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Can love grow?

(30 Posts)
adinfinitum Tue 11-Aug-15 13:57:43

NC for this, just in case... My question for you wise Mumsnetters is... can romantic love grow over a period of time, and is there a point beyond which it probably isn’t going to happen if it hasn’t already?

Background is that I’ve been seeing someone for 6 months, met online, he’s 36, I’m 33. Good points are that we get on really well, spend a lot of time together, make each other laugh, sex is all fine, he’s very thoughtful and just an all-round good person. Not so good points are that he has some intimacy issues and he’s not a demonstratively affectionate or lovey dovey kind of person, although he does make a big effort to cuddle me because he knows it’s important to me. He’s a really genuine, incredibly nice person, would do anything for anybody, but he’s definitely a loner by nature and would be happy to spend most of his time on his own, working (he’s got his own successful business). However, again, he makes a big effort to include me and spend time with me. All to the good… however, I have come to love him, but he doesn’t feel the same way about me. We are definitely boyfriend/girlfriend, there is absolutely nobody else involved, but he doesn’t have romantic or lovey dovey feelings about me and he doesn’t miss me when I’m not there, even though he likes my company. I know this because he told me – he did something daft, I said (jokingly) ‘ha, just as well I love you anyway’, to which he said ‘oh god, don’t say that! No L words!’ and the conversation went from there. We didn't argue or anything, he answered all my questions, was very open and was very conscious of not wanting to hurt or upset me but still be honest, which I really appreciated; obviously I was a bit 'oh, right'/taken aback but we both still want to continue as we have been doing and it 'ended' with us cuddling on the sofa as we usually do.

Anyway, what I'm pondering though... He has only been in love twice previously, once in his 20s and the other one ended about 2 years ago, both lasted about 18 months – 2 years. Once it happened very quickly and the other time took him a long time, I don’t know which was which. He says he’s ‘hoping’ (not really the right word) that this will happen with us and ‘something will click in my brain’. My question is, can this happen and how long do I give it before I read the writing on the wall and accept that it’s never going to happen?

I appreciate there may not be an answer to this; how long is a piece of string and all that, and I’m absolutely not giving him deadlines or ultimatums or anything like that, but I guess I’m maybe just a bit down about it, in the ‘but WHY don’t you love me? what's wrong with me?!’ sense! (Even though I know objectively that while I'm far from perfect, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with me). I just want a normal relationship with someone I love who loves me, and to get married and have a family. He knows this, and he says he does want marriage and children (although clearly god knows if with me!!), but there is also a big 'loner' part of him too. It’s just a bit confusing, as certainly a lot of how he acts implies that he has stronger feelings for me – for example recently I had an issue with my house and without hesitation he told me to come to his where I basically moved in for nearly 3 weeks and he didn’t want rid of me (I checked and he would tell me!), but seemingly that may just be his nice guy/wants to help side, rather than it being because I’m particularly special to him. He nursed a close relative through a terminal illness in his late 20s and it affected him deeply, he did cite that as a reason, without making excuses, as to why he finds it hard to feel ‘normal’ emotions or open up to people; he did have counselling but didn’t find it particularly useful. Anyway, just wanted to give a bit of background. Any similar experiences or thoughts would be appreciated. I really do love him and just want to be happy and make him happy really; I think we could have a great future together if that’s what he wants, so, can/does it happen? Can love grow like this?

Ugh, apologies for the length of this, I clearly can't use one word where 10 will do blush

pocketsaviour Tue 11-Aug-15 14:01:54

He sounds a lot like me. On that basis I'd say no, it's not likely that he's suddenly going to wake up one morning and say "Hey I do love that girl after all! Happy days!"

Sorry sad

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 11-Aug-15 14:05:12

"I just want a normal relationship with someone I love who loves me, and to get married and have a family"

It will not be with this person. I would cut my losses now and move on. He has emotional issues which predate you and have prevented him from forming more lasting relationships. Its not your fault he is like this and unless he himself wants to change he will not do so. He is not your project to rescue and or save from himself. You cannot love him better.

Its also NOT your job to make him happy; that is down to him and he alone.

Nabootique Tue 11-Aug-15 14:07:35

Aside from the three weeks that you stayed there, how much time do you spend together? I guess I'm asking because if he likes a lot of alone time, and you don't see each other that often, maybe, perhaps he just hasn't spent enough time with you yet?

Jan45 Tue 11-Aug-15 14:08:47

You keep saying he is a loner, sounds like an excuse he uses to basically act like a bachelor and not get too involved but have all the trappings of a LTR.

You also say he's not very affectionate, if I was you, I'd keep him as a pal and look for someone who actually wants to settle down.

adinfinitum Tue 11-Aug-15 14:32:21

Thanks for the replies! Hmm, seems pretty unanimous really... I would say though that he doesn't really act like a bachelor as such, he's definitely not using me for sex, and I'm not trying to save him or rescue him, I know that's not possible, and I don't think he needs it.

The 'make him happy' was probably a poor choice of words, I know that's not my job, I meant more like, be happy together/his happiness is important to me, if that makes sense?

Nabootique generally we see each other every weekend and maybe one evening a week, we live about a 30 minute drive apart and both have busy jobs.

I guess though everyone would say, that if you don't feel it within the first 6 months you never will?

britneyspearscatsuit Tue 11-Aug-15 14:40:25

I'm dating someone like this right now - sounds very similar sort of person. I am not in love with him and was actually worried the reverse might be a problem - that I would find it hard to fall in love with someone who was less demonstrative / passionate.

I don't have the answer to your question, but I will read the rest of the replies with interest.

I am not convinced, as things stand, that falling madly in love is necessarily the marker of a good relationship and I do believe "love", the real kind anyway is something which grows over time, is built by action not emotion and that the sense of "falling in love" is not the be all and end all of a happy life.

spudlike1 Tue 11-Aug-15 14:42:30

Walk away no point waiting for 'it' to happen and no point spending any more time on this . The fist 6 months should be the magical / walking on air bit ( maybe in a romantic) however in my view you click or you don't fairly instantly and it should be easy from the off.

Nabootique Tue 11-Aug-15 14:46:40

I really agree with britney. There was a time where for me it was all about the "falling" part, but I don't actually think I have that in me now! I am seeing someone who sounds a little like your DP in that he likes his space, not very affectionate (not everyone is, after all) and sometimes I feel like he's not bothered one way or the other, but he is really. It's just that everyone is different, has different ways of expressing things, feeling things, and develop feelings at different rates.

It sounds like your relationship has strong foundations and is based on something very real. Please don't write him off yet! smile

holdyourown Tue 11-Aug-15 15:02:54

It's sad to wait around hoping someone will fall in love with you, you deserve better. If you want a marriage and kids at your age I think you have to cut your losses and walk away really, sorry sad If he then decides you are the one for you after all then he can try to get you back. If not, you can remain on friendly terms but meet someone else who can give you what you want and deserve.

holdyourown Tue 11-Aug-15 15:04:22

*you are the one for him

adinfinitum Tue 11-Aug-15 15:07:41

Thanks all, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Maybe I've given the wrong impression slightly; he's not unaffectionate per se, he's just not very demonstrative. He is very caring but he shows it by fixing your car rather than holding your hand if you know what I mean. He's not cold or distant, far from it, just not lovey dovey/naturally cuddly, although as I said he does make an effort at this for me. We definitely do click on the getting along/having fun/fancying each other level and did straight away.

I was thinking and hoping that it may be as you both say Britney and Nabootique and that real love can take time with some people, I know he's attracted to me and he cares about me... I've experienced the immediate fireworks thing before and it didn't last. He has also been in the same situation before and did 'get there' with her in the end. Hmmm... Maybe I'm just clutching at straws. I don't know. I'm not quite ready to write him off just yet but I know that it may well come to that, which I will be very sad about. If anyone knows the address of the well adjusted emotionally available man shop I'd be really grateful!

holdyourown Tue 11-Aug-15 15:15:30

The thing is OP, ime experience of men anyway, the ones who end up falling in love with you would not be saying 'oh no don't mention the L word' they would just stay silent really. There's no evidence that he may fall in love over time. He's nice and doing normal boyfriend things, of course. You've nothing to lose by ending it really because he could 'realise' later if you are for him after all. But only you can make the decision. Give it another few months perhaps?

Nabootique Tue 11-Aug-15 15:21:27

I can see why the "don't mention the L word" comment might have stung a bit, but maybe you just caught him off guard. Also, if he wants children and a future I can't imagine why he would stay in the relationship if he didn't think a future and love was possible. He doesn't sound like a user in any way, shape or form, so why would he continue?

holdyourown Tue 11-Aug-15 15:37:39

Without wishing to be the voice of gloom he might really like OP and enjoy her company and the sex. Doesn't mean he will fall in love with her or she will be 'the one'. That's fine if she has plenty of time to wait and see but if not it would be wise not to waste too long waiting in the hope it'll change imho, given that she is clear about what she wants.

TokenGinger Tue 11-Aug-15 15:41:47

My DP is like this. We've been dating for 8 months. I've told him I love him. He's told me there's things he loves about me and he cares for me deeply.

I actually discussed this with my friend, because I was terrified he never would love me. Her response has really stuck in my mind. She said to me, "You both care deeply for each other. You both love spending time together. You both see a future together. You both have expressed a wish to have children together in the future if this continues to progress. You label what you have as love, he labels it as caring for you deeply. You have no idea whether you both actually feel the same level of sentiment towards each other and just label it as different things."

I really think she's right. I remember my ex telling me after about 3 months that he loved me, but I didn't love him at that point. I was swept away with him and excited by what we had but I didn't feel ready to label it as love. I believe we both felt the same but he felt able to label it as love more quickly than I was.

I guess it's a time will tell thing. I hope my DP eventually tells me he loves me. I hope yours does too. But for now, enjoy his affection, enjoy his care for you, enjoy his company and see where it naturally progresses x

adinfinitum Tue 11-Aug-15 15:43:01

He's definitely not a user, he couldn't be less of a manipulative type if he tried and isn't gaining any advantage by being with me other than just being with me. I also gave him a very clear 'out' and he didn't want to end it; he's not a coward and is extremely (brutally!) honest, so if that's what he wanted he'd just do it. I think I did freak him out slightly, in the catching off guard sense, he just really wasn't expecting it. He said the 'don't mention the L word' thing jokingly, but obviously not really a joke! We'd had a conversation quite a few months ago where it came up about his relative dying and him finding that kind of thing and 'the L word' difficult, so that's where that reference came from. Obviously my feelings towards him have changed/grown since that time. Well, he's working away for a week as of tomorrow, so I guess he'll have time to think about it too. I'm not a martyr and if I think he's starting to mess me around or it really definitively isn't going to go anywhere I will end it, although as I said I'd be gutted, but for the moment will sit tight and see what happens over another few months.

Nabootique Tue 11-Aug-15 15:46:36

I think your friend put that really nicely, TokenGinger

adinfinitum Tue 11-Aug-15 15:46:52

Thanks TokenGinger - he did actually also say last night that he cares very much about me and worries about me, and he really does look after me well. He's a good guy... just wish his emotions could/would catch up :-/ Good luck with your DP too.

arsenaltilidie Tue 11-Aug-15 16:54:05

Sorry after 6 months together and he still hasn't said it then he will never truly loves you.
I disagree with your friend token, even if you respect one another, see a future together and love spending time with one another. If you see it as love and he doesn't, then that means he feels something is missing. He will never be 100% into you.

Sometime you women needs stop letting men walk all over you and giving them every excuse under the sun. If he hasn't said he loves you in 6 months then it's time to get rid.
You are not getting any younger, why waste your time on someone who is not 100% into you.

britneyspearscatsuit Tue 11-Aug-15 17:07:25

I don't think this is "emotionally unavailable" OP. I have had that, and that is lack of consistency, mind games, confusion, commitment issues, hot and cold......

This man sounds very available...just not red hot and passionate. He is explaining to you honestly what he thinks and feels - that is good.

I think though at some point you have to decide what makes you happy and if someone being madly in love with you is on that list then I'd look elsewhere.

I'd also strongly disagree with "if he hasn't said he loved you in six months he never will" because that's not true. A close friend was just married to a man who can't get enough of her and it's a runnig joke that he took a year to say the L word. Once he did though, he proposed quickly and adores her openly. He was just slow and thoughtful in the process.

MrsJorahMormont Tue 11-Aug-15 17:10:21

I have a friend who is married to a man like this. They were together for many years before they got married and just had their first child. Their marriage seems calm, caring and supportive rather than romantic but in their way they are very content.

Only you know if you are the kind of person who could settle for that or whether you would want more. If you are looking to settle down I would be cautious about wasting too much time waiting for him to decide how he feels about you.

britneyspearscatsuit Tue 11-Aug-15 17:12:31

I'd like to add something here, and it might be clouding my judgement but whatever!

I had someone once who was very demonstrative, affectionate and loved me within two weeks and continued to "love" me to bits until a few years later when he decided just as quickly that he didn't love me.

Also had a guy a year ago or so who "loved" me rather quickly and with great passion only to love someone else about 8 weeks after I ended the relationship.

I am now less trusting of these declarations of wild, mad love. I think perhaps to some degree with unhealthy people these expressions can be co-dependent, based almost exclusively on lust or "need" and have little to do with tow healthy adults making each other's lives better.

At the same time there is a balance there, and it would be nice to have a husband who thought you were the most amazing woman in the world, the most beautiful and could not imagine living without you.

So i hope you can find that balance - I know i am looking for it.

spudlike1 Tue 11-Aug-15 18:38:44

I you are feeling insecure in your relationship you need to have a proper conversation it is 6 months after all, it kinda need to move up to a more committed level ..sounds a bit like he's coasting ..I agree with the honesty of ARSE.
But it is pointless asking us time to test the water

spudlike1 Tue 11-Aug-15 18:44:50

Ate you wanting marriage and children ?

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