Ask Lindy . . . About Being in Love
By Lindy Earl
I fell in love with my spouse many, many years ago. We had children together. We have our careers. My problem is that, over time, we grew apart. I just don’t love my spouse anymore. We have very little in common and don’t even sleep together anymore.
I don’t want to leave while my children are at home, but I am just unhappy. Should I have an affair or choose a celibate life?
-Unhappy and Unsure
Dear Unhappy Spouse,
I’m sorry that you have fallen out of love. I think you know that the worst thing that you can do, for yourself, your spouse, and your marriage, is to cheat. Take that out of your mind immediately.
You can fall in love with your spouse again. Start dating them. Develop an interest in who they are and the things they like. Remind yourself why you fell in love with them in the first place.
If you’re still unhappy, please do not use your children as an excuse. It is better for everyone if y’all agree to not be together anymore. Then you can seek happiness, and love, elsewhere.
I was married for over ten years, and divorced for about the same amount of time. Since that divorce, I have gone from one bad relationship to another. Of course I didn’t realize that they would go bad, but every one has. They seem great at first, but nothing has worked out long term.
As this point I just can’t allow myself to fall in love again. It’s too hard and it hurts too much. I am choosing to accept that I’ll be alone forever.
-Sad but accepting
I am sorry that you have experienced a string of bad relationships. First rule – don’t revisit any of them and try to figure out what happened and why. Put it all in the past and accept it as your history. Be happy that it’s over.
I think that choosing to stay single is a great idea . . . for you . . . for the moment. Enjoy being alone! Spend time doing what you want. Make your weekends about you and your desires.
If things change in the future, then be open to it, but don’t go looking for it. Since you’ve come to terms with staying single, then be the best single person who you can possibly be!
I don’t know if I’m in love or not. I mean, I think my SO is fabulous; really great, in so many ways! But, is this love? And, if it is, will it last forever? How can I know?
I can’t say if you’re in love, but I can tell you that you can’t know if it will last forever. Nobody knows that. Life is a daily gamble. If you’re still kicking and happy at the end of the day, then consider yourself a winner.
As for your specific SO: are you happier with them than alone? Do you eagerly anticipate when you’ll see them again, or are you okay without them and not knowing when you’ll next get together? Do you miss them when you’re apart or are you happy by yourself? Is there chemistry and excitement when you kiss? None of these individually will tell you if you’re in love or not, but if all the answers are pointing in one direction then you probably have a pretty good clue. I’m sure you can think of more questions to ask yourself as well.
From previous columns:
I am attracted to very athletic, muscular, and lean men. My problem is that, since I’ve gained weight over the years, these men don’t seem to be able to see past my physical aspects to find that I’m a really nice, kind, thoughtful, smart, and even charming person. How do I get them to see the real me?
-Overweight but Still Caring
Dear Caring Person,
I have to wonder, why are you asking for men to see past your physical aspects even while you’re specifically seeking physical aspects from your next SO. Are you willing to look past someone’s physical aspects to learn if they are nice, kind, thoughtful, smart, and charming? I think once you open yourself to more types, you may find that there are great men out there in every shape and size.
I am a sapiophile. That means that I am attracted to people who are intelligent. The reason for this is that I’m extremely intelligent. I can’t seem to find someone who measures up. So, what to do? Settle for someone who isn’t as smart as me?
Dear Egotistical Reader,
Please know that others know the meaning of sapiophile, but thank you for sharing the definition anyway. I think in every relationship there are trade offs. In your case, maybe you can trade intelligence for compassion and kindness. It seems that you’re lacking in those areas, so you may need someone who has extra to spare. Maybe they can run interference for you with others before your condescension shows.
I really don’t care how a person looks. I have dated gorgeous people and less attractive. I have been called the settler, but I believe that I have been the reacher a few times.
How do we get past all the shallowness of looks and concentrate on things that matter, like personality and sense of humor?
Dear Mature Reader,
It is so great to hear from you. I think that there are plenty of people, especially the second or third time around, whether it’s due to divorce or widowhood, who are in complete agreement with you.
Please just keep being yourself. Talk to people who interest you and allow them to see your real personality. You are truly charming and that will show, so focus on the things that attract you and let the rest slide.
To me, exercise is a healthy habit. I exercise regularly, but not daily. My SO, however, has taken their habit to the extreme. They HAVE TO work out a few hours each day. If they miss their workout, or something upsets their routine, they are moody and difficult. Is this a bad habit or something else?
-Not an Extremist
Dear Habitual Exerciser,
I think anything in extremes can be dangerous. For instance, a good meal is a necessity, but overeating can make you feel awful, and done consistently leads to weight gain. So while nothing is wrong with the action, the amount can cause trouble. The same is obviously true with alcohol.
I can see that anything in excess, even something as good as exercise, can be a bad thing. So yes, I see a problem. It’s not the exercising that’s negative, but the fact that moodiness ensues if the routine is upset.
Please have a conversation with your SO about work-life balance; in this case, exercise-life balance.
This isn’t a huge issue, except that it is a huge issue. My SO does not know how to load a dishwasher. He says it isn’t a big deal. I don’t know why it matters so much to me, but it does.
There is just a logical way to load a dishwasher. I learned as a child! I think he could learn like any other habit. You start from the back and load forward. Is that so hard to understand?
Habits can take a while to develop. I do not buy into the theory that a new habit can be developed in three weeks (Please!).
I vote that anybody who will put dishes in a dishwasher is a keeper. You can gently and kindly ask for him to follow your lifelong habit, but you can’t demand it. Be happy that he loads the dishwasher at all.
What do you think of people who have bad habits, like twirling their hair or biting their nails or bouncing their knee or pacing or checking their phones all the time?
You choose to accept them or not. What is more important, who they are and that they love you, or their habit? You can get used to anything when you love the person and focus on them, not their habits.
My spouse and I come from different religions. It doesn’t bother us. We dealt with it when we first started dating. In fact, it started a lot of interesting conversations. The problem is our families. They keep telling us to break up because it will never work. They tell us, too often, that we can never have children because of religious differences. What should I do?
Follow your heart. There are been thousands of marriages of mixed religions. If you’ve decided to never allow religion to be a problem, and can maintain that decision, then enjoy your relationship! You might want to put a stop to the comments from well-meaning family members. Simply tell them the subject is not up for discussion and walk away if someone tries to talk about it.
My faith is very important to me. For that reason I want to wait until I find someone whose faith is equally important to them. Am I kidding myself? Will I ever find someone or will I be alone with my faith forever?
I know it can seem like a long time, but take heart. Having faith is a good thing and there are a plethora of people who share your feelings. Someone is out there looking for someone who shares their level of faith. You just need to find one another.
Look, I don’t believe in heaven or hell. I think this world is what we get. When we die we die. So I don’t belong in any religious group. Why is that hard for people to understand? I’m tired of fighting over this subject.
-This is it
I think it’s hard for people to understand your thoughts for a few reasons. First, it’s different from what they think, and some people have a hard time when others don’t share their beliefs. Second, there are religions that say exactly what you stated, so there is a religion out there for you. You don’t need to be part of any religion and it seems that you are content without any religious affiliation. So live your life and avoid the subject. That way you won’t have any disagreements.
My SO watches television as much as the next person, but only sports. He won’t go to a movie during any playoff week. I love the idea of cuddling on the couch, but it’s hard to cuddle to first downs, base hits, and three pointers.
-Wants to cuddle
I think that you have a lot of options. You can cuddle without watching anything. Suggest going to bed early so you can enjoy cuddle time before falling asleep.
If snuggling while watching is important to you, then take time to plan a cuddling party that your SO will enjoy.
Find a time when there are no sports on (yes, it may be early on a weekend morning); get some soft, warm blankets; prep some good snacks; choose something to watch that you know that they will like. Then send an invitation to make it a really special occasion. They may like it as much as you do and ask for repeat performances.
Control of the clicker is a huge thing for my SO. I do my best to go with the flow. They will choose a show, and I’ll say nothing and start watching. Just as I’m getting involved with the characters and plot, they’ll change the channel. This continues all evening! We never seem to finish anything we start. Are they OCD or something?
-Wants to finish a show
Dear Interrupted Viewer,
Well, that does seem distracting if not down right irritating. Have you tried talking to your SO about this? I certainly can’t answer if they are OCD but the fact that it bothers you should be sufficient for them to settle on a program.
You could put up some time limits: Please make changes within 5 minutes of a new program so that you don’t get too engrossed. Might you take turns with the remote? Maybe hour by hour or day by day? My last suggestion is to invest in another television and watch what you want in another room.
Is watching a DVD an acceptable date? This may sound odd, but I prefer movies at home. It doesn’t matter if it’s Redbox or Netflix or HBO. I am just perfectly happy with a pizza and television.
My problem is that, as I’m just returning to dating after a long marriage, I think that guys will find this odd. I enjoy going out for coffee, lunch, or dinner, but after a few dates, I’m just as happy staying in with a good flick. I’m afraid that guys will think this is weird. Should I tell a guy how I really feel?
Yes, you definitely should state your preferences, not only in this situation, but in all situations. When asked if you prefer red or blue, don’t guess what answer somebody wants to hear, tell them what you like! That’s called good communication.
I may not make a movie at home a first date. I’m all about meeting somewhere, for safety reasons, the first time unless you’ve known each other for a while. But after a few times out, if there’s a movie you want to see, or you have a movie that you’d enjoy sharing with someone, then definitely, invite the guy over for pizza and a movie. I’m guessing there are a lot of guys who would not only be happy, but be relieved to hear this. And by the way, I’m with you.
I never thought I would ever have an affair, and certainly never with a married man. But, here I am. I love him dearly but hate to give up what I have with my spouse and children. What do I do?
-In a dilemma
I have to encourage you to grow up. Make a choice and live with it. I do have some questions for you. Is the choice even yours? Does your married man even want you full time or was he just looking for fun? That may not be a real relationship. Also, are you sure your husband will take you back? He may be done with you. You may be in a dilemma, but not the one you think. You may be on your own for a while when this all comes to light. So I repeat. Grow up. Take responsibility for your actions and allow the cards to fall where they will. Then make better decisions in the future and remember what the word commitment means.
I would never have an affair, but every night, when everyone in the house is asleep, I get online and, let’s say, entertain myself. It started out with just pictures, but it progressed when women came on to me. Now I’m engaging in stuff over the internet every night. But, like I said, I’m not cheating on my wife. Is this okay?
Dear Unfaithful husband,
No, this is not okay and yes, you are cheating on your wife. And, you’re doing it right under her nose! That’s horrible. There are no victimless crimes. The truth is that your behavior is causing a wedge between you and your spouse. You need to stop this immediately. If you need help, then contact a counselor or a church or find a friend and maybe an accountability partner. You can make the change and you need to start now.
I made a promise to every one of my SOs (yes, there have been more than one) that I would be faithful, and I always have been. The problem isn’t cheating, it’s boredom. I won’t cheat, but relationships end because they just become monotonous. Would it be better to spice things up so that I can have a long term relationship? My record is five years, which was three years too long.
No, it would not be better to cheat. You can find ways to make your current relationship exciting so that you don’t want to have an affair or break up. Go back to the time when you first met and loved being together. How can you recreate those feelings? Maybe it’s time to start dating your SO again. Plan nice events that you both enjoy. A trip may help. Ask them for ideas, because it’s possible that they are as bored as you are. Don’t automatically give up when it may be a temporary malaise. Fight through it to be exciting and excited again.
My Significant Other (SO) is a great person. Thoughtful. Kind. Giving. Really great. There is, however, one area where they drive me crazy. They ALWAYS have to be right. If we disagree on anything they HAVE TO prove that they are right. If it turns out that I was right, which means (dare I say it) that they were wrong, they will change their answer and say that I remembered wrong, proving that they were, in fact, right.
What can be done about this?
-Always wrong, never right
Dear Person in the Know,
Just because somebody changes their answer does not make them right. Some people just have something in them, you can call it insecurity or something else, that gives them this need to be right. You can’t change that, only they can. There is no reason for them to make a change if they don’t see it as a problem.
What can you do? Choose to live with it or not. If you choose to live with it, then decide to wave it off or laugh to yourself when it happens, otherwise it may continue to eat at you and resentment and bitterness could build within you. You don’t want that.
If you choose to not live with it, you have a few more options. You can confront them and say that you won’t deal with it, so that things need to change. This puts the decision of how to proceed with them. Another option is to leave. Just be done with it, but be sure to avoid this type of behavior in future partners.