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Thread: What is unrequited love?

  1. #1
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    What is unrequited love?

    Not sure where to start but feeling really low tonight.

    I've been with my wife for just over 9 years, married for 4 and 1/2 and we have two young boys (3 and 1). I love her more than anything but it feels like unrequited love nearly all of the time these days.

    Over the years, the physical affection and emotional support feels like it has been dwindling, and of course, you can probably put that down to the kids because it is absolutely shattering at times, but this has been killing me slowly, and softly. So much so that I believe it is a major cause of my personal anxiety issues manifesting into physical pain on an often daily basis, although that is kind of a side issue. I believe she would never cheat on me but almost every day my self esteem gets crushed by something she says, does or doesn't do and I'm left wondering does she even want to be with me anymore. For me, it's not just about a lack of sex either; I just need to feel that she wants me every now and again and I don't think I'm asking for much; we are married at the end of the day. Every wants to be wanted, right?

    This is not in any shape or form a full list, but I guess it is a current stock-take of where things are bad at the moment (in my eyes):

    No random, meaningful "I love you"s for probably 2 years now, or rolling over to hug in bed in the morning...
    Often making plans with her best friend on the weekend without even checking what I am doing anymore
    Can't seem to help catching the TV if its on or playing on her phone when I talk to her about something important, therefore, no meaningful conversations
    Never initiates sex and doesn't seem interested either most of the time (when we first met and our earlier to mid-years, she still never initiated but had a very, very high sex drive)
    Gets very angry quite quickly if I criticise her for something genuine and finds a way to throw it back in my face; it goes further than this I guess, as I generally can't raise anything important I want to discuss if it means her conceding a little defeat without her raising her voice and belittling me somehow
    Never asks how I am feeling if I'm unwell - like, total zero sympathy, or if I've had a bad day [she's admitted in the past she finds it hard to be sympathetic but she doesn't even bother to try now]
    She seems to fall in love with reality TV show celebrities more than she does with me, saying things like "I love x" when she doesn't tell me she loves me anymore or getting overly sad about something on TV yet won't be sympathetic or empathetic with me (she's a bit of a TV addict at times)
    Takes very little interest in my work or day-to-day life e.g. texting each other during our work breaks for instance

    I'm just looking for some opinions I guess. The last thing I want to do is come across as needy, I do my best not to be, but surely some of this behaviour is not great and gives me a reason to be down about it?

  2. #2
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    If nothing changed, how much longer would you stay? 6 months? A year? 5 years? 10?

    Youíre allowed to have things you want from a partner, connection, intimacy, a sense that you are each otherís favourite person. It sounds like she checked out if the relationship ages ago, you could try having the frank conversation where you say my needs arenít being met (how does she respond to that? Is that response something you want in a partner?). Iím not hopeful sheíll become more loving, I think itís run itís course but if you feel like you need to give it your best shot thatís the conversation to have.

  3. #3
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    Have you spoken to her about this? Would she consider couples therapy?

  4. #4
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    She has a one and three year old she has no time or energy to cheat on you. Do you stay home and look after the children when she makes plans with her friend that doesn't include you? If you do, stop that. Make your own plans with your friend and tell her about it after you've made them.

    You two need marital counseling. Period.

    If she won't go, then you go to personal therapy so that you can talk regularly to a professional that will hopefully either give you the strength to leave or give the tools you need to get back the emotional connection you and your wife once had.

    She's in full mommy mode (likely) and has forgotten how to be in wife mode.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    Yes, stabilo, you've got good reason to feel as badly as you do. You need to sit down and talk to her. Not badger or try to belittle or punish or guilt....but talk to her and tell her what's bothering you and why.
    See if there is anything that can be fixed.

    Children do change the dynamic, that is true. It is tough to be romantic and lovey dovey when you've been looking after littles ones all day and are tired out by the time they are gone to sleep.
    It's good for both of you to be understanding about that but at the same time, make serious efforts to find time as a couple and to make special efforts for one another.

    First things first though, talk to her when you and she has time and let her know how it's been affecting you.
    Marriage counselling is a good idea as well.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    This isn't unrequited love. This is parenthood with two very young kids, two exhausted parents and getting into a rut. How much sleep or privacy are you both getting? How often do you get a baby sitter or let the kids stay at family/friends for the night or a weekend? How often do you plan romantic adult alone time?

    You can't expect constant attention anymore. You'll have to jump in and help with this kids/household more now. When you get home, rather than talking about your day, your feelings, your needs etc. decompress a bit and then help out more with the kids, dinner etc. Doesn't sound "romantic", but it may help both of you unwind together later on in the evening.
    Originally Posted by stabilo
    married for 4 and 1/2 and we have two young boys (3 and 1).

    No random, meaningful "I love you"s for probably 2 years now, or rolling over to hug in bed in the morning...

    Never asks how I am feeling if I'm unwell - like, total zero sympathy, or if I've had a bad day

    Takes very little interest in my work or day-to-day life e.g. texting each other during our work breaks for instance

  8. #7
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    OP, you posted a thread about a year ago regarding an ex of yours you very much wanted to contact. [Register to see the link]

    Did you follow through on that? If so, did your wife find out? If not, does she know you were thinking about it? I absolutely agree that she is likely exhausted and stressed as the mom of two little ones, but I can't help but wonder if your previous fantasizing about your ex caused you to subconsciously withdraw from her, or otherwise put up an unspoken barrier between you and her. She might well be reacting to perceived distance from you, even if she doesn't know who exactly was on your mind.

    Just something to think about.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MissCanuck
    OP, you posted a thread about a year ago regarding an ex of yours you very much wanted to contact. [Register to see the link]

    Did you follow through on that? If so, did your wife find out? If not, does she know you were thinking about it? I absolutely agree that she is likely exhausted and stressed as the mom of two little ones, but I can't help but wonder if your previous fantasizing about your ex caused you to subconsciously withdraw from her, or otherwise put up an unspoken barrier between you and her. She might well be reacting to perceived distance from you, even if she doesn't know who exactly was on your mind.

    Just something to think about.
    I had to go and look after I read this... I can see you posted ALOT about your ex prior to getting together with your now wife, and yes as recently as a year ago were posting about your ex again. I agree with MC that while you post about her withdrawing from you, you very likely have something to do with that withdrawal. How much energy are you putting into making sure your wife feels as valued and desired as you do? (and I don't mean just asking for sex.) Do you just talk at her or talk to her? Do you put everything down and put your entire attention on her when she talks to you? Do you give her the emotional support you want for yourself?

  10. #9
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    Apologies for the late response and thanks to everyone who replied, it really means a lot. Yesterday I was feeling very low, and decided to write the post but kinda wished I'd slept on it as today has been a nicer day, in all fairness, and I probably wouldn't have written as much as I did. I was angry and sad last night and needed to vent like I haven't done in ages. Don't get me wrong, I'm not that black and white, although it does feel like I'm on an emotional rollercoaster at times. And I don't put all this down to my wife either, I know I have my own issues...

    1a1a - very thought provoking questions there - all of them made me feel sick to the stomach; the thought of this having run its course also makes me feel sick. Thank you for your response I've been thinking about it all day...

    HollyJ - not yet, and I really doubt she'd go to therapy; I think she'd be embarrassed.

    ThatwasThen - I don't think my wife would ever cheat even if she had the time and energy, its something we both despise but to answer your question, she sometimes or more often than not takes the kids.

    SherrySher - thank you and I know deep down the conversation must be had. It's just hard as I'm not very good at bringing subjects like this up...

    Wiseman2 - sleep? 4-5 hours, it's painful at the moment. Privacy - none; our bedroom is a no-go zone when the kids are in bed as they are so young so we live in the lounge until we go to bed. Babysitters? We are lucky in that our parents live close but we try not to take advantage so we tend to keep babysitters for events e.g. weddings, parties etc; I'd say we get a night to ourselves twice a year. Romantic alone time? We don't, its difficult. And TBH I find it hard to decompress. When either us walk through the door it's a mad dash until the kids are in bed and then my wife prepares for work the next day and then she'll decompress and we'll sit together watching 'crap' TV or I'll sit on the computer (in the same room) so I can unwind.

    MissCanuck - I gladly didn't follow through and took all of the advice from that thread. I would hate to think that was the cause of this disconnect I am feeling but in truth, there have been many pockets of time prior to that period where I have felt like this so I would like to think it wasn't something that she noticed at that point last year, because she never asks anyway. Nevertheless, my wife is astute and not much escapes her eyes so I could be deluding myself.

    Maew - my ex was a very difficult person for me to get over; I think a lot of us have those skeletons in the closet of special people in the past. My wife is the best thing that ever happened to me but my ex was also my first love and the two experiences are madly different, and so they should be. In terms of my effort towards my wife, I've never stopped trying and never will, even if that means waiting for the right moments or doing little. I might not be doing it right though, so I guess only my wife could say otherwise. I definitely talk to her, that will never change and yes, when she talks to me I do 95% of the time pay as much attention, interest and understanding as possible. It can be difficult to do this and not to feel petty, when it is not reciprocated. I was always try to treat people the way I like to be treated, that's my personality.

  11. #10
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    kids are outside of my experiences so all who posted suggesting mummy mode could be hitting the nail on the head. You wonít know until you have a conversation with your partner about how you are feeling the lack of intimacy, is she feeling it too? What does a good partnership look like to her? (What does it look like to you? Is there a good amount of overlap?)

    Awkward conversations ahead, I hope that the way forward becomes clear.


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