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Falling Out Of Love? Or Just Self-Destruct Mode?


I've been married to my wife for eight years,together for three years before that. It hasn't always been easy, we've certainly had our ups and downs. But now I find I'm asking the question if I really love her any more. We spend half the year living apart as she's got a job overseas which makes things difficult. I miss her, don't get me wrong, but I don't think that that's an indicator of lover per say. What do I feel for her? Well, she's my best friend, that's certain. My companion. We're colleagues and work together on collaborative projects too. And I do miss her. She's intelligent and educated, motivated and respected by those around her. But I still find my self asking that question. I want to hear her voice on the phone, but when the phone rings I don't pick it up. I find it really difficult to say "I love you" to her, feeling really conflicted when I do so. She's says that I sound cold and distant in my e-mails and phone conversations. And frequently now, despite the affection I feel for her, I don't feel physically attracted to her. She's pretty, got a great figure, and by all accounts our sex life is exciting - still, the idea fills me with boredom. I even find my self thinking of other people when we're making love. How awful is that!?I must confess that during our eleven years together, I haven't been faithful. God, I'm going to sound like such an A-hole now, and may be I actually am. She doesn't know, and the occasions that it happened weren't about having relationships or seeking companionship in the arms of another. Very short lived affairs, and never with the same person twice. Not even really about the sex. More about the excitement, and the need to feel desired by someone other than my partner. It certainly isn't her fault in any way. If she were ever to ask me the question why I was unfaithful, was it some inadequacy on her part, I'm not sure I could answer that. She can't be other women. She can only be her self. And the thought of her knowing and being so devastated breaks my heart. I really don't want to cause her any pain.I know she loves me, very very much. She tells me. She tells me how she could gaze into my eyes for hours, how her heart flutters every time she sees me or hears my voice, how in her mind I'm the sexiest man alive. She feels that, but I really don't think I feel the same intensity for her.Do I love her? Do I love her enough? And what should I try and do about the situation? Which way should I try and jump? I have done things that, if she knew about them, would destroy her. I feel no guilt for what I've done, but if she were to know and be heart-broken I would never forgive my self. But I guess I'm not looking for moral advice. We all live our lives according to our own, and different, moral codes. I just seek your opinions on the practical level. Do or don't I love her and how should I proceed?Alex F


Hi Alex, It sounds like your relationship is really hurting from the inside out. By that, I mean it sounds as though you may be experiencing a loss of connection with your wife. I've never been in a hugely long-term relationship, the most I've been with someone is 3 years, but in those 3 years I picked up a lot of neat things to work with. It really can be tough sometimes maintaining a relationship in the midst of life's obstacles (work, maybe kids, perhaps you have pets) and it's helpful for me to remember that while they do very much represent obstacles, they are responsibilities at the same time. In every relationship, people run into times where they doubt, they stray, maybe even split up for some time while they get their mental facets in line so they can come back to it rejuvenated and willing to really work to find a more natural chemistry with the person.Please don't take that to mean time apart will help you, I'm just trying to exemplify how many different things relationships have to go through sometimes. Because it seems as though it's the connection between you two that is hurting for more attention, I would recommend taking a look at some of the relationship studies done by doctors John and Julie Gottman. They have some wonderful insights into this confusing road block a lot of relationships tend to hit at some point.What it comes down to is really working with your partner. To be able to open up those lines of trust and honesty, I think you two will find common ground on which you can begin finding your love again. Again, don't worry, sometimes people get discouraged and scared, but it's amazingly wonderful to be able to recognize that there is a problem because in just seeing it, one can find the means to solve it.-Derek


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