Why doesn’t love live here anymore?

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One of the many perks of spending my summers in Spain is running into old acquaintances. Such was the case last night when the elevator I was waiting for opened to reveal two old friends.

After exchanging excited greetings, we found ourselves sharing a bottle of cheap Spanish wine while catching up. We discovered who was pregnant, who had a new grandchild, and sadly, who’d passed away. We found out who tied the knot, remarried, or filed for divorce. While this may sound like a typical gossip fest, I assure you it was not.

Why? Because what started off as a simple exchange of information, deepened into a high order discussion of identifying “the why.”

One minute, one friend was revealing details of her brother’s marital break up, and the next, the other was admitting she’d been in a loveless marriage for twenty years.

Wine glasses were quickly refilled to cover up the awkward silence that ensued. However, the question hanging in the air was, “Why?” The friend in question did not have an answer.

The conversation that followed was so interesting, my friends have allowed me to share our results. But first, I should point out that our first question was, how different is staying with someone in a loveless marriage from an actual divorce? The answer is, not much.

We identified that in both cases, the individuals have become distant; estranged. They no longer share common interests and exchanges of affection are either rare or nonexistent.

Conversation is limited to current events, the weather, and the daily conundrum.

They never make time for one another and everything else always takes precedence.

Romantic, intimate moments, and sex are just a hazy memory. They claim to be busy, tired, or stressed. One has a headache, the other has to get up early the next morning.

Time continues to pass. One year turns into five, then into ten, and before long, they’ve spent two decades in the company of someone who is nothing more than a roommate.

You’d think all things considered, they wouldn’t want to spend a moment in each other’s company, let alone a lifetime. Yet together they remain.

Our discussion revealed the typical reasons for this being so: religion, financial difficulties, and the famous, “it’s in the best interest of the children.” However, we wanted to go deeper. Much deeper.

We wanted to discover what had the power to hold two peole hostage and force them to wake up in a state of misery day after day.

We were convinced a justifiable reason existed.

I want to tell you we were successful. I want to tell you we had an “aha” moment, that one of us screamed, “Eureka!”. But alas, such is not the case.

We were more confused at the end of our conversation than when we started. We bid each other farewell, disheartened and frustated.

This morning, an empty coffee cup by my side, I continue to look for answers.

My brain tells me perhaps it’s fear.

Fear of the unknown.
Fear of abandonment.
Fear of starting over.

Or perhaps it’s conformity–blind acceptance that this is the hand destiny has dealt.

Or maybe people are just too tired, lazy, or believe themselves unworthy of something or someone better.

I’m certain each case is different. Individuals in these circumstances are sure to have personal reasons for remaining. However, something tells me many, if not all, have one thing in common. They all want to know why.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation, and if so, why do you stay?


17 thoughts on “Why doesn’t love live here anymore?

  1. Interesting post, my dear Bella. For me, I can’t fathom living in a loveless marriage. I can’t fathom what it must do to children (who are quite astute about such matters). I can’t fathom what it must do to one’s self-esteem to wake up and realize LIFE has passed and we of our own choosing have missed it.

    Is divorce a better option? Maybe, maybe not. Like you and your friends discovered, each case is different. I know that, for me, better to be divorced and alone than unhappily married and together. (Perhaps that’s an easier choice for a writer, no?!?)

    Hugs to you and Miss Roxy!!

    1. Debbie, dear friend, my apologies to you and the rest of my wonderful readers for the lateness of this reply. Spain may be beautiful, but the Wifi is horrible! I have to say I read and reread your comment. You are so right!! I once read that itś better to be alone than to wish you were. And I believe itś absolute truth. In the case of my divorce, I can say I felt an overwhelming sense of relief when it was finally over. It literally felt like a great weight had been lifted. Thank you for your valuable feedback. Hugs to you and Dallas!

    2. Dear Debbie, thank you for bringing this post to my attention. I pray my dear friend Monica will forgive my absence to her blog as yet another casualty of not being connected to technology in this sleepy beach town. I have finally been able to visit the library (after more than two weeks) and shall now drop over to Monica’s blog. Thank you! Hugs!

  2. I was just going to email you how much I’ve missed you. Imagine my joy at finding this in my email today – even if it isn’t those lovely men in Speedos (smile). I stayed because I’d said “for better or worse, in sickness (and boy was he) and health, til death us do part”. I took that very seriously. Thank God he didn’t. He set me free to find a real and true love later in life. I am so grateful he wasn’t serious about our vows. SO grateful. I’d send him a thank-you card but somehow that seems slightly… rude? tacky? I still want to, though!! Best thing he ever did for me, dumping our marriage.

    Everyone deserves joy and happiness, emotion and passion. One thing Alpha Hubby and I guarded against (and still do) is becoming roommates. We swore in our vows we would never let that happen. We keep it at the forefront of our marriage so we don’t forget and let it drop. We work hard to keep connected both emotionally and passionately. Love is an action verb, not feelings. Feelings are fleeting. Some days you won’t feel love but you love by choice; you choose to love no matter what. Divorce is so permanent. If there is a breath of life left in the marriage, if it ever had passion and emotion, it would so worth the try to fix it, wouldn’t it? Then if not, let it go and LIVE because life is far too short.

    1. Nan, you sweetheart, I miss you! Your words made me both think and smile. I think sending a thank you card is a wonderful idea! hee hee! I feel grateful that I was set free the first time around. We made each other miserable and it made no sense to stay with someone who was more in love with himself than with me. Iḿ s happy that you found Alpha Hubby! Good things can happen to good people after all! Hugs and more hugs to you!

  3. Always great to see a blog post from you!

    Many years ago I picked up some old journals. I was looking for something specific, but I stopped and spent some time browsing through them. I was astonished to realize that I’d been making the same complaints for years about my marriage. I hadn’t taken the long view of the relationship — I was just focused on the day-to-day. We got along fine and were good friends, so I didn’t notice how miserable I was deep inside.

    I ended the marriage, spent some time single, then remarried. My husband and I are deliriously happy ten years down the road, with lots of romance and fun. We also handle adversity in a similar way, which is helpful when life throws its inevitable curves.

    One more thing: while the “why” is interesting, I always suggest focusing on “what now?” Somehow, when I do that, the “why” emerges organically.

    1. Nadine, Iḿ always so happy to read your comments! Would you believe reading over my own journal is what made me realize how miserable I had been and for how long? The written word is so powerful! I believe asking the “what now” is brilliant. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to identify the problem, that we forget to look for a way out of the situation that is making us sad. I think this is part of the denial process. For me, itś so difficult to realize that I’ve failed at something. Yet, if we only allowed nature to run itś course, we find that letting go is easier than trying to hang on. Thank you for chiming in, my friend!

    1. Oh, Kim, Iḿ so sorry for my absence to your blog! This summer has been the longest I’ve been in Spain and I have to say that not being wired constantly is driving me insane! I promise to visit your wonderful blog just as soon as I get back (middle of September). Hugs to you, beautiful!

  4. I am 3 years out of a divorce from a loveliness marriage and have to say that I am still not over it. I took my vows seriously but he did not, am still scared of being alone and feel like I lost everything! I know I’m better without him but hard to make ends meet and very lonely after 30 years of kids, family, and friends. He got married less than 6 months after the divorce, while I was homeless! The kids seem to gravitate towards him, really think it’s his money. Today I do have a job,( he never wanted me to work) and a year ago I bought a foreclosed home but struggle everyday with bills and the loneliness, I have found I don’t trust people and always look at the negative. My daughter is getting married next year and wants her dad and his wife and kids at the wedding, crushed me! I have one son that has nothing to do with me, one I email but don’t see, and one that talks to me but wouldn’t even let me sleep on his couch for a few hours during the day when I was homeless. He has allowed strangers to move in with them and his brothers but no help for mom. Think that’s the hardest, feel like I lost my kids. I know I should be happy, doing what I love doing, but feel so lost and empty.

    1. Hi Bella long time we heard from you.
      Its a beautiful but very sad post. I hope for your friends still things can turn around and change for the better. Both parties have to really put an effort in than. greetings

    2. Robin, first of all, my apologies for the lateness of this reply. I’m without WiFi most of the time and shall not be home for another two weeks. It is heartbreaking to read your comment. My heart goes out to you. I’ve heard people say that divorce is ten times worse than death and I think there’s some truth to that. In my experience, the man we divorce is a stranger. For certain he is not the man we married and vowed to remain with till death do us part. I too felt the isolation and the loneliness. I chose to build my life back, little by little, without the help from anyone. In my mind, I didn’t want the pity or compassion, or God forbid, for my children to be deemed a product of a broken home. It was difficult, very difficult. Fortunately, I was able to get back on my feet and came back stronger than ever. I pray your circumstances will continue to change and that you will once again be in control of your life and circumstances. Hang in there, friend. It gets better!

  5. How sad. That people, for even a moment, continue to live in a relationship without love. Habit? Fear? Laziness? All are good guesses. I have nothing to add. Except for my sympathy!

  6. What an incredible post! Thank you, and your friends, for sharing your conversation.

    I think that there are seasons in a marriage, or any relationship really, where you might be in a rut of lovelessness (this is the best time to invent a new word, right?). It’s in those times that I think we especially forget that love is something active, it doesn’t happen to us. We happen to it.

    As a new parent, I would say that I have been in this state somewhat often over the last couple years. Sleep deprivation, stress, and subsisting only on bananas because my beloved can’t cook anything have all contributed to this feeling. It’s in those times that I remind myself that I am not in a loveless relationship if I continue to act in a loving way (fake it ’till you make it is a totally legitimate strategy in this season, in my opinion).

    So maybe you stay because you want to keep working at it. Maybe you’re tired in every sense of that word and you need to build up your strength to leave. Maybe the hassle doesn’t seem worth it. But I think that remembering that love is a verb would be helpful.

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