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What does it mean to be in love?

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/15/2019 17:06 PM

I've been wondering about this for a bit. I love my fch. He says he loves me. But, I wouldn't say I am in love with him. I say I have a deeper love that goes beyond that romantic, desperate infatuation. We have built a life and family together.

I don't have that excitement feeling toward him that I used to have when we were dating. I do get goosebumps when he touches me sexually.

How do you define being in love? Are still, or again, in love with your partner?

OwningItNow posted 6/16/2019 00:45 AM

I do not long for the in love feeling at all after doing so much work on myself and bringing happiness to my life. My feelings about being in love make me remember a feeling that was based on lust, that the feeling was not something I tried to properly guide, and I regret that when I look back. I allowed myself to be in love with narcissists and people who hurt me. I remember it as immature and not a feeling that could or would last.

I compare it to what I feel now in my marriage. I catch myself really appreciating my H at certain times and how hard he works for us, and I am attracted sexually to the feeling of appreciating the way he loves my family and me and our life. I find myself attracted to our honest conversations about our faults, the attraction rooted in the intimacy of being vulnerable and truthful with each other. My H gained a lot of weight soon into our M, while I have always stayed in good shape (dumb shit perfectionist that I am). I used to resent his being out of shape, but when I am appreciating his getting out bedding for our kids to have yet another sleepover or unloading the dishwasher because he knows I hate it so much, I recently noticed that I don't care about his weight.

I am very attracted to the trust and honesty and partnership we're builing, and that immature, fleeting "in love" feeling cannot compare. A year ago I would have said that this was not possible, but I can happily say I was wrong.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 12:49 AM, June 16th (Sunday)]

Superesse posted 6/16/2019 01:00 AM

OwningItNow, loved your description of how the behaviors you really admire can produce those feelings of love and attraction.

Maybe after serious trauma like we have endured, our brains respond to "security-assurance-building" even more than would have been true, back when we were untouched by all that?

Thanks.

still-living posted 6/16/2019 05:14 AM

Limerence is a bonding process and wanes through time. During reconciliation, don't let rekindled limerence and hysterical bonding overrule logical thinking.

Loving is seeing improvement of yourself through an other. Your level of hope and definition of improvement depends on your wisdom. For example, some people are not capable of standing on their own two feet and have a shallow definition of what is an improvement, therefore, using other people is their definition of love.

SL

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/16/2019 07:39 AM

OIN, that is exactly how I feel about my fch and our M.

I've read so many posts recently about people wanting to be in love again. I started wondering if I was missing something.

StillLiving, I agree.

[This message edited by cocoplus5nuts at 7:40 AM, June 16th (Sunday)]

OwningItNow posted 6/16/2019 09:34 AM

But Coco, I will say as you would most likely say, this true love and enjoyment of my H was not something I could get (or get back) just because I wanted it. I was done trying, done with him, ready to find new love. But he won my heart back with his constant work on himself and constant effort. He refused to work at first, and I was (finally) willing to walk which was the catalyst he needed. But I was DONE, no love at all. So six months in, he wanted my love, but it wasn't there. No sex, no hand holding. I said, "Thanks for the work but no." The years rolled on and he kept working, to be a better parent and better person. We remained IHS.

But watching him grow as a person, watching his spirit lift and confidence build, watching him joke about his shortcomings but own them, witness him accepting no sex instead of tantruming like a child showed me that he could and would sacrifice for the good of others. That was NOT a quality he had previously possessed! Tremendously bonding.

Around here we say that my love and attraction came back 'organically.' I think that is the way reconciliation has to look to work. But I admit that I completely lucked out in having someone willing to do the work along with me. It takes two, and you cannot make this work alone. But the payoff is a love much more awesome than "in love."

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 9:36 AM, June 16th (Sunday)]

pureheartkit posted 6/16/2019 17:11 PM

I've been in strong limmerence several times. I don't see it as love anymore. Its a strong attraction/ infatuation or obsession that can turn into love.

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/16/2019 21:27 PM

Yes, OIN. My love came back organically because of the work my fch was willing to do.

So, what do people on here mean when they say they want to be in love with their WSes again?

sisoon posted 6/17/2019 10:40 AM

I was truly limerent in the beginning of our relationship. I just wanted to be with her, to listen to her talk, to talk, to breathe in her scent, overwhelmed with sexual desire for her, all the while thinking she'd never go out with me, much less go to bed.

I hated it. She was a classmate in a class that was critical to my future, and I wanted to focus on that, not on being in love.

Funny thing, though, in our talks - an hour after almost every class, 4-5 days/week for months, we got to know each other. We came to see each other for who we were (pretty much, at least). We came to want the best for each other. We supported each other in achieving our goals. I wanted her sexually, and I was in awe of her mind and her approach to academics. She thought highly of my mind. We came to love each other.

But that limerence persisted, and I did not trust it. Our relationship started with lust, and I knew it was not going to last long. The way we started made it very hard for me to understand that I might have been in love, which I hated, but we loved each other, and that boded well for our future.

Fast forward 44-45 years - d-day - from some angles, she still took my breathe away. From some angles, my knees still went weak. Still limerent after all those years.

I'm apparently an outlier, but here's something to consider:

I always feared that I would fuck up our relationship by cheating. There's a movie called The Man who Loved Women (the original version from France). I could see myself doing that, but I loved plainsong....

My solution was to program myself to stay in lust with her. It wasn't hard. I still notice beautiful and/or sexy women. It's just that when I recognize thoughts of sex, I immediately associate them with my W. If I notice a sexual fantasy, I place my W into it and exile all other women.

Now she's 74. She doesn't look as good as she did 30-40 years ago. (Neither do I.) But she looks good to me. That's probably due in part to self-hypnosis - but it's gotta be due in part to love, too.

Someone posted that maybe some of us are monogamous by nature and some not. I agree, and I believe that's part of what kept me faithful, too.

But I believe above all that we can program ourselves to stay in lust with our partners, even as we change physically and emotionally.

JMO, of course.

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