When Your Spouse Says I Never Really Loved You

“I NeverI never loved you Loved You.”

If your spouse has said this to you, I’m sorry.  It is incredibly painful to hear. 

At one point I said this in my own marriage, and my husband still remembers how it made him feel all these years later. 

Those words devastated him. 

He just couldn’t wrap his brain around them.  How could I say them? What if they were true? Was our entire life together, up to that point, a lie?

Here is the really strange thing:  I absolutely meant it when I said those words to him. 

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how our marriage got to such a low point. 

I felt nothing for him but contempt. 

I was so angry, and then I was just so defeated I felt nothing at all, which was worse in so many ways.  I felt this anger and then this apathy for so long I couldn’t remember ever feeling love. 

I remembered our wedding, but the memory became duller.  The colors were less vivid – the day less joyful.

The “I Never Really Loved You” Syndrome is Clinically Studied and Personally Proven – by me.

John Gottman has research that shows if you feel negatively about someone long enough, something happens in the brain to literally change your memories of that person.  He calls it “negative sentiment override”.  As a clinician, that is fascinating and a little unbelievable.  But I’m telling you, when it happens TO you, it is mind blowing. 

I’m a rational person.  I make big decisions every day with my business.  I know my own mind and thoughts. 

And yet, I was deluded into thinking I never really loved my husband.  I thank God every day I came to my senses. 

It took several key factors for me to be able to come back to reality. 

I’ve listed them here for you so that if your spouse has told you this, you can at least have some guideline to help you get through this.

“Drop the Rope”

The more my husband fought me on my feelings, the more determined I became in making them real. 

When my husband believed me and stopped pressuring me to see things his way or explain how I could feel these things, I was able to take a step back and breathe. 

We call this technique “drop the rope.” When my husband quit telling me he loved me every day, I was able to stop squirming and feeling so uncomfortable around him every minute.  I knew he loved me.  But when he would say it often, it would make me feel itchy.  I just wanted him to go away. 

When he pulled back, I stopped dreading being around him. 

For months we lived as roommates but I was no longer avoiding and running from him.  Over time, things just got easier, and one day I felt myself wanting to be with him.  It was confusing!  But I could explore those feelings without any threat because he wasn’t pressuring me. 

I didn’t feel pushed to make a decision about divorce or reconciliation. 

Honestly, I don’t know how my husband was able to emotionally stand this time.  It was so hard for him to just wait for months to see if I could possibly want to be married again.  He was so lonely and hurt.  I was so self-absorbed and distant.  Now, I want to shake myself and say, “you selfish little twit” but during that time, I was not in my right mind.  My husband’s patience allowed me time to work it out and come to my senses. 

He never pressured me for sex.  Which is good. 

I’m sure that would have sent me to the guest room or to an apartment.  He created a very safe environment for me.

He didn’t let me treat him badly or rudely. 

He stood up for himself appropriately.  If he had allowed me take advantage of the situation by letting me have my way all the time, or talking ugly to him I would have lost all respect for him. 

When I was really angry I would lash out at him, and he would calmly tell me that I could live there with him and have all the space I needed to figure things out, but I could not be abusive. 

He told me I had to clean it up or move out.  Wow!  That took courage.  But it also made me look at him in a different way.  It made him more attractive to me. 

I was a complete fool during that awful time in our marriage.  But I eventually did come to my senses and I’m hoping your spouse will also.  In the meantime, you have to know how to give your spouse space but maintain your dignity and respect at the same time. 

What Doesn’t Work

There is a popular program out there that gives really bad advice to people in this situation.  They tell you to buy your spouse gifts and write them cards every day.  I’m telling you, this would have made things much worse for us.  I would have felt suffocated.  I would have felt pity for my husband and his pathetic attempts to win me back.  I would have left him.

Our Trained Coaches Can Help

Our coaches are trained in techniques like “drop the rope” and “yank the chain”. They kind of sound like torture devices!  But our techniques can really work if you know when and how to use them.  Our coaches get relationship training from the top experts in this country and we meet weekly to train and stay up-to-date on the latest research. 

Look, you are in a tough spot.  It can be confusing to know where to turn for advice.  Make sure you work with someone who knows what they are doing.  When I opened a new business, I hired a business coach.  I wanted to avoid costly mistakes.  Be smart about your relationship.  Hire a good marriage coach and work with them regularly. 

Your life is worth this investment.  Your family is worth fighting for. 

We can help you navigate through the next several months.  I won’t lie.  This is going to be difficult.  So make sure you get all the help and support you need. 

Call us at 972-441-4432 or send us an email here.

In the meantime, take care of yourself.  Find things you enjoy and indulge.  You need some self-love right now. If I could, I would give you a big hug and some chocolate.  It always makes me feel better. ☺


Kim

Transform your life: Our New Breaking Free Workshop

Breaking Free Workshop (2)Do you frequently feel anxious or depressed?

Do you struggle with anger and resentment?

Does your life feel unreasonably hard or unmanageable?

At The Marriage Place, we have discovered that traditional talk therapy alone doesn’t always help couples improve their relationship. Sometimes, you have to go deeper and look at how childhood experiences have shaped the way you view yourself and the world.

Breaking Free From Our Pasts

Many people were never taught the skills they need to learn how to be in functional, healthy relationships with themselves. As a result, they look to other people to help them feel whole and happy. Invariably, those relationships don’t work in the long term because happiness comes from within us.

Maya Angelou said “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’…There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

We cannot love someone else in a mature way if we don’t love ourselves. Our partners cannot fill the emptiness that comes from not loving ourselves.

If we don’t have a good sense of who we are and what we need, we try to get this validation from others.

Certain Patterns Create Chaos

All this wanting and needing creates patterns of chaos that are often unbearably painful to endure. These patterns include frequent arguing and fighting, control issues and a combination of clinging and abandoning behaviors. We do all of these things in an attempt to get the love we need. Oftentimes, other elements are added in to alleviate the misery of feeling so unhappy.

Those other elements might include:

  • Drugs & alcohol
  • Pornography
  • Affairs (emotional & physical)
  • Gaming and computer time
  • Shopping
  • Gambling
  • Food Addictions
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts

Once these elements are added, life can get completely out of control very quickly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can learn how to live your life in a way that empowers you to love and be loved by others–functionally, with maturity and grace.

You can overcome feelings of shame and worthlessness.

You can learn how to live authentically without hiding behind walls and masks.

You can control your anger so others aren’t intimidated by you.

About the Breaking Free Workshop

The Marriage Place is now offering a three-day intensive we call the Breaking Free Workshop. We call it that because our clients who have gone through this tell us they feel they have broken free of childhood wounds that have caused them to feel stuck, insecure and uncertain about themselves.

Here are some of the situations of clients who have benefited the most from our workshop.

(Names have been changed for privacy. )

Jerry is often angry and defensive.

His wife and kids walk on eggshells around him, but he just thinks they are overly sensitive. After the workshop, Jerry has a clear understanding of where all his anger comes from and exactly how it affects his family today.

He is now working on making amends to his family and is showing up very differently in his marriage.

Sam feels alone in his marriage.

His wife is very opinionated, and Sam often gives in to avoid an argument. He just doesn’t feel it’s worth it to say how he feels or what he wants. But this silence has created a sense of deadness in his marriage, and his wife feels alone. She wants Sam to participate in their life together and to be more present.

Sam came to the Breaking Free Workshop to learn why he struggles with asking for what he needs. He realized his parents had a lot of big worries to deal with because one of his siblings had physical challenges. Sam felt selfish for needing any attention or help. He learned how to be needless and without wants so he wouldn’t be a burden to anyone else. Now Sam is learning how to speak up for himself. He knows now that healthy relationships have appropriate levels of giving and taking.

Marcia apologizes for everything.

She is always worried that she has upset someone or done something wrong. Her anxiety keeps her up at night as she ruminates on the day and all the things she wishes she had said or done differently. Marcia’s husband and kids don’t treat her very well. She just wants to make everyone happy, but it seems no one is happy with her and she doesn’t understand why. She feels defective and broken. Marcia’s mother could be extremely critical and sometimes cruel.

Marcia learned that she needed to earn love and approval, and she has been following that template her whole life. Now she is learning how to love herself. She is learning when and how to say “no” to those who are taking advantage of her.

Amy struggles with depression and feelings of suicide.

She has tried a number of medications and therapy, but nothing seems to work very well. In her darkest moments, she hates herself. She feels broken and defective. Amy grew up in a home where she was frequently shamed and criticized. She internalized those messages until they became part of her self narrative.

After attending the workshop, Amy knows the shame she feels isn’t her hers to carry any longer. She was able to give back those feelings of worthlessness to the people who passed them along to her. Today, she is doing so much better and feels more hopeful about her future. Even her family and co-workers have noticed a “lightness” about her.

Do you resonate with any of these stories?

We all carry messages we were given as children into our adult lives. These messages become internalized and form the lens with which we view the world and ourselves. If that lens is distorted, we often go through life with an emotional limp.

Our workshop will help you break free from those distortions and see yourself authentically. Once you change your narrative, hang on for a wild ride – your life with endless possibilities!

For more information on our Breaking Free Workshop, click here, Or contact us here to sign up today!