7 Strategies When You Hear “This Will Never Work and I Don’t Love You”: #47 Save Your Marriage Podcast

150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Emotions are not reality when saving your marriage.A kick in the gut.  Your spouse tells you “I don’t love you.”  Or as you are trying to save your relationship, your spouse says, “This will never work.”  It can take you to your knees.

You might want to give up.  You might believe your spouse is telling you the truth.

In actuality,  your spouse is really telling you about his or her emotional state.  And an emotional state is not the same as reality.  Emotions change.

But you do NOT want to make it worse.  You don’t want to respond in certain ways that will only cause your partner to more deeply believe the story he/she is telling to you (and to him/herself).

In this week’s podcast, I explain the truth behind these definitive and painful statements, plus 7 tips and strategies to make sure things don’t get worse (and in fact, get better!).

Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments area below!


Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Dr. Baucom is internationally known for his methods and approaches to saving marriages. For over 25 years, Dr. Baucom has been helping people around the world to save, restore, and create the relationships they desire and deserve. He is the author of the book, How To Save Your Marriage In 3 Simple Steps, and creator of the Save The Marriage System, as well as numerous other resources.

All stories by: Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.
  • S Jones

    I went through this about 7 years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t have your coaching to guide me through i and I did everything you said not to do. Fast forward 7 years later, we’re together but my trust for him has diminished (thanks to female friends also). He knows, but waited to late during his midlife crisis to repair it. Sometimes I feel I’m just there for the convience (house note, car insurance etc…). For the last 3 years sex has been at a minimum ( 2x monthly). Now it’s every Sunday. Should I embrace this or stay on guard?

  • You two have made it 7 years. It sounds like there is some commitment there. I would suggest you work to transform the marriage. Don’t make it into a choice between “stuck with this marriage” and “leave this marriage.” Make it a great marriage.

  • David

    This is where we are at, I needed to hear these seven steps to help me work to save our marriage. Thank you for your insight. Things have not been easy for me as of late. Many sleepless nights, thoughts of leaving, anger, and frustration.

  • Avlis

    Hi Lee
    Another great podcast and the timing was amazing as I had my separated spouse voice those exact words to me not even a week ago ie. that our marriage is over and that it can’t be fixed. I was also told that we never had the same interests and that’s why it won’t work. He has said this before and it has been extremely hurtful, however, I have been sticking to my plan and thought things were getting better. So to hear it again really threw me off course and I just couldn’t stay calm, nor could my 2 teenage sons that witnessed their fathers comments. This last incident has made me seriously think of giving up as I’ve been working on saving my marriage for 3 years and I’m running out of steam. Having said that, my spouse turned up at our house today after a few days of lying low and we ended up having a nice conversation. It has therefore been good for me to hear your insights on these comment

  • Avlis

    Sorry, I hit send by mistake…just want to add:
    It has therefore been good for me to hear your insights on these comments and hoping that this will give me strength to continue in my quest to save my marriage. Your podcasts have helped me tremendously. Thank you.

  • Gu

    Dear Lee,
    thank you so much for your podcasts. I really enjoy them although they also remind me painfully of all the things I didn’t do right. I also heard those words: “I don’t love you, I never did”. And:”I’m out. It’s over. Never again will we be reunited, I’m tired of having to repeat this time and again.” And this is more than a kick in the gut! It has driven me more than once into hardly bearable desperation for more than two years now. We are separated and only formally married on paper. Although we do have contact via email or phone, there has not been a real meeting ever since.
    He says I have hurt him “sufficiently for a lifetime”, and I’m not even aware of it! Sure, there were issues, but for me, not to that extent. So he simply gave up. I was listening to your ideas about this distinction between “emotional state” and “reality”. But what is “reality” for someone? It’s how someone feels. It’s their perspective, and therefore real for them. I tend to think that what you call an emotional state, which, as you say, needn’t last forever when dealt with with patience, calm and a place of self-confidence, might turn “chronic” and become something permanent, a belief. But how can I change a person’s belief system from the outside. This is impossible! I didn’t plead or beg, by the way, but I also acted wrongly, I tried to convince him. And the more I put forward really “good” arguments (his childhood, triggers of behavioral patterns, projections etc.) , the more he withdrew. I know what I was doing: I tried to make him see it “my way”. He is still friendly but only as long as I don’t touch relationship issues. We also have a daughter to talk about. Now I have run out of ideas. Hope? Hardly any left.
    Now I would be interested in what you have to say about this issue. As far as I know, what a person thinks influences their feelings. So, as long as a person sticks to their beliefs, their emotional state does not change. It even gets chronic and the antennae to detect any undesired attempt at reconnecting are active night and day. Thank you for your efforts. I appreciate that.

  • Gu, thanks for listening and responding! You are partially correct. Our emotional state does feel, to us, like reality. Others may easily see that it is really an emotional state. But from the inside, it looks like reality.
    So, my comments were not so much aimed at the person having the emotional state/experiencing that reality, but for the spouse. The spouse needs to remember that this is really an emotional state. That state can change. And the person experiencing it can forget they ever felt differently.
    Hope that clarifies!

  • Nathan

    Thanks Lee. Just left another therapy session with my wife. We are here right, but I think I’m responding the way you are noting in this podcast. My wife and I have been separated since November ’13, legally divorced in early ’14. Her faith requires a year of separation before you walk separate ways. We are going to counseling fairly often and our reactions to each other have been improving. The most recent comment is that she “knows in her heart she can’t get back with me.” or “when she decides to turn the switch off, it’s off.”
    We have 3 year old twins. I’m working on myself in therapy and I’m really improving. I want to be clear here, i’m improving, not improved. Tonight in our session I felt I really let her know I understood where she is/was coming from after exploring my own issues/hurts and now have a clear understanding of how she really felt to get her to this point. I apologized for those hurts in a detailed way and it seemed to get through. I actually thought I saw a couple of tears building up in her eyes tonight. Hadn’t seen that in a long time.
    This podcast was helpful to confirm I’m on the right path if I want to save this thing. I hope with time it will. Just keep on keepin’ on people! If you really want it, go for it!

  • Rory

    Dear Lee
    Should I ask my wife to read your book. She doesn’t seem to want to reconnect, I am transforming myself and she see’s the change but still says she wants out. I’m not sure where to go, have two young kids too.

    Any help would be great

    Thank you

  • Sal

    Thank Lee, great podcast, I always enjoy listening to them. I have heard that phrase ” I don’t love you, it will never be the same”, many times and I can say I was doing what you said not too. I have always thought, it was what she was feeling right then, and tried to express that to her, but I understand what I was doing wrong. It certainly hurts to hear those words. We are dealing with a situation of infidelity, on both sides. We have not divorced or separated as this have going through this for the past year. I myself have made changes to myself even before I purchased your save the marriage system. I am continuing on my path to saving my marriage.

  • Tim

    Hey Lee,
    I used your system, and at some point left off when things were improving and we had found a good therapist. You asked for an update in the future and I’m kind of sorry to say that you are still helping me… but gosh am I glad that you’re here. It has surfaced that my wife has likely had some sexual abuse in her childhood and independent of this our marriage improved and then took a turn for the worse as she was pushing hard to pretend things were improving when she was as confused as ever. She asked me for a divorce.

    Without any preparation, this (and some of the things she said to me) would have been nearly impossible for me to deal with. But thanks to you and the therapist we had been seeing, I’ve been able to put it into context somewhat.

    I told her no. And I told her I don’t want anything from her but her real self. Therapy is done. All is done but this last bit, just the two of us. And from there we will see. I know that there is no guarantee, and I’m prepared to move on with plans to raise our children I’ve spent the vast majority of my time on, but I also can recognize that she is struggling and that in time she may feel differently. I won’t wait a lifetime, but I will wait a long time.

    It’s not that the pain diminishes, but I just want to thank you again for the sense of perspective. I really feel that over the last couple of years I’ve learned what it really means to love someone else. There are no guarantees that love like that will be returned, but even doing it I think has made me better.

  • Marsha

    I was faced with this statement not too long ago.

  • Marsha

    Let’s try that again. My husband said those words to me not terribly long ago. He was intending to move out and get his own place. I did not react well to the words, his actions, or pretty much anything else that was going on. I got mad and pretty much did absolutely everything that this podcast said NOT to do. He did not move out, but it has been a struggle. He reiterated the same thing just yesterday. At least this time I was calm and agreed with him that we had disconnected. I didn’t argue or any of the other stuff.

    The weird thing about this whole thing is that we still do a lot of things together, have had some awesome laughs, had started attending church again, and life in general has been pretty quiet. We almost never fought before this issue came up, and after some knock down drag outs early in this, really haven’t had much conflict since. Don’t know who’s confused here.

  • Mark

    Hi, I know this is an old podcast but have just listened to it since joining up for the save your marriage process. This is exactly where I am at with my wife, she won’t buy in to trying but can it really work I feel I set the ball rolling on my own?