Would you stay with a partner who loves you but is not "in love" with you?

posted 8 months ago in Relationships
Post # 16
920 posts
Busy bee

He was desperately in love with the first wife because they were in a toxic relationship with very high highs and low lows. It’s kind of like an addiction, it’s not a healthy functioning relationship that can be a long term successful marriage. 


I would not stay married to someone I knew didn’t love me, but the marriage you described sounds a lot like my own. We have a great life together, have a wonderful family and love and care for each other. We’re not ripping each other’s clothes off after 10+ years and that’s fine with both of us (because yes, we periodically check in with each other about the state of our marriage). 


Marriage is a multi-decade marathon. Your feelings for your spouse are expected to ebb and flow over the course of 30, 40, 50 years. My in laws (almost 60 years together) say they’ve always loved each other but there were certainly periods where they didn’t always like each other. I think it’s normal to have those phases and the commitment part of marriage is what pulls you through to the really good phases. 


You need to talk to him and find out what is in your head and what is really how he feels. He might be shocked to find out you think he might still be in love with his ex. 

Post # 17
4791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

wondering146 :  yes I would. Being in love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and looking for it is quite juvenile in my opinion.  You can fall in love with your partner over the years also, but supported by a much deeper, more satisfying love. I agree with a pp that your love sounds perfect to me. 

Post # 18
2917 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

wondering146 :  Ok so he’s not really that nice of a guy if he would just kick you to the curb should something unfortunate happen and you lose your job. It doesn’t really sound like he even loves you, or cares about you.

Post # 19
280 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2018

wondering146 :  I was team “stay” until I read your recent update. If this were my husband and I, the stress of not feeling like we are partners would be a deal breaker for me. Companionate relationships are great, but you have to feel like you are in it together. Your marriage sounds more like a well oiled, conveinent business transaction. Safety for me is knowing my husband has my back if my world all of a sudden crumbles. He doesn’t get to enjoy what is good about me to walk away when I can’t momentarily provide all that goodness. 

Post # 20
460 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

Yeah, your update puts a whole different slant on things. Marriage – passion-filled or not – is a partnership and that’s really not what you’re describing at all.

OP, being honest, are you happy? I know I wouldn’t be in your situation and the fact you’re posting suggests you’re not. 

Bottom line is you deserve to be happy. 

Post # 21
4791 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

wondering146 :  ok just read your update about how he would divorce you if you lost your job, do you seriously believe that? The toothpaste incident makes him sound quite selfish and cheap toward you. You say he has a lot of boundaries and non negotiables. Do you have any? 

Post # 23
3376 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

wondering146 :  your update paints a VERY different picture of your marriage than your original post did…

If this stuff is true – that he would leave you if you quit your job or got a tattoo, and that he’d kick you to the curb if you missed one bill, and that you keep literally EVERY item you own and bit of money you have 100% separate with absolutey no crossover… well fuck, that’s not a marriage. That’s a business transaction. 

No one in their right mind who genuinely craves LOVE would stay in that situation.

Did you know he was like this when you chose to marry him?  I’m struggling to understand how you even ended up here…

Post # 24
6566 posts
Bee Keeper

 I know for a fact, for example, that he would immediately file for divorce if I quit my job (and possibly if I lost it without finding another quickly) or got a tattoo…If I were to ever come up short, I’d be out on the street

Do you know this? Has he said this? That doesnt sound like “love you, but not IN love with you” at all. I’m not sure if you’re playing it up for sympathy for the forum or actually think the man you married would illegally evict you, but either way its pretty messed up. 

Post # 25
1008 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

wondering146 :  Your updates don’t paint a rosy picture. He would divorce you if you lost your job? He would kick you out of your house if you couldn’t come up with full rent one month? He gets mad at you for using his toothpaste? No, this doesn’t sound like a marriage at all.

Post # 26
6566 posts
Bee Keeper

wondering146 :  I told him that I know he’s with me for practical reasons and doesn’t feel a strong emotional bond and that really pissed him off. He yelled at me and ordered me to stop talking out of my ass, which is a weird reaction to the person you supposedly love telling you that you’ve hurt her.

Maybe the yelling was out of line, but read what you wrote. You are putting words in his mouth. It honestly sounds like you were annoyed about the notes and tried to pick a fight. That’s not fair, and telling him what he thinks and feels isn’t appropriate either. You also didn’t tell him that you were hurt – you told him how he was feeling. 

Post # 27
9417 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I was all set to say your marriage sounds fine, until your update. That does not sound fine.

Saying you would kick your spouse to the curb if they lost their job is not love. It’s not even a commitment. I wouldn’t be okay with that at all.

I’m not sure about his reaction when you brought it up though. Like I think if Darling Husband said that to me he’d get a huuuge WTF reaction too, because that’s not how I feel at all. Are you 100% sure this is how he feels about you? 

Maybe marriage counseling would be beneficial? 

Post # 28
6146 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think it’s a both/and. And I think it’s also important to recognize that you don’t actually know that your husband isn’t in love with you, you are speculating and you may or may not be (entirely) accurate. His reaction to you saying you know he’s with you for practical reasons may have hit a nerve and it’s possible that the two of you need to have a conversation about what all of that nickel and diming he’s doing with you (and his toothpaste) is really about and how it lands for you.

I asked my husband for his perspective on your question and he said that it’s possible that him having survived a turbulent and tumultuous previous relationship with someone who was unreliable and unstable is part of what makes you especially appealing to your husband. That having been in a situation where there was a lot of drama and “passion” (which a lot of people confuse with being in love when they’re young) could have given your husband the awareness that it was wiser to make the practical qualities a greater priority in this relationship and that that makes a stronger container for love to blossom/grow/flourish and sustain.

He also said that feelings of being “in love” ebb and flow beause they are feelings and that is their nature but that the fact of loving someone (and the actions associated with that) is more consistent (it’s like the foundation a home is built on while the emotions are the weather passing by outside the windows).

If you feel that there is something more that you need, then I think it’s important to acknowledge that and ask for it, but the addictive and dramatic feelings (and associated behaviors) that people tend to call “in love” aren’t necessarily what they are seeking or desiring when they have been there, done that and are still paying off the results of past poor choices.

ETA- I wonder, if you are toeing a line for fear of being dumped because you are in love with your husband, and he isn’t actually as likely to dump you over these things (or others) as you believe? That feeling of being unsafe isn’t good for you and if THAT is what’s going on, your husband isn’t actually that nice and you may need to revisit the idea of staying with him- his past trauma doesn’t justify him treating you poorly (or stingily.)

Post # 29
1531 posts
Bumble bee

So which is it…

Is he an unfeeling ass who uses you for your paycheck or a settled spouse who maybe could use a reminder or two about spicing things up?

Post # 30
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

After your first post I was going to tell the story of how I was head-over-heels, passionately in love with my late husband (very toxic relationship) and not the same way toward my new husband, but how it’s a better, more stable relationship and I still love him very very much, and encourage you to stay and learn to speak each other’s love languages.

HOWEVER, your updates make him sound terrible, and no way would I stay with someone who I feared would “put me out on the street” for various things.  No way.  

But..has he SAID he would, or you assume he would?  You assume he’s with you for only practical reasons, and he got mad at that assumption, so maybe you’re making assumptions that are incorrect?


I think counseling is called for in this case.  You two obviously have communication issues. Good luck.

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