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to want to marry for stability not love?

(75 Posts)
Stabletoplate Mon 11-Feb-13 15:55:39

DP proposed just before Christmas and I said yes, and we're thinking of getting married some time in late 2014. Most people have been happy for us but one of my friends has been dropping comments and saying things in conversation for some time which make it clear she thinks DP isn't right for me and I'm 'settling' so shouldn't be going through with it. Problem is I think she's right that I'm 'settling' but completely wrong that this is a bad thing.

I'm absolutely sure I love DP, but I'm pretty sure I'm not 'in love' with him. He doesn't make my heart leap when I look at him, I don't feel like my life is suddenly worth living now I've 'found' him and I wouldn't want to die if he passed away. By the same token though I'd be very upset if I lost him, I have a very happy life with him and treasure having him. I just don't feel though that he's 'The One' or 'my everything' or feel some kind of earth-shattering overwhelming joy that I'm lucky enough to be in a relationship with him. I feel that we both get on well enough and have enough in common/enough interest in each other that we want to share our lives together but in another time on another day it could easily be someone else I was sharing my life with.

I don't want to sound completely unromantic - I love romantic films and love the idea of finding someone so special that you couldn't even imagine being with anyone else, except that's a nice idea but there's no guarantee of it happening for me and I don't want to risk my current happiness on some vague possibility of much greater happiness. Same way winning the lottery would be amazing but I'm not going to spend our food budget on tickets just in case.

I had a long time on my own as a single parent and can honestly say I got to a point where I was happy being single and wasn't casting around for any man but I'm happier with DP than I was then so don't see the point in chucking him just to wait for 'Mr Right'. I could reel off lots of complaints about DP, like how getting him to notice housework needs doing is an endless struggle, but there's plenty of ways I'd be much worse off without him too. He's very gentle (have history of DV), gets on well with ds (not his) and is willing to be a full and equal parent to him. I have health problems DP gives me support with and we're trying for another child which I want dearly and might not get the chance to have without him (am getting on a bit). Not trying to make it sound too one sided though, am not using DP for all these 'benefits', I put in just as much too, am just trying to say I feel I'd lose out in many ways by hanging out for 'The One'.

I can imagine many ways my life could be even better and some of them are up to me to make happen but some would automatically never happen by sticking with DP, but there's no guarantee they would if I left him. By my logic I'm making DP happy and he's making me happy (and both making ds happy as far as I can see) and we all seem to think we're better off with each other than without so what's the problem in wanting to stick with that rather than gamble it on the chance of something better coming along? (especially as I'm very loyal and take relationships seriously, it wouldn't be a case of me running off on DP in 10 years if someone that looked good turned up)

Am I being reasonable and practical about my life or am I 'letting myself down' and 'leading DP on' by settling for a stable life instead of a 'wonderful' one?

EuroShagmore Mon 11-Feb-13 15:58:32

I found I feel out of love quickly with the ones who made my heart leap. It is the slow burners that have worked best for me (and my husband is one of these and absolutely the right choice).

EuroShagmore Mon 11-Feb-13 15:59:16

fell not feel!

KellyElly Mon 11-Feb-13 16:02:25

I think as long as you are happy with this then that's all that matters. All consuming, passionate love affairs are just that. Some people are lucky enough to carry this on into their marriages. I think it's probably many of these types of relationships which end in divorce tbh as it is unsustainable for many people when the mundane aspects of life take over.

Stabletoplate Mon 11-Feb-13 16:04:02

Thanks Euro - same here to be honest. I think back to a couple of ex's and the idea of a date with them (if we were both single) does give me a few butterflies, whereas it doesn't with DP. The idea of spending a week living with them though gives me shudders, which DP definitely doesn't!

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 16:07:10

Hmm. I can totally see where you're coming from. But, having been with DH 11 years this is my take on it. I think that life can get super shit and even the best partner can become incredibly annoying. IMO (and this is entirely my own experience, based on one serious relationship) it's that "spark" that special feeling that DH is more than just someone I happen to love, he's someone who I truly am in love with, that has helped us get through those tough periods. If we had just been basically loving friends who decided to make a life together I don't think we'd have got this far. We'd have given up. Living with someone, day in day out, parenting with them, facing death of loved ones, illness, hormonal days etc tests a relationship. When all the politeness and all the "you're a good person" is gone, and you're looking at the other person thinking "why the hell am I even bothering with you?" it's that spark that keeps it going along until things get better and you start to enjoy each other again. If I'm in a strop with DH I can't look him in the face because if I meet his eyes I just give in and want to kiss him. That special something, that tingle, has meant that even in really shit times we have been able to connect. It's been the saving of us more than once.

There are a couple of people in my life who could easily have fulfilled the role your DP is fulfilling for you. One in particular would have married me in an instant if I'd asked. I'm glad I never did. I was never in love with him and I know it would not have worked. Much and all as he would have been a great husband and dad he just wouldn't have been the right partner for me.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Feb-13 16:07:12

If you're happy, that's what's important. Different things make different people happy.

I would rather be alone than "settle" or go for stability, personally. My relationship with my partner is not 100% stable, we are both quite selfish and bad at compromise, but I love him and have done since the moment I saw him.

We don't want kids though. If I did, it would be different I think.

TessTing123 Mon 11-Feb-13 16:08:41

There is an awful lot to be said for sharing your life with someone kind and loving who likes you and you like him too.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 11-Feb-13 16:09:27

As long as he understands how you feel and you are letting him have the choice of whether to marry you or not, knowing that you aren't 'in love' with him, then you are doing nothing wrong.

However, if you let him believe that you feel like he is 'the one' then you are leading him on and that is a horrible thing to do.

Trills Mon 11-Feb-13 16:13:49

He doesn't make my heart leap when I look at him, I don't feel like my life is suddenly worth living now I've 'found' him and I wouldn't want to die if he passed away.

I think you have an unrealistic idea of what "love" is supposed to be like.

nothing wrong with that OP.

My MIL found herself as a unmarried mother in '72. She met FIL in '73 and they married in '74 when DH was 2. She freely admits it was for stability. She came from the wrong side of the tracks, him from the right side. They have been married 39 years this year and they love each other very much and have a lovely life, and are very comfortable with each other. If you go into this marriage being honest with yourself then that is what matters.

TheOriginalLadyFT Mon 11-Feb-13 16:16:09

I know where you are coming from OP - much of what you say I can sort of empathise with. I think there is this idea that you have to have a massive, Hollywood style romance and feel like you would die without your DP etc, but having experienced both the wildly-out-of-control love thing and then the more comfortable version, I am happy I went for the latter.

It's no bad thing to value the wider elements someone brings to a relationship - kindness, stability, trust, reliability etc, particularly where children are involved. The hearts and flowers view of romance is a relatively modern concept, egged on by films and books.

Stabletoplate Mon 11-Feb-13 16:17:54

Cailin - that sounds amazing and I do wish I had that. But if having that was only a vague possibility and the loving friend was a certainty would you hold out for that?

Clouds - I've told him I love him, which is completely true but I've never said he's the one or said he's not, I don't think he thinks he is my 'one', he doesn't seem to think like that, he seems satisfied that we're both happy to share our lives, so I'm not sure what help to either of us it would be pointing out that he's not 'the one'.

Mechanical - that definitely has a lot to do with it for me. If kids weren't in the picture there's a lot of things I'd do differently in my life, possibly (but definitely not certainly) including DP, but definitely need to consider dc in everything.

fromparistoberlin Mon 11-Feb-13 16:18:53

yanbu

i wish you well xxx

GrimmaTheNome Mon 11-Feb-13 16:20:45

OP - from what I read, you are marrying for love. Real better-or-worse, richer-or-poorer love. Love is far more something you do not just some - usually rather ephemeral - feeling.

mummymeister Mon 11-Feb-13 16:20:48

there is no such thing as Mr right only Mr compromise and only you know how much you can compromise. this idea of love being heart leaping, or foot popping is a bit pants imo. Have been married for 20+ years and respect, mutual values, compromise, mutual support and sense of humour have been just as important in our marriage as love. go into it with your eyes wide open and remember that it takes work lots of it to make it work and you wont go far wrong.

Bejeena Mon 11-Feb-13 16:22:11

A long time ago I had a situation very similar to yours with a boyfriend who I was together with for 4 years. I did used to imagine how different my life could be and thought of how it would be without him.

In the end I decided I deserved more than that so broke up with him.

Now with my husband I feel totally different. I cannot imagine life without him, I never want to be without him, the thought of him not being there makes me sick.

I had to kiss a lot of frogs in the process but I have totally 100% married for love, and because we have this love this brings stability. I am a firm believer in all you need is love.

If I am honest from what you describe I think you deserve a lot more.

Branleuse Mon 11-Feb-13 16:22:17

as long as he knows you're not actually that into him and just see him as practical, then your choice but i think its a bit of a shame to settle. I think its very easy to do when you've had bad relationshipS though. I settled with my ex without the in love stuff and it did become an issue.
in love isn't a fantasy that never coincides with good dependable people. You can have both, and its worth waitung for.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 11-Feb-13 16:22:24

But what would happen if you do meet someone who makes you melt and your heart leap?

So, to summarise: You give each other support and companionship, can have fun, but also get through challenges together.

To me it sounds more like you're 'in love' with him and attracted to him, but just not madly 'in lust' with him. Pretty good basis for a long-term commitment if you ask me! grin

Tindertree Mon 11-Feb-13 16:24:23

How do you respond to your friend when she says these things?

ChestyLeRoux Mon 11-Feb-13 16:27:51

Its your choice,but I couldnt of done it.I believe dh is the 'one'.I think its important as thats why we get on so well,still have passion for each other etc.Most friends that didnt have that type of relationship have broken up ime

GilmoursPillow Mon 11-Feb-13 16:28:05

I think you've just described my DH. I'm fairly sure that's how he feels about me.

It works for us.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 16:28:51

I find it really hard to answer that Stable. I honestly don't know. I met DH when I was 19 so I haven't really played the field!

I don't believe in the concept of "The One" - it doesn't make any sense to me at all. I think there are loads of people I could fall in love with and have a great life with, it's just that I happened to meet DH and I'm glad I did.

For me, being "in love" doesn't mean something mad and passionate, or wild and out of control. It's a feeling that we belong together, that we "get" each other and tickle each other's tickly bits as my DH puts it grin. It's not a crazy, heart-thumping feeling, it's a feeling of certainty and security, a feeling that we "fit" together and enjoy each other, not just as friends but as lovers and partners. It goes beyond the day to day humdrum. We might piss each other off and get sick of each other but deep down that love is always there, a solid platform that stays regardless of what's happening in the moment. He is special to me in a way that no one else is. That alone is worth fighting for when things get tough. I do wonder if, if you're basically just friends, and all the superficial good things disappear (through illness etc) do you start to question what you're fighting for?

LessMissAbs Mon 11-Feb-13 16:28:59

Settling can suck the life out of some people, but for others it can work perfectly well ((until you find Mr Perfect). Almost as if you could be with anyone you get along with if you work hard enough at blocking out those little voices in your head.

Personally I'd rather stay single, its not the1600s any more and there are fates worse than being single for women. I think you should be honest with your DP and see if he still sticks around.

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