My wife of 8 years says she loves me, but she says she isn't "in love" with me any more. I understand what she is getting at, but neither of us can really define what that means. She and I still share connections and bonds that are strong (we started off as best friends), but she just can't seem to connect with me in a more intimate way right now (despite me trying). Is being "in love" something that we do to torture ourselves? Does it exist to make an otherwise good relationship harder (grass is greener...)? Is it just a biologically or chemically driven state that fades after the "honeymoon" period? What do you all think "in love" means? How do you get back to there after many years? Is it necessary to get there in order to have a successful marriage if everything else lines up?
This is a good question. I often wonder if some couples can "honestly" say they are in love with their spouses after many years. Sure, I know couples love each other, our each others best friend, and all that jazz...
For me, I can say I am not "in love" with my husband. He is a good person and all... but that "in love" feeling I had the first couple of months of dating and all...well that just isnt there for me..
Sorry I have no words of advice, just wanting you to know I ponder this question a lot as well...
'In love' is the first flush of the relationship. The discovery, the joy in finding someone that you think completes you. The excitement of being together, and dreaming about the future.
Once all that has worn off, Love is what remains. Knowing that there is another person next to you, that shares all your hopes, that depends on you to take care of them, and that you can depend on to take care of you. Someone who will put you first, someone you will always put first. someone who you can forgive everything, and know that when you need forgiveness they will give it unconditionally.
Thanks for the replies. I agree with you, stav. I thought that that was where my wife and I were, and to an extent she agrees. I think that we got their too soon for her, though. For her, "in love" means sexual attraction. She doesn't find me sexually attractive, and questions whether she ever has. And even though we are good friends and we love each other, talk to each other, hold hands, tell jokes, etc., she can't get over her need/want for sexual attraction. I feel sad that I won't have a shot at happily ever after due to mistiming or worse, something as ephemeral and shallow as sex.
I would love to hear about what other people think about the whole "in love" thing.
The 5 love languages book was a good read on this subject. Those feelings of physical attraction in the beginning of relationships is chemical and designed by nature for mating instincts. I've read in several places it can be short or at the longest last for 2 years. Real love comes after that and different people have different ways of feeling loved (the book goes into 5 ways) but a lot has to do with how you felt loved as a child.
Anyway, my husband's emotional affair eventually led to her kissing him and he said at that point all reasoning went out the window. This went on for a few weeks. I didn't know but all the signs were there and broke down one night. He ended it the next day (and left his cell phone home by mistake) and I found out that same day by looking through his phone.
When he talked about the excitement of it, my response was that's called dating...and I guess perpetual daters that don't want commitment just want the high in the beginning. If that's what he wanted, he definitely should not be married to me because I signed up for the monogamy deal. He said he didn't want that, but while he knew it was wrong, could not stop himself once it started and if I hadn't broken down it would have led to a full sexual affair... long pause while I pulled my heart out of the Cuisinart and shoved it back into my chest
He probably spent the next week in a state of confusion and did some soul searching and felt that part of the attraction was that he felt sorry for her...being divorced twice, latest ex was an alcoholic and just lost his job, cable got shut off, etc. and she just went on about how she needed to meet someone like him. I, on the other hand, started working at age 12 and never relied on anyone financially (dad has extreme gambling problem so never had that luxury of consistent electricity, heat, clothing, etc.) so he didn't feel that I really needed him. When I broke down, he realized how untrue that was and started to resent her thinking she was just looking for security and not really being a friend to him by encouraging him to leave me and stray (although he does take full responsibility for his role in it)
At the end of the day, he felt I didn't really care about him or what he did and I thought my kids (all from a prior marriage) were just too much for him and he'd eventually leave, so the wall got bigger and so did the distance between us.
We decided right away we both loved each other and wanted our marriage to work, and since have had many good talks and have both made sure the other feels loved. We started dating again and working out together and love being with each other. I am actually more attracted to him than when we first met because we both have opened up to each other in a way we never did before (we are both fairly shy, private people) and in a very long-winded roundabout way, in my case sexual attraction can be rekindled by feeling reconnected and loved by your partner.
Thanks Swedish. Unfortunately, no matter how much my wife says she loves me or wants our marriage to succeed, she is too obsessed with sex right now for it to work. And it isn't just physical sex (we have sex), it is the sexual intimacy and connection that she wants. And for her, that is more important than friendship and long term compatibility. I am sure she can find a guy that can give it all to her, but will she ever find him because she is trying too hard? And she already vowed to love me and only me until death do us part. Shouldn't she suck it up and get over this? We aren't dating, we are married. Shouldn't she be focusing on finding her happiness within our marriage?
We do connect on so many levels, which is why this has been so painful and confusing to me. She loves me, she acknowledges that we are great in most ways together, but she has given up on the one way that she finds most important.
I will have to explain to my friends and family that my wife and I had a great marriage that ended in divorce because she couldn't get over her need to have sex with other people. How sad is that? She is minimizing the person that she is, as well as the great things we share all for something that fades no matter how hard you chase it.
Ok, rambling again, but I don't know if this will ever make sense to me. I don't see how someone can knowingly and willingly chase something she knows won't last, and she knows isn't the most important ingredient for long term happiness, and will throw away not only a good marriage, but a great friendship. If she is so deserving of getting everything she wants, how about the way she has treated her husband and "best" friend?
I am beginning to be very down on love. It seems that a lot of people are obsessed with things that just don't matter in the long run and are too shortsighted and selfish to make the right decisions.
"In love", as I think you are asking about is more "In lust" or "In infatuation". There are, for lucky couples, those who never fall "out of love", because they knew very early that it was really love. No one can accurately decide for you "what in love means"; only you and your spouse know the answer to that. Unfortunately, in my experience, people who ask that question are not "in love", because a feeling that momentous, that sacred, that life-changing leaves no room for doubt. It doesn't fade after your first fight; it doesn't evaporate when financial crisis looms, and it certainly can't morph itself into jealousy or passive-aggression.
to love someone is to care about them beyond a normal level of caring.
To be "In love" differs because it isn't just about caring but rather wanting and needing. It is about the future and not just the comfortable feeling you have from knowing someone. Not only connecting but discovering things about yourself, your partner and wanting to go forward with the person.