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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 31, 2011
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    1

    Default falling in love--am I abnormal?

    I feel like an idiot posting this, but what the heck, it's an alter.

    To make a long story short--I'm in my 30s and have never "fallen in love" with anyone. I'm not sure if this is just who I am, or if I'm, like, doing something wrong.

    Details--I'm not what you'd call really touchy-feely emotional, I don't have a huge social circle, but I do have a few close friends. I've had a couple long-term relationships (one 3 years and my current one that's going on 2 years) as well as casually dated a handful of different guys. I have definitely been strongly attracted physically to a couple of people, and I truly do love my current guy in terms of fondness, affection, caring for him and sharing interests. But I don't think I've ever been "in love" like one normally thinks of it, in the "can't get enough of the person" sense. Yeah, I know the romance novels hype that stuff up, but I know a few people in real life who have very charmed marriage relationships to their soul mates so I know it's possible.

    So I get to thinking about never having this intense attachment to someone, and I realize I've never really had it with anyone, not just in a romantic sense. The closest thing I can think of is that I sorta hero-worshipped my older cousin when we were both little. When my aunt babysat me a lot as a kid, she's a lovely person and practically raised me but I'm not attached particularly. I have certain good friends I am close to, including one who was my best best friend until the friendship sorta ended a few years ago, but I can still go pretty merrily on my way for significant portions of time and I don't think it's entirely my introvert nature. In fact, that "ex-friend" commented a few times that I seem to have some sort of attachment issues. Acquaintances have called me "icy" or "distant." I don't think I'm an unkind person, but I'm not a warm person either.

    Shoot, I even do this with pets! My current horse, who I've had for several years and love dearly, was not purchased for any particular affection. He met the criteria (which was mostly "can jump and isn't homicidal") and now I adore him.

    I just can't quite figure out, do I assume "true looooovvvee" is out there and that I need to work out how to recognize it, or do I go with my general strategy of finding someone compatible and putting effort in until I get attached? The other option is casual no-strings dating, because I cannot be a serial monogamist. Too many break-ups--I hate hurting people who care about me.

    So seriously, what the heck? If I can't fall in love, how much does that suck? It's like the rest of the world is touting the praises of fine chocolate and I think it tastes like cardboard. And the world definitely does have a thing for romantic love, so I kinda feel brainwashed by it.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2002
    Location
    Cambray, ON
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    1,110

    Default

    I feel the same about relationships. I am in love (?) with my bf, and I am very happy and secure in our relationship. Head over heels? not really... I've never been like that with anyone really. I am totally content to spend time and lots of it with my bf, but I can also go a day or so without any contact what so ever. To me, its a sign of independence and strength. Not that I am rebelling from the norms of a relationship, just more of I don't need to be in one to survive.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2006
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    2,492

    Default

    Maybe the main thing is that you're open to the idea of "head over heels" (and it sounds like you are) even if it never happens to you. I think for most couples that feeling doesn't last, anyway--or at least isn't something you can COUNT on lasting or count on as the foundation of a lifelong relationship.

    I'm sure there's nothing wrong with you. I bet there are a lot more of "you" out there than you think!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2005
    Location
    KY
    Posts
    4,682

    Default

    LOVE is way overrated.

    ************************
    \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    2,846

    Default

    I think you may be making the mistake of believing other people's stories about their own lives. At least 99% of everything everyone tells you is a story crafted to create a specific impression - I'm Hot, I'm Brilliant, I'm an Uber-Mom, I'm a Fearless Tomboy, I'm a Bold Innovator, etc., etc. Most people reserve the most enormous lies for telling people about their sexual relationships. Probably half the people who claim to be in True Love just got tired of dating and went with the next person who had a pulse, a job and no prison record.

    Bottom line, there's nothing wrong with you. Don't assume True Love is out there, just go about dating your own way. If you want to fit in, just make up elaborate stories about how you knew, the minute you saw him, that you were destined to be together. You can practice by randomly adopting a goldfish and concocting tales of how he's your Heart Fish and you instantly saw him in that school of feeder fish at the pet store and rescued him from being a turtle snack.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2000
    Location
    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
    Posts
    14,174

    Default

    I've had the "from across the crowded room" thing happen (in my late teens). Didn't work out. Then I had the slow growing one that became all out, head over heels, and that didn't work out (thank goodness) and that was later in life.

    Now, I just figure I need someone who trips my trigger and also has a personality that works well with mine. I found out from the second one (that was SO overwhelming I still lose my mind when I see him) that love can GROW from caring about someone to head over heels--if fed and cared for. (Should never have fed and cared for THAT one. )

    I think it's partially your being open to the idea that it can happen with anyone and your desire to have someone in your life. If you don't have those, then you just stay single and HAPPY!

    I also think that it's there, but only if you sort of make it happen. You're looking for it so it's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you aren't, there's no way it's coming knocking. Then again, that could just be me.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2009
    Location
    The Left Coast
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    Read The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. It's not a self-help book, but it definitely gave me a roadmap to experiencing love. That book changed my life.
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 19, 2003
    Location
    Palestine, TX
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    2,566

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by OTDalter View Post
    or do I go with my general strategy of finding someone compatible and putting effort in until I get attached?

    It's worked for millions of people for centuries. I'm not convinced that the idea of 'romance' and 'falling in love' is all that old. But compatability and attachment have always been around, and they're what get you through when the romance part has worn off. When you have similar goals and values, and you enjoy being together, and you make eachother truly happy, and you're able to work as partners, and you're willing to commit to eachother... that's 'true love' that can't really be 'fallen' into... it comes a step at a time and has to build, just like a relationship of trust with a horse has to build.

    By the way-- I'm a lot like you. I don't let myself get too close to people, I don't usually have long, successful friendships, I like people well enough but can live without them, and my animals come to me for practical purposes (and though I adore them and do become attached, I can let them go for practical purposes too). I never dated in high school, at all. Towards the end of high school, I was lucky enough to become close with a guy that I'd 'known' since first grade, whose brother was dating my best friend. We ended up spending a lot of time togther by default, and by mid-college realized we were partners and we just functioned better together than alone. There was never a 'falling in love.' I tell people that I married the one person I've ever found that I can stand to be around for more than four hours-- and it's true. I can't even be around my mom for more than a few hours, but in 5.5 years of marriage, I haven't yet found a time limit for being happy with my husband's company. I ache when he's not with me, and I'd ditch almost everyone and everything else for the chance to just sit around with him doing nothing... not because he controls me (and we all know people in those relationships, where they ditch their friends because the guy has some strange power over them), but because he truly is a part of me and I'm more comfortable with him than I could ever be without him.

    Don't let popular media spoil you for what true love is... a partnership. The fact that media convinces us that we need to be 'madly in love' explains a lot of why so many marriages fail miserably.
    *#~*#~*#~*#~*
    Proud Momma of *Capital Kiss* and Bottle Rocket!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2002
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    Azle, Teh-has
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    7,779

    Default

    You sound like me.
    Try "A Road Less Traveled".

    The section on love is awesome.
    Basically it says that love is fake and the feeling of love is our body's way of tricking us into propogation. End of story.

    Basically, that book gave me permission to admit that I feel nothing.
    Unlike you, my relationships are short. I've never made it past 8 months.
    Most are 1-2 months and I lose interest.

    Don't get me wrong. I LOVE boys. Boys, Boys, Boys. Yummy Boys. In fact I have a really tasty dish that I'm dating right now who I hope works out for the better.
    But like you, I've never had that feeling.

    I'd rather go home and ride my pony.
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,523

    Default

    This would be a good book for you to read: Becoming Attached: First Relationships and how they Shape our Capacity to Love

    You might also consider counseling so that you can explore this further.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
    Location
    Center of the Universe
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    7,042

    Default

    The section on love is awesome.
    Basically it says that love is fake and the feeling of love is our body's way of tricking us into propogation. End of story
    ditto. Count yourself lucky you've never had a "crush" which is what people are talking about when they say "fall head over heels in love": it's a horrible short-term chemical imbalance. It makes you act really stupid. It has nothing to do with "love" or even affection. It doesn't last. If you're lucky you'll recover and dump the guy before you do something you'll regret.
    If you find someone you enjoy doing things with, have some sexual attraction, and can be good friends over the long haul, there you have it: perfection.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2008
    Location
    In the midst of cornfields
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    333

    Default

    Love is a rather personal experience, IMO. I know some women who swear their SO is everything and so much more. I met my husband online (although we actually knew each other from a place I had worked (he still works there), but only in passing with a brief "hi" and it had been several years since I worked there when I found him online). I had a feeling I would marry him. But perhaps it because I wanted so badly to be married?

    I love him, but I'm not sure I know what "in love" means. I think people often describe feelings of lust as being in love. I like spending time with my husband but he doesn't provide me with everything I need (see marriage counseling thread for details on our social differences). I would be devastated and lost without him. Is that being "in love"?

    When I look back on past relationships where I thought I loved the person, there's only one who pains my heart with regret. But alas, it didn't work (despite the three separate times we tried) so I've accepted it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes I wish I had the feelings for my husband that I did with the one I considered my soulmate. But if he were truly my soulmate, why didn't it work despite the THREE SEPARATE times we tried? My husband is a good man who loves me and puts up with an awful lot of $%^& and so therefore, I believe it's where I'm meant to be. Some days I love him so much I feel like I'm going to pop...some days I want to throttle him. I think love and relationships ebb and flow. A few months ago I was having some doubts about my feelings. I was going through a period where I didn't really feel connected and questioned how I felt. My friend and I had a long talk on a 2 hour trail ride and she really put things into a new perspective for me.

    And for the record, I sought soulmate for fourth time. I had burned him badly and I came back to apologize. I had grown up a lot and I wanted to make it right. But it was too late. He wasn't soulmate any more. He was so heavy into drugs that I hardly recognized him. He was a shell of the man I once knew.

    If you are happy and he is happy, then what more could you want?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2003
    Posts
    454

    Default

    Interesting that most of us seem to not be "fall-in-love" sorts! The one time I had a strong emotional/physical connection to someone right off, he turned out to be a whacko. Smokin-hot charismatic nutjob, actually. I think part of it is the excitement and thrill of danger; that's why so many women are attracted to the bad boys. It's like going on a roller coaster, but without the projectile vomiting of cotton candy.

    In The Language of Emotions, love is described as "the steadfast promise." It's NOT considered an emotion. One can love a person and be happy or sad or angry or whatever. I quite like this concept, but it doesn't have the thrill of being "in love."

    But one can logically know all this, can comprehend that the "in love" feeling is just an evolutionary mechanism, and can still be seduced by the idea of being swept off one's feet. When biological instinct and the modern propaganda machine team up, it's hard to resist.
    The hooves of the horses! Oh witching and sweet is the music earth steals from the iron-shod feet. Will Ogilvie



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2010
    Location
    Down South
    Posts
    810

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by OTDalter View Post
    To make a long story short--I'm in my 30s and have never "fallen in love" with anyone. I'm not sure if this is just who I am, or if I'm, like, doing something wrong.
    I wish I could share some helpful advice, but I'm in the same exact situation. Except for me, I stopped dating when I was 23 or 24 and haven't dated anyone since. (I'm now 33.) I don't want to say I've given up on trying to fall in love with someone, but it feels like it sometimes. (I also feel like I am absolutely not anyone's type. But that's a different thread.)
    The dude abides ...



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    41,724

    Default

    OP, I would answer your question in the title as no, I don't think you are "abnormal", because "normal" covers many different ways people are attracted to or love others.

    If you do think there is something missing and want to explore who you are more, counseling is a good way to go about it, as others have mentioned.

    Maybe for you yes, there is something you are not working thru with yourself, that may be keeping you from being who you want to be in your relationships.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2003
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    1,924

    Default

    I never had that feeling or attachment either. I did date and was attracted to some men (dated some smokin' hot guys), but never fell in love and didn't really know if I would. I planned to stay single unless the right one came along and just hoped that I would know if he did. I did worry over it a bit, but had a full life and enjoyed dating, travel and my horses. Met Mr. Witherbee when I was 28 and it took me about 3 months to realize he was "the one" and to fall head over heels for him. Once I did that, it never went away. We have been married for 18 years and yess, the passion does wane somewhat, but he is still the only one I want and is the one I want to spend my time with. We are independent and have our own interests, but luckily we share a love for our horse farm and animals and enjoy time with family and friends, so it's a good life.

    I think everyone is different - I never understood people who fell in love easily and wanted a lot of drama. To me that was just lust. I wanted to have both - the passion without the (bad) drama, and just a best friend to hang out with and make plans with and share a partnership with. We've been very lucky that neither of us has changed in a way that made us incompatible - that happens too often. I think being older helped us (he was 35 when we married and I was 29) - we were already who we were going to be, so could tell that we were compatible.



  17. #17

    Default

    I didn't read all of the replies, but wanted to add that I feel pretty much the same way that you do. In my youth I had several relationships, and never once felt that I was "in love"...it was always just guys that seemed OK and were nice to me, so what the heck. I'm married now, and often still wonder if I truly know what love is.

    I did have that head-over-heels romantic crazy feeling once, and as someone said, it is basically a horrible chemical imbalance that makes you do stupid things. I think maybe a lot of people mistake that feeling for love. My experience ended badly and in retrospect has that "What the hell was I thinking?" quality.

    I too have several friends who are constantly posting facebook statuses about their wonderful spouses and how they are so in love... and I just have to wonder how much of that is kind of for show. I'm not sure.

    As a counterpoint, I will tell you that I know 100% for sure that True Love is REAL--but I'm not sure how many people find it with a significant other. I have it for my daughter. I've heard many women say that after having a child, they suddenly found out what real love is, and realized all "love" they had felt in the past was not the same. Maternal love is true love.



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