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After many years together, who has still got that 'spark'?

(61 Posts)
dinosaurus Thu 24-Jun-10 21:38:43

For those who have been in a relationship for 15 years plus:

Have you still got that special 'spark'? If not: when did it disappear, what did you do about it, did you ever get it back? If you haven't got it back, have you accepted your relationship on different terms, or moved on? Is it unrealistic to expect a spark after many years, especially when a relationship is, for most of the time actually quite harmonious? Do you think your spark disapeared because one or other of you had changed?

Sorry to ask so many questions - in a bit of a pickle at the mo, and need other perspectives please!

Anniegetyourgun Thu 24-Jun-10 21:57:38

If I had a spark, I'd set light to XH with it. Horrible dried-up stick that he is.

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 22:04:01

Too many questions to answer there, but...

We have been married for 17 years

Had a few dry years in the middle, stuff to cope with (infertility), some misunderstandings and periods of growing apart, restlessness

But our marriage now is better than it ever was, even though in today's financial climate we have much more to worry about

I dunno what happened really...the kids are growing up and giving us space, we discovered some things we really like doing together, remembered what we like about each other and started to grow together again

Nothing magic about...didn't need outside help, I just think I picked a good 'un smile

KarmaAngel Thu 24-Jun-10 22:05:24

I've been with DH for 15 years, married for 11. After having dd2 we kind of "lost" our spark if you like. I got PND, DH also became depressed due to other factors. We kind of stopped trying if you like. DH was out of work for a while which didn't help and we got into a rut.

Then last year he got a new job. With it a new social life, started going out A LOT. We started arguing all the time, I kept trying to talk to him but he refused to open up. He was spending a lot of time on facebook, and when he wasn't on there he was out. He hardly ever had time for me and the dds. About 5 months ago I'd had enough and hacked into his facebook and emails. blush Found some of the things he was saying to girls he worked with (who I wasn't friends with so couldn't see their walls). He was a total flirt, like an out and out flirt. It completely rocked me as it was something I never thought he'd do in a million years. I was then paranoid he was cheating or was about too.

I had it out with him, he assured me he wasn't cheating and that he would stop. He did for a while but then started again (I kept checking up on him blush). Then one day he came home from work and said he couldn't carry on living the way we were. We were just existing in each others' presence not actually enjoying each other. He thought maybe we should have a trial separation. I was devastated I couldn't stop crying telling him I loved him and didn't want him to go. He was shocked that I reacted like that, he thought I didn't love him any more. And he didn't want to leave.

That night the spark came back. smile It had never really gone but had been buried underneath a massive amount of emotional shit. We started dating again, taking any opportunity to get a babysitter and go out that we could. (Have actually rediscovered clubbing grin). We make sure we spend at least 1 night a week together, either going out or staying in with wine and a film. It's not plain sailing, we've signed up to Relate and are waiting for our appointment to come through. We have so many issues, I haven't forgiven him for the flirting (yet) and still throw it at him when we argue. But we are trying. The sex is fantastic, blush we're like teenagers again. We send each other sexts all day. blush

We've discovered we both want the same thing' each other and we both want it to work and are prepared to put in the hard work. I think that's the key both wanting to achieve the same goal. I needed the shock of him flirting to realise how much I actually wanted him IYSWIM. It made me take action. It was hell to go through, but I'm glad it happened as it was like we were asleep in the relationship. Now I feel alive, not just in the relationship but in myself too. I making more of an effort. I've lost 2 stone (through the stress) and have completely changed the way I dress. I'm more willing to try new things now too.

ThatVikRinA22 Thu 24-Jun-10 22:13:32

ive been married for almost 20 years, together for oooooo, dunno - 23?

we never exactly had a spark - more of a slow burning!

my DH is very different to me. but he is the ying to my yang. we balance each other. im looking forward very much to having some together time in the future, some holidays alone when the kids have flown the nest. at the moment life is hectic and we are ships that pass in the night, and i find that hard. but we have survived some awful times that would have broken many other couples up - the fact we are still here after all these years means something i guess!

sayithowitis Thu 24-Jun-10 22:14:28

Married nearly 30 years.

Wouldn't say we ever lost the 'spark', but like AF, there were some years where things weren't exactly as we would have like them to be. But, I think the fact that we still had the spark is what got us through and out of the other side.

I think for us, the worst years were when the DCs were young teenagers really, because it seemed as though they were always there and we never had space to just be us. When they are younger you can put them to bed and have time in the evening and now they are older, they are either at University or if home, out with mates. Also, we can go away just the two of us or have nights out without having to depend on babysitters etc.

I think sometimes it is easy to think the spark has died, when really, it's just not shining as prominently because of all the obstacles that life chucks at us. I just know that even at our worst moments, we both knew that we loved each other enough to get things back as we wanted them to be. I certainly could not have imagined not wanting to wake up next to DH for the rest of our lives together.

dinosaurus Thu 24-Jun-10 22:22:24

Thank you for your posts.
Karmaangel - your post is interesting. To be honest, we have had our fair share of ups and downs, but have always reconnected again, and, when things ae good, they are absolutely fantastic. We too have 'dated' in the past, and really made time for each other. However, over the last few months, for some reason, we have grown apart. I hate to admit it, it sounds so cliched, and nothing in particular has happened to trigger it. The growing apart is far more on my side, than his by the way. Its just that feeling that although you deeply care and do love your partner, something somewhere has changed. We both have busy lives and work long hours, but have done so for several years. I do like my own space, but always have. We have talked about it, and he has picked up on our distance but is absolutely committed to fixing it. I want to, but feel rather numb and don't really know why. Possibly I have changed, who knows, but normally I am pretty emotionally balanced and realistic about life.

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 22:28:13

Dino...you are describing me 5 years ago

If you really love him, hang in there and it will work out

dinosaurus Thu 24-Jun-10 22:35:12

AnyFucker - do you know why you might have felt that way? How did you make the decision to keep at it?

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 22:40:33

I got a bit restless, a bit "is that all there is" (typical midlife crap...what a cliche), the daily grind and all that...

He was perfectly constant (if a bit confused), never let me down, never pushed me, let me work it out

I think I grew up, remembered how lucky I am and thankfully he was still there

it wasn't a conscious decision...life carried on, kept making sure there was always something to look forward to and some things dragging us down got better with time

Does that make sense ?

dinosaurus Thu 24-Jun-10 22:45:22

I think so Anyfucker, but did you ever feel that you had become more like friends than lovers? Even when you felt down, could you honestly in your heart, say that you could see yourself with him forever?

bilblio Thu 24-Jun-10 22:48:57

DP & I have been together about 14 years. There hasn't been a spark for years, it died first probably through his problems, we split up at one point, we were still only at uni though. Then I had problems too which didn't help. But he's my best mate and I couldn't live without him, which is why we've stuck together.

Last year he asked me to marry him, but we decided not to tell anyone till we'd sorted out the logistics. Months later we still hadn't told anyone and it really got me down. Then 2 weeks ago out of the blue he decided we should let everyone know.... and we're getting married 3 weeks today!

The spark has returned

I think our spark disappeared because of the problems we've had as we've grown up. In the last couple of years we've made some big changes. DD being the biggest, she's given us confidence, in ourselves and a lot of laughs, but I've also lost a lot of weight and actually feel desirable now. And that always helps. We just needed to remind ourselves that we're together not just out of habit, but because we do love each other and enjoy each other's company.

I don't mind particularly if the spark disappears again. So long as I get my daily hugs and my best mate.

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 22:51:59

Yes, friends...or like brother and sister if you like

That can be a good "holding pattern" for a while though, as long as you treat each other well

Like you say though, if you don't see a future where that spark can return, you might think the grass could be greener

I am glad we both thought (subconsciously on some level....because we very rarely discussed it....and certainly not to this level) we could make it worth it

If I am being truly honest though, maybe it was laziness/indecision on both of our parts...who knows ?

I am glad of it though

Err, how did you just get me to share all that ? Have you put a spell on me ??? grin

dinosaurus Thu 24-Jun-10 22:58:30

Ha ha Anyfucker! But seriously thanks for your honesty.
We have actually discussed it calmly, and we talked quite bluntly about what might happen if we can't sort it out. He is not the sort of person who would go for a long period of time in this situation - its not that hes not committed, but he knows what we have been like, and is obviously hurt that it seems to have gone. He is the sort of person I think who would want all or nothing and has actually said that even though he would be devastated to split, he couldn't live together just knowing that things weren't right. He also know that he can't 'fix' this himself and I think deep down, he feels at a bit of a loss because of this. I absolutely admire him for being so honest and now feel that the ball is in my court.

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 23:00:50

Have you thought about some outside help, such as Relate ? (you white witch hmm grin)

dinosaurus Thu 24-Jun-10 23:03:56

I have briefly thought about relate - i need to look into it.

have to go back to my cauldron now....
will catch up on this thread tomorrow, thanks for listening.

differentnameforthis Thu 24-Jun-10 23:09:52

We have been together for 21yrs, married 16.

We still have that spark now. Well I say still...we have lost it over the years but a major 'event' last year gave us chance to reassess what was important & we found our spark again.

We actually get on better now than we ever did. We are much more open with each other, we laugh more together.

We love each other now more than ever.

LimaCharlie Thu 24-Jun-10 23:14:10

Together for 18 years - married for 13 - the spark is very much there now but has waned on and off over the duration of our relationship.

Mainly down to stress - financial problems; very young children; stress at work have all impacted on our relationship and caused us to tread water - almost like flat-sharers / siblings - still loving one another deep down (but often disliking each other and no passion etc)

For now our children are growing older and so we have more of "us" back - I'm a SAHM so have no work stress and being at home can make life easier for him so relieving a bit of his stress and thats what makes it work for us.

Like AF says - hang in there smile and a [hug]

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 23:19:31

Our children growing up and giving us more time to do things together (we had a big gap between them/different sexes so were often separated doing very different activities IYSWIM) has been a massive factor in finding that spark again

mumblechum Thu 24-Jun-10 23:21:16

We're similar to you AF, having a lot of child free time is v v good thing.

We've been together 19 years and have been close to splitting up several times but for the last 4 or 5 years things have been pretty much excellent.

<touches wood>

AnyFucker Thu 24-Jun-10 23:23:11

< high fives MC >

Malificence Fri 25-Jun-10 09:55:26

I agree about the "holding pattern" AF speaks of, we had 10 really hard years after DH left the Airforce 15 years ago ( a career he wanted for life sad ) , he was working long hours after starting at the bottom again and trying to build a career, after a couple of years he got a good job but had to work away quite a bit and looking back I really resented it, I saw it as him having a good time while me and dd were stuck at home, I was also working and dd had just started secondary school and had become , quite honestly, vile and she remained that way until she was 15 - she must have picked up on the tension and she missed her dad too.
Shift/weekend work really takes it's toll on relationships too, it was only when DH changed jobs two years ago to a one shift pattern that we realised what a struggle we'd had. Of course, throw in the normal bereavements and family crises and it all adds up to the normal hard slog of family life.
Now, having just celebrated our 25th , we are happier and stronger than ever, even though we've had a tough year so far with DH's as yet undiagnosed health problem, he's had to step down from a very stressful job and has consequently taken a 10% pay cut but it's worth it so his health won't suffer any more - constant pain and huge work stress do not go together well, now we just need to get him fixed and back to normal.

The spark never actually died out but it was smothered by life's little trials for a while, now it's full strength again and has been for a couple of years.
We are renewing our vows in Vegas in a couple of months and both of us really appreciate each other in a way that we just didn't 10 years ago.

Day after day on here, you see people, seemingly thrown into turmoil because they don't understand how hard child rearing and family life really is, almost ready to throw in the towel at the drop of the hat, when all that is happening is normal life, which can be an absolute bitch at times.

mamsnet Fri 25-Jun-10 10:17:57

Mal!
and there was me clicking on your post expecting to read a few lube tips grin

You are very brave to write your experience on here (as is everybody else, obviously) and I really hope you get to the bottom of your DH's health problems soon smile

Malificence Fri 25-Jun-10 10:33:55

I find it more difficult to write about than exposing my sex life actually, but feel it's important because some people on here assume I have the perfect life and marriage and have never had to deal with life's hard knocks, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Family life is a hard slog, especially with young children and little support, DH's mum was dying in the first couple of years we moved back home , truth be told it was only her illness that stopped us emigrating to Canada in 1996, we felt it important that DD spent as much time with her Nan as possible before she became too ill and she died in 1998.

You have to be prepared to work at a marriage, both of you, it's no good if only one partner is bothered, it's only ever going to be one sided and that's how resentment creeps in and strangles the relationship slowly, like a python wrapped around it's prey.

mamsnet Fri 25-Jun-10 10:40:30

Well said, Mal.. I often feel that there's an undercurrent on here of wanting to have all the roses and giving up very easily when the thorns come along..
Personally I haven't had any deep problems in my marriage (yet.. wink ) but small kids, long hours, stress and stress related ill health, bereavement and other stuff can be very hard to navigate and not everybody reacts the same way to the same problem..

These times genuinely make you remember your marriage vows.. for better and for worse, in sickness and in health etc

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