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is it ok to just settle?(8 Posts)
DH and I were engaged and married young and quickly - whirlwind relationship, my first serious one (though I'd had
too many enough sexual relationships), I stopped doing recreational drugs when we met, pulled my socks up, and grew up and in many ways sorted myself out thanks to him. He in turn, by his own admission, came out of his shell, gained more confidence in himself and in his work and is going on to have a good career that he enjoys and works hard in, and though he can be antisocial, when he's on form is really on form.
Fast forward 8 years, one wedding, 2DC later....and, well, I don't know.
I used to be so in love with him, I used to want to have sex with him all the time. And this feeling didn't fade over months - I definately still felt this way until around about the time DC2 was born (18months ago). For the usual reasons my libido took a dip, but even though I've stopped BF it hasn't returned. I have no interest in sex at all, so I don't think it's as simple as me not fancying HIM enough.
We get alone fine, we still talk and make each other laugh when we have the time around the long hours he works. But I know I love (for example) certain friends more, I think if I had to choose between him and my brother (hypothetical situation of life and death) I'd choose my brother etc. Yes he does things that annoy me and there are certain personality traits that have appeared in the last year or so that I really don't like but we're slowly finding ways of talking about this kind of stuff and I don't think (I might be wrong) this has had the massive effect that, well, I'm not really in love wiht him anymore.
BUT we have two small children, are generally and usually happy (especially when we make the effort to hang out wiht each other)...if he is to believed, he is head over heels in love with me still, can't imagine a life without me etc. His antisocialness and shyness mean he doesn't really have any close friends from years ago of his own, all of our friends are really my friends who hang out with us as a couple too. If we were to split up I can't bear to think how he'd react and what his life would be like, for at least the short term. So I do care about him, I do like him. Is this just what happens? I know some people wonder why I married him - he's not as charasmatic as some past
flings boyfriends and in many ways is very different to me.
I don't know - just wanted to hear from people who weren't at either extreme in their relationship where they are either head over heels or in a horrible hateful situation. I don't like the thought of just rubbing along for the rest of my life but likewise can't see any real reason to not be with him.
just as a caveat to how selfish the above sounds - is it also really unfair of me to stay with him when he thinks I feel like he does and obviously deserves someone to actually think the world of him?
If there's still a sound basis for the relationship, you care about each other and you're generally happy together then I don't think your experience is uncommon. Young love/lust is pretty exhausting and, when you add the pressures of life, kids and mortgages into the picture, I don't think it's unusual to settle into a less frantic - albeit just as loving - pattern. However, if what you're saying is that you think you selected this man for well-meant but wrong reasons (i.e. he represented 'safe') and that you've grown apart since then you have a potential problem.
'Unfair' part would be if you expected him to radically change personality to please you. (You mention 'personality traits' that you find annoying) It would also be unfair if your life is generally in a rut and going nowhere but you're choosing to blame him rather than looking to yourself. It would go beyond unfair and become cruel if you told him you didn't love him, for example, but then stuck around anyway. It would be even more cruel if you had romantic ideas about any of the friends you say you love better than him
Given that there is love and caring there to work with, perhaps you could both make more of an effort to reconnect as a couple, find things that excite & interest you both separately and together, remind yourself what attracted you to him in the first place. However, if this doesn't work, a good split can sometimes be better than a bad marriage.
Your description of the beginning of your relationship doesn't really sound as if you 'settled', tbh. And your account of its further development doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary.
Dh and I went through a tough period after our second was born; we had been together 9 years at that point, married for 7. I think the second child, fopr us, had more of an impact that the first; 1 to 2 is a lot of work, a bit of a shock to the system.
I honestly don't think that at this stage in your life cycle as a couple (iyswim) it's about 'being in love'. At this stage a lot of couples find themselves more parenting teams than anything else. I didn't feel much like sex much, if at all, for a long time. But it did come back - our children are 7 and 5 now - and was actually better than before.
I don't think right now is the right time to be jumping to conclusions about what the rest of your life together will be like. Make time for each other, enjoy each other's company, get enough sleep if you can (!). Companionship is worth a lot, and can lead to ways for you to reconnect sexually too.
Thanks for the responses, what I hoped to hear really. I just feel so bad for feeling so ambivalent and worry this is what the rest of my life holds.
I don't have romantic feelings for friend's I mentioned (most of them are female or gay men!) and beyond certain things about DH that have changed which I would like to change back (selfishness and laziness being the crux of it) I wouldn't expect him to alter his personality.
I just don't feel passion for him in any respect and it's stifling that he feels so much. But, there doesn't really seem any good reason not to be together....
Don't under-estimate how much selfishness and laziness is a passion-killer in relationships. These things, coupled with his reluctance to build strong friendships of his own and being reliant on you to add the sociability to your lifestyle, may have caused you to lose respect for him.
Considering you have young children I think your relationship sounds pretty healthy tbh!
Growing apart is to a degree inevitable. It sounds as if you both still have respect for each other and that is the most important thing at this stage in your relationship.
A few thoughts on your OP...
...Yes he does things that annoy me and there are certain personality traits that have appeared in the last year or so that I really don't like
....what kind of personality traits have emerged in the last year or so? I wonder if they might give a clue to why you feel less enamoured of your DH.
If he is to believed, he is head over heels in love with me still, can't imagine a life without me etc.
...it sounds here as if YOU don't believe him - as if he says it but it doesn't ring true for you. Is that right?
If we were to split up I can't bear to think how he'd react and what his life would be like, for at least the short term.
So you're very concerned about how he'd react and how he'd feel, which shows a lot of compassion and caring on your part. On the other hand, you sound as if you feel completely responsible for his emotional and social wellbeing - eg you mentioned that the only friends he has are your friends.
I may be way off base here, but it all sounds a bit stifling, and as if there's a little more to your story than meets the eye.
You asked 'is this just what happens?', and on the basis of what you've said here - no, it isn't. A calming and changing in a relationship, yes, but not this, really.
For whatever reason, you are not happy, that's very clear.
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