Not-quite-love doesn't quite work
Dear Amy: I have been dating a man for two years. We are both in our early 40s, and between us we have four kids. His are teens, mine are younger.
Our kids have met and like each other, and we've been included in each other's extended family events. We spend a lot of quality time together. We want a future together. He is an amazing partner. He is funny, attentive, loving and mature. He is everything I hoped for when I decided I was ready to start dating after my marriage fell apart.
A year into our relationship, I told him I loved him. For me this felt like a conservative amount of time. I wanted to be sure how I felt.
He apologized and said he couldn't reciprocate the feeling yet, but he felt that maybe that was just because of his own issues and the turmoil from when his marriage ended. I said I understood (which I do). I told him I could wait, and that I would rather hear the words later, as long as they were sincere.
It is now a year later, and he still isn't able to say he loves me. I've stopped saying it to him because it hurts not to have it reciprocated.
I feel sometimes like he is with me because I'm a good "option," and I am beginning to wonder if he will ever love me.
I know people through history have married for less and have grown to love their partners, but is it wrong for me to want a true love story? Should I settle for good enough?
Dear Wondering: Being in a committed relationship with a man who doesn't love you is NOT "good enough" for you. I know this because you are now feeling not-quite-loved, and you are holding back your own honest emotions because they don't match his.
Yes, people through history have married for reasons other than a love attachment. And yes, these marriages might actually succeed at roughly the same rate as love-based marriages do.