In love with her versus loving her.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2007
In love with her versus loving her.
5
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 3:52pm

My wife and I are close to separation. My head is spinning.

Amongst the discussions we've just had was a statement that she once asked me if I 'loved her or was I in love with her'. I responded that I loved her and the rest would come. I made some progress towards falling in love, but things happened and raised issues. I still believe that there is more I can do in the way of loving her than I presently express, I still believe I can further fall in love with her. She feels that this falling in love isn't hapening, and it is important to her.

Problems are that recent times have been very tough, financially and more to the point, I've had a bad upbringing. I have no familial experience with relationships. My parents split when I was 7, then mom slowly failed (it happens) at single parenting the remaining kids in the home (me and 2 younger siblings; older brother had just moved out). Eventually I was placed in group homes (from 13th birthday until no longer a minor). My family wasn't 'there for me'. At all. I have no familiarity seeing or learning the difference between being in love with someone and loving them. I understand that being in love with someone is a greater love than loving someone, but then, I'm also not loving my wife as I would 'love my neighbor'. I have bought her flowers because I wanted her to have them, I give gifts that express how I feel.

Give a guy a clue?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 4:06pm

Based on your difficult upbringing I can see why you might not have a clue.  I also think that every individual probably means something different when they say "in love vs. loving."  I never thought it was a very useful statement to make since it is unclear.  To me, and your DW might have a different opinion as to what she means, being in love would be a romantic kind of thing that you would only speak about with your partner.  You can love many people, your family, close friends--and you should also love your wife.  I think that it's really impossible to constantly have romantic feelings toward someone.  Every couple has arguments and times when they feel more or less romantic, but having the underlying love is what hopefully keeps them together.

I think your wife's comments aren't really helpful because it's not clear what she wants.  Is she very needy about wanting to hear you say that you love her?  Is that what is missing?  It seems like you are making romantic gestures.  So I'd suggest asking her what it is that she feels is lacking and how you could make improvements that would make her happy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 12:08am

It's semantics!  Being "in love" is more like the first rush of a good relationship.  You want to be with her every moment of every day.  When you're apart, you think of her and miss her......even if it's just while you're at work for the day.  That kind of feeling rarely lasts forever.  "Love" is a more permanent thing.  When you "love" someone, you want them to be happy.  You're interested in what they're interested in.  You're happy when you're together.  You bought her flowers because you wanted her to have them.  That's "love" and that's what a good marriage has.  You buy her gifts that express your feelings.  That's "love".  She's the one that's confused.  You may have had a difficult upbringing, but I think you're doing well so far.  You love her to the point of feeling that you would be miserable without her.  You love her because you think she's beautiful, and you smile when you see her. 

I think she's got more of a problem than you do.  She wants something that she can't even explain.......she wants you to be MORE in love with her?  Ask her how she expects to see or feel that.  If she's not getting what she wants in the marriage, it's up to her to tell you specifically what she's looking for......"more in love" isn't an answer.  You love her.  That should be enough for her.  Ask her where you're lacking or what you're not doing that she thinks you should do.  I really think the problem is hers, not yours.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 9:03am

Get the book The Five Love Languages from the library, or buy it. Read it together. It will tell you how you need to express love to her in the way she needs it, and vice versa. If you can attend a couples retreat or marriage counseling, I would definitely give that a shot, so a counselor can give you both the skills to work on a healthy marriage. You love each other and nothing major like cheating or abuse is happening, so this marriage is definitely salvagable. It'd be a shame to not pull out all stops to save this marriage. Believe me, the dating scene isn't pretty, right now. Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2007
Tue, 11-05-2013 - 9:02pm

@ safire1023

Interesting post. I've read a bit about relationships. Books are too detailed, making them a bit impersonal. Sometimes a person tells it clearer. We just met 7 years, 4 months ago, started at a dating site. The dating scene for folks in their late 40's/mid 50's is, I think, rather stable. Widowers/widows or divorcees. At this point, we've probably made up our mind about what we need versus what we want. Counseling is a tough path for me. First wife (deceased) was a real trip, we went through marriage counseling and all I got out of it was that I (supposedly) had the issues. My input over several months of counseling was maybe a paragraph, my widow had hours upon hours of time with the female counselor. Not as willing to go into counseling at this point, mostly because I'm not sure this is the right moment.but If she asks for it, I'll be ready to go.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2007
Tue, 11-05-2013 - 9:03pm

@musiclover12

I believe she doesn't have an uncommon view of being 'in love'. As for her comment being unhelpful, I think I understood both of you. Wifey and I are both of a romantic bent, yet, I think some differences are normal, and sometimes differences are necessary. Lately, with money being extremely tight, romantic efforts like dinner and movie are not primary. Thanks for the observation about it being impossible to constantly have romantic feelings, that is something I needed to read; that idea can validate what I have thought.