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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been doing a lot of soul searching, questioning, reflecting on my marriage lately. Sometimes I think that I've thought TOO much about things, and I've only confused myself even more.

Trying to get back to raw feelings, not just circumstances, consequences, etc... I have asked myself, without over thinking it, do I truly love my husband?

All I can say is, I don't know. Maybe I do deep down but the issues in our marriage that have gone on ignored, always hoping things would get better, have clouded my feelings for him. Or...maybe I just really don't love him, perhaps never really did beyond loving him as a person I care about and have a lot of history with, and I just don't want to admit it.

If I'm even having to ask myself this question, does that mean the answer is obvious?

I know that after this many years, I'm not always going to have those warm fuzzy butterflies in the stomach about him. There is a comfortable, unspoken kind of love I've observed in other people who have been married a long time. I'm not feeling that either.

For those of you who have been married 10 or more years, I'd really like to hear how you feel toward your spouse. How do you know you really love him/her?
 

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I fell in love with my wife in the instant I first saw her. I was eighteen at the time and imagined she’d be pushing me around in a wheelchair or I her when we were really old. That within the first ten seconds of seeing her for the very first time.

That being in love feeling never left me once in the 42 years we were together. It was much like she was an integral part of me, right there in my heart, soul, spirit and psyche. Bonded on many levels like superglue. She was as much a part of me as I ever was. Even after three years separation I still struggle deeply because she is so much a part of who I am I can’t seem to free myself from her.
 

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After 20 years, your marriage should feel like what you've put into it.

I've been married 22yrs, & "with" hubby over 23 yrs.

Yes, there are times that he irritates me, gets me mad, and seriously thought we'd be better off apart. I'm doubly sure the same goes for his feelings.

However, on the good side, Yes, there are days I am still "in love with him". Do I feel that giddy high (from the very beginning of the realtionship) on a daily basis now? No. But, I know what I feel in my heart for him is love. Deep love. He has the ability to hurt me, and I have the ability to hurt him. He has the ability to make my heart sing & I have the ability to make him very happy. (Emotional connections)

After 22 years, it goes beyond just the sexual & emotional lelvels. It goes to tolerance, friendships, and respecting levels. But the sexual & emotional connections still exist!
 

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Waiting for things to get better never works. It takes active joint effort. It also takes rekindling of the passions that once existed.

The thought process you are on can spirl down into a history rewriting for the bad.

Start working on the issues.
 

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I am not sure if this really relates or not, but it's something that has been on my mind the last few days and I think it might be relevant.

I have the kind of marriage I always dreamed of. We've been together about 3 years and married for one. We've certainly had some trials but our bond has always been very tight.

I recently reactivated my real estate license and I'm suddenly back to dropping everything to run to a showing, or being unable to plan a day off because keeping things on track means being readily available. When we're relaxing, my phone's close in case I get an important call, and I'm not home to take care of household duties and making meals the way I have been until now.

I see where our stress levels have shifted upward, and while it has not affected our marriage yet, I see the potential and find myself wondering if it will drive us apart simply because instead of having simple needs, our needs are now more complex.

When I think of my 11 year marriage to my ex, this seemed to be an element that let us drift in different directions.

The reason I think this is important to your topic is that I've noticed that MY focus has shifted away from our marriage as it turns toward my career, and I think this is common in many relationships. I probably wouldn't have been aware of this shift if it hadn't been for being a stay-at-home person for the last couple of years.

Is there a way you can redirect your energy toward your marriage before deciding you're no longer in love? I think that if you could do this for a few months, you might discover that the love is still there, and that it's just your line-of-sight that needs to shift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
KathyBatesel, you do make a valid point about maybe needing to realign my sights. The problem is, when I think about trying to focus more on my husband and trying to find a connection with him, I get knots in my stomach. That's because I feel no emotional connection with him, and so any effort to display that would be phony and contrived.

It's hard to "rekindle" passion that I don't recall ever being there. But maybe Entropy3000 is right about rewriting history for the bad. We were married when I was 19. We loved each other in sort of a juvenile way. I realize that in so many ways, especially sexually and emotionally, our marriage never "grew up". That realization is hitting me like a ton of bricks right now.
 

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Waking up to Life said: Maybe I do deep down but the issues in our marriage that have gone on ignored, always hoping things would get better, have clouded my feelings for him.
That's because I feel no emotional connection with him, and so any effort to display that would be phony and contrived.
Resentment issues being stuffed/ ignored, not fully opened up & forgiven - have stolen peices of your
before each other....and in this your & his vulnerability towards each other has also been lost...or it sounds...never really explored/ experienced after marriage.

http://talkaboutmarriage.com/sex-ma...l-etc-how-robs-us-intimacy-we-crave-most.html

Do you have unresolved Resentment in your life >>>> Resentment Test


...........Resentment: The Biggest Relationship Killer..........

Resentment often functions in a downward spiral. Resentful feelings cut off communication between the resentful person & their spouse who they feel wronged them, which often results in future miscommunications & the development of further building of a resentment wall. Because of the consequences they carry, resentful feelings are dangerous to live with and need to be dealt with. Resentment is an obstacle to the restoration of equal moral relations among persons, and must be handled and expunged via introspection and forgiveness.

MOST COMMON ISSUES FACED BY COUPLES:
“Not Tonight Dear” Why Couples Stop Having Sex (and what you can do about it)

1. Anger and resentment in the relationship
2. Mediocre or boring sex
3. Issues with initiating sex
4. Failure to make sex a priority
5. Excessive masturbation to pornography
6. Failure to attend to personal hygiene or appearance
7. Failure to address sexual dysfunction
8. Forgetting that foreplay starts long before the bedroom
3 Steps to release yourself from Resentment
Vulnerability is scary as hell for many -because it is opening yourself to possible excruciating rejection... but it is necessary for this Emotional connection you crave with your husband... even to getting to the resentment issues. Please take a moment & click on this thread, watch the 20 minute video by Brene Brown.... in the 1st line....She is the Vulnerability / Shame Researcher... I tried to do an outline of what she speaks.

http://talkaboutmarriage.com/genera...r-its-pain-its-beauty-how-vulnerable-you.html


.
 

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Waking - maybe I'm not such a good person to answer as I am actually divorcing my husband but I will say that I have been where you are at but I know that I made a lot of mistakes. One was not looking deeper at our relationship and getting us both to work on it (well, I tried ONCE and he said "no" and so I gave up). I knew why I felt like I did (see SA's resentment test!) but had let it go on for sooo long that there was no coming back. I applaud you for questioning and wanting to get some answers. Seriously take those tests and see how you do. From what I know of other couples who have been married for decades, that love can stay strong although it changes. The "romantic" love waxes and wanes but that deep, committed love can get stronger and actually become very fulfilling. I wish that for you and yours. Oh, and we were married for almost 15+ years.
 

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For those of you who have been married 10 or more years, I'd really like to hear how you feel toward your spouse. How do you know you really love him/her?
The answer is a resounding yes I love her.
And it has grown even more than when we first started.
We are just three years less of twenty.

This morning, around 7 AM as she awoke I went on the bed with her,
[ I usually rise much earlier] and we lay there just talking and giggling. She rolled over in my arms, squeezed me and said " I love you." I smiled and said " I know " , returned her squeeze and said " love you too babe."

To me that 's how love should be.
The older we get, the better it gets.
 

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KathyBatesel, you do make a valid point about maybe needing to realign my sights. The problem is, when I think about trying to focus more on my husband and trying to find a connection with him, I get knots in my stomach. That's because I feel no emotional connection with him, and so any effort to display that would be phony and contrived.

It's hard to "rekindle" passion that I don't recall ever being there. But maybe Entropy3000 is right about rewriting history for the bad. We were married when I was 19. We loved each other in sort of a juvenile way. I realize that in so many ways, especially sexually and emotionally, our marriage never "grew up". That realization is hitting me like a ton of bricks right now.
When we don't feel the passion, it's very hard to remember that the passion ever existed. I've seen this in people I know.. people who moved heaven and earth to be together who then years later say that they were never in love with their spouse. But I was their friend and know what they said at the time.

What you are going through sounds like a re-evaluation that means you need to rekindle your marriage, get serious about fixing things that have been left to fester for years.

And you can do with is unilateral changes. You need to do the work necessary to make changes in yourself. Once you change he will have to change.

Here is a list of books that can help you. Often times I find that one good self-help book is worth hours, months, even years of counseling. All of the suggested books are available through Amazon.com and other book sellers and on the web sites of the authors. I suggest that he not see these books nor see you reading them. Otherwise he will get the idea that you are making temporary changes to suck him back into the marriage. This is not about temporary changes just to achieve your goal.


Start with this book as it does a very good job of explaining how to use unilateral action/changes to improve/save your marriage… Divorce Busting: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving Again, Michele Weiner Davis - great for communication, and for taking responsibility and action to improve your quality of life.


Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In, Laurie Puhn. - Ways to tackle problems in a common sense way, and open direct, honest communication in areas of conflict.


Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In


The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert, John Gottman. - Ideas and activities to go through to understand each other more and strengthen your bond together.


“His Needs, Her Needs” and “Love Busters”, Dr. Harley… good guides for how to meet each other needs and rebuild to a passionate marriage.
 

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I've used this quote before here, it's the best words I've ever found to describe my love for my husband. It's by Emily Bronte.

“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Healthcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.
We've been together 22 years, married 10. We fell in love in high school.

He is my favourite person to spend time with, I look forward to him getting home, I love being near him physically, the way he smells, feels and tastes. I don't really get those butterflies exactly, but he can still make me feel swoony when he kisses me. I think that's just a chemical thing, but like SA wrote, resentment can kill it stone dead.

We've had long bad periods, all to do with miscommunication and resentment. But we have always managed to come back from it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
He is my favourite person to spend time with, I look forward to him getting home, I love being near him physically, the way he smells, feels and tastes. I don't really get those butterflies exactly, but he can still make me feel swoony when he kisses me.
I envy you. I don't enjoy spending time with him - he makes me feel nervous and tense...because he is nervous and tense.
I don't feel any comfort from him physically - he hugs me (occasionally) like he would hug an acquaintance; he doesn't bend down to really press his body to mine (he's much taller than me); I hug him around his belly, he hugs around my upper back with a stiff body.
Smell, feel, taste...they evoke no emotional response in me.
Swoony from kisses - a dry peck on the lips on his way out the door doesn't make me swoony.

I crave that kind of passion. It's never been there. I know I'm not just choosing to forget the good times because things aren't good now. I remember the feeling I had on my wedding day. There was no spark or passion. There was a friend-like love. I always thought it would evolve as we matured. It didn't.
 

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Waking, I'm offering these points as idle thoughts, not statements of fact, ok?

You said your stomach gets tied in knots when you consider realigning your focus because you feel like it would be phony, and that you don't enjoy spending time with him or feel the kind of passion you'd like.

I think that there's a lot of truth to the idea that we tend to rewrite our own history to reflect what we currently believe instead of honoring what we once believed. What made you feel that friend-like love when you married? There was *some* reason you thought he was good enough to marry. That might be a starting point for reconnecting, but you have to forget the last years and focus on how you felt when you did not know what you know now.

What have you done to bring that passion into your marriage?

What would you lose if you lost your marriage? I'm betting there's a lot more loss than you can anticipate.
 

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You appear to have one of the main symptoms of a mid-life crisis.

People do many things at mid-life to right the boat - some constructive, some destructive. Give careful thought to your actions during this time. Maybe talk to a therapist.
 

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Long term marriage, moves through some typical stages. Most relationships begin with a high degree of infatuation and idealization.
THis is the "falling in love stage". This usually gives way to some decree of disillusionment and frustration. For healthy couples, this moves on to mature love where both parties work on acceptance of their partner, as well as realizing their own contributions to the problem. Done well this results in a deep sense of friendship, and increased intimacy. It does not however, come automatically. It is the result of intentional hard work,
David Olsen, PhD., LMFT, author - The Couples Survival Workbook
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Waking, I'm offering these points as idle thoughts, not statements of fact, ok?

You said your stomach gets tied in knots when you consider realigning your focus because you feel like it would be phony, and that you don't enjoy spending time with him or feel the kind of passion you'd like.

I think that there's a lot of truth to the idea that we tend to rewrite our own history to reflect what we currently believe instead of honoring what we once believed. What made you feel that friend-like love when you married? There was *some* reason you thought he was good enough to marry. That might be a starting point for reconnecting, but you have to forget the last years and focus on how you felt when you did not know what you know now.

What have you done to bring that passion into your marriage?

What would you lose if you lost your marriage? I'm betting there's a lot more loss than you can anticipate.
Why was he good enough to marry? I was 15 and he was 18 when we started dating. We were attracted to each other while we dated...then again, we were horny teenagers. Sex was fun, kind of a game b/c we always had to "sneak" to do it. Never passionate, never serious with emotional connection. We talked a lot, spent a lot of time together, but it was more like hanging out as friends. When he was 21, he was on his own. He hated living by himself. He asked me to marry him. I felt like this would be the time to turn our relationship into an adult one. So we married when I was 19. I felt so "grown up" and responsible. I didn't feel madly in love. I didn't have enough life experience to know whether this was a normal feeling or not. So, I continued in the marriage, compromised on things I shouldn't have, kept my mouth shut when I should have spoken up, wondering when we'd get to that place of true connection and understanding. I'm not 100% blameless in our marriage problems I'm sure. But we never connected sexually or emotionally. I don't know if it's my age or place in life right now, but the thought of continuing on in this superficial marriage devoid of passion another 20 years is making my skin crawl.
 

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Been married around 16 years. You're right, the butterflies, the newness and excitement is gone. It will never be like it was ever again when you two first met. I hate to rain on your parade, but that excitement is gone. I don't know what else to tell you. Sorry about that. However...

We found something so much better. It may be trite and it may sound like a cliche, but we have a completely new kind of excitement in our lives. When I first met my wife, it felt like I was trying to connect with someone new and that thrill of finding someone to travel with you. Now it feels like I have someone very special that I'm on an adventure with, and in my opinion it is so much more exciting to explore life with someone special.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Long term marriage, moves through some typical stages. Most relationships begin with a high degree of infatuation and idealization.
THis is the "falling in love stage". This usually gives way to some decree of disillusionment and frustration. For healthy couples, this moves on to mature love where both parties work on acceptance of their partner, as well as realizing their own contributions to the problem. Done well this results in a deep sense of friendship, and increased intimacy. It does not however, come automatically. It is the result of intentional hard work,
David Olsen, PhD., LMFT, author - The Couples Survival Workbook
I am going to a counselor on my own. He won't go. In fact he doesn't even know I'm going, because when I told him I wanted to see someone to talk about some sadness I've been feeling, he got angry. He said "they'll just tell you you need to get a divorce and find yourself!!" So I'm working on it, but he's choosing to bury his head in the sand right now.
 

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What you feel after 20+ years of marriage depends upon what state of mind you and your spouse are at. It varies a great deal. I've been married 23 years and it really does vary. At our worst I felt like you do (I have read a number of your threads) and at best I have been giddy and completely high about my relationship with my wife. When our relationship was at its worst I rewrote history as Entropy mentions. It is a natural result of a mind in a bad place. Brain chemistry rewires your feelings about things and this may be happening to you.

If you really want to know how you feel about your husband improve your state of mind first. Take responsibility for yourself and find things that make you happy and pursue them. If you cant find happiness with and for yourself then you wont find it with whomever you are with. As your mood and outlook improves put effort into improving your relationship with your husband. if at that point you are still ambivalent towards your husband talk to him about it and see if there is something in his control that he is willing to address and if that fails you have your answer.

I worked on myself and found that I felt better which then caused my interactions with my wife to improve which then improved my marriage.
 

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We've been married for 23 yrs (together for 31)....met in our teens...high school sweet hearts....

I think that WILD passion was even a little LESS than what most people describe when they 1st meet, we were best friends before we even kissed. But always...inseparable....some things have just never changed for us.

We talk about everything under the sun, when we fight, we keep talking, not leaving each others side until we make up...we've always been able to own our own faults... we can laugh at our fights afterwards also, and make fun of our unruly moments....

I've always been utterly vulnerable with my husband...but to his credit, he has made this so very easy ...

I know this sounds really backwards ....but for ME.. I think I found more butterflies for my husband in midlife... after we had all the kids.. I am guilty of taking him for granted in our past some....

He was just always there loving me, holding my hand, doing for me....but I didn't have him on the front burner some of the time (kids, projects on the brain).....I know HE longed for more, more affection/ sex ....but loved me through it...I couldn't ask for more.

Then I just had this awakening... we're getting older....I looked around at all we've built together.....it went so damn fast....I realized so deeply & profoundly what's been there all along......I've always loved him terribly... but now I show it more so...so much so - I think I took him by surprise... even though it was always So good....I thought I had the world even then... but these feelings...being stirred within ....it's managed to reach even new heights... so yeah...

Marriage after 20+ yrs can be as beautiful ... even grow deeper in connection....but as in all things, it takes 2 willing ~ giving ~ forgiving ~ loving hearts to plant that garden.
 
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