Has Your Spouse Said They Never Really Loved You?

Has your spouse told you he/she never really loved you?  Have you heard him/her tell you they feel they settled for something less when they got married or they felt pressure to marry when they shouldn’t have?

These are certainly harsh and scary words to hear from the person with whom you expected to be married to forever.  You are probably confused and hurt.  But it doesn’t necessarily mean the marriage is over.  It doesn’t even mean your spouse doesn’t love you and it certainly doesn’t mean they never did.  Let me explain.

When someone has been unhappy for months or years in a relationship, the lens in which they view the relationship and their partner gets distorted.  Research shows that even our memories change.  When your spouse tells you they never loved you, they believe it.  But it doesn’t mean it is true. It is rare for someone to marry without feeling love for the other person.  They may have had doubts or fears (which is normal) but they did feel love in the beginning.  Dr. John Gottman calls this phenomenon, Negative Sentiment Override.  Eventually, the unhappy person can’t see or acknowledge anything positive about the relationship.  Eventually they are convinced they never loved enough or in the correct way.

I experienced this with my house.  My husband and I bought what we thought was our dream house.  From the very first day we moved in, our dream house proved to be a nightmare.  Four years later I hated the house and I couldn’t remember what I thought was so special or charming about it. Friends would tell me what a great house it was but all I could see were the problems.  I actually still live in the house and I still struggle with a love/hate relationship.  It’s getting better every day but at least now I can remember what first attracted me to the house.  I’m in the process of moving away from Negative Sentiment Override.

When your spouse says they never loved you or they settled for less when they married you, they are expressing months or years of unhappiness and feelings of hopelessness.  It is a protection mechanism that allows them to begin to disengage without feeling too much guilt.  Disengaging gives them hope they will be happy again.

Part of what we do at The Marriage Place and Engage With Love is help you begin to make yourself emotionally attractive to your spouse again.  Until this happens, your spouse will not see hope the relationship can be healed or believe they can be happy with you.  Hope is the key here!  It is likely you have made promises to change things in the past and have not been able to sustain those changes.  Each time you reverted back to old behaviors, your spouse lost hope and incentive to stay in the marriage.  Your actions now are way more important than your words.  That’s why it is so important to start changing your behavior now!

I know you must be worried that you have waited too long and it is too late to save your marriage.  But I promise you it doesn’t have to be too late.  Your spouse may be telling you it is hopeless but that’s because they have lost sight of what the relationship used to be and what it can be again.  Let us help you figure out what your next step needs to be.  We specialize in these situations and we know how to help you get your spouse re-engaged. What you have been doing hasn’t been working.  Unless you do something differently, you are going to lose your marriage.  It is time to try something new.

17 thoughts on “Has Your Spouse Said They Never Really Loved You?

  1. I live in Little Rock, Arkansas. My husband left almost a month ago now. Is there someone near me you would recommend could help me? Thank you for your website, its been very encouraging. I’m not without hope, but I feel like everything I have done has been wrong. I’ve exhausted all avenues, at least of my flesh and realised my mistakes all to late, and just pushed him away more. I feel like I can do nothing now but pray.

  2. Crystal, I feel your pain and I’m in the same boat. Ironically, I’m also in Little Rock! Has your relationship improved with your husband since your post?

    • I am going through a similar situation, my husband of 10 years just has told me that he never loved me that can’t even sleep with me. i always wonder why, now i know. i am so broken inside.

    • Hi yall! It did not get better before it got worse and we did divorce. Sometimes Satan has someone so caught up that they don’t realize mistakes until they’re made. I did talk to a coach for about a month. I would have loved to do more but it was all I had to do that one month. It was encouraging for me at the time. I definitely believe that finding someone to encourage you and believe with you is powerful, so get a coach if you need that! I do also believe that everything they encourage you to do is truth, but it’s very hard to sometimes do. No one is perfect so if you mess up, don’t quit, you have now, so push through and try again. Divorce hurts… A lot! I understand what God said in his word when he calls it cruelty. But if you are faithful to God He will provide and He is faithful in return. I’m at a place now where I truly believe what my now ex-husband (or Satan) meant to harm me, God has/will use for good. My exhusband and I are trying to re-establish and reconcile but the pain is still there and if we do reconcile it isn’t going to be easy. I’ve put boundaries in place now that I should’ve put there over a year ago but sometimes it’s harder to feel like you’ve given up. Because some of those steps make you feel that way. Read His word and value yourself as He does. Trust in Him, He has a plan, even if you feel like it’s a detour. Use the tips from Engage with Love, and I definitely feel it’s easier when you value yourself!! It will make doing those things easier! God really does love you and cares about your marriage! Praying for those marriages in trouble! Be encouraged!

  3. My husband and I are so happy and deeply in love. I have never known such love! My only concern is this: he had been married to a woman for many years and neither one were happy. It was a passionless unhappy marriage. However, they have remained amicable toward the other and I am fine with this. What concerns me is that recently the former spouse admitted to my husband that she had never loved him from the beginning, when they both married young.. She appeared not to say this out of malice, but was just stating a fact. Well, my husband feels sad about this revelation, although he tells me over and over that he has no feelings of love for her at all. He says that this piece of news just makes him realize that the years they were married were indeed wasted, even more than he had originally thought. Should i feel the least bit jealous that he would feel this way? Does he wish she would have loved him although the marriage had no substance? This is the only thing that concerns me. Otherwise the relationship between my husband and I is wonderful. We are both born-again Christians and trust God in our daily lives.

  4. My husband told me, out of the blue it seemed, 5 weeks ago, that he’s been unhappy for “quite a while”, that he doesn’t love me and he no longer wants to try to fix things. He moved out two weeks later, is seeing as little of me as possible, is seeing little of our daughter and I now strongly suspect is seeing another woman. I am less hurt by her than by the concealment, lies and betrayal of trust. I am following advice from The Marriage Place to keep things cordial, but he won’t even be in the same room. We live overseas and his contract ends here in a couple of months. I have resigned myself to the fact that it doesn’t work for everyone and that the best thing I can do is plan a secure future back home for me and my daughter, closer to fill and my old support network, which is still amazingly strong after an 11 year absence. I am going to the gym to expel anger and release endorphins, and have an appointment to start seeing a counsellor next week. This hurts like hell, but I think I am ready to let go – my husband is the kind of person who broods a long time but when he makes a decision he will not change his mind. I feel I am facing insurmountable odds and that the only feasible option is to move on alone. I don’t have the money for a coach as when his contract ends I will no longer have his income to depend on and my meagre funds have to prioritise my and my daughter’s immediate needs when we return home and paying for mediation to ensure we get an appropriate financial settlement, as I have been out of the workforce for a decade. I don’t believe in God, so am relying on myself, my counsellor (operated by a charity) and my support network to get me through this and established in the next stage of our lives. Sad but true – this one’s dead in the water.

    • It sounds as though you are headed in the right direction. Yes, you must consider the fact that he will not change his mind, or his ways. Would you really want him back? This situation, though sad, is a chance for you and your daughter to start life afresh. Once you move back to the place you want to be and into the presence of loved ones and friends, you’re going to feel so much stronger than ever. Yes, it is doubly hard when there is a child involved, but for her sake as well as your own, you must turn this negative into a positive. It appears that there will be a divorce, so when this happens please, please make sure you know what you’ll be entitled to monetary-wise. If he is like many men in a divorce situation he will try to keep from giving you what is rightfully yours. This is no time to be “nice” because he is the father of your child, so you don’t wish to put him in a “bind”. Find out all you can and go for what is yours. You must be able to give your daughter the comfortable environment that she deserves. It will be just you and her for a while and she will need you more than ever before. It sounds like you are a very supportive mother anyway, and have your daughter’s happiness in mind as well as your own.

      On a personal note, I am saddened, however, because of your unbelief in God. All i can say- no preaching here- that your heart and mind can be soothed and comforted if you can somehow put your faith in the One who loves you so very much.

      I am sorry that you are having to go through this negative situation. But you are on the right road with all the plans you are making. Just keep on thinking about a bright future, and welcome wholeheartedly the warm support of your loved ones. You WILL make it through this.

      My thoughts- and yes, prayers – are with you and your daughter today.

  5. What if your spouse has already decided to leave and the devil has got her? I say this because she is not the same person anything positive that i have done or we ran into to help our marriage days later she has decided to step out with other men. Marriage C, meeting with the pastor, workshops, every place showed positives but she could not commit. From 27 to 30 I saw so many changes in her. I know I contributed to her unhappiness but there were negative influences in her life. Right now I’m working on me and have cut the communication between us as she’s living single and moving on. As i read a lot of this i see nothing on young couples with no kids and no huge obligations like a home etc. One thing she told me is she is not afraid to lose me as a husband but as a best friend. She messaged me the other day saying this makes her heart hurt so much being here. I did not respond. Because i feel she tried to get me to a place of vulnerability to be my friend. She always asks how am i, if I’ve dated, how am i feeling about the situation. Its like she wants to hear me say. I’m over you and i believe it’s right we go our separate ways. But she knows its not how i feel. I think maybe as time has gone by her thought it would change. Maybe feeling I did not really want her, but since I didn’t have her i did, ego I guess.

  6. A couple of months ago my wife of 23 years left me without saying anything. How can someone just leave without saying anything after 23 years?

    • I’m sorry to hear this Albert. Unfortunately, it’s more common than you might think. Wives, especially, have a tendency to bottle up disappointment and frustration until it boils over. This often comes as a surprise to the spouse who didn’t realize the signficance or ignored her early attempts to express her concerns or needs in the relationship. Our coaches specialize in these situations where one spouse wants out and the other is wanting to rescue the relationship. If this is how you feel, there still can be hope. The focus will be on you and what you can do to change the relationship for the both of you. Please call us for a free consultation. Wishing you happier days ahead, Kim

  7. Last Sunday my wife informed me that she was no longer “in love” with me and hasn’t for quite some time. She tells me that she is unsure that the marriage and our love for each other can be fixed. What should I do? I cannot imagine her in my life.

    • Michael, I’m sure it was a huge blow to hear those words and I’m so sorry you had to hear them. In one sense though it’s a gift to know exactly where she stands at the moment as it gives you a chance to devise a plan. Time is of the essence and you want to make sure you do the right things that give your wife every reason to want to recommit to the marriage and work towards saving it. This is our area of expertise. If you haven’t done so already, I’d encourage you to download our free e-book and then send us an email or call us to begin working with a coach on a plan. Warmly, Kim

  8. Isn’t it possible that sometimes when your spouse tells you that they never loved you that maybe they are telling the truth?
    I am all for trying to make a marriage work, especially when there are children involved, but let’s be honest here: Men and Women very often do marry a person that they do not really love……….I mean, why can’t we just have some honesty here? Why try to pretend that he or she is just feeling scared or going through a midlife crisis or they don’t really mean what they say……..what if they DO mean what they say?

  9. Hello, I am in a situation exactly like this. My husband told me just a week ago, that he was unhappy, and that he did not love me and that he never has. We got custody of 3 grandchildren 7 years ago (8, 7 and 4) The four year old we adopted with plans to adopt the other two. I told him that we have to get thought this. I acknowledged the part I played in this marriage going down hill. I told him that I am going to work on salvaging this marriage. Last night, I was told, that since I had gained weight, he no longer desired me and no longer attracted me. He actually told me that I was never attractive to him. He says that he wants a divorce. During the past week after his big announcement., I was looking through his messages and found where he is communicating, flirting with a women from his past that he cheated on his first wife with in the 90’s. In these messages when he told her that he was remarried and does not have any children. I did confront him with this and he assured me that it has nothing to do with another women. and that he only meant that he does not have any biological children. A few days later, I noticed emails from Match.com and looked at his profile, again he stated that he was separated and had no children. This hurts me the most!. I am praying for restoration in my marriage. I am 48 and my husband is 51. We are actively in a bankruptcy for the next 2 years, Neither one of us can realistically afford to move. I am trying not to push him further away. I do love him as I believe that he is God’s man for me.

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