Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
MARRIAGE: No Longer In Love
Dear Elder, my wife and I have been married for coming up on 5 years. I am 25 and she is 23. I'd be lying if I said we didn't rush into marriage, but it worked out. Especially for the first few years we were so very happy, getting along great, never arguing, and just loving each other to the fullest.
Now fast forward and I don't feel the same way anymore. It has been slowly but surely building up, but I don't feel the same as I did. I don't get excited to see her, I don't even particularily enjoy spending time with her. This may be shallow but I'm not particularily attracted to her physically anymore, which needlessly to say, has affected our sex life. The problem is that she is still very much in love with me, and I just kind of wish she wasn't, because I can't stand to hurt her. I've never dated much, either. I had a steady girlfriend through the majority of my high school life, then met my wife shortly after high school, and I want to be able to date. I miss the butterflies and the getting to know someone else. I also have a desire to be single for a while, which I never really have been. Also, being 25, I am a bit concerned about the fact the rest of my life is etched in stone with who I will be with. She's not a bad person, by any stretch, I just want something different. And what's worse is I have developed a slight crush on her best friend. It was never my intention, we just get along so great and I actually do thouroughly enjoy seeing her and even miss and think about her.
I'm at such a loss I don't know what to do!
Chris, I am sorry to read about your thoughts of your marriage. I understand how difficult this must be, and I hope my comments will help.
You must first decide if you wish to try to recover your relationship with your wife. I will not advise you regarding what decision you should make. I truly don’t know if you can rebuild your relationship or not. Don’t be surprised if she is also concerned and that she is probably aware of your loss of interest and maybe even your interest in her best friend. It does appear that you are realizing that marriage is designed to be ‘for life.’ This sounds restricting to you, and you feel you have missed out on the ‘fun’ part. A long, healthy marriage will also have many ‘fun’ opportunities and should not be thought of as restrictive, but it takes the appropriate sustained attitude and work ethic over a lot of years. The marriage may be ‘etched in stone,’ but what occurs during it is very fluid, and it will be what the two of you choose to make it.
‘Never arguing’ doesn’t mean one necessarily has a healthy marriage if there is minimal real communications. You mention that you don’t enjoy spending time with her, that you are not physically attracted to her any more, that ‘I just want something different,’ and that you have a ‘slight crush’ on her best friend. You may wish to first consider individual counseling for you to help you better understand why you have these thoughts. After those meetings have concluded or even during them, you may wish to begin a serious conversation with your wife and you may also wish to have it with a counselor. You should be prepared for her to perhaps be angry and/or scared. These conversations will either assist with building a healthier relationship or serve as a transition to a divorce depending upon how your thoughts become more formed and how she reacts.
Long-lasting love and marriage entail respect, trust, understanding/patience, devotion, recognition that changes occur and communication. It is OK for partners to have differences. I recommend not rushing a decision to end this relationship because it sounds like you have someone who really loves you. I suspect giving this up will be easier than finding it again regardless of how much fun the latter might be. However, some marriages do not last. Is this one of them? I don’t know. Good luck, Chris.