Are you throwing away a perfectly good marriage relationship? When you start thinking "I love my spouse, but I am not in-love with them", you may be mentally preparing yourself for throwing away your marriage.
"I love Cindy, I am just not in love with her anymore" said Ben. After saying it, the room was filled with anticipation of my response.
He said it in a way that was looking for approval. He wanted my approval of what he said and what he was planning. He wanted my validation of his feelings and thoughts rather than viewing him as a 'bad guy' for having an affair.
When he told Cindy the same thing, she took it as an insult. She was hurt and mad at the same time. It crushed her. Now after crushing her heart, he wants me to say something like "I understand" or "Many people go through times like this" or "over time feelings change".
"What do you mean, I'm not in love with her anymore?" I asked. A puzzled look came over his face. A that moment, he realized he didn't receive what he wanted.
Ben told me about how some of the old feelings were gone. The loss of those feelings troubled him. He assumed that another woman would bring them back.
I asked him "Are you throwing away a perfectly good marriage?"
Ben never had considered his situation from that perspective before. He knew that his feelings changed. He enjoyed what he felt before and wanted those feelings again.
What Ben didn't know was that after a while the chemicals in his body change. The hormones of testosterone and vasopressin change things. Those hormones also mask the real changes going on.
Vassopressin is one of the hormones involved in arousal. Ben's lack of excitement may be more about his vassopressin levels than it was about love or commitment to his marriage. Since vassopressin is what makes you feel 'sparky' or aroused, when the levels fall, you may be thinking the spark is gone. What is actually going on is that your vassopressin levels dropped.
The spark of excitement wasn't there like it was, so Ben assumed he fell out of love with Cindy.
Ben never considered that what he thought 'not being in love' may actually be changes in his hormone levels. He also didn't realize that those changes are different in each decade of life.
Consider that for a moment. Ben is making life changing decisions including throwing away a perfectly good marriage, based on changes in hormone levels. He never considered how those same hormones will impact future relationships as well.
He thought was he was feeling was being' out of love'.
Consider that if your spouse is talking about the 'spark' being gone, it could be more about some hormonal chemical, than loss of love.
Ben would benefit from finding some new ways of handling his marriage. He needs new ways of doing things with Cindy. He may also benefit from having a thorough physical exam with blood work.
Some adjustments in attitude, his communication behavior and chemical imbalances may be all that he needs.
He could benefit from some of the communication exercises and lessons from the Affair Recovery Workshop.Ben would benefit from knowing how to talk with Cindy in a meaningful way. He could learn ways of turning his marriage around. He can learn ways of talking about those areas they've been avoiding or didn't know where to start talking about them.
Perhaps you'd benefit as well. Rather than dumping your marriage based on your hormone levels at a particular stage of life, your marriage is may be worth saving.
Those old feelings you thought you lost, may actually be about hormone levels rather than something missing from your marriage.