I dropped by a friend’s house the other day to drop something off. She was there alone and when I asked where her boyfriend was she said she had no idea. My quizzical look caused her to expand.
I have no idea where he is and I really don’t care. Frankly, it’s easier when he’s not here. He just makes a mess. I assume he will be home at some point tonight.” She said
Knew things between she and her boyfriend were off, I just had no idea the extent to which they were living in a loveless relationship.
There are a lot of reasons that people give for staying in a loveless relationship. Most often they are related to children or finances.
But is staying in a relationship you have fallen out of love really the right thing to do. The answer to that is – it depends.
Most don’t realize when they say their “I do’s” that relationship will at some point become hard. Whether your love is strong or not, all relationships go through ups and downs.
And sweeping emotions that you feel at the beginning can change over time. It doesn’t have to mean the love is gone but it does mean you need to make additional effort and potentially redefine what you want and need from your partner.
Whether you stay in a relationship or leave is a very personal decision that requires a lot of soul searching and practical considerations. No one can make that decision for you but there are some things that you should think about.
Before you declare completely that the love is gone from your relationship and there is nothing that can be done, take some time to consider why it is gone and when it faded.
In my friends case there was a distinct break down in the fun they used to have together. When they got together they both enjoyed being adventurous and doing things outdoors but when they had children she no longer wanted to do those things.
Relationship is give, take and life requires you to make changes and modify expectations. If you feel like you are living in a loveless relationship. It is possible that you and your partner need to reconsider what you want and need from each other and your relationship?
The path to bring the love back may be completely gone and truly living in a relationship without love is not easy.
If you have determined that you are truly living in a loveless relationship but staying together because of children or financial reasons there are several things to take into account.
Your children. You are your children’s ultimate teacher. What they grow up with is what they will consider normal and therefore expect and accept for themselves. Consider what you want for them. Do you want them to have the same type of relationship that you do?
Happiness between you and your partner is key. Allowing children to see you constantly unhappy and arguing can cause more damage to your children than good. Creating a happy family life when the love between parents is gone requires the cooperation.
Your partner. There may not be any love left between you but hopefully there is still respect and caring. Have you considered what your partner may want? Making a determination about the way your relationship operates without the buy-in of your partner is unfair.
You. As they say, life is short. Is this really the way you want to live? Living in a loveless relationship means you are sacrificing. Quite possibly your intimate life as well. Is that really something you are willing to give up forever?
Living in a loveless relationship for functional or parenting reasons requires thought and conversation. It is not easy to do for most and needs to be carefully considered and agreed upon by both partners. There should be discussion about the structure of the relationship. And, especially when children are involved, agreements on how to be the best family possible as you raise them.
If your reason for living in a loveless relationship is based on fear you are in a bad situation. Fear is powerful and can paralyze the best. In a relationship, it is not a reason to stay, however. In fact, it is the opposite it is a strong reason to leave.
Being afraid to be on your own is not a good reason to stay in a relationship. If you feel strongly that you would be happier in a different circumstance but you don’t know how to do it, you might consider counseling.
A counselor should not tell you to end your relationship but divorce counseling can assist you in navigating your current path. A counselor can also help you determine what really scares you and help you find your self-confidence. These things can give you clarity when making decisions about your life and relationships.
Fear is probably the biggest reason people stay in relationship without any love. And while there can be many things to fear, change is usually the biggest. Facing our fears is one of the ways we can best love ourselves when our partners won’t.
If you are scared for your safety or the safety of your children, getting help and staying safe is imperative. Relationship abuse can have different appearances. There is nothing that makes a relationship with physical or emotional abuse acceptable.
Recovering from an abusive relationship can be difficult. Support and assistance is crucial.
Living in a loveless relationship is not something that anyone wants or plans for. Sadly, the fairy tale of love everlasting is not true for many, as in the case of my friend.
Deciding what is right for you is a very personal decision that no one can make but you. If you find yourself living in a loveless relationship consider very carefully what you really want and need. Ultimately your happiness is yours to control and define. Unfortunately, that does not mean the road to getting there will be easy