Q: Husband and I (married five years, young child) 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 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?
Carolyn: 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.
Anonymous: That is pretty normal. I look at love like the tides. It ebbs and flows with highs 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."
Carolyn: I agree this is common and therefore a strong possibility, one worth holding on to as a point of reference, even a goal. Because it could be other things, and because 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 couples counselors often won't see one party solo, in which case I think it's worth pursuing the solo part with a different therapist.
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.