Letting Go


handsLettingGo

When feelings are gone, how do you (and your partner) convince yourself to like one another again?

This question was posed to me recently by a buddy, it’s a loaded one.

He’s married, and longs for the “old days” when there was love and passion and the time they had together was special.

He and his wife have been together for many years, and one day he woke up and realized things weren’t the same. They were friends, and companions; and although there was a lot of good in the relationship still, his feelings for her just weren’t there anymore.

This lack of “feeling” led him to question what was wrong, and to start distancing himself from her (which in turn just increased tension in the relationship). He felt they had become a couple who were just going through the motions of day to day life; and although he felt it *could* get better, his heart wasn’t really in it.

And that recognition hurt.

I wish I could help him, I really do.

I wish there was a surefire answer that could solve his problems and make him fall in love with his wife again (and she with him if she’s feeling the same way).

Of course if I knew the answer to his problem, it’s a pretty safe bet I wouldn’t be writing this blog anymore. Or maybe I would be but it would look a lot more professional, and be full of product placement for my “revitalize your marriage with these quick steps” self-help program.

How Do We Get There?

My buddy’s problem isn’t unusual. He’s in a spot I think many, many people find themselves in. And often these people wish things were different, but don’t know what to do. They don’t necessarily want out of the relationship. But they aren’t happy in the spot that they are in, and they don’t know how to make it better.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years thinking and writing about this type of thing, and although there is no “one size fits all” explanation for how people get there I think there are some common patterns that emerge.

Unrealistic view of love

I believe part of the problem comes from an unrealistic view of love. Love as depicted in the movies/media is all about passion; and when people remember back to the “old days” there’s a pretty good chance they are remembering those passionate times.

Here’s the thing though – excitement is based on unpredictability. When you are still learning each other there’s naturally more of a sense of excitement, because everything is new. One of the strengths of long term relationships is a sense of security, of knowing the other person will be there. There is comfort in knowing the other person completely, but comfort often comes at the cost of excitement.

That’s not to say anyone should ever accept the loss of passion. It should never completely go away in long term relationships, but it changes. And it’s up to both people to keep it alive.

More than a Feeling

Related to the above point, another problem people face is searching for a feeling.

I’ve always hated this one, because to me thinking of love as a feeling is saying that love is a passive thing. It’s something that just happens to us (or doesn’t). So if it fades, you are left feeling lost. After all, what can you do if you have no control over it?

I’ve never viewed love as just a feeling. Yeah you start with feelings, but it’s your actions that determine how well your love will be sustained. It helps when you partner is kind, caring and shows affection. But ultimately, staying in love is your own responsibility. Love isn’t passive, and keeping it alive is based on our actions.

ChoosingFeelings

Learning to Love

I’m a big believer in continuous improvement, and I think that’s another area where people get love wrong. Love isn’t just a feeling or a choice. It’s also a skill. We may have some inherent capacity to love, but we can always improve on it. We can always strive to understand each other better, and learn new ways to show and express that love to each other.

Learning to love each other is important, and we should never think that because we’ve been together for a while, we “get it”.

When I think back to what I though “love” was at 18, 20, 25, I’m struck by how little I understood it. I’m not saying I get it now, but I definitely have a better understanding of love now than I did a few years ago. And most importantly, I accept that I still have a lot to learn, and I can be better tomorrow than I am today.

Making Time

A huge issue relationships face is taking each other for granted. I think every couple probably goes through this, and some never get out of it.

Repeat the following after me:

Your relationship is important.

Seriously, it should be. And if it isn’t, why are you in one? Yet couples continually find ways to take their relationship (and each other) for granted. And we do this by not spending enough time on it, and not making it a priority.

Life will always get busy. There are always other stresses that can get in the way of taking time to focus on each other if you let them. And because they know their partner “will always be there”, many couples let their relationship slide while other things take precedence.

And then they end up surprised and saddened when they start to realize the connection has broken down. I mean, really? What do you expect?

If your relationship is truly important to you, show it. Make it a priority and put in a bit of time each and every day.

Not Accepting Each Other

In my mind, a relationship should be a partnership. Both people should feel valued, and appreciated, and feel like they are contributing to something larger then themselves.

But behind the scenes there are often power struggles. People often need to be right, or to have things work “their way”. After all, their way is clearly the best. So they put their opinions and beliefs above those of their partner.

Here’s the thing though – we’re all different. We all have different backgrounds and experiences. And what works for one person necessarily work for the other.
It’s possible for two people to walk away from the same experience with completely different understandings of it, and when that happens it’s also possible that both people are right.

Power and control have no place in a relationship, and insisting things need to be a certain way is guaranteed to cause conflict.

All of these issues contribute to couples finding themselves in a bad spot. And like my buddy, many one day wake up and ask themselves what went wrong, and where the love they once felt has gone.

Where Do We Go From Here?

One of my core beliefs is we are the sum of our experiences. If your relationship is currently in a bad spot, it is there because of whatever has come before.

Maybe you’re hurting. Maybe you’ve felt ignored and not valued for a long time. Maybe bad things have happened – apathy, cruelty, cheating, whatever.

No matter what the past is, if you want to move forward you need to let go.

lettingGo

When people talk about letting go they often talk about letting go of the relationship. Walking away, and starting fresh.

That’s one option. And truly, sometimes it’s the best one.

But it’s not the only one.

Accepting Who You Are Today

My buddy longs for the old days, when he and his wife were younger and everything was better. He needs to accept that those days are gone. Things will never be the same as they were when they first met. He’s not the person he was then, and neither is his wife. They are the people they are now, today. A little older, and perhaps a little more disillusioned.

That’s not to say he needs to accept the emotional disconnect between them and say it’s just part of getting older. They can rebuild closeness and connection. But it’s only when they accept their current reality that they can truly move forward.

Letting Go of Past Hurts

A big part of moving forward is allowing your past to remain in the past. Couples go through a lot of different things, and often they hurt each other very badly, and do things that break down trust. Sometimes those things cause relationships to fail, and I totally understand that.

But if someone truly wants the relationship to work out, no matter has happened they need to let it go. Holding onto anger and resentment will never allow a couple to heal, and move forward.

Think of your past hurt like a physical wound. The human body is an amazing thing, and left alone it will try to heal. Over time it will form a scab, and eventually that scab will fall away leaving a scar as a reminder of what happened.

Holding onto anger and resentment is like picking at the scab. When you pick at it, it can never truly heal. And worse, the constant irritation can cause the wound to fester and become infected, making the problem worse.

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Letting People Back In

A while back I came across an interesting study that found one of the biggest roadblocks for couples in trying to rebuild their relationship came not from a lack of effort or desire to rebuild. Rather, it came from an unwillingness to recognize and trust genuine attempts at rebuilding.

When you’ve been hurt, it’s natural to try and protect yourself from being hurt again. And if your trust has been broken, rebuilding that trust is something that takes time. But putting up walls and not letting your partner back in ensures that any attempts to improve the relationship will fail.

Accepting Differences

Another way to let go is to accepting that you (and your partner) are both different, and that’s alright. Your partner will likely have traits you don’t like, and they will likely do things differently than you would.

Maybe you’re a neat freak and they are a slob (to you). Maybe they like to live for today while you like to plan for the future. There are countless ways that people are different.

Accepting differences is about letting go of control. Accepting that “your way” is not the only way, and that different doesn’t mean less or worse. In fact sometimes differences are complementary, and accepting them can allow each of you to grow in different ways.

Holding On by Letting Go

My buddy believes he has lost the feelings of love for his wife. My guess is, he probably still loves her but his love is buried under feelings of hurt, resentment and neglect that have built up over years.

He needs to decide if he wants to make it work, or if he wants to move on. Every situation is different, and there is no right or wrong answer. Well, other than waffling forever and trying to avoid making a decision – that’s not fair to anyone.
If he decides he truly wants the relationship to work, then he’ll have let go in order to give it a fair chance.

For anyone in a bad spot, the past may be what brought you to where you are today and there may be a lot of hurt. But to truly move forward you need to let go.

The past can’t be changed. Learn from the past, but don’t let it define your present.

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37 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Which brings me to the Afters song – Ocean Wide…”Love is an ocean wide enough to forget ..Even when we think we can’t/If love is an ocean wide
    We’ll swim in the tears we cry. They’ll see us through to the other side” = forgiveness opens the window to let love in…. Beautiful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think letting go is really hard to do. But I think of my physical wound analogy. Scars are likely always there, but they usually fade and are less noticeable over time. But if you continue to pick at the scab before it scars, you only make it worse.

      So if you truly want to move forward in a positive way, you need to accept that the past has happened. Understanding it is helpful to prevent the same situations from happening again, but getting caught up on the past is not productive at all.

      Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m going to make this clear now, I’m 24 turning 25 this year. I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in which has now just turned 2 years old, just as my age is I guess you could say the relationship is also young too. And my past relationships were also built when I was really young and I didn’t know shit about myself or the world. But I can look back on them now and realise everything that was wrong with them. The one major change I can say I made while looking for someone was this, instead of looking for what I wanted, I looked for someone I needed. I needed someone just as attached as me, someone who didn’t mind spending a lot of time. Someone that wanted all the same things. My feelings for this person still grow every day. We are past the honeymoon stage but you know what? We showed each other who we were from the start, warts and all so to speak. We were comfortable enough to be completely ourselves without the act from the start to make sure they stick around. When I snap at him I feel guilty for hurting him, and we talk, we talk a lot more then fight, because neither of us want to see each other in pain. He is my best friend, my lover my everything. I have literally spent every day with him from the very beginning, we spend all our days together and we wouldn’t do it any other way. Because we both need each other like that. The difference between the other relationships was they wanted me when it was convenient, and if you have 2 people like that it’ll also work, but if you have one person clingy and one distant it won’t. Some need the time apart to keep it exciting and passionate. For me our relationship is still passionate but in a different way. We still lay in bed at night hugging, because we are thankful for each other, because we were both lonely, both wanted someone to share the daily struggle with. It’s like the void got filled in every way for us, because we are exactly what both of us was looking for. That’s the key in my opinion. Figure out what you want in a partner, then find someone with the same idea. And learn when something won’t work, and face it. Sometimes it’s not worth working on if there is nothing there to work on. It’s not hard to figure out. All you have to do is look past the afraid of being alone need and think about whether or not you could live without them, if you can’t live without them, then fight. If you have doubts that someone could fill the void better then chances are it’s not right. Again I’m only young, this is just my experience. But if you put every relationship in a step by step process it won’t work either, because every couple is unique and works differently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kim,

      thanks for the comment. You may be young, but that seems pretty wise to me. Well ahead of where I was at 24-25 in any case.

      You make a great point about being “afraid to be alone”. I think many people are in relationships for that very reason. It’s not that they necessarily want the relationship, they just don’t want to be alone. To me, that’s terrible, and never a reason to be with someone. Plus it’s terribly unfair to the other person.

      And I really like your comment about distant vs. clingy. But both people really need to understand themselves, and what they actually want out of life/love first. And a lot of people don’t, and just kind of figure that out as they go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Has he actually even talked to this wife about this? It’s sort of that thing where she might even not realise it’s this serious and she can’t help fix what she doesn’t know is wrong? I’d tell him he shouldn’t decide anything until he can actually be bothered to talk to her about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lolsy,

      I’m not sure actually. From some things he’s said I think so, but has he told her all the things he’s told me? I don’t know.

      His comment to me is what got me started on this post, but the post wasn’t really about him as much as the things like this that happen in relationships (especially long term ones).

      You’re right that she can’t help fix something when she doesn’t know it’s wrong, and this is a mistake I think a lot of people make. They have doubts, and start to check out on the relationship. But they don’t share those doubts with their partner, so the partner is somewhat powerless to do anything. Usually the partner knows *something* is wrong, but they don’t know what, and often underestimate the severity of it. And then one day, bam, the relationship is over and they feel blindsided.

      A while back I wrote a post on what I think the three keys are for a successful relationship. Love each other, don’t be selfish, and communicate.

      My buddy is my buddy. But in this instance I think he’s not communicating to her. And while he’s entitled to his own doubts and thoughts, not communicating THIS type of thing is also pretty selfish in my mind.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think I sounded pretty angry in my comment, sorry about that! I think I got angry because I’ve had someone do that to me, you really do get blind-sided and it does take a while to trust someone not to do that to you again.
        I think that I have read your previous mainly because I read all of your Blogs =D

        Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t really think you sounded angry, but having been blind-sided myself I understand the feelings that go with it. It definitely takes a while to trust again, but we need to because putting up walls does more harm to ourselves then it helps us.

        Glad to hear you’re reading. I write mainly for me. I enjoy the topic and I enjoy writing. But it’s always nice to know that someone is reading.

        When you say all my blogs, are you talking entries on here? Or my Bellman blog as well (memoirsofabellman.wordpress.com). Pretty much no one reads that, but it’s a fun/different outlet, and I want to get those stories out of my head before I forget them.

        Thanks for reading

        Liked by 1 person

      • During my bellman days a lot of crazy things happened, and I wanted to get them recorded somewhere before the memories get too hazy. And the blog seemed like a decent way to do it. It’s been a lot of fun going back down memory lane.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Nicely done Drew (again), and you are completely right. Love isn’t a feeling. Love is a verb. It is action. It is work. Part of the reason it is so successful and feels do good in the early part of a relationship is because we are willing to put in the work and make the effort to do what our companion desires. Over time, we lose that need or that desire to put that same level of effort in, and things begin to deteriorate. I think we forget just how hard we tried in the beginning simply because the feelings made it feel so easy and natural. We go from asking what can I do for you, to instead asking what can you do for me. The whole dynamic changes because our perspective changes from caring about them to caring more about ourselves.

    I know there is a lot more to it than that, but that is my experience. I wish it was easier. Keep up the good work my friend. You are helping people.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Really really beautiful post. I especially love this line: “Love isn’t just a feeling or a choice. It’s also a skill.” Yes!! We have to work at it, hone it, develop it and use it to stay sharp. It’s never a waste of time to work on things together, because we grow and change. New things pop up and others lose their importance. Love IS a skill. Wonderful. Sending gratitude. ~Kristina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kristina, thanks for the comment. I’m guessing you found your way here from Matt’s blog.
      He’s a much better writer than I am, but he and I seem to have similar philosophies.

      Thanks for reading, and I hope you find some things here that are worth your time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Drew, I love what you said at the end, “don’t let your past define your present”. I will always remember that. I do hope your friend finds the answers he needs. Have you ever written about sex and marriage/relationships? It is easy for married couples to stop having sex and sometimes they mistake the lack of intimacy for falling out of love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Boots,

      Yes, I’ve written a few posts on sex in marriage/relationships. I try not to dwell on it too much (I don’t like the stereotype that guys are just in it for the sex), but I do think sex is an important part of a relationship.

      You make a great point about the lack of intimacy being mistaken for falling out of love. I think that happens a lot, and can be a contributor to relationships breaking down.

      The flipside is also true. Sometimes people feel a sexual attraction to someone else and they believe that means they are falling in love.

      I see love as something a lot deeper, and a quote I like is that we fall in lust, and sometimes it develops into love.

      As for the sex posts, I have three that I can think of. “Let’s talk about Sex” parts 1 & 2, and “It’s not about the Sex”. Pretty sure I have them in the quick links section at the top of the page. I also have another post on sex largely written, that I’ll probably finish and post in the next few weeks.

      Take a read if you’re interested. And I always welcome feedback.

      Like

      • Yes of course I’ll read it! I like all your posts! You’re so right about mistaking sexual attraction as falling in love. But I have always known the difference between the two lol! 😊 My husband and I started with sexual attraction that developed into love later. It took me longer though.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the first blog I have read! I appreciate your willingness to share what you have been through and this resonates much with what i have been through. It has been five years since my divorce, and I am finally open to dating again. I was so hurt from my marriage, that it took me this long to heal. Even now, I consider myself having scars since the pain has left some permanent marks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of my blog comes from personal experience, and some comes from second hand experience – either from people I know, other bloggers stories, or even things I have read.

      From talking/listening it really seems to me that a lot of us fall into the same traps and make the same mistakes, and sharing that knowledge and trying to learn from it would allow many people to have happier and more successful relationships.

      Thanks for reading.

      Like

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  11. Hi Drew,

    I found your blog a while back and have been taking my time going back through your past posts and absorbing as much as possible. This post in particular resonated to me the most.

    My wife and I have both hurt each other tremendously, different circumstances, but hurt none the less. Once all of the hurt was laid out in front of us, there is a fundamental choice to really look at it and assess if it is possible to move away from it.

    I am struggling myself with trust, and allowing myself to believe in her again. This manifests into anxiety, which reading from some of your other posts creates doubt, fear, irrational behavior that in turn “sabotages” my efforts to work at this relationship. My fear that she does not want to work at this, my fear that her infidelity is not over (though I want to believe it is), but still worry pushes her away more.

    For her, I think that she is “stuck” in the past, and the hurt, and won’t allow herself to move forward. She feels that there is too much hurt and pain to get over. The analogy of scabs is very true, where if we keep picking at it, it actually gets worse. I think that is where she is. I need to try and find a way for her to see that if we allow it to heal and leave the scab alone, eventually all that is left is the scar. I believe that we can forgive, but to have those scars as a “reminder”.

    I have told her that letting go is so very hard, I am still trying to cope with this myself. But if option B is to just move on and quit, then that pain and hurt is still there, that does not suddenly fix things. I find it ironic that we will unconditionally love our children, regardless of their actions, but not so much for our partner who we claim the same for.

    I wish for her and I to get better, and I am trying to convince her that getting to the root of the problem (emotional pain), we can then work, albeit slowly, try and find ways to let it go. I think this is fundamentally why relationships fail. We look at them as “disposable” to an extent. The one thing we can change or have control over. I am not condoning staying in an abusive relationship, but if there was “good” there but just got buried by the bad, I think there is a way to climb out of that hole. At least I hope…..

    I really appreciate all that you write and the replies that some of your followers share. It helps me know that I am not alone, and that my feelings are not too much out of the ordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi William,

      Thanks for commenting, and relaying some of your story.

      I think you’ve got it right when you say:

      “Once all of the hurt was laid out in front of us, there is a fundamental choice to really look at it and assess if it is possible to move away from it.”

      And that’s were being able to let go (of the past) and embrace the present and the future really matters. But of course when damage is done, it requires both parties to be engaged and willing in order to make things better. You mention that you fear your wife doesn’t want to work at things – and ultimately that is something that will need to change in order for each of you to grow your relationship back into the one you both (presumably) want. And really, we should all be striving to not just have a relationship, but to have a healthy one.

      My next post (assuming I finish it and publish as planned) is about marriage, and it will talk a bit more about this.

      As for being and feeling alone…

      …one of my main motivations behind this blog was to try and show people just how common our problems really are. Because when things aren’t going well, it’s easy to feel isolated, ashamed, and alone. And often we don’t really WANT to talk to our friends/families about our relationship issues, because they are intensely private. So having a relatively anonymous forum of sorts provides a bit of an outlet for people to say “hey, me too. I’m feeling those same things”. And I think when that happens, we all feel a little bit less alone.

      All the best,

      Drew

      Like

      • Thanks for the quick reply Drew. The fact that you not only replied back, but in the same day shows me that “someone is listening”.

        You mentioned that she (my wife) ultimately needs to change her motivation, or lack thereof. But part of me believes that she is getting in her own way, i.e. not seeing the potential of healing. One moment she is adamant that she wants out, the next she gives a completely different signal like there is a future for us.
        As you can imagine, this really takes me on an emotional roller coaster.

        I am terribly bad at trying to “talk it out” and express my feelings to her. And she is an introvert, so when I want to talk, she obviously does not, and that annoys her, and ultimately pushes her away. I am in that “fight or flight” stage of anxiety, where I try and convincer her through words, because that’s all I feel I have left. I have been very honest with her in my shortcomings and faults and have made changes that I know she recognizes.

        But it is the current state where she is on the cusp of just giving up regardless of my improvements. I am a better husband and father for it, and I don’t want her to walk away from what she is ultimately been looking for. It was in one of the replies of a previous post where it was stated that “they want something different, why can’t I be that “different?” This spoke to me.

        You had mentioned before that boundaries should be set, and maybe that is something we are missing. Where I need to respect what or when we should talk, and give her that space she needs. It’s the struggle with anxiety and paranoia that when she is removed and distant that I start to worry she has not fully been removed from her previous transgressions. This is where I need to move away from. Maybe then if my mind is at peace I can give her hers.

        I look forward to your next post.

        Regards,

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi William,

        I know the emotional rollercoaster all too well, and it’s a terrible spot to be in. Unfortunately, it’s also a spot that many couples find themselves in over the long term.

        I mentioned my next post will be on marriage, and I’ve also been thinking about a post on the things we probably can (and should) do to prevent our relationships from breaking down over the long term.

        I think there are a lot of really good things we can do to prevent our relationships from breaking down.

        Unfortunately, we usually start to think about these things after the fact. When things have already broken down to the point that we are now in trouble.

        That’s a really hard spot to be in, because sometimes people give up and stop believing things can be better. From what you describe, that’s where your wife is. And really, the only one who can change that is her.

        You can influence her through your actions, and by trying to lead by example and model the behaviour to her that you want to see. It can be really hard to do that when she’s not responding, or not responding in the way or at the speed you want. But I think it’s really all you can do here. Try to stay positive (even when you feel like you’re losing hope), because despair is contagious.

        A difficult part is, there still remains a decision to be made at your end. You can’t stay in limbo forever, it’s a pretty soul destroying thing. So at some point a decision needs to be made as to whether what you are getting in the relationship now is “enough” for you (a very important concept for me), or if you need more in order to feel fulfilled.

        I think I said before, as long as I see some forward progress and consistent effort, I would always give someone the benefit of the doubt. When I think of what is enough for me, effort is a very big contributor.

        For me in a relationship, I need to know that the person I’m with actually WANTS to be with me. I don’t like the idea of someone settling for me, or seeing me as an option or a backup plan. If someone doesn’t actually want to be with me, out of respect I would prefer that they just end the relationship and get out. I don’t like it when someone is completely checked out and not putting in effort, but still wants to hold onto the marriage.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks Drew, you surmised my situation errilly accurate. I am probably being naive, but I feel like she has lost her footing on things. That she sees this big hole she cannot climb out of. There is a sort of juxtaposition that I am trying to sort out. As you mentioned she needs to make that choice, and I feel that she is depressed, and possibly feeling too far gone to want to work at this. Then at the same time I recognize this and want to help pull her from this…because that’s what a husband should do, and not walk away.

    And I am cognizant that there are reasons why I want to “pull” her back. Our family and close friends are aware of the situation and see similar things that I do. So in a way that validates my persistence. But maybe I am just focusing on the little shreds of hope that I have left.

    And your comment of “despair is contagious” is a real thing. It can grow and pick up steam very quickly where you no longer know who you are. It is a very unnerving feeling when your brain and emotions dictate so much over logic. Mental clarity is grossly underrated.

    The limbo that you speak of has been my environment for some time. My friends have made the comment that they would have folded a long time ago, obviously “breaking points” are a moving target and not static. And right now I am unsure of my status. She says she wants out and feels that there is no hope, but her actions speak differently, i.e.does not act actively on this on top of other things. I’m not sure if she wants me to be the one who makes the executive decision so she can say “he asked for it”. Very confusing….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi William,

      Unfortunately, I’ve lived that reality. Like yourself, I believed there were non-relationship things that were causing the issues. And like yourself, I wanted to be the guiding light to help her “come back” from that. But ultimately I couldn’t get her to believe the things I believed, and ended up having to move on. It wasn’t the way I wanted things to go, but eventually it was the only real option that made sense.

      You said you’ve read a lot of my back log of posts, so hopefully you can understand that was NOT the decision I wanted to make, and that it was not one I made lightly. But eventually everyone reaches a breaking point, and mine came.

      I’ve talked to a number of people who either are actively dealing with depression/anxiety issues, or have a partner who is. And I have to say, there is SO little education about it, and there is so much stigma against it. Many people don’t really appreciate how much damage these things can do to relationships, especially when the person who is dealing with the issue are likely to blame the relationship and not realize thier feelings/emotions are being colored by their issues.

      I applaud you for educating yourself on this and trying to hold on. I believe in doing the right thing, and think people usually give up on relationships far too easily. If there isn’t a change in effort on her end though, then at some point you need to decide if that is “enough” for you or if changes are needed. This may sound crazy, but I think sometimes walking away can be done as an act of love and not just an act of giving up.

      I do hope you are able to get through to her though, and things turn around.

      Like

      • I think that is my challenge….what is my “enough”. I have never been the kind to give up on things, especially something so important to me. Part of me feels that I am being selfish, that I refuse to give in, regardless of her wants right now, because I believe she is not seeing clearly. We have kids to consider, and we don’t want them to be raised in a loveless relationship, but I have a moral obligation to keep trying to preserve our family…at least that is how I am currently looking at it. How great a gift can I give my kids than to love their mother unconditionally? To work at this and hopefully have a stronger relationship at the end of this. To be an example of hope instead of another broken marriage.

        These are some of my “justifications” as to why I keep struggling. To say that I didn’t give up when most would.

        I agree with your comment on how people give up on relationships too easily. I think that the belief in “commitment” is secondary when it comes to relationships. I know that I have not taken commitment seriously in the past, assuming that marriage “just works” without some serious work. This is a big reason on where we are at, and also lead to her past infidelity. Am I just kidding myself to think that people can come back from this?

        Right now she just wants to be left alone, and to not talk. This is where I fail miserably because I want to talk to her and communicate. And this just annoys her. Trying to find that happy medium where she can get that space but not totally block me out is where I struggle.

        Thanks again for your words of advise.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I know this post is old, but it reminds me of a great quote!
    “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident”

    I enjoy reading your blog, it’s very enlightening and has really made me reflect on my part of my husbands infidelity. I know it isn’t my fault, but I certainly didn’t help. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that quote. Lasting love and feelings of being “in love” are two different thing. I would say it’s similar to the gap between love and lust. People often mistake lust for love, because there are such strong feelings there.

      I’m always saddened by how many readers are dealing with infidelity in their marriages/relationships.

      Unfortunately most people who find my blog are people who are dealing with a relationship in crisis, and affairs seem to be the most common.

      It’s sad, and I don’t get it. I have three basic rules/guidelines for a healthy relationship:

      1) actively love each other
      2) don’t be selfish
      3) communicate

      To me, it feels like if couples could keep those three simple rules in mind they would really give their relationships a great shot.

      Seems so simple in theory, but the reality is often so hard.

      Like

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