lives? Heard it a million times. I'm afraid. Cheaters learn from loss and consequence. You know what they learn? No one actually comes round and kills the kids.

purplesprings Sat 04-Jul-15 15:29:44

Start building an independent life for yourself. Use him as a babysitter while you do some activities that you'be either stopped doing because of the dc, dh not being interested in or ones that you've always fancied. (This doesn't include dating other people ) You'll get a new sense of self, some self confidence and more enjoyment out of life.

That'll give dh a wake-up call and you avoid the pick me dance. If he does start talking about getting back together you'll have a better idea whether that's still what you want.

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