I sure feel for you! You love your girlfriend, but she's not sure how
much she loves you, and you so desperately want her love to come back.
I've been in this situation myself. After three years, my girlfriend
had doubts over whether or not she loved me - but I knew for sure that
I loved her as much as I could hope to love anyone. After many months,
she decided we had to break up, and we had a tearful walk in the hills
as we said goodbye.
Then, our time apart made her realize that she really did love me and
in a few months we were back together again. A few years later we were
married, and now we're coming up to our tenth anniversary.
Naturally, there can be no absolute guarantee that your girlfriend
will rediscover her love for you. There's no magic formula. If love
was just a matter of following a formula, love would become so routine
that it would lose its fun and excitement.
Hawkeye11, I do really hope your girlfriend rediscovers her love for
you. But if this does not come to pass, it isn't the end of the world.
Tennyson wrote that "it is better to have loved and lost, than never
to have loved at all" and I have to agree. The most worthwhile parts
of my life have been the intense parts, whether good or bad. We come
through an unhappy experience stronger and wiser, and therefore more
likely to have a happy experience next time.
Everyone moves through life, pulled by a tangle of forces from many
directions. These forces are numerous and varied. Some, we can
control. Some, we can predict. Of those which we can neither control
nor predict, some we know about and some we don't. We can't manipulate
these forces to guarantee a specified outcome; the best we can hope
for is to control some of the forces to "tilt the balance" towards our
You are certainly not alone in your predicament. A Google search for
"love" and "get that feeling back" produced 321 hits, many of which
are about relationships where one of the partners wants to revive the
loving feeling "how it used to be".
Here's a "stream of consciousness" piece of writing from someone
desperate to "get back that feeling":
"Once Upon A Time"
Here's how your situation looks from the "other side of the fence",
from a female in the same predicament as you:
"Livewire Forums -> Romance and Dating"
It's actually very common for a relationship to encounter a difficult
phase after a year or two, when the nature of the loving feeling may
"This lovely feeling usually lasts only 6 to 18 months. Then reality
hits and the couple enters into the second stage of building a
relationship - the stage of work, growth, and finding ways of dealing
The internet is full of advice on restoring and growing relationships.
Here are some specific tips that I found.
THROW OUT OLD BAGGAGE
Discard any preconceived ideas of what should happen, how often you
should see each other, and how you and she should feel. Let go of all
old hurts and disagreements. Forget any old arguments. The aim is to
leave behind anything which may be harmful to your future
relationship, and to create an open space in which your relationship
can be rebuilt.
COLLECT THE INGREDIENTS FOR LOVE
Identify what you love about her, and TELL her. Know in your own mind
WHY you desire her as your girlfriend. Discover what it is about you
that she loves, and give it freely to her so that she may truly enjoy
Give her the chance to do the same for you, but don't demand it of
BEGIN MIXING THE INGREDIENTS
Discover again your common ground, and make the most of it. Discover
and enjoy this common ground at every level - emotional, intellectual,
spiritual. Bask together in the simple "joys of life".
In areas where you and she nearly share common ground, take pleasure
in learning from each other so that you may in the future share that
In areas where there is no common ground to be found - give each other
the space to retain their own individuality.
LIVE AS A COUPLE
Thrive on the joy of being a couple. If there's something that you
both enjoy - enjoy it together. Books, movies, food, the beach,
travel, sports, conversation ... thrive on shared pleasures.
A relationship needs to keep growing to thrive. Don't expect that it
will feel the same in a year or two as it did at the start. Over time,
most people find that the intensity of a loving relationship may
decrease, but the depth and completeness of the relationship increases
as the couple truly grows together.
DON'T LET SEX GET IN THE WAY
Don't let the issue of sex get in the way of rebuilding your
relationship. You mention it near the top of your question - has it
caused tensions? Perhaps you are keen for the "right moment" to come
sooner rather than later, and she is not ready? If so, any pressure
from you would be likely to harm the relationship. The question of sex
is not relevant until your relationship is rebuilt - and if your
relationship is successfully rebuilt then the question of sex is
likely to resolve itself in time, and in the most pleasurable way
DON'T FALL FOR MISCONCEPTIONS
Don't believe that you will be happy all the time (all relationships
have ups and downs). Don't believe that you must share everything
(everyone needs some personal space). Don't think that arguing means
it's over (people who care a lot will argue - but there should be no
recriminations afterwards; instead there should be a commitment to
communication and resolving problems). Don't think that you or your
partner can be changed significantly; this is very unusual (instead,
accept and love people for what they are).
BUILD FOR THE LONG TERM
A long term relationship depends on some things that are not so vital
for a short-term relationship. These are a commitment to the
relationship (the desire to weather difficult times together), trust
(a belief in the integrity of the other person), flexibility (being
willing to discard established patterns and try different things),
communication (the ability to convey beliefs, values and priorities,
and to allow ones partner to do the same), and humor (the ability to
lighten up and laugh - because taking ourselves too seriously weighs
FINALLY, TREAT HER LIKE A LADY
Show her she's special. Always make that extra little effort for her.
Never let her doubt that she's special. And, ALWAYS have the time to
enjoy listening to her, no matter what she wants to say or how
unimportant it may seem to you. This last one is REALLY important. If
you can't get interested in the content, you can still enjoy her
Hawkeye11, I hope this answer has given you some comfort and some
hope. I expect there will also be many pieces of wisdom posted by
others as comments. If you would like me to pursue any other lines of
research, or if you would simply like to keep a dialog going, feel
free to use the "request clarification" facility.
I know that many of the researchers will share my hope that you and
your girlfriend grow into a deep, wonderful, sustaining relationship.
"Repairing or rebuilding a relationship"
"Remembrance" (a powerful piece of prose inspired by Tennyson's quote)
Google search strategy:
love "get that feeling back"
"better to have loved and lost"
"rebuilding a relationship"
"growing a relationship"
Good luck and best wishes,
Clarification of Answer
on 04 Sep 2002 03:47 PDT
Thanks for the feedback. You've raised some good points. And thanks to
those who have posted comments.
> > Identify what you love about her, and TELL her.
> I have been doing that. I think I should. I am just unsure
> if its right. I feel like it might be highlighting the
> inequity of feelings. In other words, it may seem I'm so
> SURE of my love and she is so confused.
There are a couple of points here. Firstly, whatever you do, don't nag
- there's no bigger turnoff than nagging! The keyword here is "tell".
Secondly, the suggestion is to "identify what you love about her, and
tell her". This doesn't mean to spend all your time telling her THAT
you love her! Instead, it means tell her WHAT you love about HER, and
she'll feel good and be in no doubt that you truly do love her.
Don't lecture her on how much you love her - she already knows that
and, as you say, it might highlight the inequity of your feelings.
Instead, express the joy and delight and pleasure that you gain from
her virtues - and she will get a warm feeling from that. It doesn't
have to be heavy.
The following web page suggests thirty ways to "show her you love
her". Only a few of those involve "telling" her:
Romance 101: How to show her you love her
The next web page lists a hundred ways. I know some of the suggestions
are corny, but they're just examples and not a rule book. Different
things suit different folks.
1001 ways to say "I love you"
A Google search for the phrase "tell her you love her" leads to many
> ... women like men who are unattainable and a challenge.
Of course this works both ways - standard advice to women is to "play
hard to get".
I have always assumed that this advice is directed towards the
original courtship rather than being ongoing advice for the life of
> It sounds like everything I am doing is making me seem
> the opposite of that. I am not begging or anything like
> that, but she is definitley in the drivers seat.
Are you SURE she doesn't feel that you are begging? Are you sure
you're not coming across as a desperate soul whose happiness can only
be provided by her? She would probably find that burdensome. Who would
want to take on the responsibility for someone else's happiness?
It's important that she can see that you are confident and happy, and
have a full and enjoyable life in addition to your times with her. If
she only ever sees you as someone who is desperate for her, it doesn't
give her much to desire about you, does it? But if she sees you as
enjoying your work, enjoying learning things, enjoying doing things,
enjoying your social life confidently and competently, it reinforces
that you are the kind of person she can love. Happy, confident people
are always in demand from the opposite sex.
"A Happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but
rather a person with a certain set of attitudes." -- Hugh Downs
Kyrie26 (in the comments) suggests that men have been conditioned to
believe that women need them to be sensitive, but that women really
desire a guy "with a spine". This is discussed in the site that
Kyrie26 referred to, for example in the article that starts on this
Are You A "Nice Guy"?
It's my belief that there's no conflict here. Women desire a guy who
is sensitive, and women desire a guy who is strong. The ideal guy is
both sensitive and strong - at the appropriate times.
In the comments, snapanswer wrote "My only suggestion is to be certain
you are with someone who desires you as much as you desire them". You
have written that you "can see it in her smile", and that sounds
In my case, my future wife didn't realize that she desired to be with
me until she wasn't with me any more (after we broke up), and a few
months later we were together again for good.
But it doesn't need a breakup to help a person to decide. Are you ever
away for a while? For work, perhaps, or to visit distant friends, or
for some other purpose? If not, perhaps you can arrange a fun holiday
away with some of your mates - perhaps to a distant sporting event
that interests you. How does she feel when you return, after she has
been without you for a while, during a time when you were obviously
having fun? That might clarify her feelings towards you. Do you still
see it in her smile?
> Should I bring up the status of the relationship or just
> try to have fun with her?
Don't "try" to have fun with her. Just do it!
"Trying" makes it sound like hard work! Just enjoy your times with
her, and don't bring up or dwell on discussions about the
relationship. She'll enjoy your company more if you're enjoying her
company rather than worrying out the relationship.
> We still kiss each other and it seems like she is into it.
> Should I be initiating it or should I wait for her?
If she's enjoying it, then YES you should be initiating it!
Have fun! Love is a great adventure, and it would be a shame to miss
the good bits because you were too busy worrying.