Are you deliberately married to a person who’s NOT the love of your life? Why?

I know several women and one man who are married – but not to their One True Love. They love the spouses they ended up with. They have kids; their marriage is fine. But ultimately in their hearts, they are not married to the Love-Of-Their-Life.

I have to admit that I was initially baffled as to why adults would knowingly settle for a less than ideal coupling. But then again, I’m young and stupid and I have to accept that the real world imposes restrictions on the probabilities of finding a fairy tale romance.

So, why are you not married to the LOYL? Is it because he was unstable? No money? Parents hated him? Did you dump him? Did he dump you? Or maybe you didn’t realize he was the LOYL until years later by comparing to what has come along since?

To give a sense of the feedback I’m looking for, I’m ruling out tragic situations where the LOYL fiancé died in a car accident before the wedding or some other mishap of the universe. Therefore, the situation where Helen Hunt marries the dentist in the movie Castaway because Tom Hanks was “dead” is not the scenario I’m talking about. I rule these situations out because that’s not the same level of deliberate decision making. I’m also ruling senior citizens on the 2nd marriages because their first spouse died.

Tell me about your thinking. For example, “I was getting older at 38 and my bio clock was running out and John Doe was a decent enough fellow, therefore…”

Does your husband know he wasn’t your 1st choice? If your husband assumed he was the LOYL but for some reason, he stopped to ask you directly, “am I the LOYL?”, how would you respond? Would you lie? I guess lying about this topic would be the ultimate fake orgasm (spiritually speaking).

Guys, could you marry a woman if you knew ahead of time that you are not the love-of-her-life and never will be? Would you be ok with being the 2nd best option? For example, if Gisele Bundchen broke away from Tom Brady and was open to marrying you, would you go for it? Would having a prize like Gisele on your arm outweigh the knowledge that you are Mr. Plan B?

I’m not married, but I’ve often wondered if the concept of “One True Love” is realistic for everyone. I offer you this question sent in to Dear Prudence (bottom of the 1st page, from Washington, D.C.) from a woman who is in a loving relationship, yet isn’t madly in love with her boyfriend. Seems reasonable, if not the stuff of a good fairy tale.

I think the notion of marrying one’s “One True Love” reflects a juvenile experience of love, and a dangerous misunderstanding of marriage.

I do not believe in the notion of the One Great Love (sigh). Accordingly I think it is fair to say that I didn’t marry mine. Indeed, my One True Love (sigh) is probably even now floundering in the miasma of his own despair, possibly in Hoboken, knowing that he will never be complete (sigh). Given all that, my husband was my only choice, I had not previously had the inclination to marry anybody. Well, actually, I didn’t want to marry him either but he refused to put out otherwise so what could I do?

He is aware that I don’t believe in it and think it is bullshit, it came up before we married when he said he was worried because he did not feel all nauseous and dramatic and so on when we were together but happy and secure and calm. I told him that where I come from we call that love.

If I die first I expect he will marry again. If he dies first I expect I will not and will just be a Merry Widow. But I was never the marryin’ type anyway.

I know of a couple that dated for six years. Madly in love with each other. For some reason, they broke it off, and within a year or two they were both married to other people and making babies. They were both absolutely broken hearted upon hearing the news of the other getting married.

They still spend a lot of time with each other.

Ok, fair enough. Emily Yoffe in that link advises to say “yes” to the guy who’s “nice” but doesn’t give you butterflies in your stomach.

I totally understand the practicality of that choice. Calculating the risks & odds… a bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. You could die a single old maid while waiting for Prince Charming, etc. Seems like there’s a million cliches to summarize that decision.

So, should we teach our children to set their sights lower than the “one true love” because it’s the most realistic outcome? Basically make it clear that their goal is to just find someone “nice”. If he sweeps you off your feet, consider that a BONUS instead of a prerequisite?

Gee, that seems so matter-of-fact-business-like. Hardly a progression beyond the old days of arranged marriages to maximize the exchange of property and land. :slight_smile:

I didn’t marry the romantic ‘Love of My Life’ (which is what I generally believe you are referring to). I was in love with him (probably still am?) but while we were definitely in love, it never would have worked. Love is great but it isn’t completely fulfilling. There needs to be more than that for me. Shared interests and goals, for example. Romantic love tends to be blind to these things.

I do love my husband not in the same way but in a better way. He is my companion in life, shares my hopes and dreams and, while I don’t love him romantically as much as my ‘One True Love,’ I do love him that way, too. He is so much more than a romantic love that there is not even a comparison.

I have to agree about the maturity in the ways of love thing. Some people get lucky and their great romantic love turns out to be the person they should marry. However, sometimes the right guy isn’t the one you love the most.

(Not to mention marriage is nothing like what you think you are signing up for but I was going for a short post here not a novel.)

Adrienne Rich’s poem “Living in Sin” is a good example of this, I think. So often our great “romantic love” is the result of juvenile attitudes and beliefs. True love, by comparison, can appear boring and pedantic – but it stands the test of time and trials in ways that romantic love cannot.

How about because “the love of your life” doesn’t regard you as the love of HER life?

And because a REAL relationship with a wonderful person who actually likes you and wants to be with you is better than an imaginary, hypothetical relationship with THE perfect woman (who might or might not regard ME as perfect, in any event).

It’s not so different from job. Relatively few of us end up with the job we always dreamed of as kids- there are only so many NFL quarterbacks, astronauts, movie stars, ballerinas and rock stars. Most of us are fortunate enough to find more mundane but enjoyable, decent-paying jobs, with employers who actually WANT us around.

Look at it this way: when I was a kid, my DREAM job was to be center fielder of the Yankees. Unfortunately, I was slow as molasses and had a terrible throwing arm. So, there’s no way I could ever hope to have the job of my dreams. Do you think I should have refused to “settle” for any other job? That I should have stuck to my guns and held out for a shot at the big leagues?

Why not?

I don’t think it’s a choice between Prince Charming and marrying the nearest handy person. As I understand it, the head-over-heels feeling doesn’t necessarily last or mean you’ve found a compatible mate. Love that lasts is more about respect and admiration.

In my experience, the most attractive men are people that would drive me crazy if I tried to have a relationship with them, but I have better relationships with men that are slightly less exciting.

I’ve been told by older and wiser Dopers that with age and experience, finding Mr. Perfect naturally becomes less of a goal than finding someone that fits well with you and that isn’t not the same thing as settling. I’ll get back to you in ten years :stuck_out_tongue:

Even though I don’t believe in the concept of The One, I can’t imagine marrying someone who wouldn’t completely change my mind about that. To me, being single is far preferable to being married to someone I’m not completely flipped about. Call that immature if you want, but I have yet to be trapped in a loveless marriage, and all of my options are still open.

I don’t believe in One True Love. I get along so well with my partner and mate and love spending time with him yet we fight and bicker like anyone. I don’t think humans were meant for it, on average, and I think it causes a lot of heartbreak for people. :frowning:

Eh, “flipped out” is not a sustainable state. I can’t imagine marrying someone I don’t love very much, but “love very much” is based on much more stable stuff.

Well hell, I’m married to the love of my life. Am I the only one?

It wasn’t always this way. I was married before, and I knew he was not the love of my life even when I married him. He was the first boyfriend I had who I was compatible enough with that we could live together and more or less get along. He was nice to me, I was nice to him, and I think we both mistook compatibility for love.

That only lasted a couple years before I figured out that I simply was not attracted to him any more. I never wanted to hop in the sack with him, though he was a good roommate. When I brought it up with him, he told me that he thought this was just what happened in marriage. :dubious:

I didn’t like that answer, and eventually went into counseling trying to figure out why I fell out of love with my husband. As it turns out, I never really think I was in love with him. We split up, in a very amicable, compatible divorce. No fights, no lawyers, we just split things up and filled out the forms.

Fast forward a few years, and I met a guy who I really am just head over heels over. My first husband, I kept trying to come up with reasons why I loved him - gave myself pep talks even. With the current Mr. Athena, he’ll do something so infuriating that I want to kill him, but at the same time there’s this voice in my head going “Oh, but he’s so cute when he does that! And look, he’s got a nice ass. And even though he’s driving you nuts with his argument, he’s really smart.” It’s like even when I don’t want to like him, I’m still all goo-goo over him and that’s the part that ends up lasting.

It’s going on 12 years or so, I have no reason to believe it’ll ever change. I’m just stupid about him.

What exactly does “completely flipped about” mean though? If you’re expecting to meet someone who makes your knees weak and your palms sweat every time you look at them for the next 50 years, then yeah I wouldn’t call that realistic.

I think it is, but I’ve yet to prove it. I’ll do so just after I work out the whole cold fusion thing.

I suspect that the long-term version of flipped out resembles a calm sea rather than the tempest of the sweaty palms stage.

The closest I ever got to feeling like he was “the love of my life” was college, and we were nineteen and twenty, and I was head over heels with him. And I did not like what that made me at all. I seemed to have no mind of my own, and neither did he - we were this seamless unit.

The relationship I am in is much healthier and we are partners and equals and I love him very much but I don’t get sweaty palms on seeing him. Home is my castle, though, and I always look forward to going home and seeing him and I quite happily spend nearly all of my free time with him.

What is One True Love anyway? Somebody care to define how that’s different from my life?

When I find out I’ll let you know. I thought I had it there for a while, but things fell apart. I’m still holding out a little hope. I’ll give it two more weeks and then I’m moving on.

I think you’re correct here. All too often, marriages end because one partner or the other finds somebody else who makes their palms sweat and their heart beat faster, and they believe it’s “magic.” It’s a rush.

In reality, though, there’s a ton of magic in getting up with a baby in the middle of the night so the other partner can rest, or taking care of a spouse when they’re sick, or doing something nice out of the blue, or doing a chore for no reason. It’s everyday magic, but it’s still magic. So many people overlook that stuff and focus on the heart flutters.

If she wasn’t The Love Of My Life, I wouldn’t have married her.