When Love Becomes Friendship

by

I was organizing my new home yesterday. It is smaller then the last one, though contemporary and lovely, and so some things need to go in storage. I find photo albums. There is always something a little strange about looking at old photographs. Will you miss the past depicted in the photographs? Will you feel fear when recalling what was once your life? Feel free of the past, sober and fresh into the world, safe at last.

I brought the books outside to the patio. Somehow, looking at the past feels better outside. Outside the confines of my new life. A life free of drugs and of alcohol. I open the book. I should not have opened the book. Pages of my partner of three years and I. We are holding hands. He is kissing my cheek. His arms are laced around my back. He loves me.

We are rock climbing in a few of them, horseback riding in a couple more, making dinner (my lips are kissing his cheek as he cooks), we smile. We are in love. Love, that funny thing, obscure, strange. We had framed pictures of ourselves. Plans to have children once we quit drinking and doing drugs. And we did. Quit.

I think we quit loving each other as well. The Honeymoon Phase, a brilliant thing, peppered with roses and intimacy. Pure bliss. But it always ends. A healthy relationship slowly becomes as much about mutual adoration as it once was pure lust.

Three years have passed. We share the same home. The same cat and dog. Vehicle. Grocery bill. We do not hold hands and we do not kiss. We are intimate, perhaps a few times a year, I wonder if this is normal. We keep telling each other that once we are less stressed out we can love each other physically again. But I do not even want to. I fear intimacy. Is it my fear or our relationship?

I have no reference point. The television tells me that we should be making love all the time, at least once a week, that we are abnormal in our love. Our love residing on a purely intellectual level and hampering at that. What is normal? What are the variations of love?

We are young. Perhaps vital. We share the same bed. We stare at opposite sides of the wall, and this feel comfortable. This feels like it should: Isolating. He watches silly television shows while I read myself to sleep. He eats chocolate in bed while I prefer fruit.

It is normal to desire the passion that defines the beginning of a relationship. But is it normal to have become best friends? Where is the lover I once had? The one I felt comfortable with. The one I still love. But in a distant way, divided by time and by pain, surprised we have been able to sustain.

When love becomes friendship. Well, I suppose we all need more friends.

 

Natalie

www.thethirdsunrise.com

 

Comments

Actually I too have become friends w my ex. As lovers we had a bipolar sort of relationship and were opposite in so many ways but as friends that up and down roller coaster gave way to just friend/love without all the crap of 'she's not loving me enough today so I can't stand to feel my own skin' kind of sh*t. Really we aren't ready for physical love with one another and she moved away to get well (we talk every day) and its beautiful and yet so sad at the same time...Thx for your post! ...Remedyke aka Lisa
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Thanks for the comment! It's nice to know I am not alone in this one.
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@www.thethirdsunrise.com

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Hi Natalie You are definitely not alone. Love seemed to take a different slant after my marriage. Through the cycle of kids and such, it starts weaning off and it doesnt sound as romantic as it used to be. Some people (like me) is comfortable moving through that life phase and refocusing energies on the younger ones. Some people (like my ex-wife) yearns for something more. There is no right or wrong in this. I still believed in fairy tales - but I also know that life needs to move on eventually.
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Natalie, 2 years ago I entered a relationship with my best friend of the previous 4 years. At first it was more sexual than any relationship I've ever had, but now after 2 years there is an absence of any sexual desire or activity. Similar to your situation, drugs and alcohol were very present in the beginning of our relationship. They are still present, but I have slowed down quite a bit. He has not at all, but the sexual desire is completely gone for both of us. Its like we don't even know what affection is. I'm at a complete loss of what to do. I want to spend my life with him but I don't know if I can handle the loneliness of being in a sexless relationship. If you have found anything that helps or have any tips please let me know. Anonymous
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Hi natalie i reached that stage with my partner of nearly 3 years we made that wise choice of separating as we felt we became to comfortable we still love each other deeply but feel maybe sometimes just love is not enough. Sometimes in life u may be missing the perfect relationship by trying so hard in the one you are actually in. I think it depends on if u can go on with a lack of intimacy or not some people can n some people can't. We chose to go other ways but if we truly love each other we will realise in the near future if we don't we will continue with this separation hope you find what's best for you but as for me I'm going to let it fall into place xxxxx
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I am here because I have been "googling" trying to figure out what to do in my relationship. We have been together for 5 1/2 years and have not had sex for 4 of them. We used to talk about it all the time, about fixing it, he said he had a low libido and I don't have a massively high one. Now we don't talk about it at all. I think about our relationship all the time, about whether it's over, should I leave but I don't talk to him about these things even though the situation upsets me greatly. I've just turned 40, we have no children, I always thought I wanted kids but I don't now and I don't know whether that's just with him or whether that could change if we fixed things. I am afraid of so many things. I love him so very much & can't bear to imagine not having him in my life, the thought brings me to tears every time but at the same time, I know things aren't right. I think about other people, I have never acted on anything & never would, but I think about it, fantasise. I really don't know what to do. I could never hurt him & I know that breaking up would kill him. I am considering couples counselling. Any advice would be greatly welcome.
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Natalie, Thank you for your comments. It's reassuring to read something that relates so significantly to my current situation. My partner and I have just ended a 5year relationship. Part of my learning process has been knowing when it's best to throw in the towel. I've always put my heart and sole into making my relationship work and I believe so did my partner. In the last couple of years the relationship matured and along with that came change. Our sex life was minimal but our love and respect for each other and general affection was still great so this did not bother me. I adapted and understood it as natural change. I felt I was still very happy. Over the years I even relocated to try and improve our relationship, leaving behind a close network of friends and family. I believe this was a mistake in hindsight. The problem is that my partner and I had different perceptions of how love should be at this stage. While I had doubts myself at times I sat on them and was won over by the level of respect and appreciation for each other we had. This was why I stayed and would have been happy to stay. For my partner, there was a recent concern that although they completely loved me, they were not sure they were 'in love' and that something was missing. As a result of this, they ended our relationship. After our split, I have reflected on a lot of things. How much of it for me was fear of loneliness? Of the Unknown? Should I have done this myself a year ago? And why is it I actually feel ok and quite rational? There's no point answering these as there's no right or wrong answer. Ultimately, it's down both parties being comfortable with that change. I feel like for us this is the right decison. Not because there was no spark left in the relationship, but because a relationship can only stand so much level of uncertainty before sadly it is damaged. My partner and I communicated very well and very honestly - as there has been other times this had been brought up it made me more anxious as I felt I was always wondering if it would end. And that's why now i realise it's the right decision. It boils down to whether after the changes to your relationship, you believe that your partner can be happy with the changes too, and whether you confidently feel that despite the changes they will stand by you and you feel stable. I can leave knowing that I tried my absolute hardest but if there is fear and instability caused, then personally I feel it's time to move on. And I am always reminded that despite that fear of being alone, the reality is never as bad as you think. I can now start thinking about me again - what I want and what will best suit my needs. It's been a while.
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I am not yet 30 and have been with my boyfriend for 11 years. He is the only boyfriend I have ever had and I have never slept with anyone else. He is respectful, thoughtful, generous and a great guy. However we haven't had sex for nearly 2 years. When we kiss I feel like the passion is gone and I no longer want him to touch me intimately. I feel like we are now friends and although I have told him this he says he still loves me and wants to marry me. I thought I could try and fix it but I just don't feel that way anymore. I cant understand why I don't - he is a good looking guy and treats me well. I am attracted to someone else and feel like I need to take a break from our relationship to reassess the situation. Is this the inevitable result of being in such a long term relationship that you lose the sexual attraction - I realise the lust at the beginning of a relationship will fade but I never thought attraction would disappear. I am scared that we will break up and I will realise that all relationships follow the same path and that I lost my best friend. I also don't know how to broach this subject with him without hurting him. Can anyone offer any advice?
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