Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 6:15 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Is therapy the time to tell him she’s fallen out of love?

Love can ebb and flow like the tides. Try seeing a marriage counselor separately to find out if feelings can be revived.


Syndicated columnist

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
I'm surprised if you don't have any long term concerns about him. 'Significantly overweight & no muscle' is more than a... MORE

advertising

Dear Carolyn

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

Husband and I (married 5 years, young kid) have had some issues and have been seeing a marriage counselor off and on over the past six months. The sessions are going well.

However, there’s a pretty major thing I’ve been leaving out: I feel like I’ve fallen out of love with my husband and have felt this way for about a year now (so it’s not a fleeting thing). So we may be getting along better, but I don’t know that I want to (or should) stay married to him when I feel so ... indifferent toward him. So, do I bring this up in counseling? How?

– How Honest to Be?

DEAR HOW HONEST TO BE?: With the counselor in a solo session. Don’t just assume it can’t be fixed without teasing out the difference(s) between now and five years ago. Good luck.

Re: Out of Love:

I think that is pretty normal. I look at love like the tides. It ebbs and flows with high and lows. I’ve been married 23 years. Some days I ask myself, “Why did I get married?,” and then my spouse does something or we do something together and I tell myself, “Yes, that is why I married him.”

– Anonymous

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Thanks for this. I agree this is common and therefore a strong possibility, one worth holding on to as a point of reference, even a goal.

Since it could be other things, and since even if it’s just a tidal thing that can be heavy to leave unspoken, I still think solo counseling is a good idea. Some have pointed out that couple’s counselors often won’t see one party solo, in which case I think it’s worth pursuing the solo part with a different therapist. The marriage counselor can provide names, no doubt.

Either way, patience is important — to recall what brought them together, to dig into what has changed, then to see whether there’s a foundation to build on anew. The alternative is too heartbreaking to be anything but a last resort.

DEAR CAROLYN: How do I decide when to be honest and when to spare feelings? I want to be honest with my boyfriend, but am stumped when he asks if I have concerns about him long-term. The answer is that I do, but they are shallow and I can deal with them. He’s 10 years older than me, significantly overweight with no muscle strength. It would really hurt him if I mentioned these things, and I truly can overlook them.

– Lies

DEAR LIES: But ... why is he asking? Are you asking that of him?

If it’s just conversation, then you can say, “Of course I do — I have concerns about myself long-term. I’d be nuts not to. Why?” ... then see where that takes you. But if he’s asking out of insecurity, be it about himself or about your relationship, then both the share-it-all route (hurting him) and the spare-feelings route (misleading him) have some major hazards.

So it comes down to, how freely can you speak with him, and how much more freely would you like to speak?

By the way, please don’t dismiss your concerns because you think they’re “shallow.” Treat any real concern as a legitimate one, even those you aren’t proud to have.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax. Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com/living



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Living

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

Homes -- New Home Showcase

Condo community located adjacent to lake

Condo community located adjacent to lake


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►