What is this thing called LOVE?

Some of the people on this board say they love their errant spouses. They say they love this person right after they talk about all the things this person is doing that hurts them and diminishes them.  I call that NEED.  If we are not getting our needs met, we are IN WANT and IN NEED not IN LOVE.  The needs feels like love because you DESIRE something that is being kept from you ....it hurts because you are not getting your needs met.  Our romantic culture wants to call that LOVE and the "love gurus" tell us how to spice up a relationship by withholding, being mysterious, enticing and using sex to manipulate and get our way, having strong boundaries so that we guard our self respect from this person we "love" .  We are fooling ourselves. Being tantilyzed without receiving follow though and trust is a teasing game that we find alluring but it is selfish and mean and unproductive and uncaring...the opposite of love.  That kind of romantic, coy, erotic "love" hurts if you have promised each other to be in a committed relationship but one of you is using the relationship for an easy ego manipulation.  It makes us "spouse objects" afraid and unsteady to be lied to in this way - (many broken promises).  Yet we yearn for the stimulation and permit ourselves to hope and trust for more promises that are never realized.  A "healthy marriage love" means commitment, caring, trusting, communication, reliability, and sharing. It is not relationship at all if only one spouse tries and tries to "understand", and compromise, and wonder why the other spouse seems so distant and uninvolved. 

Do you know a healthy, loving married relationship?  Does one spouse talk about all the hurt and pain and then say, but I love him? I am more interested these days in, do I trust him, can I count on him, do I feel like a better person when I am with him, is he putting effort into the relationship and common goals?  NOT -  he is sexy, all the women love him, he is funny and a good flirter. If I need that kind of tintilation, I will go watch a movie.  I WANT and NEED companionship I can trust so that this knot in my stomach can go away.

Added later:  This is not an ADD thing.  I know Adders who love and commit and are trustworthy and work toward goals with tremendous due diligence.  I am not sure why I wrote this other than it is my particular pain to be grieving the lack in my life I feel.  I am trying to meet my own needs so that I do not need so much from dh/or anyone...or at least try to figure out what those needs are that I think I need.  

Love vs fulfillment

Hello. I disagree with your assessment of love vs need. I view love for our partners as their core characteristics that bring us pleasure.  I love his sense of humor, quick wit, intelligence, generosity, zest for life, curiosity, etc. I hate some of his behaviors, largely driven by poor ADHD management.  But I distinguish my hate for the behavior from my feelings for the man. Now sometimes love doesn't conquer all. A lot of the behavior is unacceptable and that's where the setting boundaries and asking for better comes in.  

A friend likened relationships to a balance sheet once and I like the analogy.  Relationships go bankrupt when all the equity is drained because not enough love/positive emotion is coming in to offset the losses caused by poor behavior or the basic life struggles. It sounds to me like your pot of equity is not being refilled at all.  I think your list of desires is perfectly reasonable but your partner disinclined to provide them (per other posts).   It's a terrible spot to be in. I'm very sorry.

I feel you

I can relate to this, but I think it is what makes my personality so different than many people that I know. I think the countless failed relationships for basically the same reasons has really hardened my heart. I loved my husband with all of my heart for the first couple of years, but the ADHD has worn me out. I honestly don't feel any love for him at the moment, not romantic love or even friendship love. I don't know that I ever will again, but I have friends who will love their men or women no matter what they do to them. It makes me feel so cold that I can't love like that, but also very relieved. After 20+ years of no shows of love from my Mother, I don't feel love for her anymore. Same goes for my Father.....but I am almost completely over it. It took years. I feel like such a deep, emotional person, but I have a very strong sense of self too. It's a constant conflict, wanting to be highly emotional, but needing to be stone cold. Sorry if this is sounding really deep, but I'm certainly not getting any deep conversations out of my husband or friends. When I read your posts, they strike me as very deep and thought provoking. I suppose it is your pain coming out in words.

I have always wanted the healthy marriage love that you describe, but I have never found that in anyone. Not anyone, although I believe myself to be fully capable of providing all of those things in a relationship. I think I know of one relationship like that and they are true Christian people....into their late 50's by now. Their marriage has been strong, as far as I know, since the late 70s.

I am interested in the same things as you in a relationship, but I currently want to take a long, long break from relationships. I WANT to just be roommates if I have to live here. I can't let him in again, only to have him destroy it. The guilt is the hardest part for me, but leaving him NOW would put him in a world of hurt emotionally and financially. Once he's out of the military and capable of running home to Ma, I won't feel so bad if I split.

Best of luck finding yourself and what YOU need. I'm thankful that I don't need my husband, but that comes from years of being on my own. I'm glad that I don't want him anymore either......ADHD sucked the want right out of me. I find it sad that the one guy I decided to settle down with turns out to have problems that I can't deal with. I've always been so picky, but circumstance and hyper-focus blinded me. I won't let that happen again. I just hope I can find my "Golden Girls" one day to grow old with:)

Have begun to seriously

Have begun to seriously consider my love for my ADD dh turned into full-fledged co-dependency (always enabling his needs) over the last 10-15 years. I still care, but what am I actually caring about? I hate what the ADD has wrought on our lives. It is challenging to see before me, now that he is "waking up" with the medication, to come to terms how much I have let pass by, or NOT done for myself all these years. I really felt in order to feel needed/loved/appreciated, all I had to do was just step back and give up a little. I was told to do that by my family and friends, and I'm still being told to keep the peace and back down.

Just trying to come to terms with what were legitimate needs and what were boundaries that were ..... exploited (?) by the ADD.

I seriously believe (and dh does too), that until he got the medication and treatment he needed, no amount of logic, mindfulness, compassionate or empathetic approach worked for his ADD mind and the balance was always tipped in his favor.

Why I feel it is co-dependency, or loss of independence, whatever suits the reader...  I observed today at the bookstore: dh was not in his usual spot in the media racks. I found myself becoming slightly anxious that I could not find him where he was usually. Apparently the medication he is on has helped him to break away and I found him sitting at a table reading. This is highly unusual. What is more interesting is the feeling of the increasing uneasiness I felt when he was not where I expected him to be.... it was a new and unique feeling for me. Did I actually NEED him to be in the media racks? Instead of focusing on "oh where the heck is he now?" I focused on "why am I feeling loss of control over this?"

Just trying to come to grips that although the ADD is difficult and challenging.... and then pair that with what sounds like my own now-dysfunctional thinking, what I've allowed myself to sink down to (mainly negative, depressed, blaming, paranoid, angry at the world).... wow, we both need to work at ourselves.

Not agreeing or disagreeing but just my state of mind today that perhaps

Love >>> Need = Co-Dependence (Enabling, Blaming, Excuses, Depression etc) 

Love >>> Self-Esteem = Freedom

I'm just trying to make sense of it all, still frustrated at not just ADD, but also at looking within myself.


Long Term Habits

You have articulated what I feel has happened to me.  These days I am overwhelmed with thoughts of who I once was and what I have become.  All my energy, resources, support love, work went into our family/his well-being while he has been VERY independent within our marriage and put himself first.  It is like I was married but he was a single guy with a mom (me) who wanted more of him than he was willing to give.  And now all my energies toward his OK-ness have made him into a guy with a big unearned ego and entitlement.  I feel worn out and have no support and little self respect.  I believe I feel stuck because I have no self confidence in my self any more. It had become our habit to help him.

Yes. Yes. and Yes.  Yup when

Yes. Yes. and Yes.  Yup when he's OK, he is audacious enough to tell me, that now, I need to go find myself and figure it out. ha.

I can't write as much right now as I do since I'm feeling crappy.

We had a fruitful day but it deteriorated after he decided not to take his scheduled med. I told him several times while he was on the meds this month that I may write to let my side of the family know re diagnosis, since everyone on his side knows. He was fine with it every time, so I finally wrote something which was coming from my heart and in the most "sedate" way possible. Well, off the med and in ADD conflict mode, he read the email. All of a sudden, he had an huge issue with it.

I refuse to let the ADD Jekyll and Hyde work its gaslight magic on me. But I feel sick to death in my heart right now. I cannot start to second guess myself all over again (my siblings' non-response hasn't helped either).