Sunday, February 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

4 men with 4 very different takes on never having been in love

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On people who say they've never been in love, four men with four very different takes:

My late wife and I had a somewhat stormy but wonderful marriage. She once told good friends — who had known each other since second grade, were married, had never been "head over heels" and were experiencing midlife difficulties — that it was unfortunate they had not had that early romance to rely on.

That may be true, but I think she overstated the case. This couple are now in their mid-70s and their marriage is a success. I also know another couple the same age and in similar current circumstances. The wife once remarked that she was puzzled over all the hoopla about "love"; she had never felt that way. Her marriage is stable and satisfying.

Perhaps the never-in-love boyfriend is emotionally healthy and not subject to what I would call "the romantic psychosis" of our current cultural norm. Perhaps his girlfriend is a true friend of his. Perhaps he should marry her. Perhaps a matchmaker of yore would approve of this pair as a "couple." Perhaps.

J.B.

Some men don't have the vocabulary to describe emotions clearly.

Here's an analogy. My wife can easily distinguish between sea mist, pea, and grass green paint. To me they are all just light green. Olive and forest green are dark green to me. I recognize the various shades but I don't have different names for them.

So maybe the girlfriend is saying "sea mist" and the boyfriend is saying "light green." They both might mean the same thing or not, but the boyfriend can't explain it any better. He literally doesn't have the vocabulary to describe it any better.

Working on It

Never really been in love, not sure what it's supposed to feel like, never saying "I love you" — I have been the same for most of my life. I was horribly abused emotionally and once sexually, according to a psychoanalyst and a psychiatrist I required because of it. My wife and I have been married for 53 years now, and I have long recognized she is my best friend even though I have rarely mentioned it to her. I only started telling her I loved her in the last 10 years or so, and let the chips fall where they may. (Actually, it didn't hurt at all.) I only recently started calling her "honey." I think she's a saint for bearing with me.

Can a boyfriend who says he has never been in love be induced to talk about his abuse, if it is there? With loving parents, he should know what love is.

Texas

Wow, and boom! The guy who has never been in love was me at age 30. My hetero "affairs" generally lasted about two years, but I never experienced burning passion. A strong "like" was the best I could do, and it was generally sexual boredom that ended each relationship.

It was only when I was yanked out of the closet and accepted my gay sexuality that I was able to experience real passion.

R.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Wife blindsided by news of spouse’s child

Q: I’ve been married two years and am 6 months pregnant, and up to last week I was so happy preparing with my husband, "Tom," for our first child. Only it turns out it’s not his first child. He was contacted by the 18-year-old son he and his girlfrie...
Published: 02/25/18
Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

TAMPA — Could your 4-year-old be the next Lulu? A touring Broadway show wants to find out. Waitress, which runs April 24-29 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, is looking for a local 4- to 5-year old to play a small but c...
Published: 02/23/18

Tell Me About It: Teacher distant after co-worker’s faux pas

I am a teacher at a large high school, and typically only interact with those in my wing of the school. On the first day we returned from break, I bumped into "Polly" while signing in and cheerfully asked, "How was your [vacation]?" She glared at me ...
Published: 02/23/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Feb. 26-March 4.

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Feb. 26-March 4.

Florida Strawberry Festival and concerts: The celebration of the beloved fruit returns to Plant City on Thursday with exhibits, games, rides and food. The stellar musical lineup includes Justin Moore on Friday, Big and Rich on Saturday and Reba McEnt...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Tell Me About It: Daughter needs an ear, not to be rescued

Q: My daughter is in a relationship with her high school boyfriend. They are now living together in a different state with no relatives nearby. My daughter, 25, is a people person with a bubbly personality and makes friends easily. Her boyfriend does...
Published: 02/22/18
Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Extreme Monster Energy Supercross Championship: The action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing returns to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Each track in the 16-city series is different, so competitors will ride between 15 and 20 laps around t...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

Can you feel it? The air is gradually thickening with humidity and the layers of clothes are getting thinner. Spring has almost sprung and with it brings a bumper crop of festivals in Florida’s theme parks full of food, wine, concerts and parades. Th...
Published: 02/21/18
In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason t...
Published: 02/21/18
Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

BIKE RACE: Monster Energy Supercross ChampionshipThe action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship return to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Motorcyclists will race at more than 60 mph and fly off ju...
Published: 02/21/18
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Published: 02/21/18