Help, I think I don't love my wife!
Hi everyone. I need your help!,
My partner (call her Sarah) doesn't want me to stay in our relationship if I don't 'love' her.
I don't feel towards her the way she wants me to, but am scared to separate because I don't want to cause her or my kids any pain and suffering.
On top of that, its 'complicated':
'Sarah' and I were dating after my marriage broke up.
I decide to call the dating off, because even though she was a really wonderfull woman I just couldn't see us being life partners and didn't feel any strong attraction towards her. We were very different sorts of people, with different spiritualities and different outlooks on life and totally different personalities.
A few months down the track, I hit a period of joblessness. That was so stressful. I began to default in rent. I felt depressed and humiliated that I wasn't able to provide a stable environment for my kids (from my previous marriage).
Then, Sarah offered for my children and I to stay with her and her daughter, until I got work. Something I was SO grateful for!
We moved in........and living under the same roof and having previously separate on good terms, we kind of merged back into being a couple without really meaning to.
Now effectively, we have become a blended family.
Our connection is nice. We have a respectful, kind and caring relationship. We have fun together. It's not bad. On many levels it's good.
But to tell the truth, I just don't, and never did, really feel that strong attraction towards Sarah that she wants me to feel, and that most people call 'love'.
She can tell. She confronted me on it and said, while she loves me, she does not want our relationship to continue unless I love her too.
If I am honest, I do not feel that strong emotional attraction towards her that she wants me to. And I never did. Part of me actually wants to separate, because I would love to be in a relationship where I did feel that. Even more strongly than that, I feel slightly depressed and trapped at the thought of Sarah and I being life partners.
I feel terrible for saying that, because she is the most caring, open hearted and kind person I have ever met. I just don't love her like that.
I know romantic love doesn't last forever. People often talk about the love of long term relationships that is about caring and being selfless and putting another persons needs before your own rather than the temporary hot romantic love feeling. Ok. But as I said, I actually feel depressed at the thought of being in a life relationship where I never felt the emotion of romantic love.
Why isn't it easy just to admit I don't love her and move on as friends?
Because I am pretty sure that will really hurt my kids. They have already been through so much in their life. I don't want to cases them any pain or suffering.
I know people say that you shouldn't stay together for the kids sake, and that that is modelling the wagon things etc etc. But in our case, I am almost certain that it is better for them in our blended family, than if I was to separate from Saraband go my own way. I won't go into details here. It just feel that the blended family we have is so good for my kids- so much better than going through a separation again.
Also, I do care for 'Sarah'. Is that love? We have a really nice wholesome thing going with our blended family. We are kind and caring towards each other. It is much more than many people have. Should I just be grateful?
Now, she has asked me to leave if I don't love her.
So far, I am incapable of making a decision!
To stay in a relationship that on an emotional level is lacking in deep attraction?
Or leave, and cause pain and suffeing to my kids (who have already had their fair share).
All this is not fair to all parties involved, and you can't keep up this sham forever.
Do the compassionate, honorable thing and let Sarah go. She deserves to find someone who really does love her.
Wow - oh my goddness, I am so sorry you are in this place. It sounds like it all just "kind of happened".
What are your other relationships like? Do you have parents you could live with that would love to have your kids live with them too? or is Sarah your only form of family right now?
It sounds like Sarah is also looking for a relationship on a different level. She needs to be "loved" too. If she has asked you to leave because you don't "love" her....then this might be your only option. She is not responsible for the stability of your children - you are, and their mother is.
I really do not know what to say, but I just want you to know I read your passage and I hope the right answer comes to you - for everyone involved. Good luck.
First of all, let us clarify your uncertainties about love. Popular culture define it as a feeling. But that's crap that is why many relationships and marriages nowadays do not work and seldom lasts. Feelings are fleeting and constantly changes. It roots from our beliefs.
Our feelings change as our mind changes. Your thoughts define your feelings. You are confused about love that is why you can't feel love.
In truth, love is emotionless, that is how true love feels - emotionless, deeply connected but unattached. Love is the balance of all emotions, it has anger, disgust, and sadness, not just happiness.
What is love? You care for and respect each other, that is love more than romantic attraction which is momentary. Romance turns on and fades off, it flickers, either grows or dies. Love evolves usually starting from eros (romantic) to phileo (friendship in its truest sense) to agape (oneness).
Each stage has different levels of commitment and care. Some couples do not need the eros phase to be in higher levels of love. You are in phileo, but she wants agape.
I understand that you feel depressed and trapped because of the demand she asked. But it doesn't mean you don't love her because love is not about how you feel. You feel pressured to have feelings for her. You feel pressured because your deeper self wants too. But you were rattled, because he is not yet there. You're not ready.
I don't know how long have you been together. But often, it takes time and effort for a person to discover love within himself. Perhaps you are just not yet ready to love and commit again after what happened to your previous marriage.
I think you value what you have now together. And I can see you two have a loving relationship than most other couples.
You may try first to explain it that way to her. Tell her how much you care (love you have) for her but not yet romantically. And you are not yet ready to commit again because you still have your own heart issues to settle. That you are not yet there, but your feelings may change, it is not for certain but who knows?
But she also have to understand her part that it is not helping you to have feelings for her by demanding it from you. Women often make that mistake out of worry and insecurity of not being worth staying with, as pop culture has it. But she has to overcome herself and take the right steps to attract you if she truly loves you that strongly. Understand too her own inhibitions.
Overall, still, though feelings do not define love, feelings could guide us into the direction we should take. But you have to filter it. You feel the need to separate but that does not have to mean to really separate. There may be some way to give each other a bit more time and space for the best of your relationship which you two should agree about how.
It may be best to give each other some space and time to grow and understand better your own hearts first. Attraction needs some distance for it to be felt. When two magnets are attached to each other, you don't feel the force that attracts them. But when you try to pull magnets apart, you could feel their attraction.
After all, attraction is impossible when freedom is restricted such as when needs, expectations or demands overtake. Love is our creative potential and creativity is strangled or is suffocated when there is not enough room for each other to express it. Attraction dies that way in marriages when they feel pressured to meet their partner's needs, and then feel inadequate to do so. Or when they stay just because they have to for kids or business.
But I understand too that you love your kids and consider the best of their welfare. I care for them too. I don't know how old they are but research shows that experiencing a broken family at a young age creates so much complications in the child's psyche that would affect confidence, stress management, future success, and even life expectancy. Divorce of parents at a young age is the number one predictor of early death. (Unless perhaps if the children undergo some form of professional counselling).
Research also shows that separation affects men's health more badly. It will be more loss to you than to her. In fact, research shows that women may even be healthier on their own, but men die earlier that way. Could you really afford to lose her? Do you think you can find any other woman like her or even better?
One last thing,
Do you know that one trick done in marriage counselling is to make the couple extensively look into each other's eyes for them to experience again the "love" feeling they had at first that had faded along the years? Deep attraction happens when you connect to the soul or essence of the other person, and it most easily happens through eye contact.
Any two people can fall in 'love" that way. But it does feel awkward to stare and it takes time and eye flirting until comfortable enough with each other for that eye gluing to spontaneously happen. However, it can be deliberately done when both sides are willing.
If your problem is just that you don't have feelings for her, you may want to try this trick.
If you find this message helpful, and you have questions, feel free to message me.