It's A Pleasure

My Girlfriend Isn’t In Love With Me Anymore. How Do I Win Her Back?

She’s lost interest in me. The amazing daily sex we once had is out the window.

It's A Pleasure

Q: My girlfriend and I have been together for almost two years. Right now we are as close to being done as you can get in a relationship while still being together. Some days are good... most days are very, very bad. I have suspicions that she’s texting other guys (she’s on her phone 24/7). It gives me nightmares. She’s lost interest in me. The amazing daily sex we had is out the window and down to maybe once every two weeks. Some days it feels like she looks for any excuse to be mad at me; she’s angry with me all time and says the most hurtful stuff.

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that this relationship was not meant to last forever, but I’m not ready to give it up just yet. What do I do? What do I say to her? What are some ideas to get her to like me as a human being again? To love me again?

A: There is never going to be an easy — or easier — time to break up. It’s not worth waiting for a more obvious end to this relationship to appear. I suspect you’re trying to do two things at once right now: One is to go back to how things were, which you have sadly discovered is impossible. The other is to see how bad things might get so that it feels less painful to leave, or like it’s a more indisputable choice.

I gently contend that things are not going to get much worse than this. Your partner doesn’t seem to respect you or like you. She treats you poorly and says hurtful things when she isn’t outright ignoring you. The problem is not you. It’s not your behavior. It’s not your likability or lovability. The problem is her. There is no version of you that you can become that will make her appreciate you, because that is not something she has the capacity for right now.

Why You Should Leave Your Girlfriend

Right now, the only person here who has a chance of making a loving decision is you. That choice is to love yourself enough to walk away. You have tried holding onto her so that she might remember how much she once cared for you, but that isn’t going to work. If she were invested in improving your current dynamic, she would be interested in changing her behavior.

She is telling you very, very clearly with her actions that she doesn’t value you in the way you deserve. In fact, I would guess that she’s trying to see how far she can go before you end things.

The problem is that it’s a lot easier to change our beliefs than our behavior. If you’re with someone who is treating you poorly, it’s easier to convince yourself otherwise (e.g., “There must be something good about this relationship, otherwise I would not stay”) rather than to do something about it (leaving). I’m guessing that your efforts thus far have convinced you that your girlfriend must be worth the heartbreak. Unfortunately, given her recent actions, she is not.

I wonder if you’re approaching this like a Florida Panthers fan, hoping that one day, your dedication will be worth it when they win the Stanley Cup. It’s not. It’s like drinking spoiled milk and hoping it will taste better by the time you reach the bottom of the glass.

You do not want to look back on your life and think, “Most days were very, very bad.”

Imagine in 20 years, a younger person coming to you — maybe your child, niece or nephew, or a friend’s kid. Imagine them telling you what you just told me. Bear in mind that they would love their significant other just as much as you love your girlfriend. I suspect you would still tell them they needed to leave, the sooner, the better.

You do not want to look back on your life and think, “Most days were very, very bad.” To be sure, relationships are sometimes about being patient with people as they grow. But they should not — and never will be — about waiting out cruelty or abuse.

Your Next Steps

At some point after the breakup, when the acute pain ceases to feel insurmountable and instead feels like seven baskets of laundry, please stop and reflect. Wonder at how much energy and generosity you showed another person. Ask yourself why this partnership was so appealing when leaving will ultimately be the happiest outcome. Consider how you might avoid a similar situation in the future.

Sit with those questions. Learn from the answers. And then, when the time comes, offer up your love to the right person — someone who loves you easily and without reservation. Someone who finds it ordinary and obvious to treat you well. And someone who knows how to put their phone on Do Not Disturb.

It’s A Pleasure appears here every other Thursday. If you have a sex, dating, or relationship question, fill out this form.