Home Australia DEAR CAROLINE: I was so in love with my husband when we got married but now we don’t have much in common. How do I get our spark back?

DEAR CAROLINE: I was so in love with my husband when we got married but now we don’t have much in common. How do I get our spark back?

by Elijah
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DEAR CAROLINE: I was so in love with my husband when we got married but now we don't have much in common. How do I get our spark back?

q I was so in love with my husband when we got married over 25 years ago…and vice versa. However, now, although we don’t really argue, we don’t have much in common either.

I didn’t realize how things had changed until our daughter brought her new boyfriend to stay for a weekend and I saw how in love they were.

My husband and I are delighted for her, but I’ve realized that I don’t feel that way anymore and I miss it. I wonder if my husband noticed too. I have been trying to determine where the decline began and I believe it was when our children were young (the oldest would have been nine) and my father died suddenly at age 60 from a heart attack.

It left me in total shock. Looking back, Now I realize that I was probably suffering from depression, but I wasn’t raised to talk about those things.

For quite a while, I was agile and very quick to argue. My daughter recently told me that she remembers that she often took naps on the weekends while her father took care of her. My husband is a good man who is always kind to everyone but, over time, he became agile and absorbed in his hobbies and his work. Over the years, things have gotten a little better and we now get along well on a day-to-day basis, but affection and deep love that we once shared have vanished.

Is there a way out of this?

TO Often when people write to me about an unhappy marriage or relationship, I can hear that love has died or that one spouse has been too terrible or hurtful to the other for the marriage to survive.

However, when both parties are basically good people and there is a willingness to improve things, the relationship can be saved. Basically, you have lost the art of communication.

Yes, you were probably depressed when things started to go wrong. This can cause people to be irritable or lash out for no reason. And your husband, instead of recognizing how unhappy you were, or perhaps not knowing how to help, closed himself off. But being aware of how difficult some of his behavior was is crucial to moving forward.

You say you’ve never talked to him or anyone about this. However, you have taken the first step in contacting me and now you need to talk to your husband. It’s discouraging, but if no action is taken, nothing will change.

Tell him what you told me: that you miss the days when you and him were as obviously in love as your daughter and her new man. Explain that you would like to go to therapy with him to get him back.

If the relationship cannot be rescued, counseling can help you separate less painfully, but I think there is a lot of room for hope in your case. Attempt relate.org.uk.

I feel guilty for keeping their affair a secret.

q A good friend of mine in her 40s just told me she is having an affair. I want to support her and I know that her 11 year marriage has its problems, but I really like her husband and I don’t agree with what she is doing.

I feel like he has unloaded his guilty secret on me and I don’t know how to react. Now every time I see her I feel tense and uncomfortable. She also asked me not to tell my own husband, that She is a friend of her partner.

TO Becoming a reluctant keeper of secrets must be very difficult. Of course, affairs do not usually occur in happy marriages, but they cause immense pain if they are discovered. There may be more to your friend’s relationship that she hasn’t told you, so try not to judge and talk to her.

Encourage her to find a better way to solve the problems in her marriage. Gently explain that affairs rarely end well and ask if they’ve thought about the long term.

Even if your husband doesn’t know or suspect it, the affair will further weaken your marriage because your emotional energy will be focused on the other man and not your husband. Unfortunately, I suspect she won’t listen to me, but I hope she will.

As for her spilling her secret, you could explain how uncomfortable it makes you feel, but it would be best to keep the lines of communication open. While it is unreasonable to ask him not to tell her partner, he would almost certainly tell her husband. I understand that loyalty, but it may not actually be the best thing for the latter. Especially if the wife ended the affair and her husband never found out.

So think carefully about this.

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