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What is a good-enough marriage?

(48 Posts)
Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 21:26:14

I would love to know.

I have a good man. In the sense that he loves me and it basically a decent sort. Do I love him? Yes. Am I in love with him? No. Does he fill my heart with passion and excitment? No. Do I see us being together for the rest of our lives? Yes but I don't feel thrilled at that thought. But the idea of being without him breaks my heart.

Is that good enough? What is marriage supposed to be now?

confidence Tue 16-Aug-11 22:53:35

Yeah, that sounds about as good as it gets.

What do you mean that you love him but are not "in love with him"? I'm never quite sure what people mean by that distinction.

How long have you been married?

FabbyChic Tue 16-Aug-11 23:06:29

Passion and excitement come at the beginning I think, followed by pure contentment and happiness in the knowledge that you are with your soul mate.

boodles Tue 16-Aug-11 23:09:12

Excitement and passion only carry on if both parties work at keeping it there. It sounds like you have all the things that are good in a marriage, maybe you just need to have a chat with your OH and see what you can do to keep your passions alive. It can be done, after over 12 years of marriage and three kids we are still a very passionate couple and he still gives me butterflies when I see him. We do work very hard at keeping this going though.

tellmethefuture Tue 16-Aug-11 23:31:55

Ormirian you are describing my own relationship down to a t and I know I can't really be much help to you cos I don't know what can be done in my own situation either, or really, whether anything needs to be done.

All those terms 'in love with', 'loving' etc are a load of ol' cobblers ime, in the sense that knowing the supposed distinction between them won't help you with the issue. I always assume when people use the term 'in love with', the 'fancying' element is in there somewhere, but to me, all those terms are an over-simplification and don't actually represent all the complex issues that can be there in real life.

boodles passion can also die and no matter how hard you work at it, it's not always possible to get it back, that's the reality. Glad it worked for you of course, but it definitely doesn't happen to everyone.

OP do you see yourself with someone else?

oreocrumbs Tue 16-Aug-11 23:34:36

That sounds just like my relationship (not married). I stopped paying attention to what things are supposed to be as it only makes me disapointed. I think if I am basically happy most of the time then I'm doing ok (and DP of course). There is a saying that marriage is the result of the longing for the deep, deep peace of the double bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise-longue. I always thought that hit the nail on the head.

tellmethefuture Tue 16-Aug-11 23:36:40

I kinda preferred the hurly burly of the chaise longue in some ways grin

oreocrumbs Tue 16-Aug-11 23:51:00

Just remember how much effort was involved though!! And grooming! I'm ashamed to say I bought some sexy undies for Christmas 2009 but was pregnant and didn't factor in that by the time Christmas day came I would be too round for them. So they went in the drawer and more than 18mt later they are still there! Might try and make an effort for DP - before another Christmas comes and goes!

aseriouslyblondemoment Tue 16-Aug-11 23:58:29

orm having read your other threads i can understand why you love your dh but aren't' in love with him' as you have been horribly let down by him.wish i could provide solutions for you.

simpson Wed 17-Aug-11 00:16:03

I guess you have to ask yourself how you would feel without him....

How do you feel when he comes up and hugs you in the day??

Could you imagine yourself with someone else?? Or on your own??

These were huge defining things for me (although me and my ex H had other problems too)

But the main thing was when he went to hug me in the day I was thinking "get off, leave me alone" blush sad

How much time do the two of you spend just the two of you talking etc?? I think marriage is hard work and obviously not always plain sailing sadly...

Ormirian Wed 17-Aug-11 10:19:26

"But the main thing was when he went to hug me in the day I was thinking "get off, leave me alone" sad No I don't think that.

It's been 22 years together, 19 years married. The children coming along where what changed us I think. I love my DC very very much - but bloody hell they have worn us out.

Thanks for all your answers. There are times when I wish he wasn't here - and other times when it breaks me heart to think he might not be.

LOL at " the deep, deep peace of the double bed " i think that is part of our problem. We had 3 poor sleepers so co-slept with them all and even after we stopped they'd come into our bed in the wee small hours. Not much deep peace in our bed!

I just want to be sure I am not wasting my time - when life gets 'normal' again, when I am free of my ads and depression, when the menopause has come and gone, when the children are gone, when we both stop feeling so knackered and harried. that there will be a marriage left worth having. I really want there to be but I have no energy left to work at it.

Ormirian Wed 17-Aug-11 10:21:10

simpson - not much tbh - and that's down to me. I am a bit volatile atm and very tired. We do make an effort sometimes to get out together - DS1 is old enough to 'baby sit' for short times now. But more often than not i am yawning and longing for my bed.

peppapighastakenovermylife Wed 17-Aug-11 15:41:56

Same here.

How do I feel when he hugs me? He doesn't. Nor kiss me. He won't sleep in the same bed as me. We have no physical contact except for when we occasionally have sex. I had an awful day last week (just one thing on top of the other) and long story short ended up bursting into tears at an email. He looked up, said whats wrong? But did nothing sad.

I also feel I love him but am not in love with him. By this I mean I care deeply for him. I care that he is happy. He is the father of my children. I once loved him passionately and affectionately. But I am no longer in love with him. He is not the first person I turn to with news. I dont get excited at seeing him. Or particularly miss him when he is not there. I dont really talk to him. He doesnt seem to be able to relate emotionally or affectionately any more.

He loves me and swears he is in love with me and I believe him. He thinks this is what marriage is like and is happy. He is content. But I'm not?

We are settled. Get on fine. Don't argue. Are kind to each other. But that's it. Is this it? sad

Malificence Wed 17-Aug-11 16:28:29

Orm, what you describe wouldn't be good enough for me and it doesn't sound good enough for you either tbh
I thinks it's true that children change you and can wear you out emotionally, they definitely take something away from your couple relationship because everything is naturally focussed on them while they are growing up - we had a pretty crappy few years when DD was 13 - 16, she turned into a vile little thing and when DH worked away, then worked horrendous shifts, I couldn't always handle her, we had massive arguments and I suppose I resented DH for working away, working nights etc. he was sometimes glad to get away because I suffered from horrendous PMS at the time too .
We went through a pretty rough patch when we absolutely questioned our relationship but in the end, neither of us wanted to end 20 years of marriage without trying to work things out, which we did and we are stronger and happier than ever.

What you need is more couple time, have you got anyone to dump the kids on for a night or a weekend?
I used to wonder ( and be quite judgey) why my SIL farms her boys out to her PILs every weekend , now I think she's helping her marriage by having regular time alone with her DH.

I think you do need to make an effort with your marriage, both of you, it's no good when it's one sided - a cuddle in the morning before you get up, a phonecall during the day to say hello, a kiss when you come in at night, it's nothing huge, just lots of little acts that say you care about your partner - DH gets in the bath most nights and if I don't get in with him , I sit on the loo while he tells me about his day at work/asks about mine and I scrub his back or he fondles my boobs scrubs mine. smile.

It's basically about making time for one another and actually feeling heard and valued - contentment is great within a marriage, complacency, not so much.

I also think that by confronting things now and working together, you'll have a much more solid footing when the kids have grown up and flown the nest - DD now lives 40 miles away at Uni and has done for the last two years, we love it when she comes to visit, but we love having the house back to ourselves when she goes home.

motherinferior Wed 17-Aug-11 16:32:48

God I miss the chaise longue grin

I do actually think that long term relationships are a bit, well, wearing.

carminagoesprimal Wed 17-Aug-11 16:39:15

Op; your marriage sounds like every other marriage/partnership in the world.

motherinferior Wed 17-Aug-11 16:39:57

Sorry, that wasn't very constructive, Orm my lovely. Just, well, I think good enough is surely what one gets.

Malificence Wed 17-Aug-11 16:45:23

The thing is, you can still have the chaise lounge, the dining room table and the shower, alongside the peace of the double bed. grin
Like everything worth having, whether it's a nice meal or a lovely garden, there has to be some forethought and some effort put into a marriage.

I used to be one of those idiots people who thought that you don't really have to work at relationships, I don't think that any more wink - as long as both partners make the effort then you both reap the rewards.

peppapighastakenovermylife Thu 18-Aug-11 09:24:10

I think you have hit the nail on the head there Malifience - that both partners need to work towards it.

The problem seems to come about when partners have different expectations of what is normal and different needs.

My DH for example is genuinely happy in our marriage. I am not. I can't make him 'work harder' as he doesn't think he should / needs to and I am asking for something unreasonable.

Time also plays an important role. Things slip little by little every day and one day you wake up and realise you are so far apart and it feels awkward to go back and change things.

A friend suggested to me that I try and make a huge effort with DH and see what happens...the problem is that after feeling rejected for so long it would feel awkward to come in through the door tonight and give him a big hug and kiss sad

Ormirian Thu 18-Aug-11 10:04:12

"the problem is that after feeling rejected for so long it would feel awkward to come in through the door tonight and give him a big hug and kiss "

Yes it would. It does. But it does help. I sometimes find myself deciding to make a big effort and being a caricature Pollyanna which would drive me mad in anyone else - but after a while I can feel my mood lifting and the trust between us restored. DH actually wants very little from our marriage - he wants to be appreciated, he wants kindness, and he wants sex! I am the awkward bugger. Having always been very loosely married - ie not in each others' pockets and happy to be quite indepedent of each other - children put a spanner in the works as there was no time or energy left for much else. Therein lies our problem - our marriage worked best when we spent some time seperately - spending time seperately being knackered and tied up with kids/work/chores isn't the same.

Question is can we hang on as things are for the next 10 years or so until DS is grown up?

tellmethefuture Thu 18-Aug-11 10:36:51

'Therein lies our problem - our marriage worked best when we spent some time seperately - spending time seperately being knackered and tied up with kids/work/chores isn't the same'

That sentence explains things very well, I'm in the exact same situation. When I was single, I'd have relationships with people but never wanted to live with them (cos it suited me to keep my own independence). I agree with you, I think it's possible to have a good marriage on the basis of being two independent enough people but having kids screws that up.

OP you may find that when the children get older, you revert to the way you were before you had them. I don't necessarily think what you're describing means you and your dh are better off apart. I know that in my case, splitting is not the best option for our family. Later on, I'm guessing that we'll do our own individual things cos we each have stuff we want to do.. but that also doesn't necessarily mean we'll split.

If I had the money, I'd do a Helena Bonham-Carter grin

tellmethefuture Thu 18-Aug-11 10:37:28

Your DS, sorry smile

Ormirian Thu 18-Aug-11 10:50:16

I so agree tellme! I'd love seperate households with an interconnecting corridor grin

counsellingtricks Thu 18-Aug-11 14:32:45

orm I can't help you with answers, but am currently having counselling to help me decide if what I have is enough- I have a long thread running here about what to expect from counselling and why I feel frustrated with it so far.

We are a bit further on from you- DCs have almost left home, one has special needs ( not a learning or physical disability, but issues which make him "different") and this has worn us out.

I am post menopause (kind of) so time to re-evaluate it all once and for all.

I think the feelings I have for DH are "neutral". Sometimes I look forward to his being here, other times he irritates me to death, bores me, and I wonder why I am here. Other times he is so helpful, thoughtful, caring, that I can't imagine not having him around.

I am not sure about the fancying at all either- some days I think he's okay- other days I don't. Sex doesn't happen very often and when it does, it's more about my needs rather than it being about him. Sad admission.

It's a tough one.

carminagoesprimal Thu 18-Aug-11 15:42:03

Isn't it entirely normal to be bored with someone you've been with for 10+ years? - I'm bored with most people after a couple of hours.
My dh bores and irritates me in equal measure - and as for sex, most of the time I'd rather be watching the telly - but - he's the most amazingly kind, funny, and understanding person I've ever met and I know I'd die without him. That's why I stay.

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