Lost the loving feeling...how did you get it back?(9 Posts)
Sorry, this is a long one, but writing it all out is helpful.
My partner and I have been together for 7 years (both of us married before with kids). He is kind, gentle, amazing with my kids and has been more of a father to them than their real father. He has single-handedly renovated my cottage and will drop everything to accompany me on one of my crazy projects or do freezing camping when I need to get away from it all. He has held my hand through hysterectomy (slept downstairs on a blow-up bed for 2 weeks to make sure I was OK at night, shopped, cooked and cleaned for me and kids) and more recently through a cancer diagnosis and loss of my sight in one eye. We've also had about 4 years of the terrible teens, which has been emotionally draining and stressful. And even though he isn't their dad, he has collected pissed kids at 3am, taken them to festivals and even built them a shed den in the garden so they can have their mates round to hang out in privacy. He is loving and physically demonstrative. He's generous to a fault. So far so wonderful.....
But...he likes a bit of a grumble and can be a Victor Meldrew. I am a very positive person and believe that is partly what has kept me well two years on from my diagnosis. He however can be quite negative if he lets himself. I feel he has suppressed anger (?) and seems resentful. Slowly over the last two years I have felt us drift from intimacy to routine. And we are both being more critical and nit-picking. I don't feel like I fancy him as much as I used to and our sex life is tepid to say the least (blame the menopause too for that). We seem to annoy each other and have drifted into poor communication, point-scoring and resentment. It makes me very sad. We have talked about this before and it got better for a while when we both made an effort, but it has drifted back into a rather sad distance between us. We do talk, but seem to go round in circles not resolving anything. We both want to make it work because we have so much together and have great adventures, but are at a loss as to what to do. Both of us are sad that it is like this. Have we fallen out of love? Do you have any suggestions? Couples therapy is the last on my list (for a variety of reasons) but I am open to trying anything that might help. Are there any great books out there? Or courses? What did you do to get your relationship back on track after (and during) troubled times? ~ Thank you!
Hello - most recently I've read let's stick together by Harry Benson. It's for new parents but I found it quick easy and helpful.
I also really think love is a choice. So when the feeling is a bit dull, I do the things that 'in love' people do. Not quite fake it til you make it but sort of. And I'm quite open about when I feel things are a bit stale and we work on it together. Spend time together. Be kind. Be loving. Do something different to stimulate conversation. We went to a debate night and met some really unusual characters
loons but we laughed a lot. When I'm kind to DH, I feel good and he usually reciprocates. Upward spiral rather than downward if you see what I mean.
Also for your all the crap you have had to deal with.
God this is such a cliche but DH and I just got back from a weekend away just the 2 of us and I can't tell you how much it has helped.
My DMum stayed with the kids. We had FUN together, talked a lot, had some nice food & wine. Lovely.
Ahhh thank you! Some doable and useful thoughts there. And thanks for the book recommendation - I'll have a look at that.
I do believe he is the man for me and for the rest of my life. I just think we have slowly....very slowly....let little bits of our relationship become neglected resulting in something that feels a bit overwhelming to fix. But I like the advice and am glad to hear that it is not just us. I'm going to work on that 'upward spiral' :-)
It sounds like you both need to reconnect as woman & man, not as Mum & Dad.
If you can, a weekend away, just the two of you, would do you the world of good. You both should really make an effort, in terms of clothing you pack etc. No settling into pyjamas at 6pm. You both need to bring it to life. Almost pretend that you're dating again for the weekend & act like you've been together only 6 months.
We read Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman. It helped us understand the subtle differences in how we show love and feel loved. So for one of us touch was important (so have a foot massage or holding hands) for the other loving words was important (saying I love you, giving small truthful compliments). And it gave us something tangible to work with which then seemed to bond us a bit. Irrespective of whether that actual action had an effect we each understood and appreciated that the other was making an effort. It also made it easier for us to be specific in what we asked the other to do - so rather than "I don't feel loved" we could say "I just need you to spend some time with me / hold my hand / buy my favourite biscuits.
And when we had a chance to go away for the weekend we took with us "36 questions to make you fall in love". It was surprising how much we found out about each other and it was a good way to talk and listen to each other.
Some great suggestions on this thread. DH and I had a time where we both had to talk things through and in a period where we were both ploughing through meeting needs of kids, jobs, dog, house...us wasn't necessarily on the list - or there wasn't much energy left!! We made (and still do) sofa dates -meet you at 9 or 10 - even if that is to hold hands and fall asleep. Making a cup of tea for the other, a cheeky text in the day and putting a date in the calendar - we've been known to sit in the car just to catch up!!! It sounds really cheesy but I read this thing on FB about a woman thinking "how can I make your day better" and that really worked for me - like someone said not faking it but because in that languages of love thing, hubby cooks, he cleans, he makes tea but I don't get hearts, cards, grand gestures or flowers. At one point he was feeling neglected until I figured out how he would understand my way of showing him I cared. It takes work on both sides but is sooo worth the reading and investment of working it out xxx
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