Love & Marriage

Updated on March 20, 2009
A.G. asks from Bethel Park, PA
24 answers

Hello Moms-

Wondering if anyone else has experienced a polite, amicable disconnect from their spouse. I'm feeling like a live with a room mate versus a best friend, love partner, etc...My husband and I have talked about this and he feels like this as well. It's almost as if the love, empathy, compassion, passion, warmth is gone. Like we have grown in different directions and neither truly understands the other. It all feels almost mechanical and going through the motions - their is no connection of the soul. We talk about the need to bring that "spark" back but I feel pretty hollow inside. Has anyone else experienced this and if yes how do you get the "spark", love, romance, etc...back? Is it possible to have love grow again?

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answers from Philadelphia on


There is so much to say! I am divorced and I would say to anyone considering it, DON'T! I don't think there is any such thing as a polite, amicable disconnect from a spouse.

I remember in the last years of my marriage thinking some of the very same thoughts. I hadn't felt "in love" with my husband for a long time and would think of how I could leave my life without leaving the ones I loved. There were just so many points of dissatisfaction, and our relationship had gotten to the point where we where our conversations revolved either about what we were having for dinner or things concerning the children.

But the realities are just so different. For one, the reason my husband wasn't feeling connected to me was because he was "connecting" with other women instead. The reason I wasn't feeling connected to him was because I had wrapped my world around my children. Their needs ALWAYS came first, even before my husband's or myself, which is completely unhealthy for all concerned (even the children). I believe that I may have left some very important emotional and physical needs unmet for my husband, which caused him to meet them elsewhere. However, his unfaithfulness was NOT my fault. He had no excuse; if he had unmet needs, he should have told me. He didn't, and used that to excuse his behavior.

That being said, the answer is YES, you can rekindle the love and "in love" feelings you once had with your husband. And in addition to that, you owe to yourself, your husband, and your children to do the WORK that it takes to do so. And I mean W.O.R.K.

I think one of the biggest mistakes I made in my first marriage is believing that we were in love, therefore, the relationship would take care of itself. Well, it doesn't. Feelings and emotions change and even in the very best of marriages, you won't always FEEL in love with each other, but there should always be loving, and kindness, and consideration, and thoughtfulness, etc.

Another huge mistake I made was putting the children before the relationship with my husband. If I had to do it all over again, that is the one thing I would change. I would see to it that I met his emotional and physical needs FIRST and place our marriage relationship FIRST, and then the children.

As a result, my ex-husband and I have 3 great children, but our relationship didn't survive, and we have all suffered so much pain and brokenness. My children lost their family and they have had so much pain because of it. It is horrendous watching your kids hurt like that, and knowing that you had some hand in causing that pain is hard to live with. Holidays, birthdays, special occasions, ex-in-laws are all just a mess. Divorce is by far the ugliest word in the English language, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. The pain also keeps rearing its ugly head in new and different ways. Its awful.

And my children have had to make a considerable adjustment in their place in my life. They had always been first, and after the divorce, they just couldn't be anymore. I mean, they are first in my heart and priorities, but they couldn't be in my time. Before the divorce, I was able to put my commitment to them first, I was a SAHM, I often chaparoned school trips and hosted grand birthday parties and always had supper on the table, etc. Since the divorce, I have gone back to school, started a business, and I began dating again. All of the these things took me away from them at times they were used to having me at their disposal. I didn't have the money we had before to do nice things, I didn't have the time or energy to chaperone or host, and I spent some evenings away from home as I went on classes or dates. Now, they were and are fine, but I'm saying it has been a big adjustment. If they had been used to me taking care of myself, my commitments, my relationships, my obligations AND them all along, they would have had an easier adjustment, I think.

A., I suggest you get a book or two from the library on this topic, take a weekend get-away for just the two of you, go to a marriage seminar, or even go to marriage counseling. There is so much you can do, but your relationship HAS to be a priority. It is so worth it for your children to grow up with both of their parents, and modeling a strong marriage for them will do so much for their adult lives. Believe me, you do not want to experience the kind of pain and brokenness a divorce brings to your life, and you do not want your children to have to experience it, and you DO NOT want to be a single mother. There is NOTHING fun or easy about being a single mother. NOTHING!

Do the work. It will mean everything to your kids, your husband, and you.


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answers from Erie on

Marriage is a funny thing. It's easy to grow apart. And it's especially easy when you have so much to do that your life and your love is often spent on the children.

I've been married almost 20 years, and last summer I went through what I would call a "dry" spell. I felt really empty inside, and when my spouse would cuddle up and put his arm around me in bed it felt like a burden and a chain rather than like, "hey, cool. He loves me." I never told him, because I didn't want to hurt him, and I knew I'd never find so faithful and loving a husband and daddy for my children. And, as the stress levels in each of lives changed, things just began to change. I began to see the things that made me love him, and I began to appreciate him more again, and now it's kind of like a new honeymoon (except that we're more like old shoes right now -- incredibly comfortable together, wouldn't ever want to have to break another one in, and don't think I could EVER in my lifetime find anyone who loves me the way he does.)

You obviously aren't there. So it's a question of commitments. You are in this trough where the feelings just aren't there, but love isn't a "feeling". Love is an action. It's being there for the other when they need someone. It's being connected into each other's goals and supporting the other and cheering for them when they win and caring for them and helping them through the tough times.

I'm sure there are lots of people out there who would say if you feel nothing for each other, you should split, but I disagree. If you care for each other, if you are both sexually faithful and wouldn't deny that commitment, I would hang in. Perhaps getting away from the kids and doing something that would be "FUN" for the two of you, a short trip, depending on your financial situation, a cruise, something that would feel like a "date", maybe you'd get away from all the local stresses, kids, jobs, people, pressures, and you'd begin to look at each other and see the person you fell in love with. If not, you might consider counseling, or simply taking time to learn new things about each other -- Facebook has this 25 random things gig going around, where each person writes down 25 random things about themselves and challenges their friends to do the same -- and you can learn a whole lot about people that you didn't know before. I think sometimes we become uninteresting to ourselves, and therefore assume we are uninteresting to our partners.

I am in marriage #2. Marriage #1 ended after 5 years, and then I was single for 5 years before I married my husband. I will say that it is much harder to live as a single parent, and the kids will miss both of you, and you should only consider breaking off the relationship if you cannot possibly repair it. Make the effort. You probably married a swell guy. And you are both honest enough to be talking about this without having to go to a counselor or 3rd party. Obviously there is great esteem for each other. There may be more to build upon than you think -- even if right now it's feeling more like a memorized script than a wonderful supportive relationship.

The husband I have now? Well, regardless of how I "feel" any given day, I would never leave him. I would never find the kind of unconditional love he gives me, I would never find a man who encourages me to do things I find fulfilling, even if it means going away for 3 weeks to sail a tall ship on the ocean, and I would never find such a wonderful father. No, he's not perfect. Sometimes I'd like to rant and rave at him, but he doesn't fight back, so I feel like I'd be a wretch to do that. Sometimes I just don't deal well with me, and during that time, there's really little he can do to help me until I get past myself again. But he puts up with me . . . and for some bazaar reason he's solidly and unquestioningly in love with me (yeah, he's got to be partly nuts). And I don't think anyone else would give me the kind of relationship I have now with him. (he gets a good deal, too, cuz I give him the same flexibility, and faithfulness, and I don't think he could ever imagine marrying anyone else.)

Try remembering your stories together -- when you started dating, how you felt, and how your relationship grew. How did he propose? Where did you go, what did you do on your honeymoon -- reach back to the milestones that built your lives, and dwell on those wonderful times. I made a scrapbook with pix from our wedding and honeymoon during one of my dry periods, and it really reminded me of the love I had for my spouse, and how much he loved me.

As we mature, our loves changes, and we don't necessarily have the fireworks we had when the relationship started. But that doesn't make it a bad relationship. It means it's growing. It may not be as exciting, and the love may not bubble up inside you the way it did, and your heart might not skip a beat when he looks at you "that way" like it did when you were dating, but it grows into a firmer more solid foundation when it isn't just based upon excitement and thrill. Don't be afraid of that. If you are basically compatible people, and you care for each other, build upon that and wait for the emotions to find you again. They will. And then you'll feel even happier in your relationship cuz it lasted faithfully through the desert until you got to the oasis together.

Who would you lean on if your child were seriously ill and needed surgery?

Who would you lean on if you lost your job ?

Who would you lean on if someone in your family died ?

Probably your spouse -- but right now things are on so even a keel and life is calm, so you aren't clinging so tightly. That doesn't make it bad. You're just growing up with him.

:-) (sorry I'm so wordy)


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answers from Pittsburgh on

Hey A.,

I am not currently in that same place. I once was though. It wasn’t a mutual thing it was me. It was a brief time but it wasn’t a fun time either. We read some books together, started dating again, remembering why we got married in the first place. We talk about everything again. So we understand each other. As hard as it is you need to remember your husband comes before your kids. That doesn't mean ignore your kids and don't meet their needs. It just means we must meet our spouses needs too. I know how hard it is because my girls are the same age as your little ones. When your kids are grown and moved out you will still have your husband by your side. We are in love more than ever and it’s because we both work at it and decide to be in love. So I believe with all my heart you can get it back.

There are so many good books out there to help you out. One is called Love is a Decision. One is called His Needs Her Needs. Another is the 5 Love Languages. Also, my pastor was just talking about marriage and how love is a choice and not just an emotion. That the emotion wears off after a few months. This whole month is on marriage. He is really funny and makes some really good points. Whether you are a Christian or not you will be able to get something from it. The website is . It is the first one on the top called Oath.

Hope that helps!


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answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes, we have had it and instead of implementing more date nights or seeing a counselor, we took a naptime (3 hours) to TALK to each other. Of course, I started and had to push a bit, but luckily, my hubby wanted to make things improve too. So we talked - the only rule I set was not talking about our daughter or any fights we already had. Turns out we both realized that we reached a lot of goals that we had when we were childless, and that we achieved both a child and a house (and for my hubby - a regular job with regular hours) in the same year! As anyone knows, that spells "project" and not "sitting around talking". So together we plotted out what needs to happen around the house over the next few months, what we both want to do for fun (started making dinner dates with folks), and my hubby is mulling over a realistic hobby to have - "man time" as I call it. We also realized we had new fears that we've never talked about - now that we're parents, we worry about things like education, if we can balance a 2nd child, whether our kid will be a brat, etc.!

Everyone's solution is going to be different, but talking, uninterrupted, is the best method.

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answers from Philadelphia on

it is hard when you have kids. sometimes i feel the same way. have a date night and have the kids stay the night with grandpa and grandma. go out to a nice dinner then movie then come home to have some fun. if you have some time to yourselves this can be fun and exciting. good luck.



answers from Philadelphia on

I'm not there, but I have friends who have been and it sounds the same to me like you need to liven up things in your marriage. You both may be starting to grow immune to the everyday routine of your marriage. Do you get out together like before you had kids? Try sitting down and talking to each other about some new options to spice up your love life. Talk about each others fantasies and try to fulfill the ones you can handle. Get a babysitter and go to the movies. I know the babysitter issue is a big one, trust me I have 2 myself, but you both really need to get back on track before you get further apart. Find something crazy that the 2 of you enjoy doing that no one else knows about. Everytime that the 2 of you start feeling this way, then you need to go and do this crazy thing. This may or may not work, but at least it is worth a try. FYI, things are looking up for my friends in this same situation after they've tried this. Good Luck and hang in there. Let me know how things work out for you. A.



answers from Dallas on

Keep trying! Know that your children won't always be so young and need so much. Get a sitter and commit to one date night each week. This doesn't have to be a weekend, all night thing. It could just be a few hours on a Tuesday. Make out just for the sake of it and not to get anywhere. I know these things sound a bit cliche, but they work!

There's a good book called Childproofing Your Marriage. I founf it very helpful.

Also, my church is offering a retreat Valentine's weekend. It's called Living In Love and people RAVE about it (I've never been). It's at St Thomas of Villanova. I don't know if you have to be a church member or not. If you do, the program is offered other places. I'm sure if you called St Thomas, they could refer you somewhere else.

I hope you find your way together, it's worth fighting for.



answers from Philadelphia on

I'm sorry that you are feeling this way...but it is common..especially with 2 little ones running around. Marriage takes work...and kids make it harder. You and your hubby need to sit down (get a sitter) and TALK.
I have 2 little boys and my husband has a very demanding job. We hardly ever get time together. The love is still there...but not always the desire (hard to have it when caring for kids all day and working).
Again you and your hubby need to work at your marriage...and at least make time to talk to each other.

Best of luck!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

It is completely possible to grow love & with out too much effort. First, start dating again. At least once a month. Each date you should alternate who is "in charge" of the planning. When you are in charge plan on doing something you like (eating out, movies, bowling, going to a museum, etc). When its his turn do something he likes (see a car show, go fishing, rock climbing, etc). Its very important to know what your spouse enjoys & to show an interest in it. Also, find out what your spouse thinks is romantic & tell him what is romantic to you & agree to do that for one another at least once a month. Try not to do it on date night, that way it will be more spontaneous. For example, my favorite romantic thing is when my husband leaves me little love notes. Its free & doesn't take much effort. I know you are not feeling the love now, but you can do appreciation notes. Like make his lunch one day & put a note in it that says I enjoyed dinner together last night, or thanks for helping with the laundry.
Also, if you have any love notes or pictures or photo albums from when you were dating, take them out & go through them together. Remind yourselves why you fell in love.
Finally, talk, talk, talk to each other about everything.
Good luck.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi A.,

this happens when two people are busy raising a family.

get you an appointment book from the local beauty supply place that has 4 columns. Put the name of each person in a column.

Make a date with your husband each day where the two of you do something together. Like a walk in the snow. going to a movie, making a special meal at home.

Have someone to help you with the children so these times are special for the both of you.

Talk about what you feel. What you like. What you hope to be. Don't talk about the children. Keep it personal to yourselves.

Good luck. All the best. D.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi A.,
I have been there. When you have kids, mortgage, jobs, etc. It is so easy to become disconnected. I know it sounds like a broken record, but yes you have to work at it. We have "date night" at home on Saturday's. My parents take our daughter, and my husband and I make dinner together throw some music on open a bottle of wine, or have cocktails while we cook together we just talk. Even if sometimes we just talk about our daughter, what she did that week that reminded me soo much of him, and vice versa. If my parents can't take my daughter, we do a family activity together that is not sitting in front of the TV, play games, go the park etc, so that we are talking together. We always hold hands, kiss, hug, those simple things keep that intimate connection (for us anyway). I would try different things until you figure out what works best for you.



answers from Philadelphia on

I remember the first thing that our pastor said to us when we met with him before our marriage.

Love (emotion) will fade. As soon as you realize that you have to work on a marriage then you will succeed.

That was over 10 years ago. My husband and I are still happy. We may not be "in Love" but we do love each other.

It can be frustrating when you have children and try and work on the marriage at the same time. When we had my daughter, we were always going out on the weekends and such, so we were able to still "date" each other. But when my son came along we could go out as much. Babysitter problems. So we started to be distant to each other. We still have a few months when we are living like roommates but sometimes we are more like lovers. Because the few times we do have time together alone, we use it wisely. It also helps that we do things together at home.

Did you know for women to have sex we need intimacy and for men to feel intimacy they need sex. I notice I feel closer to my husband for a few days after we have sex. Even more so if it has been a while. You didn't mention if sex was lacking or not. With my business, I took a class that Dr. Laura Bergman taught and she said that to keep a health marriage, you should have sex at least every 2 weeks. She also is the one who mention about intimancy.

I do agree with the other that you should plan a date night but you also should plan a night for just sex. Maybe that will help you get that "spark" back.

Just remember that you need to work on every aspect of your relationship with your husband not just the emotional side. If you need help to find ways to spice up your sexual side of your relationship, email me.

Good Luck




answers from Philadelphia on

It's completely normal to feel a disconnect when your both trying to raise kids, take care of your home, work etc...I've definitly had "cold spells" at times, too.
It's also possible to make love grow again. This is where that work part of marriage happens.Alot of times it's hard to take a break from whatever your doing to work on your relationship with each other, but it is neccesary.
I started putting our marriage before everything
(including our kids) because I know that one day, they will be out of the house, and it will just be the two of us. If there has been a 15-20 year disconnect because we were so busy raising kids, it will become readily apparent when we are looking at this person wondering "Who is this person, and what am I supposed to do with him?"
I think kids really benefit ,too, when their parents have a warm loving relationship. It gives them a feeling of security, not to mention a good example of what marriage should be.
My best advice would be to try a weekly date night, and bit by bit, try to shift your focus on the relationship that made your precious little ones possible!



answers from State College on

Yes Yes Yes !!! you dont feel the way you did in the beginning because you dont do the things you did in the beginning. persue each other. start by doing something little for each other everyday, a note before work, or a phone call just to see how each other's day is going, complement each other, go on a real date. slowly the feelings will come back. pray for your marriage, it is blessed and can always overcome adversity, Love A.



answers from Philadelphia on

I've been feeling this way at times, too. My husband and I just watched the Fireproof movie that just came out on DVD. It's a movie that shows a couple's married life falling apart. My husband says he thinks every married man should watch it (was good for me to see, too). But basically it showed us how the woman still needs the man to romance her and the man needs respect. Check it out. I feel like my husband has been trying a lot more lately. It's been good for us.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes, every day, all the time. I know there are lots of ways to change this, but it takes two, and quite honestly we're focused on raising our children and I think that's the way its supposed to work. The attraction and drive we have to be together fades after we procreate. Instead of worrying about this, I focus on other relationships in my life, and my spiritual needs. Perhaps when the kids are grown, we'll do some traveling together and get back to us.



answers from Scranton on


I feel the EXACT same way. We have a 3 1/2 year old a 1 1/2 year old and another due in March. Its amazing that we're even having another one since we only have sex like 2 or 3 times a month and that's only because I get tired of my husband pursuing me and give in. He will try to kiss me when he comes home, but when I'm in the middle of something, it bugs me because I'm busy cooking and taking care of the kids. After our nightly ritual with the kids, I do my thing, he does his. I think its easy for people to say, "have a date night," but babysitters don't grow on trees and neither does the money to pay them or for whatever it is that you are going to do.
I think the key is just to not give up on your love. It will all get better, that's what I tell my husband. We just have to wait it out. Eventually, we won't be so involved in the little ones and we won't be so exhausted at night. It will get better, we just have to love each other enough to stick it through.
I know that if we both started working out again and feeling better about ourselves, we'd probably also see a change in our relationship. But, it is just finding the time, or making it to put ourselves first so that we can thus put our relationship back on top.
I think us moms just forget about our needs and focus so much on our kids that we kind of become numb on the inside and lazy when it comes to taking care of ourselves. I think once we do that, everything else will fall into place. Good luck!



answers from Lancaster on

I feel this is very possible. Everyone changes, relationships change, especially when you have children - life is different. I would go to a counselor - many couples have experienced this - not only as a couple, but go by yourself also. You may find a split, but you may also be surprised to find that passion come back as well! Good Luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

You are not alone. I think a majority of us out there are going through the same thing. My advice is not unlike any of the others. You have to make time for each other. If you don't already have one, find a hobby you can take on together. Leave the children with the grandparents and take the night off together. Go on a date or just an evening home alone watching a movie that you choose together, or play a game. I know it's hard to find time, life is busy. You just have to do it. Good luck!



answers from Sharon on

You may be constantly exhausted, depressed to even get the energy or time to work on your relationship.

Are you each investing individually on yourselves? Do you each ahve a hobby you can pursue that makes you feel confident and happy.

Do you have hobbies you do as a family?

Do you have hobbies as a couple? Do you serve each other and sacrifice for one another without expecting anything in return. How much time do you spend in front of the TV? Are you making the effort for one another like you used too? (I know its hard after kids but you have to try).

Each make a list of "I feel loved when you . .. . "

Also, make a list of all the things you admire and appreciate about the other person. It may be you are forgetting the reasons you fell in love. The business of life may lead you along separate paths but that is when you have to do some bridge building.

Take care of yourself and eat and rest properly. Depression for me feels like I'm hollow and surprisingly it is actually aggravated by lack of sleep and proper nutrition.



answers from Philadelphia on

I know its very hard to keep it magical, especially with all the demands of being parents. My first marriage ended after 19 years because we stop trying. I was lucky enough to get a second chance and have been with my second husband for 5 years now and we both work at it constantly. My husband had a very similiar experience where him and his first wife became "strangers". Now we make time for each other. We both work so we have date lunches instead of date nights. If you can get a babysitter easily try date night once a week and go out and even if you can't afford much go have a pizza or some sandwiches together. Also it really helps to send little text messages to each other (like I love you or I miss you very much). It is great when you get one out of the blue. If your not into texting stick a little note in his car or somewhere you know he will see it. Start with the little jestures remember you didn't lose the feeling over night so don't expect it to be back in one day. Just try to do something a little nice each day and see what happens. Those three little words go all long way, so does a little kiss.....Remember the most important thing is to keep trying.



answers from Allentown on

how do you feel about the rest of your life? maybe both of you depressed go for some counseling and see if other causes as well.

Need to make effort on both ends.

Trust me divorce is more pain



answers from Philadelphia on

My advice is to watch that movie Fireproof.

I have been doing the love dare this week and it’s forcing me to work on myself and what I can do to love my husband. I like it because it’s essentially a guide on how to love one day at a time. Interesting enough I’ve been happy and very positive about my marriage this week. I hope to expand on it.

Everyone seems to have the same type of gripes about marriage, specific to their own situations of course. Figuring out how to be proactive about it is the hardest part, because if you knew what to do you would already be doing it, right???? :-)

Good luck to you. Hope you find what works for your situation, don’t give up!



answers from State College on

You have great advice from others but I would add sleep to the list. My hollow feeling went away when I started prioritizing sleep back into my life with 2kids. My husband jokes his foreplay is getting the kids breakfast and letting me sleep in on Saturdays. You have to fight and make an effort and "date" etc. but you've got to have the energy to do those things and that comes from both of you getting enough rest.

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