“I love you but I am not in love with you anymore” and “I have lost feelings for you” are different words with the same feeling.
Upon hearing these words, many of us do four things:
1. Try to argue that that’s not true with statements like… “but last week you said you love me” or “you always say I am the best thing that happened to you” or “I don’t believe you”. Trying to prove to your ex that they’re wrong, doesn’t work. You can’t argue with how someone feels. It is their feelings after all.
2. Beg, promise to “change” and ask for another chance. Yes, it is hard to believe that someone that not too long ago was professing their love can suddenly lose those feelings. But begging for another chance, is being in denial. If your ex says they lost feelings for you, they’re most likely telling the truth.
3. Tell the other person we can work on it together and even suggest therapy. Therapy does help and many couples have benefited from it, but when someone’s feelings are not into it, therapy is often postponing the inevitable.
Does that mean once someone loses feelings for you that’s it?
No. When someone says, “not in love with you” or “lost feelings” , they are not necessarily saying they stopped loving you, they are talking about feelings. Bear with me here.
Unlike emotions which are innate, subconscious and instinctive or automatic; a neurochemical reaction to a stimulus, feelings arise as your brain interprets the subconscious emotions. They are mental self-perceptions or reactions to emotions that are personal.
In other words, emotions is what happens in the moment and feelings are the stories we tell our selves about what happened and how we are feeling about it.
What this means is that:
1. Feelings can change or be changed by getting to the bottom of the real emotions that underlie the feelings.
Think back to when your ex started to lose those feelings. They were once there, your ex felt them. What caused them to lose that feeling of being in love? Too many arguments, you being needy and clingy, things falling into a routine and becoming boring, feeling not emotionally connected, less intimacy, incompatibility, did your ex feel ignored/taken for granted, did you express so much unhappiness with the relationship and your ex began to feel like they were not good enough for you/can’t make you happy, did you take too long to commit etc.
2. Feelings can change or be changed by changing the stories your ex is telling themselves about how what happened in the relationship.
Only your ex can tell you how they are feeling about some of the things that happened in the relationship that caused them to fall out of love, not feel in love and more, or not feel the same way about you. Others, including myself can only speculate, but you and your ex are only two people in the relationship, the only ones who really know what goes on behind closed doors, literally.
If your intention is to try and make the relationship work again, you need to find out. You need to talk to your ex. Talking about these things is necessary to getting those feelings back.
Remember, feelings are subjective personal interpretations. You may not agree with how your ex feels and that’s okay, what you should not do is argue with how they feel because their feelings are their feelings.
The style and approach you use to get your ex to open up and talk about their feelings depends on so many things including your ex’s attachment style.
- Some exes are open and direct and will tell you why they lost their feelings for you (Securely attached).
- Some exes leave you to guess because they think the truth will hurt you and want to spare you more pain (Anxious attachment).
- Some exes want to avoid long-drawn-out “discussions” about the relationship or break-up (Dismissive-avoidant).
- Some exes are guarded either because they thinking opening up about their feelings will be used against them or hurt them in some way (Fearful-Avoidant).
Once you know why your ex lost feelings for you, begin to work on a plan to bring back those feelings.
Say for example if your ex says they lost feelings because you both fell into a routine and things became boring, going to the gym, expanding your social network or meditating will have very little impact if none of those things are the reasons your ex lost feelings for you.
Don’t get me wrong. Working out and getting fit after a break-up helps you feel more confident about yourself, and confident is good. Expanding your social circles makes you more independent and not needy, and that’s a good thing. But that only takes you so far when trying to attract back someone who left you because the relationship became boring.
Your ex may like the new happy, confident and independent you, and be genuinely happy about the changes you’ve made, but if you can’t show/prove to them that things will not fall into a routine once you are back together, those feelings are not coming back.
Go through the list of reasons your ex lost feelings for you, do the self-work that needs to be done and then show your ex by text, phone calls or face-to-face (if they are willing to meet up), that things can be different.
It can be done. Others have done it, and so can you.