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What does "I love you, but I'm not 'In Love' with you" mean, seriously?

Community Member
My partner of 25 years kept telling me "I love you, but I'm not in love with you". She insisted I was foolish to leave, and should "get over the abuse". I, however, am still wondering just what the phrase literally means. Ideas??
6 Replies 6

Community Member
I'm afraid I don't have any answers for you, only the consolation that you're not the only one to hear those crushing words. My wife recently said to me "I love you in the sense I still care about what happens to you but I don't think I'm in love with you anymore". It sure does sting!

I hope you get the answers you're looking for.

Hi florin_f,

I got the same sentence you posted at a latter date, though mine was without some of the words like "think", just plain old "not IN love". I got told many hate filled nasty things, over the last 4 years especially. It was like she was convincing herself, more so than telling me. The more hate filled she became, the more it shoed in her comments and the look on her face, it all flowed from deep inside, unresolved issues. I was always the punching bag/ outlet for her frustrations.

Hi Nothappy@uni,

I'm sorry that you had to hear that from your partner - when I saw the title of your post I literally said 'ouch'.

I don't think there's a really clear answer to what your partner means; I think in a sense it's open to interpretation - in the same reason I think the phrase 'I love you' means something so different to everyone, even though it's so universal.

If that phrase is said to me, I would probably interpret it as 'I care for you deeply but I don't have those some feelings for you as I used to'. The idea of being (or wanting to be) close, intimate, vulnerable, to share life experiences or to just be with each other. I could be wrong, but maybe there isn't a wrong or right here. Only your partner can really fill that gap and explain it.


I have had this said to me. I don't think there is such a thing as "in love with someone". To me, it's just a feeling and nothing more, but if someone said they love you, then that is something 'deeper' and that they care about you. "In love" seems more to do with infactuation rather then a deep love and care for someone. When someone says that to you, I think they are totally confused with their feelings and feelings are actually not true and a bit fickle. Love is a commitment, not a feeling.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Nothappy@uni, a good question, and to show what it means is that I still love my ex-wife, but I'm not in love with her anymore.

The spark between us has gone after our long marriage and there is no desire to be intimate, but when desire has left us, it’s virtually impossible to regain that feeling, however, I love her for what we have achieved and what we have tried so hard to accomplish, whether we have or not is up to debate.

This feeling of 'being in love, but not in love' may go both ways or it could only one way.

Best wishes.


Community Member
It's a very short step between "I love you but not in love with you" and "I never really loved you". Just be careful that you are not getting spoken to in code here.