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People in happy relationships: please give me advice

(54 Posts)
genuineoriginalusername Fri 18-Mar-16 07:17:57

I have used an old username for this

I am just curious because my relationship history has been quite rocky. I've had some great partners, and sadly didn't realise at the time, and tried endlessly to make things work with others when it was really doomed from the start.
I don't trust my own judgement now, and I can't help but analyse my relationships all the time. So I want to ask, if you are in a happy relationship. How does it feel? Do you love each other all the time? If not, how do you deal with the periods when you don't love each other? How do you deal with the bits that you don't like about your partner?
I want to commit to my current partner, but I can't help having doubts sometimes. Obviously, its not perfect, but I think it could be good. But questioning it all the time is tiring for both of us. How do you make this commitment in your head and stop questioning your feelings?!

Summerlovinf Fri 18-Mar-16 08:19:13

How long have you been with your current partner? When you say it's not perfect, what are the bits that are not so good? You say it could be good...what makes you think that? What would need to happen for you to regard the relationship as good?

genuineoriginalusername Fri 18-Mar-16 09:55:03

we've been together for 5 years.
Good bits are that we like doing the same things, and share a lot of the same interests. I like a lot of things about him.
I am still attracted to him, but we don't have much of a physical connection. We don't have sex that often, but it is good when we do.
I don't know the answer to the last question.

Annarose2014 Fri 18-Mar-16 09:57:00

You have to really really REALLY love each other. And that has to be very obvious to both.

Otherwise it's just a convenient friendship.

BloodyPlantagenets Fri 18-Mar-16 09:59:36

I have been with dh for nine years, married for five. I love him all the time. Sometimes he annoys me, and vice versa, but we've never had a row and we always work for the others best interests as much as possible. I still fancy the pants off him and we have sex at least once a week, often more. We have shared interests and ideals.

I was married before and it was awful. I do believe that you can find someone who is 99% perfect for you and you shouldn't settle.

stinkysnowbear Fri 18-Mar-16 10:01:47

I would say I'm in a very happy relationship. I feel loved and I know DP does too, we don't have periods when that falters. I think we are both just aware how lucky we are so we really treasure each other..: sorry if not helpful

SongBird16 Fri 18-Mar-16 10:09:02

IME loving someone means that you love them all the time. You may disagree or argue, or hate something they've done, or be driven crazy by an annoying habit, but you never stop loving them. They are still your favourite person in the whole world, the person you can trust and rely on with all your heart.

Similarly, the annoying things they do, or the bits you don't like, pale into insignificance next to their wonderful endearing qualities. Put simply, life is much much better with them in it.

I think that periods of not liking or loving each other, or unlikeable character traits that aren't outweighed by lovable character traits, will ultimately spell the end of a relationship, or result in an unsatisfactory unhappy relationship.

It's a bit like when you buy a house. You think you can put up with no cupboard space or a noisy road, and you do for a bit, because you're convincing yourself their minor annoyances you can live with, but ultimately they drive you mad and you regret the day you bought the thing.

PanGalaticGargleBlaster Fri 18-Mar-16 10:13:36

I think we genuinely look out for each other and realised a long time ago that we make a bloody good team. We still fancy the pants off each other, make each other laugh and do little thoughtful things for each other. We miss each other when we are away for any length of time. We have our disagreements but we have an unwritten rule that we never call each other names as that is something you can't take back. We never let disagreements fester and resolve to solve the problem before we go to bed. I would be gutted if I did something to hurt her. You can pass the sick bucket now.

VulcanWoman Fri 18-Mar-16 10:29:21

* loving someone means that you love them all the time. You may disagree or argue, or hate something they've done, or be driven crazy by an annoying habit, but you never stop loving them. They are still your favourite person in the whole world, the person you can trust and rely on with all your heart.

Similarly, the annoying things they do, or the bits you don't like, pale into insignificance next to their wonderful endearing qualities. Put simply, life is much much better with them in it.*

FANTASTIC! if you don't mind I'll be writing that down in my poem/verse/sayings notebook.

VulcanWoman Fri 18-Mar-16 10:39:54

Pan lovely, another one for notebook.

shushpenfold Fri 18-Mar-16 10:49:03

I've been with my husband for 20 plus years and I have a few observations and a few tips as to what has worked for me.

Previous boyfriends were 'nice' but didn't make me think, annoy me, put up with me criticising them |(without sulking like a 5 yr old) and frankly didn't treat me as an equal, either by not treating me in the same way as others or by expecting less of me than of others. I had realised that they weren't right for me as they bored me very quickly and when I met my husband, I realised that I needed someone who didn't. I hadn't realised this until I met him.

MrShush annoys the crap out of me on a regular basis and has some annoying habits..... and I'm 100% sure that I do the same to him, but neither of us hark on about them and instead try to make a joke of it unless a real issue. He has some personality traits which, given a choice, I would rather he didn't have but with them then comes other traits which might not be there without the first IYSWIM. Both he and I have changed significantly in the 20 years we've been together and I'm sure that we've rubbed off on each other so we're far more similar now than we were when we first married.

We made a decision early in the marriage as to whether we were going to treat both our careers as equally important, whether I would be a SAHM when kids were little, whether we would move to go to better jobs etc. We never took it for granted that we wanted the same things out of our life and had some long discussions over dinners and drinks as to where we wanted to be in 5/10/20 yrs and what we wanted for our kids too.

Both of us try to 'take up the slack' for the other when it's busy, when stressed, when sad, knackered etc and are just thoughtful for the other with little things which might just make a big difference.

I can honestly say that I love my DH far more now than when I married him and I'm delighted with my choice. I also do think that it's a bit of luck sometimes though as I hadn't realised how marvellous a father he'd be when we met and that he had so many other qualities which I didn't know about until life threw us a few curve balls.

Keep trying, keep 'investing' in the relationship and trust your gut.

genuineoriginalusername Fri 18-Mar-16 11:39:39

thank you for your posts, all of you. It does sound like you all have great partnerships. That is exactly the kind of advice I was after I think
I am not sure how it makes me feel about my relationship. I am a bit confused about my feelings. A lot of it is because I have left partners in the past thinking it was the right thing at the time and looking back, I didn't realise how good we had it. I don't seem to be able to appreciate their qualities when I am with them, so I am worried I am doing the same now again.

Smorgasboard Fri 18-Mar-16 11:58:54

You could start by considering whether your partner enhances your life. Would your life be better on your own, is he a help or a hindrance? Respect is a big one, do you feel respected and do you likewise respect what he does and the opinions he holds. For me a big turn-off would be any bigoted racist or sexist opinions. Luckily, my chap shows non of these traits and so I respect what he stands for and who he is. He's also highly intelligent (not an essential for everyone), I like how I can learn so much off him every day - it's not perfect, some things go over my head lol.
For me sensitivity is another good one, empathy for my needs (this includes the bedroom, lucky me :-)).
There is a balance, too sensitive to themselves also can make it too much about their needs and issues - I've met that type too :-0.

MadHattersWineParty Fri 18-Mar-16 12:22:31

I agree with the poster who said you have to really, really love eachother.

I love my partner so so much but I honestly don't believe you can get to this level of love unless it's coming right back at you from your partner.

What makes it different from other relationships is that being with him is the easiest thing, whereas with previous relationships it felt as if there were obstacles that we worked around to make it good.

We haven't actually been together officially all that long but I knew him, and once I let it happen it blossomed into the most caring, respectful relationship I've ever had. I feel like we are a 'unit' if that makes sense- not something I'd felt before. I have never, ever doubted that this one is forever and I have always been secure that he feels the same way.

CoffeeAndOranges Fri 18-Mar-16 12:42:57

I don't necessarily agree that it has to be easy. I love my husband very much, but we are struggling at the moment with a 4 month old baby that doesn't sleep well. We're knackered and bicker about things. I don't think he takes the baby enough, he gets overwhelmed by work and house admin and thinks I should do more in that area. There's probably stuff we could both do. But we talk about it, try not to let it fester, and sometimes we just need to go and give each other a hug to remind ourselves that we really do love each other and we are both working hard for the benefit of the family.

Sometimes love becomes a choice made through gritted teeth - you choose to do something to benefit your partner even if you're irritated with them. It's important to look after your own needs in a relationship but if both parties were committed to putting the other first then the resentments can melt away. It has to work both ways though or resentment will just build more.

I guess I feel that I prefer my life with DH in it than without him. It's maybe not the romance of the century but neither of us are perfect and if I was looking for my 'ideal man', I'd probably still be looking.

Happy relationships aren't all sex, cuddles and fun, is perhaps what I'm trying to say. But obviously if you don't have any of those then you're probably in trouble!!

Perfectlypurple Fri 18-Mar-16 12:53:47

I love my dh and he loves me. I always love him even if he has really annoyed me. For me there have been hard times, mainly due to dsd issues. (She isn't the problem, it's her mum!) but ultimately it is a easy relationship and always has been. I have always been myself and never worried he would go off me in the early days. That's when I knew we just fit.

pillowaddict Fri 18-Mar-16 12:59:12

We tell each other most nights that we are lucky to have each other. And mean it. We rely on each other completely, but, more than that, we know that we are there for each other.
I take genuine pleasure from doing something I know will make him smile, which means it makes me happy to be considerate.
He gets up first with the dc, every morning. I haven't done a solo night wakening since I was bf. And he doesn't complain about that, ever. These are the type of things that you do when you love someone.
I genuinely can think of little else that I like more than spending time with him, and he supports me so entirely, as I do him.

However: he irritates me with his procrastinating, he finds me very frustrating because I'm always late and find something to do as I run out the door, we both argue with each other and the dc when they are playing up, we don't have sex as often as we used to.

It's all a balance, while we have silly rows we always make up (and crucially apologise to each other, and I used to NEVER be able to do this with past partners) and I am utterly secure in the knowledge that I'd rather be with him than without him. I think that you either know that or it's not there I'm afraid.

Wuffleflump Fri 18-Mar-16 13:15:05

Over 5 years in current relationship. Have never questioned it, but then we haven't faced any big problems, such as money, sex, children.

We've discussed our future and are on the same page. We are both taking steps to work towards it.

We argue sometimes, but no name-calling or shouting. We can't always resolve it while temperatures are high, but we subsequently apologise, normally after a night of sleep. We can talk about anything which is bothering us.

I miss him when he's not there, but I do have separate interests as well as shared ones.

So the totally unhelpful response is that I haven't had to choose between head and heart. I can't claim that this has been good decision-making on my part: we have grown together, and questions which arose later in the relationship we happened to approach the same way. But then I don't think either of us had a fixed idea of what we wanted either.

SongBird16 Fri 18-Mar-16 13:58:53

Vulcan - thank you!

OP - I doubt you made a mistake when you left previous partners. You ended those relationships because they weren't right, but went on to miss them for all sorts of reasons.

It's human nature to want what you can't have, and to second-guess your decisions, but I reckon if you'd resurrected any of those relationships they'd have gone on to fail for a second time.

WannaBe Fri 18-Mar-16 14:15:53

Let's start with your starting sentence of "I think it could be good." What does that mean to you? What does "good" look like to you?

The thing about loving someone is that loving someone because of who they are isn't enough. You have to love them in spite of who they are. Because no-one is perfect. Everyone has flaws, and there is no such thing as a relationship where partners don't get frustrated with each other. but it's how you deal with those frustrations which is important.

It is entirely possible to say that there is nothing about your partner that irritates you for instance, but that is most likely because you deal with the irritation in the moment and then move back into the space of being together. But there will always be things which get on your nerves at the time, they're just not important enough in the scheme of the relationship to be classed as irritations or imperfections.

So look at the kind of relationship you want, does what you currently have meet that desire? If not, what would have to change for that to happen?

NeverGetTheBestOfMe Fri 18-Mar-16 14:18:50

I'm as clueless as you OP.

Came out of a 10 year relationship last year (have 2 dc together) because he was bullish, sexist, racist and over bearing. Lovely eh hmm He wasn't romantic whereas I am and life was all about his stupid business.

There were good bits like we could always talk about stuff and get into good, in depth conversations about all sorts of topics.

In a relationship now with someone who is the opposite to my ex but I find myself questioning it. He's over sensitive, you have watch what you say because he gets touchy or funny about it. He's quite possessive and has been controlling and can have a temper. I also find myself not having a lot to say to him and conversation can become dry.

The good bits are he's helpful, loving, romantic and we have passion between us in the bedroom.

Why am I questioning it? I don't know sad

brabit Fri 18-Mar-16 14:28:36

It's a question I have also ruminated on.

I think that you have to really love them, and a part of that is minimising the flaws...or viewing them in a positive light and feeling lucky to have them with their flaws and all as the composite of who they are. I remember an ex left his pants on the floor and every time I picked them up I smiled and didn't mind because I loved him. For it to last you have to not begin storing resentments and criticisms because no one is perfect.

I think the relationship has to feel safe...with respect, trust and no need to google why they are doing this or that. They should want to love you and make you feel good and while a bit of up and down and fire and fights is ok you have to ultimately feel like they have your back.

You have to have chemistry and synergy and enough differences to keep it interesting and you have to be on the same page and want the same things and be ready to commit and work at being a couple, although it shouldn't feel like hard work.

Then one final thing, and honestly it took me to my mid thirties to get this. Sometimes you can really love someone but they are no good for you. Not because they make you unhappy but beause when you are with them you shrink instead of grow. That one is hard to explain, but I loved a man once and he loved me and we had no problems in our relationship but he allowed me to shrink to my worst self...he was too complacent and I became so. Your perfect match should not only want you to be your biggest, best version of yourself but they should actually demand it of you - and this is what I am looking for now.

genuineoriginalusername Fri 18-Mar-16 15:53:12

thank you for taking the time to reply all of you. I am just quickly checking in as I am at work but I will write a proper response later.

VulcanWoman Fri 18-Mar-16 15:58:53

There's some wise people on this thread.

If someone finds there love, I think they're blessed, it's not an easy thing to find. If we don't find it in this life, maybe we will in the next......
Or maybe we're here for other, just as valid reasons this time.....

genuineoriginalusername Fri 18-Mar-16 18:28:06

I am not sure I can respond to you all individually, but reading your posts has made me smile because its clear that you have all found happiness in your love-lives and that is a beautiful thing!
I can relate to some of the things you say, but I also wonder if you have to be at a certain place with yourself before you can really be in a loving relationship? to let yourself be loved, and to believe that you can be loved by another person who you also love.
I still don't know what this means for my relationship. He is lovely, and not at all racist, or sexists or mean in anyway. There is no reason why I SHOULDN'T be with him, aside from the fact that we may not make a good partnership.
He is trustworthy and honest and I have 100% faith in him. We have grown hugely since we started out, have had some huge life events in the past 5 years, which we have had to deal with together. It has not been an easy ride.
To answer what someone said about what would make the relationship 'good'. I guess what I want more than anything is certainty! I want to know one way or another whether I want this or not. The doubt is probably what is breaking us.
It is not unusual for me to have doubts either as I doubt every aspect of my life several times a year - career, life decisions, money, etc.. I find it hard to accept the consequences of my actions sometimes (yes, it's very frustrating and tiring).

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