You Love Him, But You’re Not In Love With Him…Should You Break Up?

I love you but I'm not in love with you

Love comes and goes…should you walk away when you don’t feel like you’re in love? (image by h.koppdelaney, via flickr)

It’s normal not to feel “in love” with your boyfriend or husband all the time. How do you decide what to do when you love him, but you don’t always feel in love?

Here’s what Karen (not her real name) says:

“I’m 30 and I’ve been in a relationship for 6 years, I have 3 children, 2 of which are my boyfriends.’  For the most part he is a good person, but we were brought up differently with different values and beliefs. Our biggest issue is our parenting styles. My oldest child (who is not his) doesn’t like him. We don’t have much in common and our communication is almost non-existing. I don’t feel like he supports me. His lack of motivation drives me crazy. I have thought for the last 3 years about leaving and 2 kids later I just feel guilty!

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I love him, but I’m not “in love” with him. The kids love him and visa versa. Is it selfish of me to take them away from their daddy, the home the know just because I’m done? I could keep on trucking through the relationship, but I know if we didn’t have kids I would have been gone a long time ago.

I know the relationship could be much worse, but it could also be so much better. I just don’t see anything changing. My biggest fear is five years from now still feeling this same way.” – on How to Leave a Man You Love – But Can’t Live With.

You Love Him, But You’re Not In Love With Him…Should You Break Up?

Is she doing the right thing by staying, or should she leave her boyfriend? I don’t know, but here are a few things to think about…

Be aware of the effects of divorce

One of my friends’ husband left her and their three kids, and the kids are devastated (and so is my friend!). The husband has totally ripped their lives apart – I had no idea how terrible divorce is until now. I grew up without a dad in a small town, and most of my friends had two parents. I hadn’t experienced divorce at all – even my husband comes from a strong two parent family.

I used to write articles encouraging unhappy wives to leave their husbands, but now I think it’s important to think very carefully before separating. If you do break up because you’re not in love with your boyfriend or husband, then you need to start preparing your children for divorce early.

Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce the Sandcastles Way is an excellent book for parents who are getting divorced.

Figure out what’s “least bad” for your kids

In Is Divorce Immature and Selfish, Christine Carter explores the effect of divorce on kids. Some people think divorce is always selfish and wrong, while others believe it’s worse to stay in a bad marriage.

Here’s what Christine says is the worst situation for kids:

“While it’s true that kids being raised by “harmoniously married” parents do better than others, both sociologists and psychologists consistently find that kids who are raised by unhappily married parents do worse than kids whose unhappily married parents get divorced. Let me state that again: The worst situation for kids is when unhappily married parents, particularly those in high-conflict marriages, stay together.”

The best situation for your kids is to be in a home with harmoniously married parents. The worst is to be in an unhappy home with parents who fight all the time.

What’s the best for your kids – for you to stay with a man you love but aren’t in love with, or for you to leave because you think the grass is greener on the other side? Only you can answer that.

Decide what “harmoniously married” means to you

Maybe you need your boyfriend to support you more, to listen and communicate. Maybe part of the reason you’re not in love with him is that you don’t feel emotionally connected to him. Maybe you can build a stronger, happier, healthier relationship.

In Are You Wrong or Selfish for Wanting a Divorce? It Depends, I offer tips to a woman who is in an obviously unhappy marriage. That was easy – there was nothing about love in that relationship!

Remember that feelings of love come and go

I love my husband dearly, but I don’t always feel “in love” with him. This is normal – it’s not possible to constantly feel like you’re “in love”! That’s like expecting to constantly feel happy, peaceful, or sane. Feelings come and go – but the commitment of marriage is supposed to last.

Breaking up with a man because you’re not in love with him doesn’t mean you’ll find love somewhere else. Chances are, you’ll find yourself in the exact same situation – but with different relationship problems.

Figure out what you need out of your life – not just your relationship

Who are you – apart from your boyfriend and kids? Where are you going in life? What do you want to be when you grow up? Why are you here on this earth? What will you accomplish? Where are your passions?

Maybe it’s okay to stay with a man you love but aren’t in love with. Maybe the stability of that relationship and home will give you the opportunity and energy to do fantastic things with your life. Maybe you don’t need to waste time, emotions, and money on leaving (and helping your kids cope with divorce) – maybe you could focus on living your best life instead.

I’m not saying you should just accept a so-so relationship…I’m just encouraging you to weigh the pros and cons before leaving a man you love, but aren’t in love with.

What do you think?

Here’s another article that may help: You’re Tired of Trying to Make Your Marriage Work…What Next?

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6 thoughts on “You Love Him, But You’re Not In Love With Him…Should You Break Up?

  • Laurie

    Dear Marisa,

    Why do you think it’s selfish of you to want to leave a man you’re unhappily married to? I believe you have good reasons for believing you’re selfish, but I’m curious what they are.

    It may help you to work through your reasons for staying in your marriage. There are always reasons to stay, and reasons to go…what are your reasons for staying?

  • Marisa

    I have been an unhappily married woman for 4 years husband and I go through the same stuff every year and I started drinking he started cheating..well neither of us can get over the things that we’ve done and I just don’t want to be around him…I feel so uncomfortable. The last 2 years have been the worst ever..he got to the point of telling me he wanted a divorce at least twice a month and said he was going to get divorce papers but never did, I went and got them and shocked him now the tables have turned and he don’t want the divorce but I still do. I don’t know how to get started on my own but then again I do. I’ve always been the one to do things around the house for our kids and he never did anything, now that the divorce papers have come into things he wants to help with everything but I don’t want his help…why has he waited so long and decided to want to participate now when I think its to late. He complains of my oldest daughter which is not his..they don’t get along at all and their relationship has gotten worse…although we have 2 kids together he treats them differently then he does her. I am emotionally and mentally tired of our relationship and I feel nothing for him other then wanting to just be his friend rather then his wife…we get along better that way. We haven’t slept in the same bed in 3 years and I like it that way. Is that selfish of me?

  • Laurie Post author

    Hi Middleton,

    I agree — it’s important to take your time when you think you love your partner, but you’re not in love with him. Don’t make a rash or hasty decision! And, try not to say anything you’ll regret.

  • Laurie Post author

    Dear Bella,

    I’m sorry for what you’re going through, especially since you have two children. It’s hard enough to sort out a marriage on your own, much less with little ones!

    I agree that saving money is a first step. I think it’s also important to talk to a lawyer, and figure out how to get the car and insurance in your name. You need to be financially independent, and build a credit rating. I don’t know how to do this, which is why I think talking to a lawyer would be good.

    You’re scared…but you’re also a smart, strong woman who will survive this. You will build a better life for yourself! It just takes time, energy, and work.

    I hope you’re doing well, and welcome you back anytime. Let us know how you’re doing.


  • Bella

    When i was reading this post, i felt like I was the one who wrote it…

    My husband and I do not communicate. We do not laugh anymore, we dont go out. He works days, I work part time at night and I get home very late sometimes. I begged him one time that I would rather be seperated and hapy than together and miserable. He is always miserable. ALWAYS.
    We have two children together as well. If we never had kids, we wouldnt be together. I know it.

    He drinks beer every single night. My son thinks this is normal and asked my mother why people werent drinking beer, when she took him to lunch one day…… He wasnt even 4 yet. OMG.

    I dont want my children to think that this is a healthy relationship. I cant blame my husband for everything tho. I barely talk to him as well, now-a-days…. I had a company christmas party and got home so late that he thought i was cheating on him. He doesnt hear me…. I tell him these things. I told him about the christmas party…. He just doesnt hear or listen…

    I dont know what to do. But i feel that in my mind, I know the answer. Im just so scared. Everythingis in his name. My car is in his name. I get my insurance through him…. I cant work without a car. and I cant afford car payments. I told him i would go to the dmv to register it … HE said, ” I will put it in my name. Im afraid youre going to leave me”.
    So, i know he is aware that this situation isnt good….. But why???

    Ive never been one for relationships. Ive always been better on my own. But now I have two beautiful children to worry about…..

    I feel lost and guilty and sad…. So terribly sad. I just have to start saving money…. I dont know what else to do. Honestly…