"I Don't Love You Anymore"

What to do when the man you love says he doesn't love you anymore.

Reality Check

“I Don’t Love You Anymore”

What to do when the man you love says those awful words

-The Betty Editors

Broken HeartIt wasn’t about the President’s health care plan or about the arrest of Professor Gates but it still was the most e-mailed story from the New York Times this weekend. It was in the section called “Modern Love” and, yes, it was a story about love lost and love regained. But it wasn’t about romance; it was about reality. And, maybe, that’s what made it so remarkable.

Written by Laura A. Munson, she tells about hearing her husband say the words that every wife who loves her husband dreads: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”

Yes, her husband, she explains, was having a “profound and troubling meltdown.” Disappointed with himself, he was disappointed with her and the life they had made over their years together. And so he began to act the way a man who tells his wife “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did” would act. He stayed out late, was unreliable and uncaring, blew off family occasions, and didn’t even wish her a “Happy birthday.” He was a total rat.

Of course the rotten way he acted is no surprise. How many marriages have ended when one partner declares, “I don’t love you anymore.” But what makes this story so intriguing is how she reacted to his declaration and his behavior. She didn’t rant and rage. She didn’t even cry. She didn’t suggest therapy. She didn’t get a lawyer. While her friends were irate, she stayed calm. As she writes, “He threw a sucker punch and I ducked. She simply told him “I don’t buy it,” and decided to wait him out.

She says she is no pushover but had come to understand that she was not the root of her husband’s problem. He was. But if he could turn it into a marital fight he would not have to deal with his own unhappiness. And so she stepped away and kept smiling.

And there is probably something more. She loved him and wanted to keep the marriage and the family together. And to do this was more important than winning their arguments or getting sympathy from family and friends or proving she was independent. She used some very old-fashioned, almost forgotten tactics that few women would even think to employ nowadays like patience, and good sense and good humor. And it worked. They stayed together. He worked out his problems. He became a husband again. He even wanted her to tell their tale.

But how many others of us could be so smart, so strategic, so strong? Wouldn’t most of us have fought back? Been as hateful as he was? At least, had a tantrum? And then consulted a lawyer? How many of us could stop and think and realize that real love isn’t always about passion but sometimes must be about plain good common sense.

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0 thoughts on “"I Don't Love You Anymore"

  1. She must have truly loved him to hear him say that and come to the conclusion that he didn’t mean it. A lot of women (myself included) would have just been like whoa, if he could say something so hurtful he must mean it.

  2. I find this really hard to relate to — but I admire her strength. I guess she knew in her heart she was doing the right thing, and didn’t let her ego or her fear get in the way. Hard to do though!

  3. Everyone should do some reading up on male menopause and midlife crisis. Believe me, this woman had it easy and is lucky her situation resolved itself in such a short period of time. I wish I’d known sooner and I would have not taken my husband for granted, his moods, his need to feel appreciated. If I had, we wouldn’t be living apoart and miserable at the moment. So ladies, next time you are venting about your husband to a friend about something he did that drives you nuts, think twice. Step back, and love him for all his faults and imperfections. They are, afterall, a part of what makes him special. Learn from my mistakes.

  4. whaaaaat? I still die from laughter at how easy it is for men to walk away from a family and/or a relationship. When they get bored or times are tough, they quit. so sad and pathetic

  5. Wow I just went thru something like this.. And I kind of took the same approach, If he really means it he will, leave and he didnt.. He admitted to having some issues himself and So we are working on them together. I will admit tho – I cried like a baby in front of him,By myself, To some family members. But I was determined to wait it out too. And He did come around.. I love him even more for being able to do that. Ladies I also knew at that point I really did need to step up my game as well.

    I think Jolly Said it Best “Step back, and love him for all his faults and imperfections. They are, afterall, a part of what makes him special.”

  6. I heard a comment very similar to this about 2 years ago. Completely shocking and hit hard. I do think the author did the right thing in terms of not taking his accusations personally, and seeing that he was trying to create a marital problem when in fact, the problem was his. This is not always the case – many times it is a couple’s issue and you won’t fare well by denying that fact. However, what many women should realize is that if/when a spouse or SO makes this declaration to you, don’t assume he is kidding and will come around. Start planning for a new life immediately. Start finding that strength. You won’t die. In fact, if he sees you doing this it just may shock him back to reality. If not, you were right to not waste a single second more on the relationship.


  7. I heard the same words from my ex. I don’t love you, I haven’t loved you for years, I think I never loved you, and with 35 behind us, it was devastating. I insisted he choose between me and Her, and he chose, well, Her. Laura Munson’s column made me wonder if I should have waited it out … but my dignity wouldn’t allow it. Four years on I still love and miss him, but I’m (almost) sure I was right. I think he misses me too — but his pride wouldn never allow him to admit it. It was easier for him to just walk away and not deal with the issues. Find wishes to my fellow male-menopause victims ….

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