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Wayflost posted 1/18/2014 09:41 AM

I promise I'm not trying to split hairs over semantics, at least not today. Being mindful of the traps I set for myself in that department is VERY difficult. But I digress.

This request comes from my BH. When I tell him I love him it makes him sad because, "[he] doesn't know what that means to [me]." I totally get that. How could I do what I did, say what I said, if I loved him? I'm still working on the why of it all, but that is for a different post. He has asked me to define what I mean when I say I love him. I'm struggling to define the amorphous nature of what I mean. Sometimes I want to say, you know, LOVE. But I don't because I know it's not helpful. I'm hoping y'all can give me something to push off of as I try.

How do you define love? Is it different now than it was pre-A? What does it mean to you to love your BH/WS?

WarpSpeed posted 1/18/2014 09:52 AM

This may or may not be helpful.

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.”

I think that is a Katherine Hepburn quote.

So, what are you expecting to give to your BH? That might be a starting point for what you're trying to do for your husband with this thread.

best luck

[This message edited by WarpSpeed at 10:06 AM, January 18th (Saturday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 1/18/2014 12:45 PM

I feel love is making the other person the number one priority in your life. Their happiness is more important than yours. Their security, safety, comfort is more important than yours. It is when you wake up everyday and say to yourself "How can I make my spouses life a little bit easier today?" and then do it. To me, that is love.

floridaredman posted 1/18/2014 12:56 PM

I agree with WarpSpeed and SisterMilkshake.

Love is caring about the needs of another above your own. Caring enough that you are totally selfless and will give them both gentle love and tough love when needed.

It also helps to point out what you love about them that doesn't have anything to do with love them for who they are..not what you want them to be.

DanteJace posted 1/18/2014 22:09 PM

Your question is NOT unreasonable, and NOT splitting hairs... because we use the term "love" SO MANY different ways. "I love you, Mom." "I love my kids." "I love chocolate." "I love it when Dallas doesn't make it to the playoffs"...

So perhaps your question is somewhat clarified by asking "what is the definition of marital love".

I was taught as a teen (in a church youth group-type setting) that that love in marriage is this: "love is a decision".

It sounds a bit cerebral or something, but I think I understood it at the time, and I think it is similar to the sentiments of WarpSpeed and SisterMilkshake. I took it to mean: if you base a marriage on the "romantic feelings" that modern culture calls love (that ushy-gushy heart-all-a-flutter sort of feeling) then you really risk your marriage falling apart when that feeling fades.

But if you can commit to "be there" and see things through when your spouse is having a crappy day, or YOU are having a crappy day, or when the bills pile up, or the kids puking all night, or whatever your challenges will be, then THAT is [marital] love.

As a wayward spouse, I left the affair (which had 1000% more "romantic love") and stuck with the marriage, owing to that notion that of "love is a decision".

I knew that if I had jumped ship -- leaving the marriage to be with my new [romantic] "love" -- that I would be killing something inside me. I would never trust that I wouldn't "jump ship" again when the next "more lovey-dovey" set of feeling came about for yet someone else.

So I don't know if that is helpful or not for you to think about.

In fact, if I were the betrayed spouse, I don't think my definition above would sound very comforting at all. It is almost saying "well, I don't feel THAT great about you, but, heck, I'll stick with it because I agreed to it some time ago."

Yet, for me it lead to the right decision for me of keeping my family together (for which I have confirmations every day).

Quick aside: even though my parents took it quite hard when I changed religions (while in college), I'm not sure they ever realized how much at least that one lesson took root, and is a substantial reason why I'm still married, and why their grandchildren do not live in a "broken home".

SisterMilkshake posted 1/18/2014 22:25 PM

Love without action is meaningless. Action without love is irrelevant. ~Deepak Chopra

Immanuel Kant wrote extensively on motivation during the 18th century, when he formalized these ideas in Western philosophy and influenced nearly all philosophers since. Kant wrote that actions without intent are meaningless, and that the value of an action is not in its result, but in the feeling of the person taking the action. ~ Brian Glanz
I don't think my definition above would sound very comforting at all. It is almost saying "well, I don't feel THAT great about you, but, heck, I'll stick with it because I agreed to it some time ago."
You are right, Dante, not comforting to me at all. Sounds more like a "duty" than real love. I could be wrong, but that is how it sounds to me. However, if that is how you feel (duty), along with this
when the next "more lovey-dovey" set of feeling came about for yet someone else.
you aren't doing your wife any favors. In fact not only are you doing a disservice to your wife, but to yourself.

DanteJace posted 1/19/2014 09:56 AM

Consider the term "service" -- as in "community service" or "service to your church" or "serve mankind". That kind of service connotes a deep love for your fellow man. Those are born not out of eros (love as desire; romantic/erotic love) but agape (love as care and benevolent service to others).

(By the way, "agape" is pronounced with three sylables: ah-gah-pay. Both of those terms are from Greek, but they are English words as well.)

So, to the original question I propose this: a marriage needs all the agape it can get. I think this is the sentiment of the Chopra quote, and the underlying meaning of "love is a decision" (even if that is much less eloquent).

Of course we all want our marriages to have lots of eros, too. But mine doesn't right now, so I'm doing my best to foster all the agape I can, by lovingly serving my family in every way I can muster, and earnestly attempting to teach my children to do the same.

[This message edited by DanteJace at 10:22 AM, January 19th (Sunday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 1/19/2014 10:34 AM

Dante, I feel I understand what you are saying, and I am glad, in a way, that you are trying to improve your marriage. What I don't agree with is that I am surmising that your wife doesn't know how you feel. You take away others choices when you aren't honest, when you aren't authentic. What/who gives you that right?

One of my dear sisters' marriage is ending after 34 years. Her husband told her he doesn't love her and hasn't for a long, long time. Sister is 54 years old.

She is so angry, not so much that her marriage is ending and her husband doesn't "love" her anymore , but that he felt this way for so long and wasn't honest with her. She feels her life has been wasted investing in a marriage and a man that was neither invested in her or the marriage. *sigh* She could have been out and about, maybe finding a man that did love her, but at the very least, living her life on her terms. She has made compromises for her husband that if she knew how he really felt, she wouldn't have done that. She feels her "life" has been ripped off, and I agree.

I feel you are being unfair to your wife.

eta: Her husband does love her in the agape way, though. He wants them to be good friends. Yeah, that helps sister a lot.

[This message edited by SisterMilkshake at 10:37 AM, January 19th (Sunday)]

JustDesserts posted 1/19/2014 10:46 AM

t/j lovingly serving my family in every way I can muster, and earnestly attempting to teach my children to do the same.

Dante. Is lying to your betrayed but clueless wife on a daily basis for the 7 years SINCE your affair ended what you define as lovingly serving her? Are those the values you are attempting to teach your children?

You posts indicate you obviously have a clever, intelligent mind which is inclined to grandiose thinking, delusions of grandeur, denial, and worse. I know someone just like that. He's staring back at me in the mirror first thing every morning.

It's great you're here. Great you're posting. Great you have a dictionary and thesaurus. And I hope you will someday become humble, teachable, and throw in the towel on brilliantly thinking your way to stupid and selfish choices. I wrote the book on that. For a long time I couldn't see it in myself when so many others could. And I didn't really want help, because I didn't really want to change.

Your words sadden me because you remind me of the me I was when, deep down, I hated me. And you make me thankful because I've left that me behind.

Is there a you that, some day, you'd like to leave behind? Or are you happy, deep down, right where you are now?

Don't worry. I'm now officially done thread jacking your replies, and also done responding to threads you start.

I like what I see in the mirror today. He's not perfect. But he's trying to be authentic, and he's succeeding. It's an amazing feeling, DJ. And my betrayed spouse, family, and friends? Well, I can look them in the eye and know with complete confidence that I am serving them lovingly in every way I can.


end t/j

[This message edited by JustDesserts at 10:47 AM, January 19th (Sunday)]

painfulpast posted 1/19/2014 10:51 AM

I have to agree with Sister Milkshake. If I were to discover that my H didn't 'love' me, but instead was here out of duty, I would be crushed. I see your post ending with crediting your religion for your children not coming from a broken home. That is noble, definitely, but while doing this, you are not allowing your wife, imo, to make choices about her own life, and what she wants out of a marriage and a husband.

I'm only giving my opinion on how I would feel. I cannot speak to how your wife feels, but I'm sure you can sense if she 'loves' you, or if she is there because she is supposed to be. Please, let her know the truth. She may feel very differently, and may want something else.

Wayflost posted 1/20/2014 10:01 AM

Thank you for your responses.

Today I'm not sure it, or anything else, matters anymore. He's asked me to meet him to sign divorce paperwork. I told him I would move out, he asked why. WHY?!? Um hello, divorce means get out of my life! If you need the legal separation from me because of my lies then you need the physical space too.

That is something I can do for him to make his life better. Maybe he can begin to reclaim his house, and the life he once wanted. I'm heart broken, I've made such a mess of my life. A heaping S*** pile, and now I get to deal with it. I hope he heals himself from this, and finds someone who loves him in a way he feels and understands it.

SisterMilkshake posted 1/20/2014 10:19 AM

(((Wayflost))) I am so sorry, Wayflost. If your spouse doesn't want you to move out yet, than don't, unless you really want to. Please talk to him about this. Maybe for some reason he feels he needs to have this paperwork "just in case", but really hopes it will work out with you. IDK! I would suggest follow his lead, though, and if he doesn't want you to move out, don't.

SlowUptake posted 1/21/2014 03:57 AM

When my BS told me to leave a couple of months after Dday, I quietly packed a bag and left.
After a couple of days and some talking I went back home.

In discussion afterwards she complained that I didn't protest or put up a fight when she told me to leave and that hurt her.

Stupidly, I thought compliance was what she wanted, silly me.

We WS's don't always have the monopoly on not being open & honest.
Sometimes BS's expect us to be mind readers.

overandone posted 1/21/2014 04:11 AM

It's such a strange thing, this love. When I asked for a divorce, before I had a clue about fWH's A, I told him I wasn't in love with him any more. And I wasn't, we'd become very distant (I now know at least some of the reason why). When I rescinded the divorce proceedings (still no idea what he'd been up to) and we both made strenuous efforts to reconnect, the love returned, and we had the best 7 months together for years.Then d-day - I found old e-mails and the crap hit the fan in a big way. If it hadn't been for those 7 months of real love, I very much doubt we'd be together now.
I do find it strange how love can wax and wane, for me it seems to depend upon being able to be emotionally intimate with my partner. Without that, we might just as well be friends - I love my friends, but in a different way.

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