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?

Trills Tue 12-Feb-13 08:13:20

NeverFinish - I love that Tim Minchin gestures "bell curve" smile

MechanicalTheatre Tue 12-Feb-13 00:00:23

I can't imagine not feeling excited by the idea of my partner. We've been together 7 years and I still feel thrilled when I see his face.

The ones that made my heart leap made my life really fucking hard and full of unwanted drama.

I have a gorgeous, stable, reliable man who understands me, who I can turn to without fear of being judged. I love him so much more than I ever loved the ex's - it's a different love, but it is SO much better.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 11-Feb-13 23:47:55

I honestly think it's a bit much to ask for someone in a long-term relationship to feel 'excited' at the thought of their partner, as a criterion for love. I don't feel 'excited' at the thought of my dh, and my heart doesn't race, but my goodness we had a fabulous time last night smile And I do feel lucky to have found him, yes, but not in an 'it was Fate' sense, much rather that I simply feel lucky we encountered each other and have built a happy life together.

Profound love isn't just about hearts missing a beat.

ImperialBlether Mon 11-Feb-13 23:32:46

I've heard that the happiest marriages are where each person feels they are the luckiest person in the world to be marrying that man/woman. Do you feel lucky to have found him? Does the thought of him comfort you and excite you and make you want to talk to him?

If not, do him a favour and turn him down. He could find someone whose heart races a little when she sees him.

NeverFinishWhatYouStarted Mon 11-Feb-13 23:15:59

I'd take mutual commitment over passion any day. I'm with this guy and the dangerously honest Tim Minchin.

But... is your friend a nosey, interfering sort or a jealous bitch? Why does she think you're settling? I'd set a lot of store by what my friends think (they all love DH but were not at all keen on previous long term relationship). If you're going to marry this guy, she'll have to stop undermining your relationship with him.

And stop thinking about your DP in terms of "settling". "Compatible" is less insulting more positive. wink

plim Mon 11-Feb-13 22:22:04

I wouldn't marry unless in love, stability is important but so is a spark. I have neither in my marriage now but hey we did in the beginning!! [shocked]

twentythirteen Mon 11-Feb-13 22:15:38

Interesting article bue!

zeno Mon 11-Feb-13 18:19:27

I have a friend who settled for her dh in the interests of stability and children. He knew this and said it was enough for him.

It wasn't enough for her as it turned out, and the fallout has been horrible to witness, let alone live through.

I think, as others have said, the love is what holds a marriage together through the "worse" bits.

Mollydoggerson Mon 11-Feb-13 17:47:40

Do you fantasise about shagging him, if not don't marry him.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 11-Feb-13 17:40:56

That should be 'happen'. Interesting typo there.

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy Mon 11-Feb-13 17:39:46

I don't think your OP reads as if you're settling. It sounds, rather, as if you have a developed and stable sense of self and know that, should anything part you, you'd be OK - very sad but fundamentally, and eventually, OK.

I too don't believe in 'the one'. My relationship with my dh grew out of friendship - in fact, when we first knew each other I cried on his shoulder about a mutual friend of ours I was infatuated with. We've been together 15 years now and have grown closer - and the sex has got better and better - with the years, with shared history and deepening intimacy.

I was lucky to meet him. But I am realistic enough to realise that if it hadn't happened - our meeting was rather chance - I might well be living just as happy a life - a differently happy life - with someone else, or on my own.

OP, what are the things in your life that won't happyn if you stick with dp? That, rather than the rest, is what makes me wonder a bit.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 11-Feb-13 17:31:04

I suppose it depends on your priorities. I'm really not fussed about getting married at all. I can take it or leave it, and I'm not that bothered about being in a relationship and would be happy enough alone.

So there's no way that I would settle for someone. They'd start getting on my tits, I'm sure.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 11-Feb-13 17:29:17

If you think about your dp dying and you are not completely gutted at the thought of it, then imo you should not be marrying him.

I agree with those who said it is the connection, the love between two people which sees them through the hard times. If that love isn't there, then there is nothing to hold you together in the face of all the things that can go wrong in life.

I also think it won't be enough to stop you from hurting him, if you should happen to meet someone that you do find yourself incredibly attracted to.

I can see why it is tempting though - you will be content for as long as you don't meet 'the one'.

Samu2 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:22:20

Of course real love isn't just about passion and alone it is not going to make for a long lasting marriage but it is possible to have both.

We have a lot of children and life is busy so it isn't like we are constantly in a state of passion, we have had ups and downs but I adore him, I miss him when he isn't around, I can't wait for him to come home so we can talk. I would be devastated if he died and I am also very attracted to him which is lovely.

The passion isn't quite the same as it was when we first met (thank god.. that honeymoom stage is exhausting) but it is still there.

It is possible to have a loving deep relationship with some passion and I wasn't willing to settle for anything less. BTDT and I found it depressing and wasn't willing to spend my life with someone I wasn't crazy about.

Sometimes I see my husband walk down the street and my heart still does a little leap.

Some people want different things from marriage but it is possible to have both.

Bue Mon 11-Feb-13 17:18:35

Food for thought: Marry Him!

Controversial article, but I think she talks a lot of sense.

Mumsyblouse Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:49

The million dollar question here is do you fancy him?

AThingInYourLife Mon 11-Feb-13 17:14:54

"I think love isn't always about that fluttery feeling, there are quieter loves that are worth just as much and sometimes more especially if like you, you have a history where somebody hurt you. If you find somebody kind, decent and gentle then you value that all the more. It sounds to me like you have a strong relationship and you talk about him in a really loving way."

I don't think you talk about him in a loving way. To me it sounds like you are using him for coupledom, stability, another baby, and a father figure for your child.

Which is something he needs to be on board with, and if he is in love with you it will just make him miserable even if he agrees.

It is possible to have butterflies with a kind, decent, gentle man.

Quiet love doesn't mean settling and talking yourself into staying with someone because it is convenient.

are you always vaguely feeling that you might meet someone better? do you meet new men and wonder what life with them would be like?

if so, i think you're looking out a better fit tbh.

i was in this position with my ex-bf. and then i met dh.

i do think though, that time is not on your side so you have to be pragmatic. and as you say, mr. 100% might not come along.

maybe it's better to leave things as they are at the moment, give you're not absolutely sure.

but think carefully about having another baby with him.

Eebahgum Mon 11-Feb-13 17:10:53

Why does your friend think you are settling? From something you said or her own perspective? I think you do love this man - and that's a perfectly good basis for a marriage. I personally don't believe in 'the one' or 'mr right' (although I see from this thread that other people seem to have found him & that's truly amazing). I always used to wonder, what if my mr right lives at the other side of the world? How will I ever meet him? I believe there's lots of different mr rights at different points in your life. My dp is definitely right for me now - but if we'd have met 15 years ago would we have felt the same then? Maybe not. I was a very different person back then & he probably was too. But at this point in our lives we have met and we fit really well. Of course there's things about him that are not quite perfect but he's my rock & I'm confident we will have a long, successful & fulfilling relationship. He's the person I want to share good news with first and the person I want to hold me when I'm down. I wish you all the best for a long & happy relationship with this man.

Samu2 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:10:24

I felt the same way about my ex husband, it didn't work.

I need passion as well. I don't mean wanting to rip his clothes off every second kind of passion, but there needs to be attraction and a spark as well.

I have that now with my second husband. He is my best friend, I enjoy his company, and he is kind and wonderful and we have that spark and I would never have it any other way now I have experienced a marriage without it.

Thingiebob Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:53

Aw thanks twentythirteen! It was written very quickly and I wasn't sure if articulated how I felt.

I sobbed all the way down the aisle when we got married and I still feel as though I don't deserve him.
However, I can't remember the last time my heart 'jumped' when I saw him and to be honest my libido as done runner as I am pregnant. But he doesn't put any pressure on me. If anything happened to him, I wouldn't 'die' but there would be a huge desolate hole in my world and I am not sure if I would find anyone else like him again. I think he is one in a million and perfect for me.

Moominmamma86 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:03:58

Yes sometimes I watch this romantic movies and remembered those first passionate love fuelled moments but then I look at my husband and he is the first person I want to be with after a long day, the first person I want to call and the only person I want to chill out with at home.

Thingiebob that's lovely!

miemohrs Mon 11-Feb-13 17:03:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Moominmamma86 Mon 11-Feb-13 17:01:36

I think love isn't always about that fluttery feeling, there are quieter loves that are worth just as much and sometimes more especially if like you, you have a history where somebody hurt you. If you find somebody kind, decent and gentle then you value that all the more. It sounds to me like you have a strong relationship and you talk about him in a really loving way.

Your friend doesn't really have the right to comment. I'm sure she wants to be helpful but her idea of love isn't the only one.

Congrats on your wedding. I'm sure it will be a lovely day for you, committing to spend your lives together and knowing that it's the right thing for you both will make it feel special. Nobody else's opinion can shake you if you're making a decision that feels right.

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