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Are love, being in love, and sexual attraction three different things?


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My wife and I have been together 11 years, married for nearly 4 years, have an 18 month daughter.

 

We love each very much: I.e. are very fond of each other, like hanging out, make each other laugh, enjoy doing some of the same things together.

 

My wife recently told me she's not felt "in love" with me for a while though, 2-3 years maybe.

 

We used to be very sexually attracted to each other. My wife used to jump on me and attack me, and I'd do the same. We used to enjoy sex until about the middle of the pregnancy. But now she also says she's not sexually attracted to me either. We now don't even kiss at all, although we do hug a few times a day and sometimes hold hands.

 

I'm wondering if these are really three separate things. If you love someone and are attracted to them, is that different to being in love?

 

I'm also hoping we can reignite things... we're going to marriage counselling to help. We've not had any "us" time at all since daughter was born. We do do "romantic" or "date night" things at home like cooking together most days, having candlelit dinners together... But they don't really mean anything, as in they don't feel like dates. Only going out just the two of us would feel like that. But we can't do that with our daughter and with lockdown together. We had an hour's walk last week when a neighbour helped out, and she said it was really nice to have some time just for us and was a bit more cuddly afterwards, but that effect didn't last.

I just don't really know what to do, or whether there even is anything to do... What do you think?

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OP. I re-read the other thread.

 

Anyhow. I am very fond of (love) my brothers, male cousins and relatives. Not in love with them though! And no sexual attraction obviously towards them.

 

So what you describe is brother-sister love:

"very fond of each other, like hanging out, make each other laugh, enjoy doing some of the same things together"

 

Moving on:

 

It is quite possible to be sexually attracted to someone without being loving or being "in love" with that person.

 

You remark:

 

"My wife recently told me she's not felt "in love" with me for a while though, 2-3 years maybe."

 

Just guessing but it is likely she actually means not sexually attracted to you.

 

What has the counsellor to say on the matter?

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Sorry to hear this is happening. Yes, date nights are a challenge with a child and the lock down. Are any of her or your family nearby? Are there trusted friends or neighbors you could exchange babysitting detail with? Even if you two don't go "out", it would help to have some uninterrupted adult time.

 

You pinpoint the birth of your child as the beginning of the roommate-zone situation. That is an important thing to mention in marriage therapy as well as her emotional affair.

 

My advice about your situation remains the same: https://www.enotalone.com/forum/showthread.php?t=565036&p=7223274&viewfull=1#post7223274

My wife recently told me she's not felt "in love" with me for a while though, 2-3 years maybe. But now she also says she's not sexually attracted to me either. We've not had any "us" time at all since daughter was born.
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Do things outside your comfort zone, like take up a hobby together, whether it's art, golf, hiking or whatever. Just because you have a kid doesn't mean your life and activities have to stop. A friend of mine took his wife and baby on a hiking trip. The photos he took were amazing. Cute photo of him with his daughter in a special backpack. They never stop doing anything, they just take baby along.

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For one, you have to get fit if you are not. Sexual attraction includes physical attraction so taking care of yourself matters.

 

However, if your wife has outgrown this relationship on sexual level then I believe there is nothing you can do. It happens.

 

Why do people pay a marriage counselor to tell them what to do?There is no magic pill. Do you expect to hear something you don't know? Some things I just don't get.

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Precisely, Wiseman

 

"So that they sort out the real problems with trained professionals, like the wife's emotional affair, not the guy's gym attendance."

 

The trained professional is the objective third party who can see what the couple cannot. No qualified professional counsellor tells anyone "what to do". It doesn't work like that.

 

OP. You said this in another thread:

 

"She mentioned that for years it has seemed like I am dragging my feet with her: didn't want to get married (took a long time to propose), didn't want to have a baby (I wanted to wait another year), didn't want to have sex during late pregnancy or early on having our child (true). I can see that that would slowly kill her passion: her thinking that I did not have the passion myself. Actually many times I turned her down in the evenings even before we got married: my sex drive is very low in the evenings, it's much higher in the evenings, whereas I think hers is the other way around. But we never really spoke about it calmly and carefully, so that must've felt terrible to her. I feel awful now, thinking back about all that".

 

So, OP there is a lot to work through there.

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Oh.. there was an interesting podcast I listened to a while back about a married couple that hadn't had sex for a few years since their son was born and they loved each other very much but didn't have sex and wanted to work on getting that back but they were kind of stuck in mom and dad mode. It's hard to keep romance and attraction alive when you don't have much time without the little one. Could just be a challenge in your marriage right now. I think continuing with counseling is smart. Also, continuing to make time for date nights where family friends or someone you trust watches the little one while you too get more one on one time. Be patient. Go out together. Flirt a little. Let affection just naturally grow. Maybe cuddling will become more often and build to more. I think it can be rekindled if the two of you are putting in the effort and patience and want to make it work.

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Acolyte, good to see you still here. I agree it takes time.

 

Mocoboco, your wife seems a bit agitated and frustrated. And I think you're hurt. Wait for the marriage counselling to start and see what happens. Take things day by day and don't tear each other apart. If you're hurt and confused, process those emotions and organize them for the counselling sessions. Taking on the errands and anticipating or being more intuitive with the daily chores and taking care of the baby might help also. Instead of needing each other to direct or instruct, just do what needs to be done to relieve any stress.

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You sound inert emotionally and physically unavailable and admit to shutting her out on many levels. She admits she has lost interest in your lassitude and indifference and has turned to another man emotionally. Unfortunately this is way beyond anything date nights would fix, but it's a place to start.

 

You didn't want kids and seem resentful. This has nothing to do with AM vs PM sex drives or being in shape. It has to do with a great deal of unspoken contempt and both of you acting out in a passive aggressive manner. This is why a therapist is your only hope, but to maybe prevent divorce, not rev up your sex life.

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Once again, OP said:

 

"Actually many times I turned her down in the evenings even before we got married:

That's why I'm thinking it's hard to come back from this, I've been grinding her down for years and slowly crushed the spark."

 

But she married you anyhow, OP.

 

I hope it works out for you both.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A lot depends on your definition of those terms. I think they are three very different things. I love a lot of people. I think of love in that sense as wanting good things for them, and hurting when they hurt. I can be sexually attracted to people I don't love. (Of course I don't act on that attraction, except for the Mrs.). As for being in love, I think that is an idea as different as every person who says it. I think the initial attraction (infatuation?) could be called being in love. Also, in a long term relationship, you have periods of very intense, very specific feeling for another person, similar to the initial attraction. It's normal, I think for this to come and go.

 

They key here is you have things you need to feel loved. She has things she needs to feel loved. As long as you are both honest about these things, and committed to giving them to each other, the ebb and flow of "being in love" as well as sexual attraction is just a normal part of a relationship.

 

To me, being willing to do the things to make my wife feel loved is a big part of what love is, and and long as that doesn't go away, I feel we can manage through the back and forth of emotion.

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