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'My wife told me that she doesn't love me and never did. How should I proceed?' PART 2

'My wife told me that she doesn't love me and never did. How should I proceed?' PART 2

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"[UPDATE] - My wife (38F) told me (39M) that she doesn't love me and never did. How should I proceed?"

throwra989872654

If you missed the first part of the story, here is is: Part 1

I apologize if this post gets long. I will provide more context to our situation and do my best to get to the important things quickly.

I went through most of the comments on my first post and wrote down some questions I wanted to ask my wife. I also figured I'd talk with her a few more times before bringing up marriage counseling, only if we can't find common ground or fix things ourselves.

Like I said in one of my comments, I thought about small trip over the weekend, just two of us, no children. We could relax and have a proper heart-to-heart discussion. So, I decided to take her to my grandparents house.

It's remote, surrounded by fields, forests, and there's even a river close by. It's pretty much holiday house, when you want to leave the city and spend some time in nature. She loves nature so I thought it's a good place.

I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't anxious and really worried about asking certain questions and the implications of those questions. I decided to ask, even though I was fully aware that it could be painful.

We left our kids with my parents and departed. She pretty much knew the purpose of this trip from the beginning, so in a way, it was easier. When we got there, I didn't want to have a discussion immediately.

I wanted us to spend some time together. We went for a walk in the forest, did some light work in the garden, took some pictures, and I made her dinner. I also made her a bouquet of flowers I found in the fields. After we had dinner, I brought it up.

I told her that what she said a few days ago really hurt me and that I would like her to share her feelings about me and our marriage so we can at least find middle ground. I also told her that I really didn't like her sharing that with other people before talking to me first. She apologized to me and said she would explain.

Basically, her friend is having problems in her own marriage. She's been married for two years and wondered how our marriage is so stable. She and her husband have a dynamic of fighting with each other one day and loving each other the next.

My wife and I have never had a fight, we've had many disagreements, but we've never hurt each other, at least not until now. Eventually, she got to the problematic part and asked me if I heard what she said after that.

I said no because I really didn't. I overheard it when I entered the house to pick up some things I needed and then left. I was also zoned out and didn't pay attention to what was going on around me after hearing that.

She explained to me that she never experienced that 'love' with me. She thought it would get better over time, but it never did. I asked her why she didn't explain that when I asked her that day, and she responded by saying that I was emotional and whatever she said could've made it worse.

She pretty much understood that whatever she said would've come across as an attempt to make someone feel better or forced. That's why she left me alone, knowing that we would have a talk about this. She was right.

I then asked her some of my questions, not all of them because most of them got answered, but I was interested in these: What does she feel when she sees me? What happens after our children grow up? Did she ever feel that "love" towards somebody else? What will she do if something happens to me?

She said that she feels at home. So she does love me and loves our marriage, but she isn't 'in love' with me. When she sees me, there are no butterflies or fire that make her want to jump on me and rip my clothes off, she feels at home. As for our children growing up, nothing changes, we will still care for, help, and guide them.

She explained that over the years, she had felt attraction towards certain men, but it quickly faded. When I asked her why, she said that even though she was initially attracted to them and they showed interest, something always felt off soon afterward, which is why she removed herself from those situations.

I asked her if she was never into me, why she slept with me and not her other friends or other guys. She had plenty of friends, and as I mentioned in my first post, I was the only one with benefits.

She explained that she felt safe and comfortable with me, something she never felt with anyone else. We became a thing after she broke up with her boyfriend. She opened up about the relationship, saying that he had been physically and emotionally abusive.

This was the first time she had spoken about him, I had asked her about her first relationship many times before, but she always brushed it off, saying he wasn't worth mentioning due to how horribly he treated her.

She said that she wouldn't want to be anywhere else but next to me and that she would take care of our children. At that point, I really felt bad about everything, and the whole discussion made me sad. I would really like her to go to therapy, I think she still carries scars from all that abuse, especially emotionally, and a proper therapist could really help her.

As some of you pointed out, she isn't in love with me, but she loves me in her own unique way. I understand that as years go by, you may lose some attraction towards your spouse, and the feelings you once had may fade, but that person still remains. I can live with that.

And for those telling me to leave, I won't. If she leaves in 10 or 15 years, so be it. I would rather have a stable, safe, and drama-free marriage where I can raise my children properly, even if she doesn't love me to the same extent I love her, than spend years of my life searching for a woman who will love me to the same extent.

I'm almost 40, and I'm too old to deal with all the drama that comes with dating. We also have sex at least twice a week, sometimes even more, so our intimacy is active, and she actively participates.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:

SymblePharon

What I'm getting out of this is that she does love you, completely, but she doesn't know that it's real love. She may have been used to the kind of dramatic, tumultuous partner who abuses her and then love bombs her, and have come to know that as "love". But she has chosen every day to be a loving partner and a good parent, even when presented with alternatives.

Her sense of love is screwed up, but her actions speak louder, to me. Definitely try and get her into therapy. I'm sorry for the way she thinks about this - it must be killing you - but I just don't think it's true. She does love you. I hope I'm right and that you can come to an agreement. I wish you both the best.

The OP responded here:

throwra989872654

I felt the same, and that is why I think it would be really beneficial for her to have a talk with a therapist. I will always be there for her and I will always listen to what she has to say, but I lack knowledge and experience in order to help her with this.

The thing that's killing me is how long she has been in this state, she can't sort out her feelings and emotions. Even during our talk, I always felt that her feelings are misplaced and all over the place. I will talk to her and I will encourage and support her in getting professional help.

nopingmywayout

There was a post some time ago about a guy who had been taken in by this family and eventually married their daughter because he felt obligated to, and subsequently built a family with her.

He posted because he felt super guilty over marrying and having kids with a woman he said he didn’t love. The internet pointed out that the life he described in his posts and comments DID sound like love, albeit under unusual circumstances.

He later posted an update after he had talked things over with his family (and I think a therapist), where he’d had a revelation that he did indeed love his wife, but hadn’t parsed those emotions that way for certain reasons. Your story sounds like a mirror of his, and I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar (emotionally speaking) was going on.

As you yourself noted, it sounds like your wife has some unhealed scars from that relationship and could use some therapy. If you haven’t already, you might gently suggest therapy to her—not for the sake of your relationship, but for her own emotional well-being. But don’t push the point if she refuses. Ultimately she is the one who needs to make that decision.

GodIsAGas

I read both of your posts and, firstly, I am sorry you are going through this and I am sorry it is causing you so much pain - understandably so. I hesitated before replying, because I don’t want to confuse the issue further, but I do just wonder if some of this isn’t simply confusion over semantics.

If you think about mature love and try and define it - she’d tick all of the boxes: she respects you, she’s loyal towards you, she’s devoted to you, she feels safe with you, she regards you as ‘home’.

And so then flipping it on its head, what’s missing? The passion and infatuation of early love?!? - but, realistically, that often does fade over time and becomes something else and something different.

If you look at my post history, I’m not a fan of people settling. But I’m not sure that is what this is. I do think therapy would benefit you both. If only to work through, in a forensic way, what you believe love is and then triangulate that with what your wife feels.

Please don’t take this as me suggesting that you ‘settle,’ but what she is offering and giving you and the kids - many people here would kill for that. Because when it comes to the big, important, foundational stuff - it seems as if she’s there.

The OP again responded:

throwra989872654

I'm not leaving. I will help her overcome this. She needs professional help. I think her view of love is completely screwed up due to what that idiot did.

Motchiko

I think people put too much pressure on the word love. They imagine the crush feeling at the very beginning of a relationship. Dopamine and oxytocin are very high at that stage and it can feel like being on drugs. Love has several stages and she has entered a stage where you are her home.

She either is in the stability stage or attachment stage. What is concerning that she never experienced that, but everyone’s hormones level are different from each others and there are plenty of people, who can physically not experience soul crushing love. They rather bond with people and skip the honeymoon phase.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit,Reddit
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