I’m Falling Out of Love with You
Relationships are not for the weak. At times you can get to that critical point in a relationship when you’ve lost respect and admiration for your partner due to something that has bubbled up to the surface. In the beginning, it may not have been a problem, but as time has gone on, it could have grown to the place where you might find yourself saying, “I’m falling out of love with you,” due to this situation or behavior.
What can you do if unacceptable behavior or something your partner is doing is causing your love and affection to deteriorate?
Maybe your partner is displaying behavior that is damaging to you or him or herself, such as being too stressed out, overeating, drinking, declining health, short-tempered, etc… and his or her continuing to engage in this kind of behavior is causing you to fall out of love with him or her.
Ask yourself, “Can I take another ten years of living life like this?” If not, it’s time to do something about it before it gets even worse.
You need to create a safe space to have a critical conversation. This is far beyond the frightening, “Honey, we need to talk,” but you need to try to make it as unfrightening as possible, and ask for a block of time that is about three times longer than you might need for this conversation, because you need to allow your partner space to reply and react.
Abandon ancient ideals about, “not going to bed angry,” or trying to communicate without putting your partner on the defensive.
Once you ask for a block of attention, your partner may want a head’s up about what the talk is about. Don’t give it up, stay true to having the physical and emotional space to follow this topic through to have the best possible outcome, especially if now is not a good time, and energy levels may be running low or are exhausted. Make sure you’re both as well equipped as possible mentally and emotionally (late at night, not a good idea).
Remember to support your partner as much as possible through this process. Recall all the things that are endearing about your partner, how wonderful he or she is, remember all the reasons you fell in love with him or her in the first place, and think about the things you would miss if he or she was not in your life at all any longer.
And preface any conversation with appreciation and gratitude before getting to the heavy portion of your subject.
Your partner is going to be defensive because no one does a thing unless they receive some benefit from it. At the outset, it makes perfect sense to him or her, and so he or she will feel justified in being defensive and fighting for something that provides some form of satisfaction or self-worth.
Remember that this person probably loves you and wants you to have the best relationship possible, so cut him or her a little slack by remembering this is who you fell in love with, while staying true to your position, and trying not to take it personally if your partner reacts emotionally in a negative manner. Don’t change your position or give in.
Besides fighting for the right to engage in the activity which has you falling out of love with him or her, they are likely going to counter-attack you with something about you which is disappointing to them, and the delivery could be harsh. This is a common self-defense tactic, so be aware and prepared for it, if it arises.
If you’re accused of something, don’t fall into defensiveness yourself, and resist the temptation to escalate the abrasion. Instead, respect and hold onto the accusation because it can be invaluable in negotiating an amazing breakthrough in your relationship.
When you’ve reached critical mass at this stage of your relationship and you can’t see yourself going on under these conditions, be honest and open with your partner and say what you’re feeling,
“I feel like I am falling out of love with you, and this is why…”
Then tell him or her. You might even add,
“If I’d have known this is how things were going to be, I wouldn’t have married you in the first place.”
This is about as grown-up a talk as you could possibly have, so don’t be afraid to say it like you mean it, and be committed to arriving at an outcome. Do not walk away from this issue until you get an acceptable answer.
This is a critical turning point in your relationship. Remember, this is the person you love, even though the love is waning at the moment, and he or she is not doing this as an assault on you. It is his or her issue, and you want to be as supportive and loving as possible throughout the process if you’re to have any hope of successfully moving forward in your relationship.
Seek to understand and arrive at a win/win conclusion, if at all possible. This is where the accusation which you filed away can come in handy. More valuable than a bargaining chip, this might be the key to arriving at win/win. Maybe you both can get what you want.
If things get too hot and heavy, and emotions are running high, take a break. Be compassionate with yourself and your partner. Try to avoid saying something you might regret. Allow time to cool down, re-center, remember all the good things, and re-engage when you are ready.