My Husband Says He's Not Sure If He Ever Loved Me

I am 43 years old and have been with my husband for 23 years; married for 13.  Of course we've had our ups and downs, but we've always had a good marriage.  Well, that is what I thought.  About five days ago, I knew there was something on my husband's mind.  When I asked what was wrong, I expected to get the same answer as I always have in the past; "I'm just really stressed out about work and all the other obligations I have".  This time, however, I was hit by a bus.  My husband told me that he's unsure if he loves me and hasn't been sure since we got married.  He says that he doesn't have the feelings for me that he thinks he should.  He married me thinking he would grow to love me and it hasn't happened.  I personally think he is just confused because of his childhood.  He grew up in an abusive household where the only emotion expressed was anger.  Anything more than that was suppressed.  My husband has always been a very logical guy and has never really expressed his emotions, but I accepted that and love him regardless.

He told me that he wants to move out for a while to get his thoughts in order and to see if he "misses" me while he's gone, because, for a while now he has not wanted to come home.  My problem with this is, for the last 20 years or so , he has always been so busy that we don't spend a lot of time together as it is.  How can him leaving help anything?  What is he running away  

What is confusing me is that he keeps saying our marriage has not been bad and I have done nothing wrong.  There is no other woman, which I belive because there is no reason to lie now.  The BIG SECRET is out.  He knows how much I love him and has said that I've always been a good wife.  What is happening?  What has happened to my best friend, my lover, my whole world?

I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't think straight, I haven't been to work in a week and I can not stop the tears.  I am so afraid of losing him and have been begging him not to leave.  However, it is his plan to leave this weekend.  I feel as if he's taken my past, my memories, my love and has tossed it all aside.  My future, which I have always believed would be with him growing old together and enjoying life is very uncertain.

My head is telling me to be angry at this man who has essentially been lying to me all these years, but my heart is so in love with him and afraid to lose him.

Does anyone out there understand where he is coming from or can give me some advise?  I'm dying inside.
GA715 GA715
41-45, F
8 Responses Oct 29, 2011

A little bit of advise - while your husband is considering whether he loves and misses you - stop crying, find another man for an affair. Relax, have a sex, and try not to think about the problem. He is unlikely to return to a distressed, crying, lacking self-confidence woman, but he may return being jealous. Man always wants what he cant get and tends to ignore what he has. Kinda stupid, but this philosophy does not change with years - we begin from wanting someone's toy car, and end up willing to have someone's job, house or wife. Stop thinking about him and what he wants, start thinking about yourself and what you want as a person. Good luck!

I feel you pain! <br />
I'm on a similar situation, and I can't really understand why?! if wasn't working why not to talk and trying to fix when still possible. Why to wait until "they think is all gone"?????<br />
I'm trying to get my husband to couples therapy, maybe you could 2!<br />

Couple therapy in the vast majority of case just postpone the inevitable. If this man never felt love for his wife, things will end unfortunately. Just my opinion, but I have seen this in a few couples around me. Therapy prolonged the relationship a few months in one case 2 years. Sorry to bring negativity, but I think it a good thing to prepare for the worst.

This is VERY close to my current situation. My husband of 14 years has done the same to me. He is my best friend and I love him so very much and I can't believe him when he says he doesn't know if he is in love with me. I just don't believe it. I think it is a midlife crisis and this other women that has been persuing him making him feel fresh and young. I have no advice. Just understanding. I just realized it has been 2 days since I have eaten anything.

I recommend the book, "This is not the story you think it is" by Laura Munson. Similar situation as you. And I think you are right about the reasons for your husband feeling this way- the abusive childhood and suppression of feelings.

I am always a bit surprised that one can think to have a answer given the millions of possibilities there are are for as to why this man does not love is wife anymore or even may never have. Although painful I am actually a man who has never loved my wife, and it is due to general reasons rather than an abuse during childhood or else trauma. Just to give an idea of my case (again it is just mine). In essence I was a rather shy person, felt lonely, little time to meet people writing my thesis and saddened by my father death. A girl came toward me, she was nice, kind, and with time realized I could trust her completely (rare enough those days to be valued). And to be more precise I loved her, I still do, but she is my best friend, she should not be my wife. I am a coward because I went ahead knowing I was doing the wrong thing. I hate myself for it and never dared till recently to stop the game: We leave as room mates with a very kind relationship. But, I did put an end to any physical contact, I can't, I just can't anymore. I really hate myself, as I am a genuine caring person, yet I destroyed a life and I know my time to leave is approaching. I will create pain and I feel like punching myself for it.
In the end as I said we are both caring, kind and get along well. But from my side this where is stops. I have this view that the best friend for who you can explain 100% of why you love this person. The wife, is the best friend for who you can explain 99.9% of why you love her and this little 0.1% unexplained is the reason why you love her as a wife rather than as a friend. It might be confusing, I may not be clear and grab an opportunity to "empty my bad" rather than help GA715. But behind my own story is a word of caution: the famous express "hope for the best" but expect for the worst.

Unfortunately GA it happens. People can fall out of love and my wife like your husband did just that. You HAVE to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. DO NOT do what I think you probably have on your mind. <--kissing his butt and doing everything possible to make him happy. This will not a matter of fact, I did that very thing and it made matters worse. He needs his space to gather his thoughts. He is at a point in his life where he feels he needs to accept his life as it is(which he doesnt seem to really want) or for him to start a new life. You cannot make him love you. Dont think that you have done something wrong, you havent. It is very hurtful and painful to think that you have given so much to someone and then have them crap all over you. Know that you are not the only one. Others of us have gone down that path or are going down that path. You can eventually try couples counseling and hope it helps...but for me, it did nothing. You have to BOTH want this to work. If he is not ready to work with you to make it work then there is nothing you can do. Give him space and while he is away you have to get yourself prepared for the worst, mentally and physically.

GA, I think your husband is going through his mid life crisis. He doesn't know what he wanted out of life. You guys are together for so long, everythings are predictable and stagnant. No excitements at all. That's why he wanted to move out to see will he miss you. I know the uncertainty is a killer. I was in your shoe and the role was reversed. I'm still in the middle of it. My wife is still exploring out there!! The only way to calm your self down is to say "It's his lost if he leave!" !! Build up your self confidences!! Make yourself happy!! And have a contingency plan if he choosed to leave. If you rebuild your self confidence and esteem, you wouldn't feel the pain as much if he leave. It is easier said than done. Given enough time, it will get easier. I still care for my wife. But should she choose to leave, I'm ready to let go. Give him his space. If he love you or if there is still love within him for you, he will return. I thought I lost my wife for good when she said she had moved on and loved another man. She had returned. Our relationship is still very fragile. Yet, there is still hope. The old addage "If you love them set them free, if they come back it's meant to be" really applied.

I wish I could just put on my riding boots and cowgirl up, but I'm finding it hard to even breath sometimes. I've given this man every part of me and now I'm lost without him. I feel like there has got to be something else that he's not telling me. How can he just not love me after 23 years. Especially since we've had a good marriage (so I thought). He insists that there isn't anyone else in his life or even an attraction to anyone. Can I believe him???

I agree that I have to build myself up and have the self confidence and self esteem to make it on my own, but part of me feels that if he sees I'm doing ok, he will be more apt to leave me. I'M SO CONFUSED.

Have faiths!!! Believe in your self! That's all you can do. The choice is his. I know it's not fair and the waiting game is a killer. But you can't force someone to love you. Just prepare for the worst, I know you don't wanted to. Take care of yourself and take this separation to improve and enjoy yourself. He may see a side of you that was hidden and wanted to come back to you. It's a lot of what if. Believe me, I spent many months trying to solve the "What If". You will never find it! Spend your time wisely. Really, go out and have fun and rejuvenate yourself. Magical events will happen!!! I met a lot of new friends here at EP and elsewhere. Enjoyed your own time instead of family time. Basically, enjoy life !!! You will find time will go by faster and life seem much lighter. Good Luck!!!

Please don't be discouraged by your husband seeking therapy. In times like these we tend to think in very negative terms. However, I'm sure he didn't seek help just to build up the courage to tell you. I'm certain that any good therapst will help him see the entire picture which will hopefully be of benefit to you both. Obviosuly, I do not know your situation but I do know this, if you still love him then keep the faith, have hope, and perhaps, in the end, therapy can help him work through some of his issues.

I'm happy he is talking to someone. He's obviously been bottling everything up for all these years. My mind is just racing with crazy thoughts and ideas. How does someone know if the therapist is a "good" therapist?

While our stories are similar mine is from the other perspective. My wife of 11 years expressed the same feelings to me recently but as a result of my emotional short comings, which I freely admit. I have always had a problem expressing my feelings which had damaged our relationship and I'm sure your husband fits into that catagory of guys with similar issues. Add in the abuse as a child and the trauma can be quite daunting. Has he ever been in therapy? Talked through his feelings with someone other than you? You also need to discuss this with someone (a close friend or family member) to help overcome your depression. I do not know if your relationship can be repaired or not but I do know this... Hope is a powerful emotion and the future has yet to be written.

My husband started going to therapy on his own a couple months ago without my knowledge. He says that he is going to continue, but I'm afraid that the therapy was more for him to build up the courage to tell me the truth than to work on himself. I am hopeful that he will continue to go and talk about his past to resolve some of the issues he is experiencing in life. I am also going to see someone once a week. We have been told by this therapist that we should work on ourselves first for a while and then as a couple. I can only pray that, while he is gone, he will figure out that he really has loved me all these years and comes back to me. I am holding on to hope that this was the first step for a better and richer future together and not the demise of our marriage. Thank you very much for your reply.