I was reading a fascinating article about how Love is not a given, and felt an urge to add my 2 cents on the same line of thought. Yes, I’m going to sound a bit angry & frustrated; that’s because I AM!
Too many people today, both men and women, think that when they are in a relationship or a marriage, that it means they can “relax” and not work so hard to keep the relationship & their spouses affections going. NEWS FLASH! They can leave your sorry ass at any time. Loving someone isn’t like winning a prize that you can display on your shelf; it’s like a small campfire that is just difficult enough to tend that it takes 2 people working at it in just the right amounts in order to keep burning strong. I can’t tell you how many people I know who are either breaking up, broken up, considering divorce, or gotten divorced, all because their spouse has either given up & stopped caring about continuing to deserve their love & affection, or never really bothered in the first place. I’ve even had long-term relationships where the woman I was with was assuming she was meeting my needs (never checked, just assumed), and felt I wasn’t doing enough to meet their needs. And needs can be anything from 1 or 2 big things to several small things; they’re still needs, no matter the “size”, and no less important.
A loving relationship isn’t simply about whether or not you’re getting what you need; it’s first about knowing, not assuming, but really knowing that your spouse is getting what they need emotionally from you, THEN expressing whether or not you’re getting what you need. If you are saying everything is fine, but they are saying their needs are not being met, guess what – NOTHING is FINE! You aren’t holding up your end of the relationship. If this is you, and you say you don’t understand what’s wrong with your relationship, then ASK YOUR PARTNER! They’ll gladly tell you what is missing for them. If your partner asks you what your missing from them emotionally/romantically, then bloody well have an answer ready, or take the time to find an answer if you don’t have detailed suggestions. This is called COMMUNICATION, people. Oh, and don’t just scoff at your spouse’s requests/suggestions, and don’t belittle them or push them aside as though you “don’t need to go to that trouble”. That reveals the real issue in your relationship – you don’t really give a shit about your partner or their needs, you’re just being a selfish prick. If your spouse is a selfish prick, I can tell you right now that waiting several years to see if they’ll change is a waste of your life; after 2 years, if there’s no change or progress, then ditch. Most relationship therapists will not suggest divorce or splitting up; I feel that’s wrong. To suggest people keep working at something that isn’t working & one spouse is “insane” (continuing to perform the same actions and continuously expecting a particular reaction other than what they are actually getting but refusing to try new actions), is way more damaging to both people, and is especially damaging to the children if any are in the equation.
Oh, and having kids does change a lot of things; that does NOT mean you are off the hook. It means that you have to find new & creative ways to keep the romance going. The only constant in this universe is change; this means that you need to expand the ways you keep romance going in your relationship, try new things – that change does NOT mean letting your relationship dwindle into apathy & cold indifference. It’s quite likely that you could wake up one morning to your husband/wife sleeping on the couch & wither packing to leave or filing for separation/divorce. Why? Because you’ve been a selfish asshole for too many years and you’ve pushed them away past their limit. You’ve neglected their needs in some way for too long and they’ve had enough. Guess what; you’re SOL now. Everyone has their limit; if you’ve been so stupid as to push your partner from neglect, even just from lack of action, then the only person you have to blame is yourself. You can try blaming them for quitting, you can try defacing their character to your friends, family, and even your kids if you have them; the truth is that they aren’t saying goodbye because they’re weak & giving up; they’re finally strong enough to let go of you & your apathetic bullshit. They’re leaving you because you didn’t follow through with your promises. And telling someone, “I love you” IS A PROMISE TO SHOW IT BY WORKING HARD TO MEET THEIR NEEDS!!
Some people may argue that “love should flow easily, it should not take work to love”; this is true. Loving someone should be simple; a RELATIONSHIP takes effort & work. When it’s real, then what their needs are should be natural for you to give & not feel like effort. If they say they are not getting certain needs met, you should be able to give them what they need with little effort. If you feel that giving them what they need is something you are not willing to do or is too much work, then get out of the relationship. No, I’m serious. Get out. You’re wasting their time, really. Love is all you need AS A FOUNDATION; you still need to put in the effort to build the home together. If you really care about them, but can’t/won’t give them what they need in affection/romance, then stop waisting their time & let them go. Note I didn’t say “get rid of them”; I said “let them go”. Big difference there.
If you feel that your partner/spouse is not meeting your needs, SAY IT!! First rule of a relationship is communication, second rule is communication, and third rule is communication. If you are taking a lot of time seriously considering leaving them because they are not meeting your needs, then tell them flat out. Oh, and this is for both sexes: just because after a few months/couple years your spouse begins to slip & not quite meet your needs (happens a lot with men to women, it’s a guy thing), that’s not a sign that they don’t care; it’s a sign that they need a friendly or romantic reminder, and maybe they feel something is not being met on their end; ask AND remind them. It’s not that hard to ask or say, and it’s not a crime if they need the reminder.
Sure, there’s lots of “fish in the sea”; but a lasting, long-term relationship has rewards that far outweigh the trouble you have with them, and are most definitely worth the effort. But seriously, just actually make the effort, or let them find one who will. It’s more likely that you’ll find someone who’s needs are met perfectly by what you give. Oh, and staying together for the kids is a bullshit cop-out; it’d be more healthy to break up but stay living together & both be dating other people than to remain forcing yourselves/each other to stay in a marriage one or both don’t want; that teaches your kids that a marriage isn’t about loving each other but is instead about a quiet burning resentment that will fester & consume both while one or both spouses end up cheating on each other just to feel alive again.
Seriously, break up for the kids. You’re not staying together for them, you’re just staying together because you’re a fucking coward. Do you really want to teach your kids to be cowards?
Basically, with relationships, you’re either willing to put out the needed effort, or you aren’t. It takes 2 making that effort for a relationship to work. Part of the trust of Loving someone is trusting that your spouse will give you what you need emotionally & romantically; your job is simply to keep earning their trust in you by doing what you can to fill their emotional needs, and not let them take your needing to trust them for granted. If your partner has broken that trust in you over more than a couple years, and is repeatedly refusing to actually do what it takes from them to rebuild that trust, then don’t wast your time & theirs perpetuating a lie; walk away before you both get too emotionally sick.