to want to marry for stability not love?(75 Posts)
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?
I made a similar decision, my oh is wonderful with one glitch. In the early days of our relationship I spoke with a lot of people, and some of the comments gave me a perspective I hadn't considered, and that was helpful, but it also really muddied the waters for me emotionally. I decided to keep the relationship to myself for a year while I thought about what I wanted. At the end of that process I chose him and am so glad I did. Can you take some time out and just think about what you want, op?
I think if I had married the one that made my heart leap and so on... I know I would be a very hurt single mother right now. It would have never lasted as would have burnt out very quickly.
The one I did marry is my best friend. He is my rock and I can't imagine life without him. He is a reliable, loyal, stable family man who holds the same values as me. He respects me, doesn't expect anything of me, and loves me no matter what problems I have, and I have had some serious health problems. Before we got married, I was very ill and he without any hesitation helped bathe me, fed me, cared for me and was basically a saint. It takes a special person to be that selfless. None of the others would have done that. I know that for a fact.
I think it was at that point I realised that he would be a fantastic father and husband.
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.
I couldn't imagine marrying someone I felt like that about. But I'm sure many long and happy marriages have been based more on friendship and genuine liking and respect than heart jumping love and passion.
But when I see people marrying simply for stability or because they really want to 'be married' I often wonder what will happen if they subsequently meet the person they really love.
It doesnt have to be either/or.Your dh can be the one who cares for you,your best friend,the person you are most attracted to,grand passion etc.As well as being the one who when your apart you think of little things you have together and wish he was there to see it.
You can have the love/whirlwind feel it in your stomach thing as well as the steady,dependent thing.
Thingiebob, the way you feel about your DH sounds like being in love to me. I think the heart leaping thing you're talking about is more infatuation and lust isn't it?
If you are happy and he's happy then it's no one else's business.
If your friend is truly concerned for you she should come right out and say it, not drop things into conversation.
What I mean to say is, I definitely feel very lustful after my DH but he is also very stable, kind, genuine etc. He is my best friend. I don't think passion and a deep stable love are mutually exclusive.
OP, might sound like a silly question, but do you feel excited about the prospect of your DP becoming your husband?
I love dh. But I married him for stability. He is really hard work and I'm not sure we will be together forever. Before we got married we discussed divorce in 10 years time as an option. I have given up a lot for him which he understands so marriage protected me. We adore each other don't get me wrong, but I can't see myself being able to have the energy for him forever and it would be unfair if after everything I have given up I walked away with nothing.
Life long companionship with someone you love, what do you think is wrong with that? He doesn't make your heart leap, but you love him
He is stable, supportive, loving and caring - if times are hard that will carry on wont it?
To me, the idea that you are 'settling' is based on the Hollywood idea of love, and that isn't what a long term relationship is built on IMO. You need trust first and foremost, which is clear that you have. I am guessing that the relationship(s) where you were subjected to DV must have had that element of all consuming 'love' that you are talking about and I think that you may be mistaking that lack of 'fire' as a lack of love. I don't believe in The One. I believe you find a person in life who you love enough to want to build a life with because of their flaws and not in spite of them. I believe being in a partnership is about compromise and shared values. BUT if you do commit to this marriage be clear in your mind that you are doing so accepting that the kind of love you talk about will most likely never be a part of your relationship, meaning you won't be running away if you meet someone in the future that lights your fire. I am assuming you do at least fancy the guy? If not, then I do think you should consider your choice very carefully. x
I can't imagine spending everyday with a man I didn't utterly adore, because marriage and a life together isn't about the good bits, but quite the reverse, it's about being able to live with someone's flaws... I couldn't live with DH's flaws if I didn't love him to pieces.
Saying that, YANBU, though you have gone into a LOT of detail in your justifications, you don't have to justify it. So long as you love and respect him enough not to leave if something better comes along then I don't see the fact that you're not goofy about it as wrong.
Love isn't like the lottery, that's not a good comparison. I wasn't 'lucky' to have met DH, I hadn't even bought a ticket!!
I really do wish you the best of luck, only you can answer whether you really are 'settling' - I hate that expression, we ALL 'settle' in a way. I settled with a good man I'm crazy about, there could have been someone out there richer, younger, etc etc., you are settling with someone you comfortable with settling with. You are doing nothing different than anyone else in a relationship in that sense. We all know when we're happy to stop searching. We all know when we're happy.
Tell your friend that you are flattered but you're happy. Ask her to not mention her 'concerns' ever again, until such time that you divorce, at which point, tell her she is free to say she told you so, but until that time, to mind her own business. x
I got the collywobbles for a friend in the same way your friend did - exactly the same way (settle v hearts 'n' flowers) as did all her friends too.
We were all completely wrong. 20 years on they adore each other.
Happy life, OP: you deserve it.
Your post confuses me.
Your title says "to want to marry for stability not love"
Yet in your post, you say "I'm absolutely sure I love DP.."
I think you are confused and so am I.
fwiw, I think you do love him.
So you would be marrying for love.
So you could tell your friend that if you wanted to!
I think you are marrying someone that you love, but you are confused because somehow you have become convinced that the kind of love you have is not enough and you should be aiming for some higher kind of love.
I think you are wrong.
Life isn't like the movies.
I think it's natural to start questioning things before you make a big decision, like marriage.
Only you know if you want to share your life with him.
One question- did you have a period of intense infatuation at the beginning, and then it faded into something a bit duller, but more real?
Most relationships have that mad, crazy, all-consuming love at the beginning- it's normal for that to fade, though.
If you didn't have that period and it always felt 'stable', so to speak...that might be something to think about.
Thingybob, wonderful, well said. We have very similar OH's and I loved reading your post.
Does he know you're settling for him?
That marrying him is a compromise for you?
That you aren't in love with him?
If not, you are being very unfair to rob him of the choice to look for those things.
I think the key part here is that you've been on your own as a single parent for a long time. If you're leading a fulfilled life that you thoroughly enjoy as a single person, IMO it's highly unlikely that you would ever feel that you'd 'want to die' if the other person wasn't in it.
In fact, I don't actually think it's healthy that for anyone's happiness to depend exclusively on the presence of someone else in their life.
I also don't think the spark is necessary to reconnect during tough times (although I'm sure it helps and I can relate to it ). A lot depends on the level of respect both of you are capable of at the bare minimum when things are really tough. Some people can maintain that even under incredible pressure. Others can't.
I don't see anything wrong at all in marrying for the reasons you've given. But I would advise caution. To use your lottery analogy, what would happen if your numbers come up? Have you thought about how you would prevent yourself from running off and hurting your DP - and even if you would want to? That's what you need to prepare for I think.
I think the advice here is shit, BTW.
You have a weird idea of love, but you are not wrong that there is a difference between being in love and just wanting stability with someone who is acceptable.
Cailín is right - it's the special spark of being with the best person you can imagine spending your life with that is the glue that keeps you together happily.
I do think people marry for different reasons, but I don't think the idea of being passionately in love and a stable, calm relationship are mutually exclusive.
Honestly though, if you have to ponder aloud on an internet forum about whether the marriage is right, it doesn't bode well does it?
I wouldn't marry anyone unless I had absolutely no reservations about the relationship.
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