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.

Add New Comment:


What if I spent YEARS trying

What if I spent YEARS trying to keep the health of my marriage a priority and my spouse refused to do the same? I spent 8 years fighting hard for a healthy marriage, then I broke. And I mean, I begged him to spend time with me, to make our marriage a priority, to keep our connection strong. I even TOLD my spouse I was thinking of cheating after all those years of fighting hard for our marriage...he did nothing. Then I told him I was going to cheat, he did nothing. Then I told him I cheated, he did nothing. It wasn't until I told him I cheated AGAIN and wanted a divorce, that he started to dial in. THOSE are the reasons I no longer feel "in love" with him. And now my therapist tells me that "sometimes it takes a crisis for people to change". Well, I don't WANT to be in this marriage anymore - how do you change what you want? I'm only still here b/c of our son. Am I supposed to make myself want something I don't? In a perfect world, I want my family together, but i don't want to work anymore on this marriage. And I feel guilty about that because now my husband is finally willing to participate. Isn't there a point when it's just too late? I don't want to suffer for more years trying to fix this. I feel tapped out.


that's a tough situation. it is true that many times it takes a crisis to wake someone up, or it takes devastation to create a sense of urgency in the marriage. however, we don't know if he wants the marriage now due to his own pride being wounded and NOW he's not wanting to live with the fact that he's going to be left due to his own inadequacy.....know what i mean? he may be feeling that way. he also may in fact, want the marriage as there has been an awakening inside of him. i will tell you this though, in no uncertain terms for him to want to try and save the marriage when you have cheated twice, either he is really genuine and wanting to save what he's aware that he's about to lose, or he's dealing with some pride or what have you....like i mentioned above.
there's not any other way to really truly know if you should stay and at the very least, 'give it a shot' without getting expert help involved. and i mean, expert, whose been through infidelity before and knows what it's like to be where you're at.
it's not about making you want what you don't want, as much as it's about getting to the truth of why he wants to save the marriage and why you may or may not be open to it. i'm quite sure you dont want what you had: him being disconnected, not caring, not pursuing you, not being intentional and not responding to your efforts to wake him the heck up. i know you don't want that. and i'm sure he doesn't want that. however, though you don't want it, it's exactly what will happen if you go back to it all without the right kind of help getting involved who can disect what is going on inside of him and what is going on inside of you. if you both are genuine, then i think it is in fact possible, not to get the old marriage back, as who wants that, but it is possible to find a new marriage which is restored and renewed and very very different than what you had. i tell people in similar situations like yours that no one wants to go back to what you had....it's about finding new hope and new intimacy. it will not be easy and not be overnight, however, for the sake of your son it is possible. when we first launched out into recovery, it was FOR THE KIDS. that was the main reason we started, but not the reason we stayed. it was the original impetus if you will, but just on the front end. we sought help from Rick and the ems weekend for the kids, but what kept us together even now, 8 years later, is the fact that we got the right kind of help and she was able to forgive me, i was able to forgive her, and we both were able to experience change, understanding and genuine transformation. sometimes the change we want is through crisis and through upheaval and though we'd like it to have been through some o ther way, the fact is, it was the way that happened and it was the very way our lives were changed and saved. you'd never know we'd been through what we've been through, however, we both love our marriage and are both so glad we found healing.
finally, it's too late when one is no longer willing to try. at this point, it's not necessarily about 'lets go save the marriage.' it's more about, lets get expert help, and SEE if we can save the marriage and that it's even worth saving. if he is not going to change, then it's not worth it. i'd move on for sure. and if you're not willing to own what you did, then i'd (if i were him) move on from you as you wouldn't be considered safe in any regard. statistically you're guaranteed to have another affair in the next 5 years anyway, unless you get the right kind of help and recovery in place. so there are two sides to this sort of recovery process. what else can i answer for you and I sure hope that helps you. i'm all ears for you if you'd like to continue.

Cultural Myths

It's a myth that there are marital issues that push people to have affairs in each and every case. I'm sure that's true in some cases, but not all. Since monogamy is the standard, society tends to believe that since a spouse is meant to be everything to their spouse (lover, best friend, confidant); therefore, if an affair happens, it's the fault of the hurt spouse or the marriage was ailing. Most people have the ability to romantically love more than one person at a time. Choosing emotional/physical monogamy doesn't change that. You're simply choosing to direct all of your romantic efforts and energies toward one person. In order to maintain the integrity of your marriage, talk about what your boundaries are with other people-especially the opposite sex. Affairs happen because we slide across boundaries with others and allow an intimacy to develop with another person. It happens through a twist of logic and faulty justifications in our minds. It is possible to love your spouse and be happy in your marriage, but find another person interesting and-due to a lack of boundaries and self awareness-develop an attachment and fondness for someone else. The ability to love more than one person doesn't disappear because you choose to be monogamous in all ways. That's why boundaries are essential. Society has such a hard time fathoming this.

What type of affair was it?

Our free Affair Analyzer provides you with insights about your unique situation and gives you a personalized plan of action.
Take the Affair Analyzer

Free Surviving Infidelity Bootcamp

Our experts designed this step-by-step guide to help you survive infidelity. Be intentional with your healing with this free 7-day bootcamp.
I would highly recommend giving this a try.
-D, Texas