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I think she loves me, but she's not IN LOVE with me....

(40 Posts)
Bashfulbear Mon 08-Feb-16 18:10:30

I really don't if I should be posting on this site but I am a desperate man in need of some help / advice pleeeeeaase... Am I being unreasonable?
Umm, where do I start? I think she loves me but I don't believe she's IN-LOVE with me - is there a difference; yes, I think deffo. My dw & I have been married for 16 yrs(gulp, where does time go?) and for the most part, we have been pretty happy until the last 3 yrs or so. We have 3 nippers who are all challenging and make life v. hard work, normal I know.
Why do I think the above? Because, she shows me no affection, rarely kisses me, not interested in being intimate, but shows her family/siblings plenty of affection. Like many many parents, we rarely spend decent time together. Therefore, I have planned a couple of surprise trips minus the kids and I really hope, REALLY HOPE that this will help to get things a little more on track. By nature, I am not good at telling her what I really feel. I tell her that I love her, tell her that she looks great in XYZ, buy flowers out of the blue, send her texts with some short note about how much I love her (she just thinks this is cheesy) leave post-its telling her nice stuff, cook, help out here and there with household chores and help out with the kids etc etc,. I try really hard but feel it's just falling on deaf ears and it's rarely appreciated. She never tells me she loves me (only in reply to my gestures), pulls away from me if I try and kiss her on the lips (no, my breath doesn't stink!). I even held the fort whilst she went away for 10 days and when she got back, it was like she has never been away. The stress bucket has returned to the house.
I don't think she will want to go to marriage counselling but I will try anything. I adore her even though she often drives me nuts (!). I am also undergoing therapy for depression (caused by this maybe?) and an anxiety disorder.
Should I write a long letter telling how I really feel or is this bad form? I am really lonely, lost and in desperate need of love and affection. I think this is allowed? Am I being unreasonable?
Sorry for the long long rant.... hoping for some help.

PushingThru Mon 08-Feb-16 18:24:22

Don't tell her how you feel, ask her how she feels first & listen; even if it's what you don't want to hear. It must hurt, but I doubt this was her vision of a happy marriage either.

Jibberjabberjooo Mon 08-Feb-16 18:29:34

Have you ever spoken to her?

And please stop saying you 'help out' with the chores and with the children. It's your house too and they're your children. I may be way off but it's possible (as it so often is), thats that's the root of the problem?

MrsFlorrick Mon 08-Feb-16 19:22:21

Three small children is hard! Hard on everyone. I've only got two and when they were baby and toddler, I literally couldn't stand anyone touching me by the time when were both asleep.

Just so tiring and I am pretty sure I had undiagnosed pnd.

As PP said, stop saying you're "helping out" as if you're doing you're DW a favour. All of these items are part of your remit as well.

One of the biggest killers is lack of help doing things around the house/housework. My DH was terrible!!! Didn't lift a finger.

It culminated in me exploding after not coping and we had it all out over a couple of months. He now does a lot more. And in turn I'm much more cheery and involved in our relationship as husband and wife.

I just felt like a skivvy not a wife.

Perhaps your DW feel like that?

I'm just guessing though.

Be honest with yourself about how much your wife does and how much you do and ask her how she feels.

mumsonthelash Mon 08-Feb-16 22:14:42

Help out here and there? Then buy her woman things. Do you treat her like an equal? Do you listen when she speaks with respect?
Sounds to me like you float above everything if you see what I mean thinking your job is to provide little luxuries. May be wrong of course.

mumsonthelash Mon 08-Feb-16 22:19:21

You said you are not good at telling her how you really feel. Why not be honest. And why are you blaming her for your depression? Are you looking for an excuse to cheat after all you are such a perfect dh? Hmmmmmn

hownottofuckup Mon 08-Feb-16 22:27:24

If DW had posted here instead of you, what do you think she's say?

Bashfulbear Mon 08-Feb-16 23:22:29

Thanks for the replies.
"Help out here and there" was in hindsight, the wrong phrase to use. I would say I definitely do my fair share. I cook, clean, walk the dog, wash-up, take the kids to and from school (when I'm not travelling), help kids with their homework, do bed and bath time pretty much every night etc etc,.
Yes, I listen to her respectfully; I feel like pretty much all that I do is never good enough, criticised and I don't blame her for my depression at all. However, I do think it's a contributor along with many other things. I certainly don't float about - far from it. I quite often buy her flowers, (sent to work) massage to de-stress her, give her time to get some space and go for a walk; taken her out for surprise evenings out, send her nice cheeky romantic texts, and she's also been away on a hot holiday for 10 days.
I may be far off the mark here, but I reckon I do quite a lot.... my point is that I don't get half of this. I'm in a complete mess.

EponasWildDaughter Tue 09-Feb-16 07:36:46

I think you need to plan a time to sit down with her (without the kids about) and tell her you have noticed there is a difference between you, and tell her how you feel. Make sure that it's clear that you want to know how she feels. Don't point out all the things you feel you do, just ask open questions and try not to contradict anything she points out at this stage.

Ie:
DW: i don't feel you listen to me.
You: Yes i do.

She: i feel we've grown apart.
You: I don't.

How old are you both? Have you been together since you were very young? How old are the children? Were there any complications with the birth of your youngest? Is she a SAHM? Would she like to work/like to work less? Do you spen a lot of time on a hobby? Does she?

In what ways has she changed over the last 16 years? We all change - what have you noticed? And you - how have you changed? What do you mean when you say you cant talk about feelings? Has it always been this way? You feel this has been going on for 3 years - that's a long time.

Lots of questions from me - but something is clearly not right, so questions need to be asked. (Not literally - don't interrogate her!)

Just to add, I can imagine my XH might have written a similar post to yours before we split up. (minus the lovey dovey texts and notes, he didn't do that). I recon he might have put that he told me he loved me on occasions. But in reality he actually did not, ever. Two people can be in a relationship and see it in two totally different ways. Be prepared for this.

bb888 Tue 09-Feb-16 08:10:00

I agree, speak to your wife, ask her honestly how she feels. Like the other poster, I expect that my STBXH would also have written similar.
If she is willing to try counselling that might be an option, but it might be that there is just no way back, in which case you could save yourselves years more of this stuff by calmly deciding how to end the relationship.

Jibberjabberjooo Tue 09-Feb-16 08:19:30

Do you think she's seeing someone else? I'm not jumping to 'affair' like so often on mn but is it something that's crossed your mind at all?

OwlCurrency Tue 09-Feb-16 08:26:54

I agree with your reasons to be concerned. Particularly if she used to behave differently, as you said.

I'm going to give you the advice to back off from trying to get affection out of her, if she isn't readily returning it. It's soul destroying for you because you will feel constantly rejected. And it's a classic way to get her to take you for granted.

Sympathies flowers

hellsbellsmelons Tue 09-Feb-16 09:00:37

So was everything all OK up until 3 years ago?
Your description of 'loves you but not in love with you' rings massive bells for most people on this site.
It usually means the person is having an affair.
Do you have access to her phone at all.
Is she more protective of her phone in the last 3 years?
Just a thought. I could be (hope) well off track.
But please talk to her.
It's not attractive in a man when he can't open up and tell you how he feels.
If it's really hard to say out loud then you could try writing her a letter.
But joint counselling would certainly be worth a try.

HomoHeinekenensis Tue 09-Feb-16 09:10:44

The fact that you consider doing stuff around the house 'helping out' and the holding the fort thing would piss me off no end. You are not her employee.
You need to talk to her face to face without the kids around. Tell her how you feel.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 09-Feb-16 09:15:52

I was you a couple of years ago. Young kids, no affection. The endless grind of work followed by sorting stuff for the kids/house. I felt like I was losing my identity and to top it off there was no real relationship with my wife other than the day to day mundanity.

I realised that actually, a relationship doesn't define me. I've got to be happy in myself first. I restarted a hobby that I hadn't done for years. Tried to look after myself, doing a bit of sport. None of this 'for her' but for me.

I backed off from my wife. Yes I spoke to her and explained how it made me feel, but that was it. I didn't want to do pressure or ultimatums, or be a lapdog trying desperately to please (not exactly attractive is it?)

I think we're getting there but it's taking a lot of time. I still have doubts about whether it will work out long term, but I didn't want to leave. (We get on well, and don't argue much, not a horrible atmosphere that you don't want kids brought up in etc.) There is some affection slowly returning.

So I would say, don't try and force it. If you want to stay recognise that it will probably take a long time. I worry that the notes and texts just come across as a bit desperate. And don't expect anything from these surprise trips (does she even like surprises? lots of people don't) - it's nice to get away from things but if she feels pressured by it then it will have the opposite effect to what you want.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 09-Feb-16 09:18:09

Homo, he's already said that was the wrong choice of phrase.

Baconyum Tue 09-Feb-16 09:29:27

I agree with ask her and LISTEN - listening is not the same as just hearing the words, what is she trying to say?

Also the housework you say you do isn't very much actually, plus are you doing it every day? Do you need to be asked first? Do you need instructions?

A lot of women get fed up feeling like they're the ones running the house, doing all the admin and all the thinking. Do you contribute to planning and organising or is this left to dw? Eg kids Dr appointments and parents eve, Big housework jobs? Decluttering etc?

Is you showing her affection just that or are you hoping for sex and she can tell? I was like this with ex. He was only ever affectionate when he wanted sex, very off putting.

EponasWildDaughter Tue 09-Feb-16 09:30:00

owl - I'm going to give you the advice to back off from trying to get affection out of her, if she isn't readily returning it.

and

whatsthat - I backed off from my wife. Yes I spoke to her and explained how it made me feel, but that was it. I didn't want to do pressure or ultimatums,

Seeing this most clearly from the wife's side of this i agree with the above. Whatever the reason for her distance, the situation is going to be easier to approach without the pressure of your expectations being obvious. I'm not saying that one shouldn't expect a physical relationship with their spouse, but when things are going wrong it's better to stop carrying on as if everything were normal and address the situation properly. No good keep trying to press the 'on' button when a thing needs repairing. Y'know?

HomoHeinekenensis Tue 09-Feb-16 09:52:38

Sorry Whatsthat had just woken up, hadn't RTFT and it got up my nose!
DH early on said, 'I've done the washing up for you', I tartly replied that it's not MY washing up and it's all been peachy since grin
Your previous post was interesting and valid. My Dad used to say the reason so many marriages fail is because people expect too much from marriage. I think you were right to assess yourself and make changes. A healthy attitude.

Bashfulbear Tue 09-Feb-16 10:06:41

Thanks for the thoughts everyone - I'm overwhelmed.
TO answer some your points -
No, definitely not having an affair, she's not the type.
We met 20 yrs ago and been married for 16. 3 kids and they are hard hard work, which I know is the same for a lot of people - but they almost drive a wedge between us.
My search for affection is most definitely not for sex - I love her and I just want to be loved too; she will think that my affection advances will be for sex, but they are not. Hard to believe coming from a man I know, but iits true.
This is my plan - I am going to talk and LISTEN to her after carrying out a few ideas; I am really keen to show her that I love her so as mentioned B4, I am taking her out on a few surprise trips. I also am thinking about sending her (to coincide with V's day) an "IOU" book - this will map out an IOU for each month for 12 mths e.g. Take time out and go away with 3-4 friends for the weekend; I have arranged it all for you. OR this month, I am going to take the afternoon off work and we're going on a bike ride for a pub lunch or similar OR ask 3-4 friends round for supper and I'll do all of the cooking and clearing up OR this month, we're going away for a walking wk/end OR breakfast in bed OR trip to the cinema with a meal of her choice etc etc etc........
The thought is to send the IOU book to work with some flowers..... What do you think or am i being over the top??
I used to leave her post-its around the house but she thought this was cheesy - am I being cheesy again?

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 09-Feb-16 10:07:08

No worries Homo, I read it and my first thought was "Uh oh, he's going to get some stick for that!"

hellsbellsmelons Tue 09-Feb-16 10:14:34

It's a nice idea but it is cheesy.
I'd quite like it if my OH did this but I would still be a bit cringy inside.
Your over the top cheesyness maybe what is putting her off.
Have the chat first.
Then see what the outcome is and then see if it's appropriate to send the IOU book.
My OH leaves the odd post it around for me and sometimes a little note under my windscreen wiper if he has been in my work area that day.
I love it but they do just say - love you (with a smiley face)

And just FYI she's not the type
We ALL say that, right before it comes to light that they are cheating.
I'm sure you know she isn't, no doubt she probably doesn't have time but never say that. People are often full of surprises!

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 09-Feb-16 10:19:49

It's hard feeling helpless isn't it. Thinking that there must be some way you can unlock her again. If only you can hit upon that thing which will make it all right again...if you tell her you love her enough, make a big enough gesture. But I'm afraid you can't force her to change. If you are doing what you ought to be anyway in terms of domestic stuff, kids, etc then it is down to her and whether she wants it to be different.

So no, I wouldn't say doing any of these gestures will help. If anything it will just put her under pressure and make you look desperate.

anotherdayanothersquabble Tue 09-Feb-16 10:23:33

No, the IOU is pressure to accept affection and for this to fix whatever is wrong, all base on your assumptions.. I know you want to fix her but it has to come from her.

elelfrance Tue 09-Feb-16 10:39:20

I think some of the PPs are right in saying you need to take a step back, and figure out of the love notes, iou's, surprise trips etc are actually what she wants...for me, the love notes & ious would probably annoy me (i'd feel pressured to reciprocate, and think its ott), but i'd love the trips away.
Make sure your gestures are positive things for her, otherwise it could be putting her off more. Any the way to do this is to sit down and talk to her. Its no fun for you flailing around blindly trying to fix things on your own, you need to be in this together

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