Do you have to be in love for a relationship/marriage to work?


Every single time! (Well...in SAM's world!)

This question has been debated by myself and a few people I know over the past few weeks, so I decided to post about it.

So….CAN a marriage/relationship survive if both people in the marriage/relationship aren’t in love?

The answer?

It depends.

Hysterically FUNNY Sidebar: Truli, one of my friends said this when asked the question, “Do you want to wake up next to someone and say, ‘Hey, honey, can you get me a glass of water?’ And then have mediocre morning sex, or do you want to wake up next to a different person and say or hear, “Damn, girl – I love you AND you’re hot as hell – come sit over here!” Oh, my goodness – I almost died laughing.

Whew, okay – end of sidebar. Let’s get personal for a minute.

Me, SAM? I’ve tried it both ways. Being in a relationship when I was NOT really in love and being in a relationship because of love.

I was okay in the relationship where I was not in love (it’s so WRONG to say “I love you” and not REALLY mean it!). He was a good man, he was good to me, we had a good time when we were together. I liked him a lot.  But after a while, I was bored. I was bored because I wasn’t enthusiastic about the relationship – I was okay with it.  If we were together, that was cool, if we weren’t, that was cool, too.  I had someone to go out with, attend important functions with, to share holidays with if I wasn’t near my family, we shared pet responsibilities, and I had someone to have regular sex with, and the sex was….regular, all the way around – it served it’s purpose.  After some time, I realized I was cheating this man, and most of all, I was cheating myself. I was cheating him because he wanted something serious and long-term and after dating for a while, I knew I didn’t want that with him.  I could have had it with him and I would have been okay, but I didn’t want to be just “okay”. I was cheating myself because I was settling. I am the type of person who wants love in a relationship – it keeps me motivated and makes me go above and beyond because I really want to go above and beyond! So, now that I’ve experienced both, I know who I am in regards to relationships. However, I will say this: being in that relationship that was all about companionship was very good for me.  Because it showed me that I CAN be in a relationship and not be in love with the person. But it also showed me that just because I CAN, that doesn’t mean it’s going to make me feel happy and fulfilled because it didn’t make me feel either of those things – I was content.  For a while.  And then when I remembered how wonderful being in love is and what that means for me in my life – mostly, how much BETTER I am at everything when I have love, I realized….THAT is what I want. So, there you have it. I am the type of person who in a relationship, needs to be in love with my mate and I need my mate to be in love with me in return. The relationship for companionship allowed me to experience personal growth, so I thank that man for giving me that opportunity; he really is a good guy.

So, now, let’s get down to business.

What is YOUR reason for being in a marriage/relationship?  Is it to raise children?  Is it to share a home?  Is it for companionship?  Is it for social and/or business appearances?  Is it a combination of the aforementioned?  Is it because you fear something – being alone, disappointing your partner/spouse or maybe failing at the relationship/marriage? Is it for love?

Once you have clearly defined what your reasons are for being in a marriage/relationship, you then have to make sure that those reasons fit your characteristic and personality profile.

What does THAT mean? Lol.  One of the people in the debate asked that question.

What it means is this:

The case for NOT being in love- If you are the type of person who by nature, has always been okay with companionship and you don’t have a strong desire to be emotionally bonded with and connected to a person which allows for a higher level of intimacy and you aren’t interested in having that kind of intimacy, then, no, you don’t need to be in love with your spouse or partner. You will be happy with a good, decent person whom you have a good time with, spend your holidays with, do family things with, basically, share life with. That’s all you need to be completely happy.  And, if you try to do it the other way – with those intense feelings of love and emotional intimacy, it may freak you out – those things are just too much and/or too emotionally charged for this kind of a person. And if you end up with a partner who is in love with you and you are not in love with them in return, your life is going to be complicated because, really, can you tell him/her that you love them but aren’t “in love” with them?  Of course not! It will hurt their feelings.  And then the “living a lie” begins.  Not good for anyone. I have seen this happen and people can go for YEARS living like this: someone always ends up getting hurt.  So, if you don’t need to be in love, find a partner who is like-minded – that’s your best bet for the kind of life that you want. And, if you know you are the type who deep-down-inside desires love and you’re stifling yourself by taking part in a relationship where you aren’t really in love with the person, just see below for what could and will happen!

The case for being in love-If you are the type of person who by nature, has always loved the idea of being in love and has always desired to be in love with their partner, then you will need to be in love with them to be completely happy. If this kind of person chooses a marriage or relationship where the priority is everything BUT love, they will feel a sense of loss from time to time and/or may feel that something is missing in their life (or marriage/relationship) but they can’t put their finger on it. What’s missing for these kind of people is a love that they’ve always wanted deep down inside. And if they’ve ever experienced being in love, any partner they end up with will never be enough because that person won’t compare to the person they loved or the emotionally intimate feelings they experienced.  And, of course that would happen, because….. they aren’t in love with their spouse/partner! And, if only one person is in love – ooo!! That is going to be a problem.  Because whether the partner in love admits it to their partner or not, that person will know that he/she is not completely “there” with them and will do one of two things: 1. Go into “I will do and say ANYTHING to keep her/him in my life” mode and do/say outrageous things or put up with outrageous behavior or 2. Settle for the scraps they get from their partner and just keep quiet/keep the status quo.  And the partner who isn’t in love? They are either going to cheat or eventually…..leave – both may take years to happen, but it WILL happen. Just bad all around.

Have you experienced what I have – have you gone on a mission of self-discovery to see where you fall into these two categories? And, what do you think – do you agree with our general consensus that if you innately desire to be in love, then BOTH PEOPLE need to be in love in a relationship/marriage for it to work?

Some additional information:  The age range of the folks in this debate are people aged 40 to the unbelievable age of 92, all of them have children except two, and all of them have been in (and some still are) married or in a serious, long-term relationship.  They all have education beyond high school. The line of work of some of the debaters: education, IT, medicine, non-profit, law officer, attorney. A few of them are very into church or are religious/spiritual. Two were reverends and one of the reverends has his own practice in marriage therapy. Two of them are therapists with a social work background -another is a psychologist; all three are in private practice- one person’s practice is children/teenagers, the other two are in practice for family and marriage counseling.  Races: every single race was represented in this group. Gender: about 60% men and 40% women. I mention all of this so one can see how diverse this group is.

Thanks for reading, guys – I’m off to post on Twitter and Facebook; see you tonight for “Love Letters”.

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