Re: How do you tell someone you love them, but are NOT in love with them?
I can completely relate to your situation, as it sounds very much like my own. My wife and I have been together for just about 12yrs. now, and we've been married for 6. She was just about 19 when we met, and she's now 30 (I'm 36). When we first met, she was living at school. We saw each other just about every other weekend, and when we did it was truly amazing. We enjoyed going places, and most importantly just enjoyed being with each other. So much has happened since then. We moved in together, got married, built a new home, and had our first child. There have also been other things that I've had to deal with since we first started dating. My parents' home I was living in burned soon after my wife and I started dating. I've been struggling with my father's alcoholism, and how it has affected my family. I've run my own business for the last 13yrs. and unfortunately it has not been as succesful as I had hoped. I was also involved in a life-threatening snowmobile accident that more-or-less left me bankrupt. I could not afford self-employment health insurance, and took a risk. The accident forced me to sell pretty much everything years ago, and to this day I'm still trying to pay off my debt.
Currently, my wife is a manager at her company and has a really tough commute each day. Work takes up so much of her time, and at the end of her day she has just enough time to eat dinner, play with our daughter for about a 1/2 hour, maybe watch a show, then it is off to bed to get ready for the next day. I am a stay-at-home dad. This too has been tough for me to deal with. I take care of our daughter, along with all of the household stuff (laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc.). Then at night, I run my business. I try to get as much work done as I can nights and on the weekend, but it is still next-to-impossible to catch up.
To make a long story short, there are so many variables that could have contributed to our current situation. Has work taken over the #1 spot in my wife's life? Had my accident, my dad's situation, being a stay-at-home dad, or continually coping with the personal debt I accumulated changed me as a person? My wife tells me all the time that "I'm not that 20 yr. old girl anymore". I've never asked her to be, and with all of the things that have happened I am not the same person I once was either. Although my wife and I never really had alot in common when we met, it was this that actually attracted me to her. I've seen a whole different side of things with her, and this is something that I would have never got if I was with someone who I had alot in common with. Unfortunately though over the years I think our differences might have put us in our current situation. I think she's realized that I am not the gung ho business owner that she thought I would be, and didn't build an empire by any means. On the other hand, I think I've realized that she is more of that type of person. Her hard work has got her very far in her career, but I feel it has taken a toll on her as well. She does not relax, she does not take time for herself, and she really hasn't made an effort to make things work between us (as I am probably just as guilty).
In some odd way, I almost think we might be able to help each other in this situation? What would you like to see your husband try to do? What do you feel you might consider doing to change to make things different? Is there something you both used to like to do that you haven't done in years with everything else going on? Above and beyond all of this what scares me the most is that there is a good possibility that my wife and I just grew apart. I don't expect her to act like she was when she was 20, but I also hope that we still have some sort of bond at least? She told me that she has alot of respect for me as a father... as a person to my friends... and what I've accomplished. That she "Still loves me... but is not IN LOVE" with me. I know that term is always connected with cheating, but I strongly feel in our case that it is not. I can completely understand why she feels this way. I know she respects me in what I do. Taking care of our daughter, taking care of the house, appointments, and running my business on the side as well. The term "Roomate" has been used, and judging from the way we are with each other now that is basically what we are.
How do I work to make things right? She admitted she's put up a wall to "protect" herself, and unless she lowers it a little things can never get better. Even if she lets me in, will any new attempts by me to be more affectionate come across as "fabricated" or worse... "cheesy"? It is hard to change the person you are, but it is still possible. People need this chance to try, and if they are not given it they will get frustrated and never make an effort again. On the other hand though, I do worry that if only one of us is making the big effort to make things work (while the other already sees the writing on the wall) that doesn't have a very good forecast as well.
All I can suggest is give your situation your best effort. I'm sure things have been tough for some time now, but put all of that on the back burner if you can. Don't dwell on how long you've felt this way, just work with how you feel right now. Have you told him all of your feelings? Is he willing to go to a counselor with you? I don't know... you look at all the years we've been with our spouses and it just seems a shame that things sometimes just don't work out. I feel that everyone owes it to themselves to at least give it one more solid shot though. Try to get to the root of the problem. Talk to someone. Try to remember what you guys used to be like, and why you loved him so much. If you're like my wife and I that don't really have a common interest we like to go do, maybe go and try to find one? One thing I am telling myself in all of this though is, "I will fight for this... but I will not force it". You can't MAKE things work... you can only just try. We both have alot on the line with our situations, and much more than we did when we were in our 20's. Kids... house... not to mention over a decade of sharing many experiences both good and bad. That's alot to give up without putting in that one last effort. You'll know in your heart after trying if things are for the best, and I'm sure I will too. Either way though, if you try your best you know you will be happy. If things work out, you can both be proud you found that spark again. If things don't, I'm sure finding a new path to take will be much healthier for your family (especially your child) in trying to FORCE things to work. Two happy seperated parents are better than two unhappy one's together. Either way, finding that answer will you give you (and myself in my situation) that peace.
I do hope for the very best for you, and just try to keep that line of communication open with your husband as long as you can during this hard time. I'm sure I can speak for him that we are having a tough time as well, and only want to see the best for the relationship as well.