OMG is one of the current expressions that prevails our culture; I hear it in airports, in the grocery store, and see it posted all over social media. In fact, I use it myself in texts and emails with friends. What does it mean? The house is on fire? I just saw a photo of my first boyfriend 30 years later? I heard something on the news, which took my breath away, or there is a beautiful new flower on the rosebush?
There is an expression among couples, often the opening sentence on the phone calls to make an appointment for the start of a therapy session about relationships.
"I love her, but I'm not in love with her."
In the 35 years in which I have been a relationship counselor and life coach and among the thousands of couples I have seen, at least 25 percent begin with this statement.
Although this is expressing a real feeling, it can mean many things. It usually takes the client or couple several sessions for them to discover where it falls on the continuum. Is it a part of the normal cycles of love, or is it signaling the end of the relationship?
My concern is that we interpret this feeling, which is also about the absence of another kind of feeling, as a sign the relationship is not going to last. Although this may prove to be the truth, it is more likely it isn’t.
Think about what you do for a living. Are you a professional, a student, an artist of some sort? Can you remember when you had the thought that brought you to this place? "I want to be a musician." "I just got the greatest job as a graphic artist." "Finally I’m an attorney, police person, kindergarten teacher." This is often accompanied by a sense of expansion and happiness, as though you have reached the top of a mountain, a sense of arrival. Three months later, when you're knee-deep in desk work, administration complications, or having to manage an impossible co-worker, what do you feel then? Does it mean you put in your resignation immediately? Probably not—and it's no different in our relationships.
We don’t stay in that high place all the time. Some days are cloudy, some are stormy, some are gray, and sometimes the sun shines. Relationships are seasonal and cyclical, and the statement, "I’m not in love with my boyfriend" can mean many more things than "it's time to leave." Yet it seems that for so many people, that feeling is interpreted as the end of the relationship—or at least Very Big Trouble. Here are some of the many other things it can mean: