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I would like to know your thoughts on love... really!

(24 Posts)
hereidrawtheline Tue 24-Feb-09 01:37:15

I am not wanting to give too much away here but need some perspective. I am wondering about love. Really romantic love, marital love. I "get" my maternal love, friend love etc. But I have always been very confused by romantic love. I have never really got it. I am a very romantic, passionate person but also extremely pragmatic. I have never been able to say what romantic love was. I understand it is unrealistic to expect perfection, or passion, all the time. What I am asking it... what is realistic?

How much compromise is too much? When you are married to someone for years, how do you feel about them? How much do you expect, emotionally? Do you enjoy each others company? Do you share interests, besides your children? Do you seek each other out or mainly operate separate interests? Do you crave passion? And if you do crave passion that you havent got, is that a sign you are immature and expecting something to last which by its very nature is transitory, or a sign you are with the wrong partner? Or is it a matter of duration? We all know the grass often looks greener, and I for one do not want to go from pasture to pasture checking them all out! But still... I will be honest and admit I do not have the perfect marriage. I wonder very much if this is all there is.

My DH is lovely. A very good man and a good husband and great father. And I have no interest at all in any other man. But for years I have felt a lack that try as I might I have not been able to get past for various reasons. I really dont want to say too much detail but suffice it to say, I have tried. DH is partly to blame, as am I, and also just very different temperaments and expectations.

I have ummed and awwed and decided not to namechange. Some of you know me in RL and a lot of you know me on MN so rather than say it all I will just say what I am comfortable with in a sort of, research way. But to be honest I cant be bothered to faff with name changing I can never remember who I am supposed to be.

I will also say my DS is ASD and I feel DH and I splitting up would be truly horrific for him. And as I am not really suffering I dont think its a worthy exchange. Its more a case of not being totally fulfilled. But this is my point, maybe I am not fulfilled because I am a bottomless pit, and its nothing to do with my DH. So what needs fixing?

Please be kind. Really! I cant take a bashing on this subject. I have been a long time poster although under different names and I really dont want to namechange. I just want to know how other women feel about love. Its taken a lot of courage for me to finally voice my feelings to anyone by my own self.

Tortington Tue 24-Feb-09 01:59:26

if you are lacking a grab you by the hair and fuck you up the wall type of passion, then you can try some new antics in the bedroom

i like the familiarity i have with dh and i wouldnt like to start all over again.

i think love has huge connotations and for some people , no matter how much the other person gives of themselves it can never be enough bcuase of some fucked upness in their lives. that said, i love my dh becuase the sex is great and he is a rock in times of crisis, he never shirks his parenting responsability of providing for the kids and he looks after me when i am ill - even - once when i was particularly ill offering to change my sanitary towel.

he likes me. and thats different from love. and i like him too...most of the time.
its not perfect - but what would we have to measure our trails and tribulations - if there weren't any.

dh and i have overcome what most people just wouldnt. i have put up with some monumental shit because i believed it was worth it. it is. and my love for dh feels monumentally more than if it had all come easy - i am sure.

i am not wrapped up in him and his life
i have mine
i have my friends
my social life
my hobbies
my life goals that i have worked towards and achieved.

i feel whole and i do not rely on anyone else to make me feel whole. i am emotionally whole and i think thats important.

you mention passion - like your bored. i think you need to do soethin for you, and not blame the marriage for something that you are feeling and something you could remedy with latin dancing, drum lessons, motorbike lessons., a degree, a phd, a gcse - whatever

love is being there in the shittiest of times. and comin through

hereidrawtheline Tue 24-Feb-09 02:14:12

thank you. That's good food for thought. I know he loves me. And I love him, certainly, as a best friend and father of my DS. It just feels... I dont know. Empty. But having said that I do know he will always be there for me each and every time I need him, and me of course for him as well.

I think I dont trust his judgement all the time, and his motives sometimes, and his honesty, every now and then. Not in a cheating kind of way. Just in a "excuses" kind of way. Like if he fucks up with something he will sort of change the story so it doesnt look like he fucked up so much. But I have a very good memory and that sort of thing just irritates me, far far more than any trivial little "mistake" he may have made. I hate feeling like I am being fobbed off or asked to believe he meant X when he clearly said Y. If I am being perfectly honest I am not sure how much I respect him after years of that.

I dont feel like we know each other that well anymore. I mean I know what he is into, hobbies etc & vice versa but deeper than that, not so much. Although still regardless we have stayed together and loyal and friends and there for each other and our DS. We have always wanted to be in it for the long haul.

It really isnt a case of him being bad or me being too demanding. There is a bit of both of those things I am sure. It just feels... empty. It feels like we work parallel to each other and with each other to maintain our world and DS's world. And that's it. But maybe that is it. Maybe that is the point.

hereidrawtheline Tue 24-Feb-09 02:20:41

He is the sort of DH who has got into a bathtub full of water while fully clothed to prove he loves me That was many years ago and of course antics make me laugh but it isnt what I am seeking all the time. So every few years something like that and in between its just sort of... nothing.

We do laugh well together. Especially, well really only mainly, last thing at night before sleep I always get the giggles & go a bit loopy and he is my straight man. But sadly he has pretty much stopped coming to bed when I do as he chooses to stay up & do his own thing so even that bit of fun and laughter is gone. Makes my life sound really sad doesnt it. It isnt. It just isnt really happy either!

cashmeremafia Tue 24-Feb-09 05:51:47

Have you read the book: I love you but I'm not in loe with you? It's by a senior Relate counsellor: www.amazon.co.uk/Love-You-But-Im-Not/dp/0747578176

I read it out of interest and the steps and tasks provided make a lot of sense, he explains the different phases a relationship go through and how loss or an affair can re-play the early stages of your getting together, etc. This book has been extremely insightful.

My Dh and I are totally alike, it's like one soul in 2 bodies. We come from same background, same profession, etc. We are all over each other 90% of the time. This suits both of us and we wouldn't change it in the world. The 10% are spent tending to our differences, hobbies, friends, dreams, whatever. We are each other's best friends, lovers, partners in crime.

I think we are all so different in our needs and expectations, what works for one doesn't fly with another. Try to treat your Dh like your best friend! We often make the mistake of being really harsh on our other half, as harsh and critical as we are onto ourselves. Love doesn't need to die from one big bad thing, more often it's a million small hurts that accumulate and poison.

Why don't you speak to him and say: hey, I really want you to come to ed with me and be with me. I want a cuddle and I feel we're not getting anough of that. Be honest, you married the guy, you were in love once, no reason why you cannot talk about it and get what you had together back into your lives.

Go read that book and practice it. You'll be amazed.

violethill Tue 24-Feb-09 08:00:11

I think custy sums it up very well.

Probably too many people expect falling in love to sort of provide a 'missing part' in themself - as if they can't be 'whole' without the other person. You need to be comfortable and confident in yourself, so that the relationship with your partner complements who you are.

Ironically, that can make it difficult to compromise sometimes. In many ways if you look for a partner to make you feel 'whole', it's perhaps easier in the short term to fit in with them because you'll be happier to do what they want to do, and allow them to make decisions on your behalf. However, I don't think you can sustain this longer term, as one partner will become resentful.

So, I agree with custy that having your own life, your own goals, challenges and interests is absolutely vital to sustain a meaningful relationship in the long term.

hereidrawtheline Tue 24-Feb-09 08:38:03

thank you, and cashmeremafia I just bought that book. I fully intend to sort it out as for us, splitting up is not an option and its not so bad to justify it. It just isnt great either, as it once was & as I want.

violet & custy I do have my own life. I have a couple of hobbies I am passionate about, I read loads, and of course I look after my DS which preoccupies much of my time. I dont really feel like I need a missing part of myself I am pretty secure in who I am. I just dont feel as loved and needed as I would like, and a bit lonely.

But its ok. I think insomnia and a night up with period cramps made me gloomier than usual. I have ordered that book & I will read it and try to sort stuff out so I am happier.

Thanks very much for listening & for your advice.

Niecie Tue 24-Feb-09 09:36:37

Hi hereIdrawtheline. Your post struck a cord as you sound like me, slightly discontent but nothing that needs to mean the end of the relationship. I could have written a very similar post but not had the nerve to yet.

I also don't trust my husband's judgement in some ways - not because he has done anything particularly wrong but because he has made some poor choices to do with work. He gets bored after a couple of years in a job which is fine as he works hard, is good at what he does and can find another job but on more than one occasion he has taken a job that I don't think he should have done and which I haven't felt suited him and I have been right and ended up dealing with the uncertainty and hassle of job changing. On one occasion we even moved 100 miles, to another part of the country for a job I knew wasn't right, with the massive upheaval that brings and we were back here within 3 years because it all went wrong. He has now started his own business which is doing well but which is a huge gamble by anybody's standards and has meant 18 mths of uncertainty. Somewhere along the line I have lost a little respect for him and have been hurt that he has ignored my opinion. It has done us no favours. I don't feel like we have worked as a couple over all this and it has damaged our relationship.

I was wondering when you thought your relationship started to drift or whether you have always felt a bit like this?

For us, I think it all started to go a bit downhill when the children were born with the result that we have become a bit like parenting partners rather than married partners iyswim. Your DS is ASD and this undoubtedly adds its own pressures since you have to spend so much time focussed on him. My DS1 has mild AS so I know this can have an impact even if we don't have to deal with what you have to deal with.

I think you need to reconnect with your DH a bit, get out as a couple and spend some time together as adults who love each other rather than as parents of your son. I have also got the 'I love but...' book and it does come highly recommended, although I have only dipped into it myself.

It also sounds like you need to speak to him about how you feel. If he has stopped coming to bed with you, even if it is for a good reason, then he is probably feeling the distance between you. It is a difficult conversation to instigate though isn't it?smile

hereidrawtheline Tue 24-Feb-09 10:27:40

well the thing is I have tried talking to him about it so much that I darent anymore. It just seems so pointless and repetitive. He will say "I dont think things are that bad" or he will feel really shit about himself and I will say "sorry I am making a mountain out of a molehill" then we will move on and absolutely nothing will have changed. We have been doing this for years. We love each other, we want it to be good, but we never manage to crack that barrier. It has been like this a long time. Most of our marriage in fact though we have had truly wonderful patches dotted throughout.

It's sad because I once took great pride in having true love and dedication and something better than just business partners and friends. But alas, that is where I have ended up.

I know I will have to broach the subject with him again as I have ordered the book & it will arrive in the post. But the thought of talking to him about it makes me feel sick. I hate the sameness of all my attempts to make things happier. He doesnt really try. I mean he is nice to me, almost all of the time. Friendly and a gentleman and caring, looks after me when I am sick etc. But its like a very dear friend. And each and every time there is an atmosphere between us, or when things are just apathetic and lacking, it is me who brings it up, me who tries to fix it, me to make the move. And to be honest I am sick of it. It is humiliating to be doing this for a decade. Humiliating on many levels some of which I dont feel comfortable saying here I am afraid. It is to do with not feeling wanted as well.

hereidrawtheline Tue 24-Feb-09 10:30:33

Also just wanted to say my DS is either HFA or AS.

Niecie Tue 24-Feb-09 11:26:28

Do you ever get any time alone, except sitting in front of the telly in the evening or whatever? Can you leave your DS with anybody?

I find it really telling when we get this - it really highlights the difference of how we used to be. I thought we had a really close relationship - other people even commented on it but having children means that I couldn't focus on DH as much and he just doesn't make the effort to make up for that. Now if we go out, we talk about the children and his work and never about the things we used to talk about. We really do need to get out more and break down those barriers as you say.

I do think that it would help to spend some time alone, to remember what we saw in each other in the first place and to reconnect but I think it has to be regularly and a lot lot more often than we manage.

So maybe don't mention the problem again and focus more on trying to get along with each other. FWIW my DH would also say we don't have a problem or else he will say he knows things aren't what they used to be but when the children are older they will get better. Well, they are 8 and 5 now and we do have a degree of freedom again and it isn't. It will take some effort I think.

I do have another book which I bought at the same time as 'I love you but..' called 'How one of you can bring the two of you together' which effectively says you don't have to discuss anything - there are things you can do that would make this unnecessary. I have read bits of it and it is quite 'American' but I think it talks some sense. However, I think a bit of me is slightly resentful that DH would get let off the hook, even if the ideas worked.

I should really take my own advice though.blush

hereidrawtheline Wed 25-Feb-09 09:22:01

hi again

How are you Niecie? Have you made any progress in your own situation?

Last night I wrote out a long letter to DH detailing exactly how I felt. He read it. We "talked" (read, argued) until midnight. Then we sort of got to a stalemate and I was exhausted as only slept 3 hours the night before so said look lets leave it we arent going to solve all this in one night. But we went to sleep together which was nice and we did make some progress.

He is arranging counselling for himself as he is most likely depressed & that is contributing to all this. If he actually follows through and does it I hope it helps a lot.

So... who knows. I do know my DS needs us to stay together. I also know I cant play at happy families without more help from DH. So the future remains cloudy. But hopefully something good will come out of a horrible night last night.

Hope you are well.

solidgoldbullet4myvalentine Wed 25-Feb-09 09:32:24

I think people massively overestimate the importance of couple-love. For one thing, it's mostly one-sided to some degree (one person loves, the other person lets themsef be loved) - the nearer to equal it is, the better of course, but much of the time it's a case of one person thinking 'oh my soulmate' while the other is thinking 'well, got to settle down at some point and this one will do'.
Also, women, particularly, have for years been conditioned to think that Getting Your Man is the only way to fully live, that a woman's life is incompplete without a man but also, and crucially, that her life must be lived through a man, which is why so many women feel a bit like the OP does, that there is something missing that it's up to the Man to fix. Actually, what's missing is a wider engagement with life: the only way to sustain a comfortable couple-relationship is to have plenty of other things to think about, care about and enjoy.

aseriouslyblondemoment Wed 25-Feb-09 10:44:22

its a very valid point that solid has mentioned there
and one that has only really dawned on me as i've become older and i hope wiser(!)

hereidrawtheline Wed 25-Feb-09 12:17:04

I see what you are saying solid but that aspect of it does not apply to me. I dont expect my DH to fix anything nor do I in any way live through him. Am actually quite the opposite & if you knew me you would pretty easily see that.

There is a difference between wanting companionship from your husband, and affection, attention, and interaction, and needing someone to validate you or live through. I am lonely because my DH is apathetic and doesnt engage with me very much on a personal level. And I have a right to want companionship from him. I didnt marry him as a business contract though there is that element with any long term relationship. I married him because he was my best friend and the man I loved and he loved me.

I have plenty of things I think about, care about, enjoy, do on my own, and hobbies. I really dont know where you got the impression from my posts that I dont. I think I even said

"violet & custy I do have my own life. I have a couple of hobbies I am passionate about, I read loads, and of course I look after my DS which preoccupies much of my time. I dont really feel like I need a missing part of myself I am pretty secure in who I am. I just dont feel as loved and needed as I would like, and a bit lonely."

I am not pointing that out to be "aggressive" in any way. But I cant very well lie about myself to you or DH or anyone for that matter and I want it understood that I am not the woman I think you are perceiving. I have a very active personal life and that isnt the problem. The problem, as I have continually been saying, is that DH is not involved with me. He is not very emotionally mature with regards to his own behaviour and that can be hurtful for me and DS. He is not an ogre by any means but he is also not trying very hard to be a contributing member of this family on much more than a financial level atm.

However to give him credit he fully took on board everything I said last night and we have been emailing back and forth today and he is doing a lot of stuff to change, as am I on my part.

solidgoldbullet4myvalentine Wed 25-Feb-09 13:06:26

Well I have read your OP again and I don;t actually get what it is that you want or expect him to do, that you can't sort out for yourself. He can;t be someone he isn't, just for your benefit.
However, do you mean that he expects you to do all the domestic and interpersonal servicing, though (ie all the housework and all the stuf like remembering his parents' birthdays?) Does he speak to you rudely and contemptuously? Those things would annoy anyone and it is reasonable to ask a partner to pull his/her wieght practically.
But all the great-passion-true-love stuff, remember, is short-lived and dependent on obstacles; all the Love Stories either end with the marriage or with one or both dying. If you want to live in a couple-relationship for the long haul (and I would personally rather stick my head in a bucket of live spiders anyway) then mutual respect, goodwill and fairness, and a reasonably similar level of sexual desire, are more than good enough.

LeQueen Wed 25-Feb-09 17:35:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MaddieMoonlighting Wed 25-Feb-09 17:53:51

My counsellor defined love (in the couple sense) as a "willingness to fully invest in the wellbeing and happiness of the other person" which at first, sounded a bit cold and clinical but actually, after the honeymoon period has elapsed (when it's oh so easy to be "in love") sounds like the best kind of love to have, for the rest of one's life..

If only, obviously hmm

Some people have it though

MaddieMoonlighting Wed 25-Feb-09 17:54:50

You ARE very lucky LeQueen Good on you

LeQueen Wed 25-Feb-09 18:13:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kettlechip Wed 25-Feb-09 21:26:52

hereidrawtheline, I've chatted to you before about our ds' on other threads. I identify a good deal with what you're saying, particularly your concerns that your dh doesn't really engage with you that much on a personal level. I'm in a fairly similar situation with DH right now, after 10 happy years together.

This might be way off the mark in your case but sometimes (because of the question mark over ds and his possible ASD) I look at dh and wonder if he has some very mild traits himself. He definitely isn't on the spectrum but had delayed speech as a child despite being very academic later on. I sometimes feel he seems a bit disconnected from other people, and I often have to guide him a bit socially even though he's a very senior manager at work and deals with people very well on a professional basis. He finds it difficult to empathise with me, and understand my worries about ds, and that puts distance between us sometimes.

This all sounds a bit clumsy, I hope you understand what I mean. I'm certainly not implying your DH is on the spectrum at all but I do sometimes wonder if some milder traits lurk in families where there is ASD and manifest themselves in interaction difficulties.. I know this is true of my grandparents relationship.

hereidrawtheline Wed 25-Feb-09 22:16:24

kettlechip you are so right on the mark! DH actually feels he has some aspect of himself being on the spectrum but didnt really put it into words til DS got his DX and we started learning more about it. So that is definitely an aspect of it.

LeQueen you are indeed very lucky. And what you describe is what we once had and what I felt we would always have. But too quickly into our marriage DH just seemed to get so detached and apathetic I felt very alone. He, for lack of a better phrase, shat himself last night when I fully expressed how I felt in plain english and I really hope now will be on board. It isnt just the stuff I mentioned in my OP as I said because I know some people on MN well in RL and on MN I didnt feel comfortable getting into too much detail.

cashmeremafia - the book arrived today and DH and I are going to read it together! Thanks for the recommendation.

solidgold - hope you dont think I was havign a go, just trying to explain myself better than perhaps I did to begin with. I am just very much not the "live through your man" type, though like LeQueen I am not content with being married to a chum. I am a passionate person, I dont expect full on drama and romance all the time... I am not getting it once a year let alone all the time. What I have been involved in is a marriage where really we are friends. And it wasnt supposed to be "just" that for either of us. And the gulf has been getting wider and wider. Also there has been an aspect of me losing a lot of respect for him because of some very poor things he has done. He does his share of the housework but not a lot of initiative. I hate feeling like I want to change him, but to be honest he has changed so much since we got together that I feel I am married to a stranger.

Anyway fingers crossed it will all be better soon with some work on both our parts.

solidgoldbullet4myvalentine Wed 25-Feb-09 22:20:03

HIDTL: I think I am probably ot getting the full picture from you posts, and I understand that you don't want to give away information that might out you, so I think I will politely withdraw at this point. Becasue the whole concept is a little bit icky to me anyway wink.

wildandfree Thu 26-Feb-09 17:41:17

LeQueen I think you are very lucky and in the minority. Some people simply never meet someone that fires them like that.

Speaking from my own experience, I know that my choice of marriage partner was heavily influenced by my experience of growing up with a narcissistic father. My husband is lovely, a great companion and we get on very well. But, for me, passion has been lacking. I know I would not have been able to marry a man I was "in love with" because I would have been too scared of being hurt. Due to my warped impressions of men (from my father) I played safe my marrying someone who was a friend. Therefore, my warped reasoning went, if he abandoned me (as my father did) I would't be too hurt. I think my husband understands this, on some level, and perhaps, for him, he had a need to "father" me, due to his own childhood experiences.

This can all work pretty well for a long time, if not for ever. BUT and it's a big but, there is always the possibility of meeting that one person who does ignite passion. And, being older and having psychoanalysed the reasons for the marriage, you then want to experience "the real thing" and are not so scared of being hurt.

Then - what happens to the lovely but safe husband and the comfortable life, the kids etc etc?

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