The Man I Was Married To For 15 Years Told Me He Didn’t Love Me Anymore

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Author finding her power post divorce

“I don’t think I love you anymore. I don’t think I want to be married anymore. I don’t think I want to have children,” my husband said before he knelt and asked with complete honesty, “When was the last time I said I love you and meant it?”

As I stared into his enormous eyes, all I could think was: Is he really asking me this? Does he not know? Dear God ... do I know? When was the last time he meant it? Have I been asleep? When did love leave our marriage and how could I have missed it?

After hearing his words, I kicked into high gear, doing all I could to save the marriage.

I tried to convince him to stay. I called his family and close friends begging them to plead on my behalf. I found a couple’s therapist and started going. I called his girlfriend and told her to never speak to him again, and called the man I was having an affair with and told him we were done. I even crawled under the pullout couch he was sleeping on stating I wouldn’t come out until he promised to stay.

Nothing was working. It was falling apart and I couldn’t stop it.

And, everything did fall apart over the next six weeks. After a traumatic final couple’s therapy session where my husband just talked about how amazing his girlfriend was and proposed a six-month trial separation so he could try out the new relationship, I hit my breaking point and told him I wanted a divorce.

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We exited the therapist’s office and I told him to go home and pack his bags. He walked to the subway and I started walking in the opposite direction, as my whole body went into shock. What had I just done? I was walking, but I could barely feel my feet and called my mother in hysterics. She pleaded with me to turn around and go back to the therapist’s office, so I did.

When I arrived back at her door, she looked at me with compassion and offered me the couch, this time by myself. I sat down and everything just poured out of me. All my anger, all the ways I had been trying to save my marriage, and all of my confusion and panic about what the future held.

She looked at me and said, “You must be exhausted.”

That stopped me cold. She was naming this feeling I had in my body. A feeling I actually had in our marriage for years but didn’t understand. Looking at the immense amount of energy I had expended, I realized I was completely depleted. How long had I been fighting for my marriage? Or perhaps, the better question was, how long had I been fighting with myself to stay in my marriage?

My husband was asking for a separation, but I wanted a divorce.

The therapist offered to start seeing me individually and I was so grateful for each visit.

I began to unpack my exhaustion and look at my actions over the last fifteen years. I saw how I was a constant cheerleader for my husband. I saw that no matter how talented he was, we had very different aspirations for our careers. I saw how even though we had been trying to get pregnant for a year and a half, he was never excited about becoming a father. I saw my dreams of being successful, having a loving family, and constantly growing were in complete opposition to his slower pace and desire to be the “cool uncle” who never changes.

While I thought we were on the same page — it was now apparent we weren’t.

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“Passivity is an action,” my therapist said. “The person is actually saying no,” and I realized my husband had been saying “no” to me for years. I was in my late thirties, and I wanted to have a family but was terrified I would just marry another version of my ex.

So, I vowed to heal this exhaustion and learn what it felt like to be with a man who would say “yes” to my dreams.

I worked with a love coach who posed the question, “How will you feel in your body when you are with your man?” Since I remembered how I felt all those years of trying so hard in my marriage and just exhausting myself, I closed my eyes and imagined the opposite. If I wasn’t trying hard to change my man or convince him, then what did that leave me with?

I realized I would feel relaxed, open, and confident. I would feel available to receive love.

As I entered the crazy world of dating for the first time in my life, I would practice feeling this way in front of my dates, and I would pay a lot of attention to how I felt in my body around them.

It was super awkward at first, but my dream of a family and what I wanted in partnership kept me going. If I felt like I needed to change the man, I would stop dating him. If I was feeling really exhausted after seeing him, I would move on.

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I dated a lot of men and kept practicing for several years, until one day, I had a first date with a blue-eyed man who greeted me with a big smile. After walking through a botanical garden and museum, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and I checked in with my body and felt something new for the first time on a date. I felt relaxed.

That would be the last first date of my life and in the next year, we would marry, all with the shared vision of creating a family, which we did in the coming years.

When I was immersed in the dating world, one of the hot topics was “the unavailable male.” I would read articles, listen to podcasts, and hear experts speak on this ad nauseam.

What I learned was that “unavailable” meant the person was saying “no” to what I wanted. They ultimately wanted different things in life, and we were not on the same page. And most importantly, I could feel this in my body. My body sent signals of what availability and unavailability felt like. Unavailability felt tense and depleting and availability was open and relaxed.

My body had been trying to tell me for years in my marriage that we were not on the same page. It wasn’t just my ex who was saying “no,” I was too.

I didn’t feel relaxed and open. Neither of us was available, which is probably why we both cheated on each other. And definitely why our relationship ended. My ex didn’t fight me when I asked for a divorce. Instead, he moved forward in his life and completely stopped speaking to me. I imagine on some level, he finally relaxed too.

We actually have so much wisdom within us. Our bodies are always communicating where we actually are. What if the feelings of tension and depletion are really just sacred nudges to look elsewhere? What if your body is always pointing you toward love?

As I learned, being relaxed would be the invitation to the partnership I had always desired. It didn’t need to be forced or based on changing another person. I could finally learn what it meant to be available to love and be in the company of someone who was on the same page.

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Nikól Rogers is a speaker, writer, and empowerment coach who helps people reclaim their confidence, expand their perfect audience, and bring their fearless vision to life. She has taught her ZenRed Method globally, which teaches you how to re-frame how you think, feel, and act from a place of power, rather than from fear or limiting beliefs. Her work is greatly influenced by her Zen practice, Qi Gong, Nonviolent Communication, and her decades of experience as an Artist. Her new book is called 13: One Woman's Sacred Journey to Discovering Her Greatest Power (Zenred / November 2, 2023 / $13.99).