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Loving vs. being IN love...a friend''s dilemma

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Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 12, 2006
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A friend in my home country asked me to post this for her.

She''s been dating a guy who is great for a couple of years. He loves her to pieces, and all the ''makes-a-marriage work'' stuff is there: communication, compromise, mutual respect and admiration, shared goals and values. I rarely hear her complain about him, and I''ve met him a couple of times, and he really seems like a truly fantastic catch, and a great match for her. He wants to marry her and she wants to get married, but she has a niggling concern that she loves him, but has never really been deeply IN love with him. She says she''s not really that interested in being ''deeply in love'' anyway. I suspect this is because the one and only time she was deeply IN love the guy was a complete bastard (I told her that from the start but would she listen? NO!...ah, love!) ...so now she''s self-protective.

I''ve been advising her to marry this guy. After all, love is something that changes its shape over time. The stuff that really makes a marriage work is apparently all there, from what she tells me. But what do you ladies think? Particularly the ladies who have been married a long time.

 

MustangFan

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
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935
I have been in this type of relationship!!!


Best guy in the world, rich, easy to get along with, social, encouraging, the whole family was in love with him but not me. It was never their I tried to force myself into being in love and felt that there was something wrong with me. Well I had a crush on my guitar teacher and I asked him out on a date, despite how serious me and J were. I couldn''t believe I asked him, I bit my lip afterwards, it just came out, and I told J and said I didn''t want to be in a relationship anymore and he was crushed, my whole family was crushed, especially Dad.

A word to the wise, you never learn to fall in love, if it''s not there it''s not there! The marriage will probably end in divorce despite how perfect it may seem because she''ll never be as happy as she could be and always feel there is something missing.

Now I''m with a poor guy and I''m deeply in love. Mom''s always say you can marry a rich man as well as a poor, but it''s not the case.
Maybe when you are 50 it''s possible, but not in your 20''s and 30''s
 

Becky P

Shiny_Rock
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Sep 7, 2006
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272
Well, the conundrum with this is that there''s all different types of love. Sounds like what your friend is saying is that she''s never had that crazy, passionate, make out like animals, butterflies in the stomach, can''t stand to be without each other type of love, love feeling with this guy. And, that''s perfectly okay. Because, it sounds like what she has with him is even better! From your short description, it sounds like they''ve got the companion-type love which is really what a marriage needs in order to last. Lots of relationships start with the passionate love, but if it doesn''t turn into companion love at some point, then the relationship is doomed because it can''t always be butterflies and roses.

I''ve gotta admit, I''ve been taking a hard look at my relationship lately. I''ve kind of been feeling like it''s boring and we''re stuck in a rut. But, then I realize that the type of love we have for each other is the type that lasts. I may not get roses every week at work or anything mushy like that, but when it comes to the things that really matter, we''re there for each other.

So, maybe just remind her that there are different types of love. And, don''t push too hard for her to marry him because if she doesn''t feel it''s right in her own heart, then it''s not fair to either of them if she does marry him even tho she doesn''t want to...
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 21, 2006
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3,689
becky p--assessing the relationship again? oh boy....are you guys now living apart in NC?

i think sometimes people confuse feelings of obssession/passion with feelings of deep love and attachment. You can call it young love vs. mature love..or that highschool bf vs. the man you stay married to for 40 yrs.
It''s obvious which one counts for more in the long run

I also think sometimes when you''re with someone ALOT and when things like marriage are around the corner, it can be scary, and you can get cold feet (totally normal). Also when you''re w/someone 24/7, you start to take them for granted and don''t realise how MUCH you really love them. (think of how we felt around our family growing up).

Maybe she should take a weekend away (with the girls or alone)..or do something that allows her some breathing room. My guess is she''ll start missing him like crazy and realize this is just cold feet and watching too many romantic comedies. Worse case scenario she may want to take a break and date around a little (just b/c you never want to marry with ANY doubts). But I think she''s just fine and that this is normal.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Sep 30, 2006
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It's quite possible she's confusing lust with love. If there's a lack of "crazy, passionate, make out like animals, butterflies in the stomach, can't stand to be without each other type of love," (as BeckyP so eloquently described) I think what's missing is lust, not necessarily love.

Love is such a loose and subjective term, anyway. It means whatever it means to the individual using it, which is probably not the same as any other person.

If she doesn't feel like her relationship fits her definition of love, and isn't fulfilling to her, then no, she shouldn't marry him--if only because that worry will nag her forever. But if she feels truly happy with him and just feels as though her "love" doesn't seem to fit the mainstream ideal of "love," then she only needs to decide if that is something that will nag her for the rest of her life. (Personally, I don't think it should--how many peoples' relationships fit the mainstream ideal of love??)

I hope that made sense, just my two cents
 

Kit

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 7, 2005
Messages
501
Hmmm. Well she could be on to something i.e. they just don''t have that enduring spark of love, that un-definable chemistry thing that you look for and crave in a relationship. OTOH, she could be in a rut, not realizing what she has, lost perspective, etc.

My best friend went through this a few years back. She had dated G since senior year in college, so for all of her then-adult life. G: MD/PhD, super nice, caring, smart, funny, attractive, you get the pic. She felt bored, maybe he wasn''t the one. Dumped him, dated a bunch of losers. Realized her mistake. He finally took her back. They''ve been married over a year.

She was looking for some kind of whirlwind feeling, maybe lust, or some kind of crazy passion that she and G probably once had during their "honeymoon" period but it had faded, as it naturally does. Instead of working to get that spark back, she bailed. Thank god G is so understanding! Well--he has always been head over heels for her.

Maybe your friend is confusing being in love with a whole bunch of drama and nonsense from her past relationship. I think that before she tosses out this apparently great guy, she should find a good therapist and devote a solid 6 months to figuring out her true feelings.

FWIW: I''m engaged and have been with FI for over 6 years, we''ve been through a lot including 2 stints of LD, lots of conflict, family crises, counseling, highs and lows. We are also passionate about each other and very much in love and our trials have forged a deep bond between us. Maybe it''s just that their relationship or they as a couple haven''t been through too much and so she doesnt'' really have the perspective to appreciate what they have?
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 12, 2006
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5,471
Thanks for the insights guys. I''m pasting them into an e-mail for her. I think you''re right that love is such a wide meaning term. I think I''m going to ask her to consider whether he makes her feel really good about herself, and whether she''s happy when she''s around him. Also, I''ll ask her to think about whether she can make HIM feel loved enough. He''s such a great guy, he deserves to feel loved too!

Mustang I decided not to get engaged to my rich ex-bf too! And now i''m with my darling cash-strapped M. Goodbye 2.5 ct ring! Hello happiness.
 

Independent Gal

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 12, 2006
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Kit The therapy idea is actually a good one. I''ll encourage her to take that seriously. Especially given her past.

I really hope it works out between them. She''s fab, and he seems fab too. He treats her so well. I think they''d make each other happy in the long run, if only my friend would stop analyzing everything obsessively. But I guess that''s what we gals do sometimes.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 3, 2006
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9,613
I so agree about confusing bodice-ripping mills-and-boons book lust with real love. Not to say you can''t have both!

I found it very difficult to adjust from several highly toxic realtionships to healthy ones because I felt that the lack of rollercoaster emotions and adrenaline rushes meant I wasn''t really in love. My then shrink advised me to keep seeing a man I was dating who was super-nice to me but who I wanted to drop because: "You need to learn to be with someone who loves you more than you love them."

I now have a fantastic relationship. Right now we both have huge workloads and I take huge amounts of painkillers for a long-term medical condition which means labido is not exactly running high. However, we both took time to discuss if either one of us were worried or unhappy or feeling neglected by this and we were both totally fine and - my heart still beats faster when I see him and I miss him like crazy when I go to work. He still buys me flowers almost weekly - and puts huge thought into which flowers he chooses each time and this week he has adopted a baby meerkat in my name just because I make him happy.


So it is possible to have a great relationship without needing to be like rabbits if that''s what she''s worried about. But, if she feels distaste at the thought of intimacy or that "something is missing" - then red flags are waving. You both need to be happy and fulfilled by whatever relationship you are in. There is also nothing more painful than being with someone who adores you and who you wish you loved in the same way and you just don''t - I think even worse than being the person who is in love.
 

firebirdgold

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 30, 2005
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2,216
I used to know what the difference was between being in love and loving someone. But now that I'm an old married lady (of 2 1/2 weeks!
) I don't remember what the distinction was anymore.
Is saying that you love someone but you're not in love with them the same as saying I care about him as a person but I don't feel romantic love for him??
I don't know, it always seemed like a bit of a cop-out to me. You either love someone, or you don't. Sometimes you really want to love that person... but wanting to love someone and actually doing it are not the same thing.
anyway, just my $.02




ETA: those romance novels should all be burned for the good of humanity!
 

squeaksluv

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
203
OMG, this post really stuck with me. Ya''ll will think I''m crazy but I just finished reading this book by Jane Green called Mr Maybe. It''s about this girl who falls in love wth a guy who, according to her, is not her type although they have the passion and love that you would want in a relationship. He breaks it off, claiming he''s not ready for a relationship, and she ends up meeting her ''dream guy''; rich, sweet, treats her like a princess. Probelm is, for her there is NO chemistry whatsoever, she even feels disgust at times for him. He proposes, she says yes (still hoping she can live out the fantasy) but realizes in the end it''s just not enough. Her thoughts go back to Mr. Poor everytime whom she ultimately ends up with.

Now I know this is not nearly the same as what your friend is going through but maybe she does need to take a step back and figure out what is truly important to her. You are so right in that love does change over time but in the end will she regret her choice? Whether it''s to stay or go? One of my best friends ended up marrying and having a kid with this guy she never felt ''deeply in love'' with but she did care for him deeply and loved him in her own way. She also wanted to get married and start a family. Now, 4 years later she is deeply regretting her choice. She feels she missed out on ''true love'' and is coming to terms with what to do but her situation is much more complicated in now that she has a child to think about. Somewhere along the way she realized that the love her and her husband felt isn''t enough for her, that she wants and needs more. Does she suck it up and stick with it for the sake of the kid? Or does she end things and search for her happily ever after? They''re at least going to a marriage counselor to figure things out and I hope, for the sake of her son, that they find the right solution for the both of them.

Okay, sorry to go off on a tangent but maybe your friend has given up on that ''deeply in love'' concept because of her ex. How important is that to her, to feel that deep in love feeling? for some of us, it''s everything, for others, not so much....
 

MustangFan

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
935
this is exactly what I''m talking about squeaks!

If she''s missing something, love will not change and develop into more.
I think it one thing if you are in love at first and then it develops into more like companionship, but to never have that "in love" feeling is a disaster waiting to happen.
I think she should step back from the relationship, maybe date a couple people first if possible then make a decision.

The Mr. Wonderful guy that I was with even understood that I wanted to date other people and he was okay with that, but I couldn''t do that to him, so I broke it off.
I knew in my heart that I would never want to go back with him. She has to search her heart.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
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9,613
The "disgust" bit you mention is what is really important IMHO.

The guy my shrink wanted be to date was perfect on paper in many ways but I could hardly bear to even hug him let alone anything else. If I had a $ for every hour I searched the internet for ways to find that x factor or engineer chemistry I would be soooooo rich.

What I wanted to point out in my other post is that you don''t have to be swinging from the chandeliers to be madly in love with someone, but if the idea of doing so seriously turns you off then you have to rethink what you are doing there.

For what it''s worth I think you just know when it''s right. I was 99% certain I would marry FI within 3 hours of meeting him and I''d been in 4 serious live-in relationships and maybe 5 short ones previously and never felt like that about anyone. My father always told me if I have to ask if he''s the one, the answer is no. He and my mother were engaged within 2 weeks of meeting and celebrate 36 years of marriage in July.
 

InlovewithJHK

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 12, 2007
Messages
234
I agree with Pandora... I knew on my first date with my husband that he was the one. Marrying the wrong person is a huge mistake... I don''t have any good advise on how to determine if the love that your friend feels for her boyfriend is "deep enough" but I''d hate for her to spend the rest of her life wondering about this.

Does your friend have good relationship role models (happily married parents, friends, etc)? i have a friend that loves "rocky" relationships and I think that the problem with her is not the guys but her own issues. That could also be a factor.
 
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