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Thread: Tips for getting through a good marriage without any real love?

  1. #11
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    How often do you plan dates? How often are you doing new things together, or doing adrenaline filled activities together which could be like ATVing, snorkeling, scuba-diving, jet-skiing, karate classes. When was the last time you complimented her, coped a feel after letting her know how hot she is?

    What you are in is a rut, and ruts can last years and years.

    Relationships are what you put into it - if you want romance, be romantic! Retraining your brain starts with you first. Sometimes when you slip into a routine, that's fine and all with the kids, but that passion builds when you switch it up. It does not just magically appear and stay there forever. You need to make a marriage work. I guarantee you, for every super hot woman, there's always someone tired of her too. And I mean, grass is greener on the other side.

    Being friends and really liking your partner is not always there. The other part is actually dating your wife. Do new things together. Hot Air Balloon, museums, cooking classes, etc. I know it's hard with kids and work, but find the time even if once every other week.

  2. #12
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    btw, it looks like there is "real love" - just not penetration.

    is your wife feeling not so sexy because she didn't lose all the weight from the last child all these years, etc? She feels that its harder to stay in shape?

  3. #13
    Platinum Member lostandhurt's Avatar
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    I doubt your situation is all that unique, what is unique is your honesty and openness about it and with yourself. What we see here mostly is people that have cheated or been cheated on because of something like this or other destructive behavior that ultimately kills the marriage. Like they didn't know how to fix it and were to chicken too face their spouse so they sabotage the marriage until there is only one option left which is divorce.

    I seriously doubt when you did counseling last time you had a full grasp of what was missing or going on so I strongly suggest you set up some marriage counseling right away. This doesn't mean you will resolve this problem and all kinds of passion and love will fill your hearts but it will allow both of you to see things as they really are, understand how each of you truly feel and then decided together what needs to be done. You see if a couple comes together to work it out sometimes the solution is to end the marriage but doing it in counseling the marriage can end on the best possible terms.

    I don't think you are being selfish or unreasonable, you are being human...

    There is something that needs to be mentioned is that if you are not happy your children are affected. Children learn how to be in a relationship from their parents and if your kids live in a family where the parents are roommates then they will grow to think that is what a healthy relationship is supposed to be.

    Right now you have zero to lose and everything to gain be seeking out a quality therapist. Yes I know you fear the outcome but a question unasked has the same answer whether you ask it or not. Thinking of your wife. Perhaps if the marriage ended she would be happier, she might even meet someone that she feels passion for too. Right now if I were you I would hate to think my wife has sex with me out of duty which kind of what sounds like is happening.

    Be brave and don't give up your happiness just so the boat doesn't get rocked.

    Lost

  4. #14
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Greg40s
    - Been together 18 years, married for maybe 13, with kids.
    - My wife is fantastic. My best friend, a great mother to our kids, a great business partner (that's how tied together we are). An amazing person.
    - We get on great, never argue and we try to be good parents (mostly, we're successful at it).
    - Romantic love is not there. It's long gone. No passion, barely any sex and it's boring sex.
    - I haven't felt that fire in more than a decade and that emptiness has grown into a deep hurt.
    You titled your post not having any real love. With the exception of sex, you do have a very loving marriage. It just is lacking in sex and romance.
    So just be clear on that.
    Marriages of long duration rarely maintain that type passion you describe without a concerted effort on your both your parts to create it.

    So what you have here is a relatively normal marriage. A good one at that.

    You can blow it all up and find some passion in something new, but you will trade that for the exact same thing, probably minus the amazing partner, wife, mother and family as you, yourself describe.

    It takes work. Yah, I get it. It's not sexy. But you are pretty much no different than most marriages of 18 yrs. Those that have that passion you desire, commit to it and put the effort into being creative and cultivating it.

    From what you describe I think your marriage and the two of you deserve it.

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  6. #15
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    Sounds like you're stuck in a rut. I'm married with 2 kids. I had a GREAT dog but she recently passed away.

    Go back in your memory and remember how both of you were as a couple when you were young. Put the spark back into your marriage. Go on date nights, take daily walks together and enjoy good times together without being lumped with kids all the time. Take walks together with the dog every night.

    Also, take good care of your health. If you don't workout regularly and eat right, it's so easy to become a very negative person. Whenever I take better care of my health, I'm more positive, upbeat, it relieves daily stress and I'm easier to get along with. I no longer whine and complain anymore. I count my blessings and become a very grateful person.

    A lot of times, chemical changes occurs in the brain especially as we age so you need to infuse endorphins and seratonins to prevent and ward off depression and negative thoughts.

    The grass is not greener on the other side. It's true. People have worse problems than you. Work on what you have and make a better marriage for you and your wife. This will show your children how to be a devoted husband and will teach them how to make their marriages happy someday, too. Don't give up. Put forth the effort and keep the love steady.

    Marriage isn't about constant 24 / 7 excitement. Have your own life, too. Do what you enjoy outside marriage such as health, fitness, have good friends, eat well, have hobbies, etc. This makes you a well rounded person so your spouse isn't your whole life. Also, as mentioned previously, carve out time just with you and your wife everyday such as walks at the end of the day or a meal out. Learn to be a couple again when you didn't have children.

  7. #16
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    I agree being married 25 years and together for 30 not every day is going to be a passion sex party. But you keep reconnecting and reconnecting and reconnecting over time .

    I wouldn’t throw away a good life for a bit of woowoo because the woowoo may have little else to offer.

  8. #17
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    When people talk about the fact that long term relationships require work, that's exactly what they are talking about. It's not about clinging on and persevering through constant arguments and incompatibilities, it's about learning how to keep that romantic fire going. That's the part that takes work and it's too easy to become complacent, to get lost in being a dad/mom, get lost in chores, and soccer practice, and school lunches, and bills, and so on.

    Different couples do different things. Some make a point of having a weekly date night. Others go on an adults only trip once a year or so, to spend time with each other as adults, to reconnect romantically and stop being mom/dad for awhile and start being man/woman. Other couples take up hobbies like rock climbing or tennis or insert your choice of poison here. Again, the point is to have adult time with each other and do something that excites you both and keeps the spark alive or keeps rekindling it regularly. An ongoing reconnect.

    Regarding counseling, I think you need to consider not "we" but you yourself solo. You are pretty lost in the "I'm not happy, it can't be done, I'm doomed" land that's your own internal mental creation. Your wife can't help you fix you and your toxic mindset. It's something you need to cure for yourself. Your mindset isn't just destructive to your marriage and the life you've built together, it's destructive to you personally.

  9. #18
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    Thank you so much for all your responses. I had no idea what to expect by way of replies and I feel like I have a lot to process here and a lot to think about. And I think some (probably all of you) have hit upon some very important aspects. I think it's clear that I could have worded the thread title better - "real love" was not the correct term and instead I should have used a term that separates a friend/family member love from lovers love, if you know what I mean. Because as wrong as I got the term, the total lack of the latter over a very long period is definitely a problem for me. And by that I mean inner feelings rather than just sex, which is something I also could have been clearer on. I'm not looking for 24/7 sex parties (although it's always nice to be invited!).

    So some things for me to think about:

    "How often do you plan dates?" - I saw this response and I delayed responding to it because @tattoobunnie your post really got me thinking. Everything you write is correct. The word "rut" jumped out at me and hit me right in the face. And I think it exposes a personality flaw in me that I know is there and I have to admit to: I get stuck in ruts, I get very comfortable in my ruts, I often wish I was out of the ruts and yet at the same time cling on to the comfort and safety of them. That's a problem in me and you're absolutely right. I guess one thing that delayed my response is that my first reaction was that, yes, I did all that date planning and time together several times over the years in an effort to improve this and it didn't get better but, no, I'm not doing it now and maybe I can't claim to have done it enough in the past, or to have done it well enough. So I need to think about where I land on that and what I can do from here. But everything you wrote sounds right and I hugely appreciate your post.

    "is your wife feeling not so sexy" - Yep. And it's not a baby weight thing. This existed before that. I think my wife was always the funny one of her friends, never the hot one or the glamourous one. But I don't think these things are mutually exclusive and I think she can be incredibly sexy but I don't think she has ever believed that. So that has been something I have tried to help with her over the years and I think I have largely failed. Her mom has passed on some weight issues because she's borderline anorexic and I know she commented on my wife's weight a lot during her childhood. So my wife feels she has more issues with weight than she actually does and, for years, I tried to tell her and show her that she is just right the way she is... weirdly after all this time, I'm wondering if that may have sent the wrong message - that rather than it showing that she looks great the way she is, that maybe it came across that her looks didn't matter to me (it's kind of the same thing but one might send a message of apathy, if you know what I mean). I don't know. I think I got some of that wrong over the years but, yes, she doesn't feel sexy and I've struggled to help with that.

    "There is something that needs to be mentioned is that if you are not happy your children are affected" - And now from my wife's baggage to my own. My father was a rubbish dad and then left us which was really for the best as difficult as it was. He had absolutely no connection with us as a dad. And I vowed to do better for my children and, as it happened, I didn't even need to - the moment my kids were born, I adored them and wanted to love and protect them and I can't even imagine how a father could not feel that for their kids but I guess it happens. And while I don't get everything right and have had my fair share of parenting fails, I have done better - a LOT better. My kids seem really happy and strong for the most part. I don't think where I am is affecting them right now or has done so yet but you're so right here and that's something I need to keep front of mind. I need to do what's right for them. And that's also why I would never let this go to extremes or have a meltdown or consider an affair or any of that nonsense, because it would affect them. But it does mean I need to sort myself out within this.

    "I had a GREAT dog but she recently passed away" - So sorry to hear this. Dogs are so great.

    "Have your own life, too." - @Cherylyn this was just one line in your really helpful post (thank you!) but it may as well have been written in neon in the way I was drawn to it. In spite of all of the thinking about all this that I have done, I don't think I ever considered this part. Because in reality I don't have my own life. I don't think I ever saw that as a problem in itself. I only really have one close friend who isn't one of my wife's friends and he moved to a different country some years ago so we don't get to see each other much which leaves me alone in that regard. I don't feel hugely lonely but, yeah, when pointed out I don't have much going on beyond life with my wife. I do exercise and I have hobbies but my hobbies are basically an extension of my work and keep me contained at home - they're not an outside life of any sort. Do I need more of a separate life? Would that help?

    "Your wife can't help you fix you and your toxic mindset." - Ouch. This stung a bit, @DancingFool. But maybe the fact that it stung is a sign that it struck a nerve and you're right. Maybe this is all just a mindset problem. I think I was open to that being a possibility and for that to be the reply so I'm surprised that it was hard to read it when I saw it. I need to consider what to do with that because you could be right and maybe dressing up my own issues as family or marriage issues is the problem. That's very difficult for me to untangle right now but I know I have personality flaws - that's no surprise. So I need to give this some thought. Thanks for your reply.

    Thank you for your help, everyone. I needed to get some stuff out and see what others thought. To get different perspectives. I don't really have anyone I talk about this stuff to so I really appreciate all of you taking the time to reply and give me your views.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member lostandhurt's Avatar
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    Greg,

    You are good at reflecting on yourself but without action it is just a mental exercise. Whether or not you can get more passion in your marriage or if the marriage keeps going or ends you need to make some basic changes for you. Friends are important and I totally get how you can get comfortable and not want to upset the tea cart. Life is far to short to not live it. Can you say you have been living or just surviving? Maybe 40/60? Think about that.

    Have you ever asked your wife what she wants? Have you ever asked her if the lack of passion between you two bothers her? Have you ever asked her what her fantasies are? (sexual or otherwise) Have you ever asked her if she had her way how often would she want to be intimate or at all?

    These can be very hard questions to ask not because they are tough to bring up (they are) but because hearing the answers could be extremely hard to hear. Fixing something that is broken without knowing what part is actually broken is nearly impossible and really just dumb luck if you pull it off at all. You need to know where your wife stands on these questions and she needs to know where you stand on the importance of the things that are leaving you feeling unloved. Which brings me to my last point. Being with someone that shows no desire to be intimate with you can put a pretty big ding in how much you feel loved by them. Do you feel unloved?

    Brutal honesty is one of the toughest things we can do and being brutally honest with ourselves is probably the hardest.

    I think your next step is figuring out what page each of you are on so you both can decide the next chapter...

    Lost

  11. #20
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    Originally Posted by lostandhurt
    Have you ever asked your wife what she wants? Have you ever asked her if the lack of passion between you two bothers her? Have you ever asked her what her fantasies are? (sexual or otherwise) Have you ever asked her if she had her way how often would she want to be intimate or at all?
    Yes, we've had these conversations and yet I'm not entirely I have the full picture when it comes to the answers. I was just about to write that the lack of passion doesn't bother her at all but I think it does... but a lack of sex doesn't. So the intimacy and kissing and cuddling is a need for her but not sex itself. She says she enjoys sex but it's not a thing she needs. She seems to believe that women don't have the same desire for sex as men but trawling through these boards reveals she is very wrong about that - just different people have different sex drives and need different things from it. I haven't pushed much further beyond that and maybe there's a level of fear involved there and we need to get even more direct about all of this. I don't know exactly where it would leave me if she bottom line just doesn't like having sex with me because that it has become very clear to me that it's something that's important to me. I obviously don't want her doing anything she isn't comfortable with.

    I don't feel unloved... but I feel undesired. Does that even make any sense? I'm not even sure why they're different as I write that. I don't fully understand my feelings on that one.

    Originally Posted by lostandhurt
    You are good at reflecting on yourself but without action it is just a mental exercise.
    I know this. You're right. I need to do something here. And you're right that there are probably some answers I don't want to hear. You're hitting on something that I probably didn't see in my first post which maybe DancingFool was picking up on - I have kind made this all about me. And I think maybe the reason is that, if it was just all me, if I was the only one with a problem, then it would mean everything else is okay. I don't think my wife is struggling with these things the way I am... but maybe she is. I don't know if that would make it worse or better. I probably need to find that out.

    The thing is, we have had some of these conversations. Going back years. Nothing I could say to her should be a surprise. But my wife is a very optimistic person. She sees the best in everything and that's usually great but I think that also means she doesn't always see problems as being serious when they are or at least have the potential to become serious.

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