Woman looking pensive after being told by her partner that I love you but I'm not in love with you

There are no sweeter words in the English language than “I love you.” And there are no more crushing words in the English language than “I love you, but…” Unfortunately, it’s common for couples to fall out of love; you can love and care about someone while simultaneously not being in love with them. Unfortunately two people can also care about each other but have different views about how they define that love. 

The more dating and relationship experience you gain, the more you realize that there are many different types of love. There’s not just passionate, romantic movie love; there’s also unconditional love, obsessive love, and platonic love. And sometimes-due to any number of circumstances like time, distance, and major life events-even the most solid romantic relationships can lose their spark and go from passionate to platonic.

Sometimes, you see the change coming. But other times, it can come out of nowhere. It can be a challenging situation to deal with. Hearing those words from your partner is never pleasant, but if it happens to you, here’s how to respond.

How to Process Being Told ‘I Love you, But I’m Not in Love With You’

Hear what they’re saying

It’s not easy to hear your partner say “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” It’s natural to be sad, angry, hurt and disappointed. However, it’s also not an easy thing for them to say, either. Try to understand where your partner is coming from and know that this was a difficult decision for them to make.

You don’t have to agree with them, but you should try to respect their feelings, hear them out and see where they’re coming from. You can ask questions to understand their reasoning, but do give them space and time to hear them out properly. 

Ask yourself if you feel the same way

Did you think things in your relationship were perfect, and that you were both on the same page? Or did you see signs of trouble brewing under the surface? Now is the time to be honest with yourself and to ask yourself if you feel the same way.

It’s easy to react negatively in this situation, however, take a breather and think deeply about your own feelings.  Take time to consider how you really feel about your relationship before responding. Then…

Decide if you want to fight for it or if it’s time to walk away

If your partner has made their decision and is firmly standing by it, there might be nothing you can do to save the relationship. However, if they’re open to talking through things and trying to make it work, now is the time to decide if the relationship worth fighting for.

There are many options to repair a relationship, from couples’ therapy to setting aside time to talk and have fun again. Sometimes it’s too late or not the best choice for both of you. Know you can fix it if it’s what you both want, but also that you can walk away with your head held high if that’s the outcome. 

Do you want to stay friends or not? 

If it’s time to part ways, do you want to cut off all contact with each other? Or do you want to try and stay friends? Every relationship and set of circumstances are different. In some scenarios, things like a house, marriage, and/or kids may complicate things and make a clean break impossible. Talk to your partner and find a solution that works for both of you.

Be sure not to sacrifice your own well-being to stay connected with your ex though. You need to do what is best for you and your healing, even if it’s the hard option. It can be very challenging, especially initially, to stay friends. So consider this carefully before deciding. 

Find good in bad circumstances

Like we said, nobody wants to hear that their partner isn’t in love with them anymore. But in a way, they’re doing you a favor by telling you. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you. And the sooner you know how they really feel, the sooner you can move on, start the healing process, and find somebody new.

There are many different types of meaningful love in life, from family to friends, pets to passions. Take time to look at all the other good things you have in your life and focus on those. 

Being told ‘I love you, but I’m not in love with you’ can be very painful. Take the time you need to grieve your relationship and be kind to yourself in the process. And know, there is something better waiting for you.

Elizabeth Entenman

Freelance Writer

Elizabeth is a freelance writer, editor, and advertising copywriter in Brooklyn. Right now, she’s probably somewhere Instagramming her dogs.