A reader asks, "Should I give her space or keep trying? She tells me she is no longer in love".
"My wife and I have been married for 20 years, have three children, and have been struggling with finances with the past few years. These past few years have been very hard on our marriage and my wife told me that she is unhappy and is no longer in love with me.
"She wants to separate and see if we miss each other enough to stay together. I've been advised by a counselor friend to leave and give her some space to breathe. I'm sure she is not having an affair but not clear why she no longer has feelings for me.
She says all the time, 'I love you but I am not in love with you.' Should I give her space or keep trying?"
One possible reason that your wife keeps saying, "I love you but I am not in love with you":
Money can cause tremendous anxiety in a relationship for women. It plays on their primal fear of not being protected. It might be worth exploring whether she had money issues growing up. While you may have felt shame during your financial crisis, this only increased her fear.
This theme is discussed in How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Pat Love and Steve Stosny. It is important to validate her fears.
Still not sure why she is no longer "in love" with you. Marriage requires commitment and the romance you may have felt in the beginning doesn't last. It is the years that you spend together that create real lasting love.
You write that she is not having an affair. Are there others that are influencing her to second guess the relationship? A lot of people have their peanut gallery of friends and family who put ideas in their head. This can often do the same type of damage that an affair can.
We talk at length about the damage that others can do to a marriage in Chapter 2 (Seal your Exits) of our book The 5 Step Action Plan to a Happy & Healthy Marriage and 3 (Detox your Marriage) of our self-help marriage counseling program.
Better that the two of you can talk about the issues together than have to go elsewhere for advice. You may want to check with an attorney about leaving. Even though your therapist friend thinks it's a good idea, you may hurt yourself in the future if she decides to pursue divorce.
Thinking of you,
Shlomo and Rivka Slatkin
P.S. We go into this topic at length in our book, please feel free to download the two *free* chapters that we offer of The 5 Step Action Plan to a Happy & Healthy Marriage here or take a look at our full marriage counseling at home program so that you will have a comprehensive set of tools to get through this.
P.P.S. If we can be of more help to you, please don't hesitate to contact us. We'd love to meet you in our Pikesville, Baltimore office or via Skype if you are not in Maryland.
This article was originally published at http://www.themarriagerestorationproject.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.