I Love My Partner, But I Am Not in Love with Them
What exactly do we mean when we say this?
The first thing we need to understand is that the word love has multiple meanings, and the way we determine what love means is from the sentence context. For example, we can use the word love three times in a sentence, and each time it means something different. I love my partner, I love my pet, and I love ice cream.
What does “love” mean when we use it in the sentence “I love my partner, but I’m not in love with them”? To understand this statement a little bit better, we will swap the word “love” for other words, and I think you’ll start to get a sense of the true meaning behind the sentence.
I love (as in care about) my partner, but I am not in love with them (as in connection with them). So the statement becomes, “I care about my partner, but there is no connection”. What’s gone wrong in this relationship is the connection has dropped.
The First Connection
Initially, the connection would have been there, or the relationship would not have developed. Even with the most broken relationships that relationship specialists from StartPoint Counselling work with, most clients can think back to when the relationship was good.
At that point, there was a connection. Indeed the early stages of a relationship are when we’re most focused on each other. This period is known as the Honeymoon Stage and is the bonding stage.
As the relationship develops, it starts to go through changes that can occur through things such as a focus on individual careers, children coming into the relationship, or being so busy that we are time-poor. The result is a slow eroding of the initial connection.
Since we are in a relationship with somebody special for us in some way, we, of course, care about them. But if the connection has dropped then, we feel that we are not in love with them.
Relationship Development and Inheritance Problems
As a relationship develops focus naturally shifts from “it is all about us”. We move to focus on “who am I as an individual in this relationship?” Then we begin to ask “what are my needs and how does that work in this relationship?” This is a normal stage in the development of a relationship. At this point, the connection is under stress.
At this stage, the task in a relationship revolves around understanding our partner, understanding what is driving them, and being OK with the changes occurring in the relationship. If we can do this, then we feel we still have a connection.
All Relationship specialists from StartPoint Counselling believe that connection is based on understanding. Understanding is the glue that holds relationships together. If you’re not sure about this, let’s have a look at another statement that couples often make as connection erodes in their relationship, and that statement is “we are two strangers living in the same house”. Strangers do not understand each other.
Addressing the Connection Problem
To understand somebody, particularly your partner, you need to be curious about them. Take the time to ask questions to find out all you can about what drives them. What does their view of the world look like? How do they see things? What is their opinion of things, and how do they react to them?
Asking questions that are framed to understand the other answers the connection problem.
When Relationship specialists from StartPoint Counselling are talking about questions, we’re talking about curiosity-driven questions which come from the point of view of “just so I can understand, please tell me the following…?” Using attacking questions/statements such as “I just cannot understand why you keep doing such stupid things” or “Why are you so stupid?” erodes the connection.
Attacking questions divide while inquisitive questions connect. If you want to connect with your partner more, questions are the answer.
Communication is the backbone of any relationship. As relationship specialists, StartPoint Counselling has helped many couples rebuild their relationships and remove any toxicity in their communication.
You’ll be amazed how counselling can help you better your communication
You will find that talking with StartPoint Counselling Beenleigh is your starting point for happy relationships and mental wellbeing.
StartPoint Counselling Practice is conveniently located in Beenleigh close to Logan, Mt Warren Park, Stapylton, Homeview, Waterford, Loganholme and Yatala areas. However we also offer phone consultations for your convenience, see more about Booking Appointments here.