Is Love a Choice, a Duty, or a Gift?

My whole life I have worked to be good. Worked so hard to perfect, awe-inspiring actually, not just good. And in many cases I have excelled at this. Many people use the word amazing to describe me or my talents. Today I am left wondering – why? To what end? And if I’m so good at being good, why doesn’t it feel good? Why do I still feel so empty and torn up inside?

After so many years of “working” on my marriage, I keep coming back to this idea that it shouldn’t be so much work to love someone. Now I do love Hubby, after all these years of course I do, but I can’t shake this feeling that it isn’t right. That something is missing. I think he loves me more wholly than I love him. I can feel his love for me now, I can see it in his daily actions, and yet I have trouble returning it. I feel grateful to him. I do feel loved now. But I still don’t feel like he is the one I’m supposed to share my life with, forever. I hate feeling this way!! If I could change it I would, but even though I make change after change in my own life, in my own brain, this feeling about him remains. I feel like life chose him for me. I don’t feel like I was ready for marriage 18 years ago, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it now.

Last spring I asked Hubby to leave. I was at my breaking point. At that point, we barely spoke to each other, and when we did it was harsh and usually ended with full blown anger and resentment. We barely had sex, and most often slept in different rooms, even different floors of the house. We did not support each other in anything. I raised the kids, he went to work each day. Separate worlds for so many years.

When I asked him to leave, everything changed. He asked for a fresh start. We worked hard to have dates, get to know each other again, went to counseling. We spiced up our bedroom with lingerie and new tricks. It was all very exciting. It was all very new. I thought things were going to work, that he would be able to bring me into his heart, and I would finally let him in mine. I am very sad to say that all that new and exciting stuff has dwindled down, and although we don’t fight much, and we’re much more respectful to each other, and working together with the kids and housework – I still don’t feel connected to him like I think I should. I’m so afraid that we rode on the waves of lust and excitement, and none of that was actually love and certainly can’t go on forever.

And so, I have to think. and think. and overthink. because what else do I do? Am I looking for something that does not exist? Is this love and I just don’t know it? Should I just shut up and be happy?

So here is where my choices come in. Do I stay in a situation that works out quite well, that is raising happy, healthy kids even though I feel disconnected? Should I keep trying to LOVE someone that I only love. Should I keep waiting, keep trying, keep being the good wife and just be grateful it is no longer terrible here. Should I accept the love of a man that does not seem to react when I tell him how I feel?

Whenever I try to be honest with hubby, he says I have to stop, because the truth hurts him. He doesn’t seem to care that I have to live with this truth inside of me.



13 thoughts on “Is Love a Choice, a Duty, or a Gift?

  1. Not being in love myself I’m only able to stand outside looking in. Of the successful marriages I’ve seen, love is anything but easy. It’s a lot of hard work. Everyday stuff creates wedges. There is no easy button. We’re taught by our Ns that we have to be their everything, sacrifice everything for them. We’ve been trained for that. We carry it along with us. How do we unlearn that insane perception? We work to curb it, change it, and do remarkably well because we work hard. I’ve listened to wives who are happily married complain about how their husbands don’t listen or understand and sometimes they don’t feel loving. They made a commitment. Mr. Perfect is an illusion. Kind of funny coming from me considering the fact I write romance novels. Even so, I understand my stories are a chance to escape, take a breath, and hopefully, sometimes, gain a broader perspective. Keeping you in my prayers in your journey.

  2. I had a really great love once that really felt right. We clicked…love was easy….it was amazing. But now I struggle to ever feel real LOVE for anyone else. I feel like it ruined me because now no one can compare. The reality is that a love like that is rare and can’t ever be duplicated.
    At this point I feel very much like you do regarding my love for my husband. But I would not leave him mostly because I don’t want to be alone. Sure I could look for another love, but at my age I assume the odds are so stacked against it that I am better off to keep the husband I have even if he isn’t what I want or need. He is better than nothing.
    Used to be Ann Landers or someone would say ask yourself if you would be better off without him. If you say no then you should stay.

  3. Heavens, I have no words of wisdom. I am twice divorced. The first choice–well, we were, and are so very different, that it was insane from the start. He never *got* me, and still doesn’t. Number two is a sociopath, so that was no upgrade. I got seven gorgeous children out of the deals, and now I am truly happy being single. I have no desire for a number three. I will pray for you. Marriages are so hard!

  4. I understand the idea that it shouldn’t be so much work to love someone. And ideally, when you’re with the right person, and in the right place yourself, it isn’t hard. But the fact is that you’re currently on a process of healing, which takes time. Focus on yourself for a while, and do whatever it takes: therapy, hypnotherapy, NLP…heal yourself however you need to. THEN you can work on your relationship with your husband. It will probably be easier for you to do that with your husband on your own. Once you’re in a better place as an individual, you can better evaluate what to do with your relationship. I know from experience that it’s hard to be patient sometimes, but there are times when patience is exactly what we need. Good luck!

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