We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘the spark has gone’, but what does this actually mean? Does it mean the red-hot passion of ripping each other’s clothes off is a distant memory, or is it as bad as not wanting to hold their hand when you walk down the street? Does it mean a passionate kiss leaves you feeling nothing, or can you not bear more than just a peck from them?
Ok, so the days of wearing your sexiest lingerie under your cute PJs are over, but there’s a big difference between the spark being gone, and the love being gone. Figuring out which camp you fall into can be hard when a life built together hangs in the balance.
Well, it’s not abnormal. Hear us out.
Often, when we think of being ‘in love’, we get visions not dissimilar to a Richard Curtis movie. There’s probably a log fire and a lake in the picture, and the whole scene is shot in soft focus. Is this a pretty picture? Yes. Is it realistic? Nope. Off you pop Hugh Grant.
When you first fall in love, your body has thousands of chemicals and hormones rushing through it, those chemicals and hormones are designed to make you fall in love and procreate. We might all walk around with our smartphones and opposable thumbs, but in reality, we haven’t moved on a great deal from cave times – thanks a lot, evolution. The rush you feel, the intense ‘got-to-have-you-now’ feelings, the belief that they can do no wrong, that they are your perfect match, soulmate – it’s all just chemicals. Dopamine, oxytocin and sheer lust all combine to make them, in your eyes, the perfect mate.
But the dopamine high doesn’t last forever. And when it wears off, you have to hope you’re left with something deeper than a chemical buzz to sustain your relationship.
If you’re feeling unhappy in your marriage, it’s time to evaluate why.
Are you simply feeling like you’re on a hamster wheel of love - like each day is the same? How would you feel if your other half planned a romantic weekend away for the two of you, or a date night where intimacy was definitely on the cards? Would you look forward to it? Pack your stockings and suspenders ready for some fun? If so, there’s definitely still something worth saving here.
Are you comparing your happiness to a time in your relationship when things were easier, perhaps you were more financially stable, or you both felt hotter/fitter/more glamorous/more energetic? These are normal things to miss in life, but it doesn’t exactly mean the marriage is the issue.
If you’re arguing all the time, they drive you crazy, the smallest thing makes your blood boil, then this sounds like more than just reminiscing and missing the old you. If you can’t stand their touch and the thought of more than just a quick peck makes you shudder, it’s time to TALK. Even if that means feeling uncomfortable. One thing is for certain, the only way forward, whatever forward looks like, is by communication.
It depends on what being ‘in love’ means to you. Everyone took a deep inhale of breath when Prince Charles responded to a question about whether he was in love with Diana Spencer with a dubious “whatever ‘in love’ means”, by maybe he had a point. Again…hear us out.
What we’ve learned during the research for this piece, is that everyone has their own take on what it means to be in love. We all place value on different aspects of love. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to remaining in a relationship or marriage.
For some, it’s trusting that their partner has their back and will be there through thick & thin. For others, love and appreciation come from the sense of security or the family unit, whilst other people need to have a physical and sexual attraction to their spouse in order to feel fulfilled. The area of a relationship that matters most to you will differ from that of your friends. This ultimately means that no one can decide for you whether you should stay in your relationship or not.
And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with placing more importance on one aspect of a relationship than another, we all speak different love languages.
The first thing to do is consider what’s changed and when. If you can pinpoint a time or moment when things started to slip, maybe you can work on getting things back on track.
If it’s been a build-up of issues that you’ve never mentioned, maybe now is the time to start chatting. It’s easy sometimes to let the (seemingly) little things go, but if you do this for too long, those little things add up. You might start losing respect for them or feeling taken advantage of. You might start losing your physical attraction to them or simply realise you have little in common.
Attraction can wane in different ways and for different reasons. Is your lack of attraction physical? Has he changed his appearance recently? Whether that’s gaining or losing a lot of weight (by choice), changing his hair or letting his beard run wild? If it’s as simple as this, lucky you because physical appearance can be changed if he wants to. Of course, we’re not advocating making anyone feel bad about themselves, but perhaps there’s a path there for an open and honest chat.
If you’re no longer attracted to your partner even though he hasn’t changed physically, you might have a bit more work to do. If he comes in for a passionate kiss, you reciprocate and enjoy it, happy days. If he comes in for a passionate kiss and you recoil or feel uncomfortable, awkward or physically turned off, this is harder to come back from. Physical intimacy is considered very important in a marriage, but are you struggling there too? Read on…
Ok, so there’s a bit to unpack here. But something you need to figure out is this: Do you not want to have sex with your husband, or do you not want to have sex at all?
If you find yourself horny but prefer to wait until he’s out of the house so you can enjoy some alone time with your trusty vibrator, you might have a problem. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes it’s more convenient to just DIY. After many years together, kids (possibly) and the stresses of daily life thrown into the mix, you’re not going to want to have sex all the time. But when you do want sex, it should be them you want it with. If you’re often horny but never want him to be the one to tend to your needs, it’s time to start talking.
Unfortunately, sometimes, all the talking and trying just doesn’t help and you come to the conclusion:
But what next, how do you navigate this? Unless there’s physical or psychological abuse, it’s never good to see a marriage end. It’s especially difficult when there are children involved. So we’ve listed below the things you need to consider first and foremost:
There are many other considerations when a marriage ends things such as Christmas and birthdays, holidays abroad, and possibly pets. Your lives become so intertwined with one another that breaking them apart is a very difficult task. When you’re asking yourself ‘Should I leave my partner?’, think carefully, because splitting up is never easy when you’ve built a life together.
However, it’s never worth staying in a marriage you’re unhappy in.
There are many pitfalls to staying when you want to leave, such as:
We love nothing more than to see happy couples fully in tune with one another. Every relationship and marriage has ups and downs, it’s never going to be roses and champagne 24/7. So only leave if you know it’s undoubtedly the right thing to do, with no other parties involved.
If you’ve got eyes on someone else or you’re just looking for that rush of chemicals through your body again, it’s important to remember that those chemicals don’t last forever. Is it worth ending something with long-term potential for short-term excitement? If you’re deeply unhappy or their touch makes you shiver (but not in a good way), and you believe being single would be better than where you are now, then we salute your bravery and wish you well.
Ending a relationship is never easy but remember to be true to yourself and what you want from life and don’t punish yourself with guilt. You only get one life honey, so live it in the best way you can.
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