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


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"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.

 

When you marry, your wife BECOMES your family member. you SHOULD have friend/family member love for her on top of everything. She is your closest friend and your wife - you should be all of it -- friends, lovers, partners, family.

 

I do think the key is getting out of your rut and trying new things. Your wife loves you - she wants more passion, too. She is not as big on penetration as you, but work on the other things and it will come. It would be a tragedy to end this marriage that has everything else right. Before you have another conversation about wanting more sex - stop being boring, go on a getaway - but not one where you won't have time to relax, too, try a new restaurant, whatever you can think of to not be routine.

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For a second there I thought You were my husband writing this!!! I am now in my early 50's and we are going through a similar situation. Marriage goes through goid times and bad. I know how I feel so I am only assuming how she might feel. My husband sees himself as a 'nice guy' but I do not. He is moody andhas a temper. We see others differently than they see themselves. You seem to really care for yourrelationship and this is good!Something is bothering her that you are not aware of. In our40's we begin to look back on our relationship and where we are in our accomplishments. By 50 , atleast for me, we realize that yikes I better sort things out now to better enjoy my life and relationship. We never took many trips alone. It was me who always wanted the kids to come. Did you or can you go away just the two of you? Show your wife you appreciate her. Spend time together. Laugh together.

Do an activity.

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When you marry, your wife BECOMES your family member. you SHOULD have friend/family member love for her on top of everything. She is your closest friend and your wife - you should be all of it -- friends, lovers, partners, family.

 

Oh absolutely. But most of those other types of love I could have by moving in with my buddy Dave from down the street*. For lovers love, we frown upon people getting that outside of their marriage (and Dave is not as open-minded as he claims to be). So really unless you're the extra-marital affair type (and I'm not), that's a need that can only be filled in one place and it either is or it isn't.

 

*There is no Dave from down the street but I hope you know what I mean!

 

 

For a second there I thought You were my husband writing this!!!

 

...Dave, is that you?

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No, sorry this is NOT Dave. You really only have two choices, change your situation or not. Not changing dies Not make sense. You have been feeling this way for far too long. Trust me. By the time you are 50 you will resent it. The other option to to change the situation. Counselling is s good place to start. We did councelling but he nevervadmitted to his issues so I filed for divorce. We separated for 5 months them I took him back. He has become slightly less angry but still not a nice guy by any means. I also stayed because of my kids. They a recall grown up now but We still take carribean vacations together. I tell him how I feel but I realize it is unlike to get better. He is now 54. Buy your wife a nice dress and flowers. It is a start.

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Don't know if this helps, but I am your age and divorced at 40 after an 18 year marriage. In the last year of our marriage we didn't have sex. Or I should say, I wouldn't have sex.

 

It's important to know that sex or the lack there of is a barometer of the condition of your marriage as a whole. Yes, there are other factors, health, stress, children, etc. But having said that, all of it combined is a package deal and it will effect what goes on the bedroom. It's impossible to compartmentalize these things and think your partner is going to rock your socks if something else is in the way.

 

My ex h didn't see it that way. Unlike you, were weren't amazing partners for each other (the story is too long to tell). But I will tell you that if my husband was nice to me and I sensed it was directly due to an agenda, (sex) I resented it. After all, why wasn't he nice all or at the very least most of the time?

 

There was no changing this dynamic between to the two of us and in the end he showed his true colors when he told me that it (sex) was my obligation. (So, that's what I had to work with, lucky me)

 

But had he just been kind without feeling he was entitled to something in return for it. Had he held me at night and resisted groping me just once. Had he stop keeping score about everything he did for me and his kids and in turn was motivated by some deeper meaning, things at least in this area might have been different. We were stuck in this reward/punishment cycle over sex.

 

The opposite is true as well. If you aren't connected emotionally and physically, it effects your health, stress, relationship etc. So there is this cycle of what comes first and how to create that delicate balance. This struggle is older than you and combined, times infinity.

 

We had to typical routine of him being gone most of the time, the charm started ramping up about the time I was doing dinner dishes and after getting the boys to bed, then he wanted attention. Everything in between myself and kids were being punished by his sullen attitude, his absence etc. Just to start all over again a couple nights later, after dinner, etc.

 

I ultimately thought I was frigid, angry and dried up. Until I got divorced and met someone who wasn't narcissistic and toxic. It made me sad all those times I thought it might have been my fault. . or his, passing blame back and forth. Now, so far removed from that marriage, this secret is no longer a secret.

 

There's that old saying ` sex begins out of the bedroom' I can't stress that enough. It's pretty basic, honestly. But I totally understand that in the throws of it, it's hard to see.

 

No one was more surprised than myself that I have a very healthy sex drive. Under the right circumstances.

 

I could be projecting here but the purpose of my story is to get you to look at things as a whole. Add in my ex might have said the same things you just shared. How everything was perfect, except just this one thing. I'd be curious as to your wife assessment of the marriage. Possibly something in my story gives you something to think about even if it doesn't apply.

 

If your wife had a voice here, what would she say?

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Last night, my wife and I had what I'd call Part 1 of what will probably be a much larger conversation. A lot of things came out. I'm very glad I posted here and listened to the views before I did that. Well in all honesty, I probably wouldn't have even done it had some of you not put me up to it.

 

I told my wife about all the great things we have but also what's been missing for me and how that has grown and how I hit a point where I figured that was it, that it was gone. But that what I hadn't really seen was how totally complicit in that I was over the years. And how I have never once sat her down and asked what she wants. Where she is in all of this. And we went from there. It was a very honest start to talking it out and it was hard in places but it told me a lot. I think it told both of us a lot.

 

One important thing it told me is that I was wrong - I'm not ready to just write off that part of my life. It's not completely gone. It's that I let it go. As you know, I had also been afraid of what my wife would say, that she doesn't enjoy sex or at least sex with me (which I guess is a sign that I hadn't truly given up). Well, according to my wife she loves giving me a good shag, as she puts it. She still wants me and desires me. But really what she was feeling was very similar to what I have been feeling. That we just let that go and, at some point, she stopped trying. The rest of life, our roles as parents and in our work just took over. Even with the talk of sex, I have realised that it's not just one thing and I think that has been a bit of a misinterpretation for me over the years. I often took it that the problem was a lack of frequency but it's not just that. There are three components for me: 1) that physical act, scratching that itch, 2) the passion, desiring and being desired, 3) the excitement and the exploration. They can all be part of the same thing but they require slightly different approaches and I missed all three, not just one.

 

And as it turns out, my wife says she misses those things too. And there is obviously a lot more to it than the sex - a lot of it is how we see each other and how we interact with each other.

 

So we ended the conversation in a very positive way. I kind of sprung the conversation on her so where we ended up is that, because I've been working through some of this and she hasn't yet, she will do a bit of evaluation herself in order to answer that question that I haven't asked enough (or maybe even ever): what does she want?

 

I thought this would all be so difficult and there were tough parts to the conversation but she was really happy that I brought all this up. And there was a sense that, far from revealing that this is all dead and a lost cause, we have somewhere to go and we should have had these conversations long ago. I don't know where it's all going to lead exactly but it felt like a really good first step. And I have a lot of your posts to thank for that because they provoked a lot of thoughts. Especially when it comes to my own role in this. That I spent so long on focussing on what I was missing that I wasn't really thinking about how much of that was down to me. I mean, it's both of us but I don't think I was being entirely honest with myself the whole time. And I probably still have a lot more figuring out to do.

 

But right now, it feels like something is happening.

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But right now, it feels like something is happening.

 

Excellent! Often times we learn that our discontent is less about what we're not getting, and more about what we're not giving. So glad to hear that you were willing to invest in giving you wife enough credit for a discussion. Hopefully it will unlock a shared same-side conspiratory kind of view of your marriage and the world that will open new doors for you both.

 

What are the ages of your children?

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Greg,

 

I couldn't be more happy for you both. I commend you for being brave enough to start the conversation, I know it was not easy but it will get easier and easier each time. No matter what happens these conversations should never stop.

 

I learned some hard lessons with my ex wife and from this forum. I used to ask my wife pretty frequently if she was happy and enjoyed our life together but I asked that when I knew deep down what the answer would be. As time went on I stopped asking because I was afraid of the answer. As it turned out she just isn't a happy person and has many of the same problems with her bf that she had in our marriage but that is another story. My point is asking those questions often lead to relief and optimism like you feel right now. It is kind of like asking a woman out that you really like but you are afraid to because she might say "no thanks" and ruin what might be (at least in our minds).

 

You have done what most husbands have not and actually showed up here way earlier than most. Usually guys show up here or wives after resentment has set in and all hope is gone along with the "In Love" feeling and someone may have even cheated. You could have just saved your marriage and possibly turned it into what you always hoped it would be.

 

Well done

 

Keep posting (we all like happy endings and especially on here) and be patient, it took a while to get here so it will take some time to get to a place you are both feeling good about.

 

Lost

 

PS The one thing I know for sure is if you rock her world in the bedroom she will drag you in there all the time. Numerous studies have shown when women have awesome sex they want it more and more (duh) so make sure you have your A game ready when you both get to the rekindling your intimacy. It may sound silly but there are some excellent books on how to pleasure a woman in ways I would bet you never knew.

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I literally got goosebumps reading your update.

 

My marriage didn't fair as well and to see someone turn things around like this makes me happy. AND I don't even know you.

 

I guess it's just those of us who know what it's like on the other side post divorce, will continue to cheer you on and live vicariously through you.

 

I love a good ending♥ Or at least the beginning of one.

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Seeing Lost gave you some tips. I will tell you something my (male) therapist told me.

 

` I tell all my male married clients that one of the most important things you can do for your wife is listen to her. If you see women with each other they connect by talking, commiserating and sharing stories. Men while together are typically engaging each other by doing things, activities and such.

 

Connect to a woman, or anyone for that matter by active listening. Do not underestimate the human desire to be heard and understand' Then he added in joking manner, `these guys would get so much more sex if they just listened to their wives'

(not to be misconstrued into giving in or giving your power away, but just simple active listening)

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I agree. Guys like him and my husband are the backbone of great men.

Same here.

 

Bravo, Greg. I could riff and ramble more, but for now: bravo. Knowing dudes like you exist makes me feel very happy and hopeful.

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Thank you, everyone! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the kind words, all the advice, the support and even the hard truths. I needed all of that and I'm so glad I came here and posted. I also know that this is a process and one I had neglected and I don't want to do that again. So I have work to do and even if this all goes great in the next while, I can't let myself take it for granted.

 

In a way, maybe it's like when I started running. When I did that, I knew that if I let myself off the hook and didn't go for my next run, I might do the same the next day and the next until I was back to being how I was before. So I kept pushing just one more run each time until it was a habit and a strong part of my life. I need to make this a strong part of my life too. So I'm looking forward to continuing these frank and honest conversations with my wife and listening to her in ways I should have done years ago and didn't even realise I wasn't doing. I don't want to underestimate the work that there is still ahead of me.

 

But right now, we're actually both kind of buzzing, like we have a new place to go from here. A new optimism about the present and the future rather than looking to the past. It's really good. We have done a lot of kissing in the last 24 hours.

 

 

Connect to a woman, or anyone for that matter by active listening. Do not underestimate the human desire to be heard and understand'

 

Yes, I'm really starting to understand this. Thing is, if you had asked me a week ago I would have said that I did this already. But there is a difference between talking and really listening. I think part of it is being open to what you might hear. If I was to point out one big difference between the conversation we had the other day and conversations we've had previously, it's that this time I had no real preconceptions about how it might go - she could have told me we were done, or could have told me entirely different things and I went into that conversation just wanting to hear those things rather than going in with answers I just wanted validated.

 

 

It may sound silly but there are some excellent books on how to pleasure a woman in ways I would bet you never knew.

 

Happy to take any recommendations!

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Thank you!

 

To update: things have been REALLY good! We have done a lot more talking over the last few days (almost a week now I think since that initial big conversation) and what is really clear is that we both have been dealing with feelings that just kind of grew because we as a couple went on the back burner with kids and life. So we were partners in so many aspects of our life but were drifting away from each other in some ways, each dealing with that separately mostly because we didn't want to upset the other. But you push stuff down inside over a very long period of time and it grows and hits a point where you can't contain it any more. Talking those things out showed even on the first day that we were much closer to each other than either of us probably thought and that was a huge relief to both of us and it has only got better since then.

 

It has awakened something inside of both of us that, honestly, has been dormant for more than ten years. It's like being at the early stages of a relationship all over again. It's exciting as we rediscover each other. It has been passionate. Fiery. We're both really happy right now.

 

I know it can't ALWAYS be like this and that things will settle again but what's crucial is that we don't lose each other again. For me, that means being more attentive, listening better, being a better husband and partner and, when I'm feeling stuff, not getting so self-absorbed and trying to push it deep within. You could say that I had created mountains out of molehills but, nevertheless, they were mountains. I need to work on making sure we don't get to that stage again. And I actually think it will get easier from here as our kids get older - the first baby years can take a huge toll on a couple and I don't think I really understand how much they had changed us. We work really hard at being good parents and I don't regret that at all but it did come at the expense of us as a couple to some extent. Now we've recaptured that, I don't want to lose it again.

 

This is probably going to sound really stupid but yesterday I wrote future me a letter explaining that I'm happy right now and how I got here. I sealed it in an envelope and gave it to my wife and asked her to hold onto it and, if I ever lose her again, to give it to me to read.

 

So yes, things are good! Thanks again for all the advice. It may well have changed the course of the entire rest of my life.

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You may be thanking us but you need to take credit where credit is due.

 

You searched online for help and found this place.

You took the step to post about what you were feeling.

You were honest with us and yourself.

You listened and took responsibility for your part in how you both got where you are.

You didn't take the easy way out or did something to kill your marriage.

You were brave and had that first tough conversation.

 

Now you need to keep your foot firmly on the gas and not let up.

 

I would ask one thing of you. Pay this forward. Keep coming back here once in a while and if you happen upon a thread by some person you think your experience could help post some advice to them as you have a lot of insight on how to turn around what even you described as being over and looking for ways to "get through" a loveless marriage. In helping others I bet you will learn more about yourself.

 

Lost

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Yes, you're right, thank you. Part of it was timing - I was at a point where I was ready to look for help and ready to listen.

 

I would ask one thing of you. Pay this forward. Keep coming back here once in a while and if you happen upon a thread by some person you think your experience could help post some advice to them as you have a lot of insight on how to turn around what even you described as being over and looking for ways to "get through" a loveless marriage. In helping others I bet you will learn more about yourself.t

 

Absolutely. If anything I have experienced can help others, I will offer whatever help I can.

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I didn't learn this lesson when I had the chance, but put your marriage first, always.

 

Before work, home, family and kids. It's the foundation in which makes everything else successful.

 

It's seems so counter intuitive when you have small children that are needy and demanding. But without that foundation, marriages fail and the kids suffer from the outcome of a failed or failing marriage.

 

Best gift you can give your kids? Happy, intimately connected parents.

 

Loved your update♥ Wish most people `got it' like you just did.

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