Do you have to stay in a loveless marriage or bailout? When we hear stories about people staying in marriages, even when they are no longer in love with their partners, we wonder a lot about where their heads are at. We ask ourselves why people would continue to be together with partners who clearly do not love them back. Are they blind? Don’t they hurt? Or do they just not care?
The truth is, love is never as simple as the movies make it seem. In actual life, a loveless marriage could seem as normal as any other marriage. Both participants may even look happy or may not even realize that they are no longer in love.
It is actually a more common occurrence than you think, and that is why you ought to find out for yourself if you are in a loveless marriage. When two people get married, they essentially agree to love and exist together forever. So why do loveless marriages even exist? Were both parties pretending to love each other?
There are few things as frustrating and dissatisfying as a loveless marriage. It is one of those issues that just keeps you guessing, especially if either of you is not being honest about it.
But there is nothing weird about a loveless marriage. It so happens that when two people—typically strangers—have lived together for long enough, they notice things about each other they don’t like. If these unsavory things pile up without being addressed, the partners could find themselves in a loveless marriage.
Does this mean that being married is essentially a gamble of unconditional love that may or may not pay off? The brief answer is no. Your marriage could prosper despite all these obstacles with good communication, compromise, and a few other things. You will not realize the many benefits of talking to your partner about your issues until you do.
A lot of marriages actually go stale because of a general inability to do so. A lack of proper communication, compromise, perseverance, and patience is the perfect recipe for a loveless marriage.
Back to my initial question. What happens when you and your partner become so disconnected that you fall out of love with each other? What do you do? Find out below.
1. Talk to yourself about it
When you have gone on in a loveless marriage for long enough, it could be easy for you to spot it for what it is. But that might not mean that your partner has caught on.
A loveless marriage can be mutual knowledge that both parties decide not to talk about or can also be a one-sided concern. This could be because your partner may not fully understand the makings of love, or they are just too preoccupied to think about it.
Therefore, you should first confront your own self about your concerns, so you know what to say to your partner. Downplay nothing, not even the smallest detail, because anything could be a sign.
But some things we see as signs could also be unfounded, which brings me to my next point.
2. Talk to someone else about it
This is the next rational step, in the talking phase, of trying to deduce and maintain a loveless marriage. Your opinion is never enough with matters of the heart, especially when the heart in question is your own.
We are naturally prone to misunderstanding. That is why we make impetuous moves when love—or in this case, lovelessness—is part of the situation. That is why you have to talk to a trusted person to inform your decision better.
The person you talk to could be a friend or loved one. They could also be a professional counselor if you can afford one.
These people are the ones who will help you further understand the extent of your predicament. All of this to prepare for your big reveal to your partner, so you do not overreact or under-react.
3. Address your concerns with your partner
This is the part where things get interesting and, to be honest, a bit uncomfortable. Why?
Just imagine talking to someone who used to be the center of your universe and telling them you are no longer in love with them—or asking them if they still love you. Awkward, isn’t it? But these are the kinds of things you need to talk to them about.
Sometimes, you just have to rip the band-aid off and tell them these things as raw as they are. No sugar coating, but be delicate about it. This is the only way that you are going to get your message across. It is also necessary before you make your final decision.
Go straight to the point. Start off the conversation with: “I don’t think you love me anymore” or “What are we really doing here?”, something along those lines. Then lay down all your dilemmas, leaving nothing out. Finally, ask them what they think. And if you think you can still save your loveless marriage, ask if they would like to do the same.
What are a few moments of possible awkwardness compared to the rest of your life?
4. Try to brighten the spark
If there is a spark or even a flicker, try to find and exploit it in the coming weeks. That is after the sit-down with your partner.
No matter how small, this spark is something you should work on; with as much tenacity as possible. Go out together, spend quality time just talking about mutual interests, muse about each other as much as possible. Anything you both will do to stay in love; if that is what you both want.
But do not think for a second that it is all suddenly going to fall into place without effort. Remember that love is still a mutual endeavor that requires perseverance and patience above everything else. So, give it a while before coming to any conclusions.
5. Know when to leave your partner and move on
Sometimes, love is irreversible upon decay. After trying everything possible for a long time, you may come to discover that your loveless marriage remains the same, and you can’t do anything to improve it.
Here, you should not take any more chances. Just help yourself understand that you were both probably not meant for each other, and move on.
Love is not something that you should manage or fake, so be free to tell your partner if you find out that nothing is working. Your happiness depends on it.
6. Do not feel guilty if it does not work out
Guilt is a natural reaction to failure. Few things are going to make you feel like a failure as much as a lost marriage.
You cannot decidedly beat yourself for something that should have taken mutual effort. It does not matter whether you are the one that left; try to affirm your thoughts repeatedly by the reason for your decisions.
Removing yourself from something (or someone) you know will only bring you pain is probably the best decision you could make for yourself. So, chin up and look forward because there is a lot more to come.
7. Love comes, and it goes
A loveless marriage is just like any other marriage. It is a compromise between two people to stay together for as long as they would have each other. Sometimes it lasts their entire lives, and other times the flame of love dies and does not come back.
Whatever decision you make, whether it is to stay and fix things or leave the marriage altogether, stick with it knowing your reasons in full. I wish you the best in your future romantic endeavors, and if you wish to work on your loveless marriage, I hope it works out for you.
I am giving you loads of love, peace, and happiness. Good luck!
Aleksandra Nico, Psy.D., is a Psychologist and Editorial Assistant for Whatsdalatest who writes about mental health, relationships, human behaviour, and health. Aleksandra is passionate about helping others make well-informed choices to support and improve their physical and emotional well-being.