What does it mean when your husband, wife, ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend says they “love me,” but aren’t “in love” with me?
In the video above, I talk about what it means when your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend says they “love you” but aren’t “in love” with you anymore.
It’s similar to them saying they have “fallen out of love with you.”
What they are describing is actually the loss of what is called Limerence.
Limerence is the scientific word that describes the chemical reactions in the brain that cause someone to feel “madly in love.”
Our brains experience an increase in the chemical dopamine and a decrease in the chemical serotonin.
Because these chemical changes occur when we are around this other person or when we think about them, a perfect storm is set up in our hearts.
Dopamine is the feel good chemical, so we feel joy and elation in seeing this person or even just thinking about them.
Serotonin helps us reason and be logical. Since that chemical declines when we are in Limerence, we lose some ability to be rational.
That causes people to make bad decisions when they are in Limerence. They might skip work to be with their “Limerent Object,” spend lots of money, or even leave a marriage for someone else.
However, Limerence is temporary. We actually cannot experience the same high with the same person again.
In that way it’s like a drug addict chasing a high they can never again experience.
When it goes away, it might result in the statement, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”
They might feel like you are family, but don’t feel romantic attraction to you.
That’s basically what you are being told when they say they aren’t “in love with you.”
Nature, or God, uses Limerence to help us develop real relationships with people we don’t yet know that well.
Because we want to be around them so often, we develop companionship, friendship, commitment and intimacy.
So when Limerence fades, we have those things in its place.
Limerence is designed to get us there but not to sustain those things.
But some people mistakenly believe that Limerence is love.
Therefore when the fireworks of Limerence fade, they believe that they have “fallen out of love” or that they love someone but are not “in love” with them.
This happens often and one of the reasons I feel so strongly about the no contact rule is that I have seen it work even in this situation.
That’s partly because fear of loss can boost Limerence, making it even more powerful.
That’s why people who experience it can become so obsessive and insecure.
As I say in many of my videos and here on my website, “curiosity is a precursor to attraction.”
This is especially true if your ex or spouse has said, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”
Pulling back from someone who has lost attraction for you can cause those chemicals to reignite in their brains because they are curious why you are not chasing them in attempt to get them back.
The feelings of curiosity as to why you are not chasing them can lead to fear of losing you which elevates those chemicals, reigniting Limerence to a degree.
My coaching clients are often fascinated that their ex can fear losing them even though it was the ex who wanted the breakup.
It might not make sense for your ex, who broke up with you or a spouse who separated from you, to fear losing you but that is part of the magic of Limerence in that, since serotonin has fallen, their ability to reason has become handicapped.
That is part of the reason why I have seen no contact work so many times even in situations where I, myself, thought the situation was hopeless.
I have learned to expect it to work over the years to get couples back together and to stop a divorce.
It can be surprising to someone who follows my coaching by going into no contact in an attempt to get their act back.
They often book another coaching call with me a few weeks later and are thrilled to share with me the news that their ex has reached out to them and said they miss them.
That truly brings me joy.
To gain from my two decades
Clients often ask me, “How can I use the No Contact Rule when my ex and I have kids together?”
No contact is still effective in helping you get your ex back when kids are involved.
But it becomes more of something called Strategic Contact.
Strategic Contact (or intelligent contact) is where contact is only made when there are important matters that require the actions, permission, decisions, presence, or some other form of cooperation from the leaving partner.
In the case of using the No Contact Rule when you have children with your ex boyfriend or ex girlfriend, you want to keep contact limited to matters relating to your children.
You should keep things simple and somewhat short, but you should be polite and in a good mood.
Remember, it is attractive when someone is in a positive mindset, optimistic, and not angry.
When you demonstrate that you are not angry at your ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, separated spouse, or ex spouse, you show him or her that you are enjoying life and are such a wonderful human being that you aren’t distracted by them.
You show that there are such wonderful things in your life that all of that overshadows the negatives of your ex breaking up with you.
That is so important!
In addition to being attractive through the eyes of the other person, it’s also best for you in that a positive attitude, even when faked, almost always helps that attitude to become real.
It will show up in other parts of your life and can eventually become your default attitude or mindset.
Will Having Kids With My Ex Prevent No Contact From Working?
I am often asked if having children with an ex or separated spouse will help no contact or hurt no contact.
Generally speaking, it is a positive thing that can help you get your ex or separated spouse back.
The reason is because of a few different things:
- Your children will refer to you in positive ways. I’m assuming you’re a good parent and that your children like to be around you. This is a positive thing for your lost love to hear. Being a good parent to a child is a very attractive thing.
- You will get to demonstrate changes in yourself. Though I don’t recommend breaking no contact to demonstrate changes, I can tell you that if you have children with your retreating lover, the rules change. Don’t worry, you don’t have to put on a big show (and shouldn’t try to). Your ex will notice.
- You get to intensify mystery. If you are friendly and casual while also being genuine (not fake), your ex will get to wonder if you are still interested, if you are moving on, if there is someone else, etc. Remember, don’t try to make your ex jealous by suggesting you are dating someone else. Don’t fall for it. It can backfire in your face by making them think, “Well then why should I bother if they are with someone else?” among other thoughts. The mystery of them wondering IF you are is far more powerful than them knowing for sure.
How Do You Get Your Ex Back When You Have Children Together?
The answer is to use the No Contact Rule but to modify it to the Strategic Contact Rule.
That means that you still have the same reasons and intentions as you would if you were using a standard no contact principle.
Even if you have children with your ex, you can get them back because limited contact (Strategic Contact) accomplishes things that you want to happen if you want your ex back.
You want to let your ex feel your absence.
You want him or her to feel the mystery.
You want him or her to notice that their phone isn’t vibrating with a text from you and when it does, they will likely often think it’s you and experience a form of disappointment when it is not.
You want to show him or her that you can stay away and that you can be mature about not getting your way.
You want to show him or her that you can respect their wishes.
All of those things are attractive, important, and can flip the tables, causing them to come running back to you.
Co-Parenting With Your Ex If You Want Them Back
A difficult, but important, part of no contact if you have children is co-parenting.
Some “coaches,” out there talk about “playing hardball,” and while I’m certainly in favor of you being mentally and emotionally strong, people often appear mean when they are doing what they think is playing hardball.
Meanness usually causes your ex to feel that their decision to leave you is validated and was the “right decision.”
Examples of being mean if you have children with your ex include:
- Making important decisions about your children without them or independent from them.
- Taking away from the time your ex gets with the children.
- Saying insulting things about your ex in front of your children (whether it gets back to him/her or not)
- Leaving him or her out of important events in the life/lives of your children (birthday parties, holidays, graduation, sports, important discussions (like the sex talk), piano recitals, medical issues, etc.
Don’t try to punish your ex for leaving you by hurting him or her through your children.
Not only is that a cruel thing to do, but your ex will feel deep hurt at your actions and will feel validated by their decision to leave you in addition to any lingering feelings of love, closeness, and warmth will likely be harmed or destroyed.
In a relationship without children, no contact is intended to keep you from being cruel or making other mistakes because it keeps you silent.
So that is a caution I will encourage you to remember.
Just because you are getting to be around your ex or separated spouse does not mean that you allow yourself to take this out on them.
Stay strong in your dedication to keep things polite and casual.
Don’t bring up the breakup or the relationship.
If they bring it up and an answer is necessary or expected from you, you can talk about it some.
Don’t be flippant.
If your ex says that he or she misses you, you shouldn’t ignore it or be cruel by saying, “Well I haven’t missed you.”
Again, playing hardball will only make you enemies (or greater enemies).
I talk more about this in my Emergency Breakup Kit, but if your ex says that he or she misses you, it’s okay to say, “I miss you too.”
If it’s a text you could say, “It’s good to talk to you too,” or something like that.
You just can’t come across as cruel or fake.
Those are two daggers to the heart of your effort to get your ex back if you have children together.
Honor them as a co-parent of your children unless they put your children in danger.
Don’t lie to get a legal leg up.
You shouldn’t do that anyway, but if you want to get your ex back, you will pretty much ensure it doesn’t happen if you lie to get a legal stronghold or advantage.
This is more for a marriage situation, but just remember that lawyers fight hard for both sides and lying to the judge/court is illegal and could send you to jail.
No Contact With Kids
In conclusion, remember to have discipline.
Silence and distance from the one you love is difficult, but if that is what they want right now, you must give it to them.
Refusing to give them what they think they want will only make you look immature, needy, out of touch, weak, etc.
Get information on my Relationship Reignite Workshop that goes from basic to advanced and provides customized strategies through an intense 3 days (12 hours total) along with 6 months of coaching with the goal of reuniting you with the one you love! For marriages (and serious relationships) in crisis – get more information on if this workshop is right for you!
The workshop is exceptionally powerful for couples in danger of separation or divorce.
I wish you the very best!