I Love You; I’m Just Not IN LOVE With You How many betrayed spouses have I heard recite their unfaithful spouse’s new mantra, or as some would call it, their “get out of jail free card.” Known lately as the mantra of ambivalence and indifference, “I love you, I’m just not IN LOVE with you,” is one of the most hurtful yet equally ludicrous statements a person can make. When you claim that you love someone, but are not in love with them, you reveal your immaturity and your deception about what love is. Real live adult love is when you choose to love someone long after the infatuation and child-like fantasy love fades. It’s when you choose to act in the best interest of another and not just yourself. True love is to remain committed to the choice you made years prior when you were just as ‘in love’ with your spouse as you allegedly are now with your affair partner. True love means understanding people change and no one just wakes up having grown distant from their spouse and had an affair. No one just wakes up and ruins their life. There is a progression, and though the unfaithful would like to say the progression was their spouse changing over time, usually it’s the unfaithful spouse who has changed over time and finally cannot resist the lust and enticement of an affair partner due to feeling inadequate, empty, or unfulfilled. We all change. We all go through a time of metamorphosis, and let’s face it; life gets in the way of romance, passion and our own responsibility to manage our life while married. I’m not saying that spouses do not change over time, and that spouses do not fade away from commitments they made early on. However, to think an unfaithful spouse simply claims falling out of love as an excuse to wreak havoc upon another human being (not to mention their children) is not only heartless, but is indicative of their own shame and confusion. Unfortunately, the affair partner has often put these very words in the mind of the unfaithful spouse as a passive aggressive weapon against the betrayed spouse. Time after time the new found romance and passion replaces the long term committed love, and the adult you were married too is suddenly more like a child throwing a tantrum to get what they want. Some unfaithful spouses over the years have opened up and admitted to me that it was easier to blame their spouse for their affair, when in reality the unfaithful spouse felt a very high level of shame for allowing their marriage to end up where it did. Blame is easier to focus on than shame. If there is any way to make this someone else’s fault and allow myself to be the victim I will jump on board that train in a heartbeat. They knew they should have gotten help earlier. Or they should have been aware enough to see how the tide was changing and intervened. They didn’t, now they don’t like what their marriage has become, forgetting that a marriage has two parties. Just as much as their spouse has changed (for the negative), they too have changed. While there may be a few exceptions, one has to own up to the idea that over time we digress. If we are not intentional about our marriage and our relationships, they instinctively decay. I’ve heard Rick say you have to work for progress, when you stand still you’re actually sliding backwards. Kids, mortgage payments and day-to-day stressors simply get in the way of romance, passion, and even friendship if we do not have the right perspective and understanding of what real life is all about. No life ever backslides enough to justify having an affair. But if we want to heal or if we want clarity for our own life, we need to be able to look back and answer the question, “How did we get here?” “I love you, I’m just not in love with you,” is a crock. It’s also one of those contradictory statements. The reality is, if you love me, then you’d act in my best interest and help me heal rather than ripping my heart out at every turn. It’s a weapon of justifying an affair and trying feel better about ourselves, though there is little to no mature truth behind the statement. Healing from infidelity requires both parties to own up to what seems like a sea of bad choices and mistakes. I would like you to consider the possibility though, that many times we sit back and allow our marriage to change, and we do nothing to turn the ship. Instead of fighting the tide and giving everything we’ve got to stay on course, we choose to have an affair. It won’t heal us. It won’t make things better. It’s like a drug that promises to please, but only enslaves and dominates our lives, leaving a trail of broken hearts, lives and commitments.