Cindy has been a writer for a number of years. She enjoys sharing her life experiences and what they have taught her.
We are programmed from an early age to believe in a 'happily ever after' plan for our future lives. The fairy tales we are read as children involve idealistic views of life, where the Prince or Princess of our dreams will become our lifelong partner if we try hard enough to find them. The reality is frequently very different, and a vast amount of us end up 'settling' for a partner in life who is not perfect, but is good enough and who we love in a way that is not lifted straight from a fairy tale.
Can a Relationship Work If the Couple Is Not "In Love" or If Only One Person Is?
I am guessing that most people will immediately clamber on to their soap box and start claiming that there is no future for a relationship where the two people are not in love, and that this is obviously a very unhealthy arrangement.
But stop, wait a minute and think this through properly.
There are situations where this kind of relationship can work very well. There is a difference between being 'in love' with someone and simply loving them, and sometimes love is enough even without the absolute passion of being in love with the person you share your life with.
Here, we will explore the types of relationships where being able to say we are committed the person we are with is enough, and we don't need to be in love (in the old fashioned sense) in order to see a long and healthy future for the relationship.
Arranged Marriages, For Example
Think about marriages of convenience or arranged marriages. In the former case, the people are often already good friends and in the latter, if they don't fall in love with each other over time, they frequently end up loving each other in a way that is unique to the cultures where such marriages are commonplace.
Relationships Where Romantic Love Doesn't Matter
There are various scenarios where a marriage or relationship can work without the two halves of the couple being in love with each other.
For example: Imagine for instance a scenario where a mature man has no real interest in a sex life any more, or maybe he has a problem with impotence. He is an older gentleman who wants an attractive woman on his arm when he attends various functions, and is essentially looking for a companion as opposed to a lover.
Then bring into the equation an attractive woman who has medical problems that have effected her libido and ability to work.
She is a warm and genuine person who needs security, and he is a lonely man who needs companionship. If these two people hit it off and they grow to love each other as close friends, why would them having a successful relationship be so unlikely? They might marry and live an ideal life as both of them are getting what they need from the relationship in a symbiotic way.
Another example: How about a situation where a person is terminally ill. For them, it might not matter whether their partner is in love with them or not, so long as they care enough to not let them die alone. If their partner cares for them for whatever time they have left, then surely this is a good relationship. Probably both of them will accept the fact the marriage or relationship is not based on being 'in love,' but each of them has love for the other in their own way, and this is why they get together and stay together until the end.
Read More From Pairedlife
I recently read the a case of a married woman was diagnosed as terminally ill. Her dying request to her sister was that after she died, her sister would marry her husband. After she passed, the sister honored the dying wish and married her sister's surviving husband. I am sure they are not 'in love' with each other, but I am also certain they must have love for each other to be able to do this.
Can Friendship Be Enough to Hold a Relationship Together?
What about a situation where a couple is best friends with another, but not necessarily "in love"? Neither have been lucky in love but as friends, they love each other. In many ways they are soul mates. Would it really be so bad if they married or become a long term couple? These two people have loads in common, they know each other inside out, and even if they aren't capable of being passionately in love with each other, they can still love each other to a degree they would each willingly sacrifice their own life to save the other.
Measuring Up to "Our First True Love"
Many of us have a person whom we will always remember as "our first true love." Often, this relationship does not work out for various different reasons, one of which is probably our lack of maturity at the time we meet (usually in our teens or early twenties). We may go on to have other relationships, but deep down we know they will never be that first true love. So what do we do?
Well generally, we settle for someone whom we are either in love with (but not to the same degree at that first love) or someone for whom we care deeply (but are not 'in love' with). Frequently, these relationships will last for many years and work well.
When Love Isn't Shared
There are cases where one partner is 'in love' with the other, but the other person only 'loves' them back. In other words, one is experiencing intense feelings of passion, but the other feels only warmth and comfort. This relationship isn't a bad one just because there are different levels of emotions involved.
The latter partner might desperately want to be 'in love' with their partner, but simply doesn't feel that way. This is not to say they would ever willingly hurt the other person, and it does not mean they would ever want to be with anyone else. It only means that they cannot quite achieve that depth of feeling for the partner they are with, possibly as a result of previous relationships where they have been hurt very badly and they have now put emotional barriers up to protect themselves against further hurt.
Marriages of Convenience
For citizenship. There are marriages that are convenient because they allow people from other countries to live in countries they would otherwise not be able to (think green card). Whilst these marriages are sometimes completely fake, there are times when the couple do develop a love for each other as time passes. There are even occasions when the love was already there and this is why one partner agreed to help the other out by marrying them so they could remain in the country of their choice.
For company. I have heard of many cases where elderly people have been left alone after their spouses die and decide to marry another elderly person in the same situation. This second marriage is for companionship. In some cases, they were well past the stage of life where sex was important, anyway. Why would they want to spend the rest of their own remaining months or years alone when they could have a friend whom they love as their spouse for the rest of their days, someone they could go on holiday, share a joke, cuddle, and chat with? They don't have to be passionately in love with each other. . . all they need is compatibility.
Love Without Love
Certain relationships can survive and be healthy even if the couple are not in love with each other. Sometimes, simply enjoying each other is enough, and the all the consuming passion of being madly in love is not essential. It is often said your husband or wife should also be your best friend, but in some cases they actually are, and that is all they will ever be. . . how can we say this is a bad thing and that it cannot work?
What Is Love, Anyway?
How People Fall In and Out of Love. With modern analytical tools at their disposal, science has set its sights on how people fall into and out of love. Find out what love is and how people fall in love, stay in love, and in some cases fall out of love.
Can a Relationship Work With Someone Who's Never Been In Love? When you are dating someone who has never been in love before, it can severely challenge and alter the relationship.
Why You Should Choose Someone Who Loves You More. "Would you choose someone who loves you or someone you love?" My friend asked me this question when I was still in high school. A decade after, I'm still thinking about this question.
7 Ways to Cope When He Can't Say 'I Love You!' How do you stay in a relationship with someone who has never said "I love you?"