Ask Andrew – Deep inside, I don’t feel that I’m IN love
I just bumped accidentally into your web page and was surprised to discover that finally somebody understood the state of “ILYB”. You see, me and my wife have been together for the past 15 years, although we married only three years ago. I consider we are soul-mates. We have fun together, we like to do the same kind of stuff, we enjoy each other and sex is great, but somehow, somewhere along the way, I started to feel I loved her in a honest and caring way, but something was missing…deep inside of me I didn’t feel I was IN LOVE with her…and this has been very painful. I tried to live with this feeling, In silence, hoping that in time the feelings would change, but they haven’t. By the way, we don’t have any children…we waited long to look for a child, and when we started looking for one it didn’t come. During the past couple of years I’ve lived with the struggle of laying back and focus in the aspects of our relation that did work ok (friendship, sex,etc.) or facing the fact that I was not deeply in love (as she was, and has been all this years), and that we both deserve another relationship (specially if we were looking for a child).
This has come in the open. She has been aware of these mixed feelings of mine, but thinks I am a bit phobic and momentary confused. We had therapy and today we are apart. I now feel devastated and confused…I miss her very much and I wonder how can I possibly have so many things in common, have a strong sexual attraction and yet not feel in love? (I’m ordering your book right away).
I would very much appreciate if you could give me your impression of my case.
You are great friends AND the sex works too. It’s tough to understand what the problem might be. However, I have two sets of totally contradictory thoughts. The first is that being SOUL MATES might be the problem. The idea that two people get each other on such a deep level that all differences melt away and all problems are resolved sounds wonderful but it’s impossible for two people to live together without falling out, wanting different things and arguing. What we need to be is not soul mates but to have the skills to sort out our differences, tell our partner difficult stuff, argue and resolve the issues. Have you been so worried about rocking the boat that you’ve been editing yourself and your feelings. We can’t chose which emotions we suppress and end up suppressing them all – not just the bad ones. It’s a process lots of couples do – hence the rocketing number of ILYB cases – but it’s made worse if you feel believe in soul mates. I explain more on this topic in this article that I wrote for the Daily Mail
My other thought is that not being able to have children together is a big issue. How much have you really talked about this? I don’t mean the odd hour or there? It really turns everything that most people expect from life upside down. Could this be at the bottom of the problem?