Somethings hurt so badly that it is tough to put them in words.
It's heartbreaking when you feel unloved by the man who promised to love you in sickness and in health, till death did you part. All the pieces of yourself that were devoted to loving him and making sure he had you to come home to feels betrayed when you look at how your life has turned out now. You miss your old you: the happy you; the confident you. You tried telling him how it feels, you tried distancing yourself emotionally so it doesn't hurt so much, you tried being extra kind and understanding, but when the void gets too much to bear, it can hurt your soul. And the pain of feeling unloved and unappreciated can leave you with scars so deep, you don't even have the words to explain the depth of how you feel.
Before, both of you would do small things for each other to show your affection. You might have placed little notes around the house or he might have gotten you your favorite flowers just because he wanted to see you smile. But somewhere along the line, it changed. Suddenly, you find yourself living with a person who has known you for years, but acts like they don't know who you truly are. You wonder how this pure love you two shared suddenly turned one-sided where only you are trying to work things through and regain the joy. When you look up to meet his eyes and he does but gives a look so devoid of any emotions, you feel invisible. You miss the times his eyes would light up every time it met yours. You look at those eyes that were once so full of love, and it hurts you so deeply to acknowledge there is nothing left there anymore.
You used to be the apple of his eye and both of you would do everything together. Now, even when he's in the same room, you feel like you're alone. You feel invisible as if you're just a guest he's housing for an indefinite period of time. You try to talk to him and engage with him, but there's a sense of indifference. He is polite and "nice" yet not really there for you. He hears your words, but your feelings remain unseen. He nods and responds, but you never feel he is listening to you or what's going on inside you.
You just want things to go back to the way it was before when you both loved and respected each other's wishes. But now, with him pulling away from you constantly, you just feel this desire to bend backward for him. Even if it pulls you far out of your comfort zone, you want to do anything to just have that love flare back in his eyes again. And it's making you lose respect for yourself. You know it is not good for you in the longterm to be this accomodating, but you don't know how else to be anymore.
At some point, after all these attempts, you start to wonder whether you'll ever be able to be the woman you used to be—confident, happy, and self-respecting. His lack of love has just broken you in a way you didn't know was possible, and you wonder if you'll even find a way to fix yourself. Logically, you know you don't want to be like this, but your heart can't be controlled by your mind. Because when you love, you give it your all. And now, you feel empty. You used to be so sure of yourself and never let anyone get to you. But now, you look at the mirror and see an emotional, unsure, sad stranger staring back at you. You can't remember the last time you felt strong, inspired, and loved.
Before he used to whisper sweet nothings or find ways to make you laugh, especially during your worse times. But now, you find yourself living your life alone, although you share a roof with your partner. His words seem abrupt and generic, or distant and cool. His actions and words suggest that he is still concerned for you and cares for you, but not in the way you are longing. You just know something is off, but you can't put your finger on it. And all the confusion just makes you wonder if you are so bad that you lost the love forever. You question yourself often: "Did I say something wrong?", "Am I not enough for him?", "Am I so uninteresting that he can't talk to me?", "Did I change over the years that has made me unattractive?" "Would he love me if I didn't argue or fight?" All these questions and more eat away at you. You internalize his lack of affection as a personal fault. Which is extremely unhealthy for your emotional health and self-esteem, let alone the relationship.
And on top of all of that, you might even start to hate yourself for not being good enough. You end up comparing yourself to others who are "better looking" or "more talented" or even "better spouse" and feel empty and weak. You criticize your looks, your skills, your ability as a mother, your role as a life partner. Your anxious mind ends up convincing you that you're the one at fault. Sadly, even if you know it isn't logical, it plays like a tape on repeat, and your self-doubt grows by the day.
But you're NOT that person. You're perfect just as you are and anyone who makes you feel otherwise does NOT deserve you. You alone know how much you have gone through, and how hard you have worked through the years. Anyone who tries to make you feel less or unsure of yourself is not healthy for you. Unknowingly, they may be projecting their own insecurities onto you. But you're stronger than that and you don't deserve to feel unloved.
If possible, talk to your partner during a non-stress time and see if they can understand how you are feeling without judging you. If they are open to working it through, then maybe your bond may be worth saving. If not, then you might want to reconsider how much longer you will let yourself be treated this way. There is no love without respect. And if it hurts every day to the point it makes you question whether you deserve to be loved, it is absolutely not worth your heartbreak. Love feels good. Not always, but real love builds you up and makes you feel better about yourself. If it makes you doubt yourself, then it isn't love. Put yourself first.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.