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MNers who are in a truly happy marriage - please tell me what it's like?

(105 Posts)
DreamingOfMicronesia Wed 30-Apr-14 22:27:06

What's it like to be loved and respected so much?

What is your marriage like - for instance, does your DH kiss you goodbye every morning? Do you have little in-jokes? Do you cuddle and have a regular healthy sex life? Does he respect your opinions and not talk down to you?

I don't think I have ever had a non-dysfunctional relationship in my life (I'm 24) and I really want to know what it's like to be in the ultimate commitment.

(incredibly nosey question and absolutely none of my business, so feel free not to answer blush )

Hassled Wed 30-Apr-14 22:30:31

You're still so young - you have lots of time to find a happy relationship.

I have a long, happy marriage - but I kissed a lot of frogs (and married one of them) before I got there. And even in my long happy marriage we wind each other up, we can both be selfish, we both have our irritating ways. No marriage is sunshine and rainbows all the way. Yes, we both know we're loved and respected and that's great - but it takes time, compromise and work.

utahforever Wed 30-Apr-14 22:42:44

I agree wholeheartedly with Hassled. I found a spectacular frog when I was your age, but thankfully he ran off before we got married!

My DH does all of those things above, as well as snoring like a jack hammer grin - however, that is part of him and i love tolerate most of his other quirky traits. Just like he, I'm sure, loves everything about me!

If you are not happy in this relationship (I wouldn't be), think about seeing if it can be changed - or get out and find a better one. Do not accept this.

DreamingOfMicronesia Wed 30-Apr-14 22:47:34

I definitely hope I find a happy relationship, my life is generally a good one except for dating, I seem to attract secretive men, married men, men in the closet, liars, commitment-phobes, cheaters and manipulators- It has taken a toll on my self-esteem tbh, as I'm always reading that if every guy you date is a rat bastard perhaps it's not the guys who are the problem....

It doesn't help that I live in London, I feel like the guys I meet are in an extended adolescence and no suitable ones around my age (22-30) are looking for a serious committed monogamous relationship - just casual sex or a friends with benefits type situation.....hmm

SeaSaltMill Wed 30-Apr-14 22:49:43

Yes he kisses me goodbye every morning, we have in jokes and he doesn't talk down to me. However, we're not perfect. Most of the time that kiss goodbye is the only one all day, the in jokes can be irritating and half the time he ignores me til I repeat myself four times. But we are happy. A happy marriage feels happy and secure. It doesn't always matter about those little things, as long as you are both happy.

aprilanne Wed 30-Apr-14 22:56:41

well what can i say .my hubby is useless about the house will not be seen dead doing womens work .ie housework going to supermarkets ...but
1 he is a good man hard worker .
2 good father always willing to take his turn with 3ds.
3 always respects me .
never beliitles me .so would i change him after 20 years .no

Dirtybadger Wed 30-Apr-14 22:57:43

Dreaming- how much time have you spent "properly" alone? Sounds like a lot of men have been waded through. Some time alone getting to know yourself might refine your bullshit radar. FWIW I am only 23. After a not incredibly awful (not abusive) but shit enough (unfulfilling, cheating/lying) relationship I've decided to give myself at least 12-18 months off. I refuse to go on a "date". I've had a couple of NSA nights and will continue to but it's been about 5 months and I already feel much more confident in my ability to make effective judgments, stand up for myself and walk away when things might not work.

I have spent a lot of time here, which has helped. My parents do not have a relationship which is a brilliant model for me. It's an awful one, actually. Might be worth evaluating what you've been taught about men/women and relationships thus far.

DreamingOfMicronesia Wed 30-Apr-14 23:07:41

DirtyBadger how much time have you spent ''properly'' alone?

I have never been completely single since I began dating at 16ish. I can't believe it, I actually thought I'd had some time alone, but no I am a serial monogamist.

I crave the security of a relationship, but I always either come on too strong and seem over eager or I become detached and lose interest quickly. Am not sure why this is, my parents and older siblings are all settled and happy.

Hughfearnley Wed 30-Apr-14 23:09:14

A recurring theme seems to be respect and I wholeheartedly agree with this.
I respect my OH totally and he respects me. I always respect his views on things (and we don't always agree!) and I respect the decisions he makes about things even if I think they are wrong. We will often debate them in private but at the end if the day I support his decisions.
We would NEVER dream of criticising/belittling each other to/in front of others and if either of us has a problem with our relationship we sort it out by communication behind closed doors. Above all, and this is the best bit, we are a team/family unit who will look after ourselves and each other come what may, and that is a great feeling!
Oh.... And there's the shagging, occasionally having one glass of wine too many, laughing together until you're crying etc etc (plus dirty socks everywhere and loose change on the floor of the downstairs toilet. - seriously how does that happen???!!!)

Minifingers Wed 30-Apr-14 23:33:36

Together 21 years. Married for 16. Not great on the sex front - my low sex drive. However I still massively fancy him. I think the world of him, he is such a very good person in every aspect of his life and ours. We kiss goodbye when he goes to work and when he comes home. We are always, always courteous to each other.

My parents were like this, as were DH's parents. My parents had almost 50 years of truly happy marriage. They loved to be together.

Preciousbane Wed 30-Apr-14 23:53:26

He does still kiss me goodbye and we do have in jokes. There are a few domestic skirmishes regarding untidiness levels but nothing terrible.

I had a very abusive first marriage, then I dated and then the best thing I did was have a Break from it all. Concentrated on studying and working and swam 50 lengths 3 times a week for a few months before dating again.

Churstondeckle Thu 01-May-14 00:04:42

Married 33 years- lots of in jokes-same wavelength on bringing up kids and financial affairs-saw me at my worst when I had cancer but I never doubted that he would be there for me-I just knew that he would always be on my side-he died in the summer and I miss him every day

Appletini Thu 01-May-14 09:14:01

Churstondeckle I'm so sorry for your loss.

I think it's good to ask questions like there. I was previously in some really abusive relationships and it can be hard to retrain your brain to look for decent men. I second the suggestion to spend a decent chunk of time alone.

In a good relationship, you treat each other better than your friends (not like shit behind closed doors), and you are kind and courteous to each other. Those are the really fundamental things, I think. DH and I do kiss each other goodbye and hello and goodnight and everything else. Lots of cuddles. We do have in-jokes and silly things we say to each other.

DH does respect my opinions and would never talk down to me. I've never heard him talk down to anyone actually. He is very polite to service staff which is always a good barometer I think.

MarcusAurelius Thu 01-May-14 09:19:56

Oh Churston that's so sad.

LizzieMint Thu 01-May-14 09:21:09

I've been married to my H for 10 years this year, and am very very happy. It's hard to describe, we just have the utmost respect for each other, I think he's the most amazing person I've ever met, he's clever, hard working, has lots of integrity, loving, a fantastic dad. He suffers chronic pain and the way he deals with it fills me with admiration. We never moan about each other to outsiders, even when one or other of us is being a pain - to me that's really important.
Daily, things are tough because he works away a lot so we miss each other hugely. He's just my favourite person in the world and I'm massively grateful we met. Incidentally, we only met when I was 25, and just coming out of a fairly crappy relationship so there's plenty of time for you. Don't put up with a rubbish relationship though, if the basics of decency and respect aren't there, I don't think you can acquire them.

MrsAtticus Thu 01-May-14 09:26:13

I feel I am in a good marriage, the happiness is not always there as there are many challenges - I imagine this is true for most people. At 24 you have plenty of time. Set clear boundaries in relationships as to what you find acceptable and not, this will help get rid of the wrong-uns and help the right-uns be even better!
I agree with apple about courtesy etc. I feel bad when I see friends talking to their partners like c**p, they are the most important person in your life and deserve the best. I need to remind myself of this as have been snapping at DH rather a lot lately (tiredness due to newborn).

MarcusAurelius Thu 01-May-14 09:26:43

I met dh when we were 25, fell head over heels in love, he was engaged to someone else and we were married before they were due to be. we just couldn't help ourselves and after 18 years of marriage i'm glad i didn't listen to the people who thought i was a relationship wrecker. We really have stood the test of time despite business failures and a seriously ill child.
I love him, he loves me. We're very old fashioned in our roles because that's what works for us. We still have outrageously good sex and we make time for it. We still snog like teenagers and i feel really lucky that i met him when i did.

He is a workaholic but weekends are all ours. This weekend is our wedding anniversary and he's whisking me away for some fun. Its still whirlwind and i like that.

Pagwatch Thu 01-May-14 09:27:36

Dreamingofmicronesia

I could talk about my 25 year happy marriage but I could also have written your opening post when I was your age.

I firmly believe that many bad relationships arise from our willingness to accept someone who treats us less well than we treat them.
I am not victim blaming anyone with a shit partner. I see how people get stuck.
But tbh if we walk/refuse to tolerate it the first time a partner treats us like shit, when their attitude becomes selfish, then we don't get shitheads.

It makes me so frustrated that people say ' he ignores my birthday, calls me stupid, goes out all night and comes home drunk, never cleans up.. Why does he treat me like this?'

Because you accept it.

Well we have a dc3 who is 15 weeks old which influences my answer a fair chunk. So I would say that yes respect has to be a constant but I think a good relationship can sit in the background for a time without causing any anxiety.

Dreaming, I'd echo Badger's advice. Take some time off to get to know yourself better before trying to find a happy marriage. When you are 'craving' a relationship you will attract all the wrong men, if you need it so badly the bad ones will use that to their advantage to treat you badly, the good ones won't want to know. There is something offputting about a person too keen to jump into a relationship whereas someone who knows they are just fine and happy by themself, who can take their time, is infinitely more attractive - don't you find that? Work on your self esteem and you will get the relationship you want, there's no rush, you are very young and hopefully you will one day be a very long time married. Enjoy having only yourself to think about and find what makes you happy outside of a relationship. smile

ProfYaffle Thu 01-May-14 09:38:57

My marriage is how you describe however at your age I was in an awful relationship. Both dh and I spent our 20s with other people but we both say those relationships taught us a lot and prepared us for being together. If we'd met any earlier we wouldn't have lasted.

My previous bf was controlling and EA. Once the relationship finished I wonder how the fuck I'd let it happen. I spent almost a year single and having a ball (my social life had to start from scratch as he'd estranged me from most of my friends) and when I met dh I was very reluctant to give that up. As a result I had high standards and expected a lot from him. Fortunately he lived up to my expectations.

My advice would absolutely be don't cling onto a relationship out of fear of being single. Turn that on it's head. Cling to being single out of fear of a bad relationship.

laregina Thu 01-May-14 09:51:39

I've been with DH for nearly 15 years. I can honestly say that in all that time and 3 DC later, there has not been a moment when I've doubted why I married him or have ever stopped thinking he's the most solid, dependable and lovely man I've ever met <sorry if a bit vomit-inducing...>

He always, always puts me and the DC first. Yes we kiss goodbye every morning, and hello when we see each other again. We definitely have good chemistry together and he still makes me go a bit funny when he comes through the door blush So yes everything is healthy in that department.

But when I was your age my relationships were like a long miserable episode of Eastenders.... I thought having a boyfriend was the be all and end all; was terrified of being on my own, and allowed men to treat me like shit as a result. Then something happened, not sure what - maybe I just grew up a bit? I got to my late twenties and decided I'd had enough; dumped my useless boyfriend and got a life of my own. I lived on my own for the first time in my life, made more effort with friends and got a social life. I actually had a great time being single for a few years and stopped looking for a man - I was honestly happy as I was for the first time ever. And then I met DH.

I honestly wonder now if he would have been interested in me at all if I'd been the needy person I had been a few years before, or if our relationship would have worked. He was all grown up, independent and had a life of his own, and probably wanted somebody similar - which, thank god, I was by then!

I've just realised how long this is - sorry!

Rockchick1984 Thu 01-May-14 09:51:53

I was always a serial monogamist too - put up with a lot of crap from boyfriends so that I wasn't single. Finally had a bit of time where I just stopped dating, turned down offers, learnt that being alone is actually ok.

Met DH after 6 months or so, grew to be friends before anything happened between us. He's the love of my life, I still regard him as my best friend, he respects me and genuinely listens to me. He's an amazing dad to our 2 kids. Yes we argue, but we never hold grudges, and never go to sleep without resolving things and kissing each other goodnight.

Hairylegs47 Thu 01-May-14 09:56:05

Let's see. We've been married for 19 years now.
I was a single mum of 4 when we started dating. I knew he was the one so I proposed 3 weeks later, we married 3 weeks after that. He was also only 20 and I was 29! People were well shocked and even friends didn't think we'd last.
My first 2 relationships were a disaster - 2 DC to each man - so I decided when I was divorcing my XH to never bother with men again as I was clearly the defective one. I never dated, never went out at all. I did go to college as I wanted to get a job, being on benefits is okay, but it does nothing for your self esteem and makes you lazy really. I married DH 4 years later.
I love the very bones of him! He does belittle me at times, and I call him out on it too! I never used to, but he doesn't have the filter in his brain that says 'You're being a tit, shut up' and he's really apologetic when I tell him, but it doesn't happen so much now. I know some think I'm making excuses, but the confused look on his face is for real. He said to be last week 'Hairy, why are you buying those jeans? They're fat peoples jeans, and you're bums not that fat anymore.' He saw my face and started to panic,'what have I said? Was that not a compliment?'
Having someone who I know loves me, puts up with my craziness, who I don't have to 'pretend' not to be me with, who 'cherishes' me - he had to do all my personal care a few years ago when I was sick, he came home every lunch time to help me, he never made me feel a burden, he made me feel very loved.
I miss him terribly when we're apart, it feels like I've lost half of me. If I'm on a trip without him, I keep think DH would love/hate this, can't wait to show him when we come back. He's the same.
Sex is great - when I feel like it, when I don't it's just as great with him too. It's about real mutual love and respect, even with his lack of filter.

I wouldn't swap him for even Alan Rickman or Richard E Grant.

I think you're already answering the question of why you're having problems - when you're 16 it's easy to feel that you 'have to' have a boyfriend, and be fixated on getting one. "Never mind what he's like, I am worth something if a boy is going out with me"

So, you crave a relationship, because deep down you feel that will make you 'valued'.

But, as others have said, the rat bastards can spot that from a mile off, and will take advantage, while the nice ones will probably not realise you actually have standards and are also scared that you might be a bit obsessive.

When you are 'craving' food, you're likely to grab any old rubbish. Same for relationships.

Get to a point where you aren't craving it, but know that what you want is some nice healthy salad. Then look for one. You'll see past the greasy burgers then, and won't grab them just because there are loads of them in easy range.

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