Author Topic: Long Term Relationships  (Read 724 times)

LonerMatt

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Long Term Relationships
« on: September 21, 2018, 06:20:34 PM »
For those of you who are married/long term, to what extent is there doubt in your relationship?

I'm at a bit of a crossroads, personally. My gf wants to get married - not now, but in 2-3 years. I love her very much, but I also have pangs of doubt or cold feet. At times she'll talk very confidently and fearlessly about being together forever. At times I feel the same - energised and committed. At others I feel distant, unsure. It's impossible to know the future, and I hate the idea of saying something if my heart isn't in it.

But then, of course, for people who are together a long time there's obviously peaks and valleys. Times you're head over heels, times you're not quite on the same wavelength. Maybe that's commitment, you know, maybe that's love, sticking through the times you're feeling a bit more selfish.

I don't want to over-state things, I love her very much and am happy to see her every day, it's just the projecting into the future, years and years into the future, it worries and confuses me.

I see footage of people proposing and there's often these huge upwelling of love and emotion, and I just can't imagine feeling that.

Sometimes other parts of life - and I am a bit bored and unfocused in general - seep in to everything, but I thought I'd ask for any advice or perspective.

ETBen

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2018, 06:51:08 PM »
Is it a personality thing?  Because I like falling in love but not long relationships. Iím the same with lots of things though.  Not really a commitment phobe, just not the marrying type. Although I was married. I have a few friends the same way, not long term relationship people and now that itís not socially expected as much, itís easier.

Zikoris

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2018, 07:21:25 PM »
There are different ways to look at relationships. I'm pretty anti-marriage, and my thoughts on commitment are really more "We'll stay together as long as we're happy together, and if one day we're no longer happy together, we can go our separate ways". I don't project far into the future. I am 100% childfree. I strongly prefer to just enjoy being in a happy long term relationship and not have to think about the progression, or the next steps, or anything else.

But it's definitely trickier if you're with someone who DOES want those things. I'm not sure what a good solution is.

ejmyrow

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2018, 07:57:55 PM »
Dear Matt,
I've been with my partner three years and we got married recently. We are super happy. I dated many people before him and though I loved them, I didn't feel confident about marrying anyone until him.

I don't know how long you've been with this gal, but (as a total stranger), here's my thought: if you're thinking you wouldn't want to be with her for life and she wants a life partner, let her go. Sometimes guys string women along for years and I think that's really unfair b/c generally in our culture the guy pops the question and therefore the woman has less control.




Imma

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #4 on: Today at 11:41:34 AM »
For those of you who are married/long term, to what extent is there doubt in your relationship?


But then, of course, for people who are together a long time there's obviously peaks and valleys. Times you're head over heels, times you're not quite on the same wavelength. Maybe that's commitment, you know, maybe that's love, sticking through the times you're feeling a bit more selfish.

I don't want to over-state things, I love her very much and am happy to see her every day, it's just the projecting into the future, years and years into the future, it worries and confuses me.



Obviously there are highs and lows in a long-term relationship, but I've never felt like we're not on the same wavelength. Our "lows" had to do with stressful personal circumstances which brought out the worst in us - nothing awful but being in a bad mood, emotional, a bit snappy, etc. No fun if one or both are in this kind of mood for couple of months at a time. Still this has never made me doubt our relationship or our future together. There has always been a reason, outside of ourselves, for the rough period.

We've always been incredibly sure about each other, which I wasn't in previous relationships. Very soon after we met we both knew we had found "the one". I know this sounds a bit stupid, and actually we're both very unromantic, but it's true. We belong together. I don't think either of us has ever had any regrets or doubts.

That doesn't mean that it should work like this for every relationship, but I would not want to be in a relationship with someone with a 'it's fun while it lasts' kind of mentality, like Zikoris describes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it wouldn't work for me.

Zikoris

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #5 on: Today at 01:09:58 PM »
That doesn't mean that it should work like this for every relationship, but I would not want to be in a relationship with someone with a 'it's fun while it lasts' kind of mentality, like Zikoris describes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it wouldn't work for me.

I would definitely add the caveat that this would not work well if a person wanted to have kids or jointly get involved in large joint ventures (like buying a large, expensive property together), neither of which applies to me. I do think its good for kids to grow up in a situation with more stability.

Laura33

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #6 on: Today at 01:38:00 PM »
I am having problems putting this into words, but the answer is something in the middle.  Do I want to say there were never any doubts?  Hell no - that would be total rose-colored glasses.  But I also was excited about the future together despite my fears.  I think if you feel hemmed in instead of excited/a little afraid when you think about the future together, youíre either too early in your relationship or sheís not the one.

My history:  I got bored with every single guy I dated.  When I met DH, I was excited/happy/butterflies, but at the same time the other part of my brain was taking bets on the over/under for when I got bored (the consensus of all the people in my head was around 6 months).  A year later, I was still not bored, and he proposed, and I said yes.  22 years later, Iím still not bored with him (sometimes Iím bored with life in general, but not with him).

But that doesnít mean I never had doubts.  When we got engaged, he lived halfway across the country from me.  It was a huge leap of faith to commit to this guy without even knowing when we would be able to live in the same state, or if I was going to have to give up everything that I wanted to make that happen.  It meant a great deal to me that he was equally willing to move to my area - it made it clear that for both of us, the most important thing was ďus.Ē  The first few years of our marriage were tested - he moved here for me, and then his company went under, so I had to move for him.  I knew at the time that if I chose to, I could stay put and cut him loose to move wherever, and I did consider that.  But it wasnít really even a close call, and I quickly chose to put ďusĒ ahead of my fears. 

So I guess that is a long way of saying that I knew he was the guy for me not because I never had doubts, but because whenever I did have doubts or face difficult choices, the option of moving forward together with him despite the fear and uncertainty was better than the option of sticking with what I knew and what felt ďsafeĒ without him.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #7 on: Today at 01:47:52 PM »
For those of you who are married/long term, to what extent is there doubt in your relationship?


But then, of course, for people who are together a long time there's obviously peaks and valleys. Times you're head over heels, times you're not quite on the same wavelength. Maybe that's commitment, you know, maybe that's love, sticking through the times you're feeling a bit more selfish.

I don't want to over-state things, I love her very much and am happy to see her every day, it's just the projecting into the future, years and years into the future, it worries and confuses me.



Obviously there are highs and lows in a long-term relationship, but I've never felt like we're not on the same wavelength. Our "lows" had to do with stressful personal circumstances which brought out the worst in us - nothing awful but being in a bad mood, emotional, a bit snappy, etc. No fun if one or both are in this kind of mood for couple of months at a time. Still this has never made me doubt our relationship or our future together. There has always been a reason, outside of ourselves, for the rough period.

We've always been incredibly sure about each other, which I wasn't in previous relationships. Very soon after we met we both knew we had found "the one". I know this sounds a bit stupid, and actually we're both very unromantic, but it's true. We belong together. I don't think either of us has ever had any regrets or doubts.

That doesn't mean that it should work like this for every relationship, but I would not want to be in a relationship with someone with a 'it's fun while it lasts' kind of mentality, like Zikoris describes. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it wouldn't work for me.

I'm with Imma here. I totally respect Zikoris on this, but for what I want from life, I need more commitment and stability. My husband and I have known each other since we were children. We've dated 8 years, been married 3. So while I'm not a "been married FOREVER" type, it's been more than a hot minute. And arguably, we've been through tough shit together: professional school, caregiving parents with cancer, deaths, years of infertility and IVF cycles, insane high stress jobs. But frankly? I've never blamed him at all, or wondered if it was his fault. It's always been "us against the world" if that makes sense. Even when things have been difficult, I would prefer it be difficult together than to be apart.

I think have a clear, mutual vision of the future is vital though. It helps that the rough frame of our lives we've always agreed on- we'll always have dogs. We'll always prioritize activity and the outdoors. We will do whatever we can to try and have children. We prioritize financial freedom over materialism. That sort of thing. I guess the take away there though is that you can't KNOW you're committed unless you know what you're committed to. Do you have mutual goals and ideals? Do you talk about it often, as it evolves?

GuitarStv

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #8 on: Today at 02:28:57 PM »
We dated and lived together for eight years prior to getting married.  There were no doubts of any kind regarding commitment to each other, money/finances, how we each handle stressful situations, honesty and trust, plans for kids, hopes/dreams for the future, fears and concerns, sexual and emotional compatibility.  So far so good, we just passed our tenth anniversary as a married couple.  It hasn't always been perfect, but it has been pretty good.  When we got married having my wife involved in all aspects of my life felt as natural as having both of my arms.

If you have doubts and concerns, examine them closely and figure out if they're warranted.  There's no reason you can't wait a few years until you're certain.

wenchsenior

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #9 on: Today at 02:44:32 PM »
Hmmm... I think a lot of success in long term relationships seem to be really understanding your own personality and expectations (and a potential partner's) prior to committing, and then working to accommodate both as much as is feasible.  Some pairings really are not feasible long term b/c too much compromise is called for by one personality type (it seems like it rarely is equivalent), but those pairings can be very happy in the shorter term or under particular life circumstances.

I never had expectations or much ambition to get married, or even to have a long term relationship.  It wasn't that I objected to the concept, I just didn't put effort into thinking about it, pursuing it, planning for it, or anything like that.  It helped that I never was interested in having kids...this is a very real issue for women who DO want kids b/c they have to try to balance finding a suitable partner with their job and their optimal child bearing years.

Yet, along came a love affair, quite soon after I was an independent adult, that proved absolutely wonderful and here I am still incredibly happy (and married) almost 30 years later.  I can't say I ever felt a moment's doubt at accepting his marriage proposal (though we'd been together about 2 years at that point), and I've never had any doubt at all since then that this is 'my Mate'.

However, that does NOT mean we haven't experienced tough patches where we weren't getting along, communicating well, or just weren't good partners to each other.  We have had 3 or 4 of these, usually as a result of coping poorly with outside pressures relating to health, job/money stressors, etc.  Only one patch that I can remember resulted from actual internal problems, when we appeared to be diverging int terms of some life goals and had to begin to contemplate a split.  At first, these patches were very scary, but we now understand they do occasionally come up and we stay calm and work through them. 

Occasionally our dynamic gets soured the point where we've taken short breaks from each other (usually a couple of weeks) to kind of reset our heads and our daily patterns.  When we were young and inexperienced, that idea was frightening...made us feel like the marriage was collapsing or whatever overly dramatic response our less experienced selves had.  But we've always loved each other, and wanted to work things out, and eventually we've worked it all out and gone on just as happy as before. 

I also believe there are multiple good hypothetical potential partners available for most people, so I don't tend to think of my husband as 'the only person who ever could have made me this happy'.  On the other hand, life is short and opportunities don't always last.  It's helpful to figure out what qualities you want in a partner and what are deal-breakers, so that you can recognize and jump at good available partners when you are in the market or you get lucky. 

ETA: I just reread the OP and saw that he? says he sometimes experiences boredom etc that he lets color other things in life. Yes, this definitely can happen, and can confuse relationships.  Are we just in a life rut, or are we actually bored WITH EACH OTHER?  B/C even if the source of the problem isn't the relationship,  the relationship can still be adversely affected (as I noted above).  Be forewarned that both life tedium AND life stress (too much going on) can derail relationships and I find both to be inevitable parts of life, but there is no need for it to do so if you cultivate good coping and relationship skills.  And (at least in my case) both of these definitely improved over our lives together, so that things that might have caused a lot of disruption in our 20s/30s cause much less in our 40s/50s.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:59:17 PM by wenchsenior »

pbkmaine

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #10 on: Today at 03:19:13 PM »
I do not experience any doubt. For us, it’s “as long as we both shall live”. That does not mean that we don’t get absolutely furious with each other from time to time.

Matt, if you are experiencing doubt, let her go. I talked myself out of my doubts about marrying my first husband, and regretted every day of our marriage.

Freedomin5

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #11 on: Today at 04:58:34 PM »
Married over 10 years here, together for 13.

For us, love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment. Itís a promise to stay with the person and to make things work. Obviously, both parties need to feel the same way for this to work, otherwise youíre kind of just setting yourself up for failure. DH knows Iíll never leave him even if he screws up or if Iím depressed. Happiness in and of itself is not the end goal, because happiness is fleeting. But other values such as Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness, Patience, Compromise, Self-Control (not taking out your bad day on your spouse), Faithfulness...Those are all more important in my mind. The funny thing is, when you focus on those other goals for your marriage, youíll find that Happiness is a nice side benefit.

I would also strongly suggest premarital counseling before getting married. You would never visit a new country without first preparing yourself, yet so many people jump into a new relationship and new stage of life without first getting the lay of the land.

Also, read The Seven Prinicples for Making Marriage Work. It was written by a marriage researcher at the University of Washington.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Long Term Relationships
« Reply #12 on: Today at 05:08:59 PM »
For those of you who are married/long term, to what extent is there doubt in your relationship?

I'm at a bit of a crossroads, personally. My gf wants to get married - not now, but in 2-3 years. I love her very much, but I also have pangs of doubt or cold feet. At times she'll talk very confidently and fearlessly about being together forever. At times I feel the same - energised and committed. At others I feel distant, unsure. It's impossible to know the future, and I hate the idea of saying something if my heart isn't in it.

On the first date with my current GF of ~9yrs I told her I wasn't going to have children with her [I planned to get a vasectomy] and I wasn't going to marry her. We have stayed together and been/are happy. I have no idea if we'll be together 9 more years or maybe not be together next year. Most people I know who got married failed. Including my GF who was married previously. I don't feel like special snowflake in terms of relationship skills so I'm with Zikoris on the "Let's stay together as long as we want to and if we ever don't want to we'll go our own ways."

I enjoy being in a relationship, but I am one of those people that doesn't need emotional life support. I'd be fine alone for the rest of my life. I also know that if I was single again and wanted to be in a relationship I could find someone to do so and end up in an amazing place again.

I don't subscribe to the "soul mate" or "only one person for me" theories of romance. When I have been single I have always found there were a huge number of awesome ladies to date and a smaller, but still significantly large population that I would be interested in being in a long term relationship with.

Decades later I am still friends with most of my Ex-GFs. As long as nobody acts like an asshole I don't see a relationship ending as a failure. It's just part of a natural cycle.