Ask Dad: Choosing Love vs. Falling in Love

Cary McNeal
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Flickr photo from Ana Santos

Welcome back to Ask Dad, for those times when you really need a dude's opinion. Or not. Whichever, you're getting it anyway, sorry. This week's question:

How do you feel about love? I feel like I've chosen love, not fallen in love. I choose him to be the man in my life, the father of my children, and provider for the family. Is that wrong? Should he know that?

Great question. Jane Austen would be proud.

I think that there are different kinds and degrees of love, and none of them is right or wrong. Each person has her own standards of what is acceptable in a relationship, and if that's what works for her, great.

We all want the perfect relationship with a partner whom we not only trust and respect and appreciate, but with whom we're also romantically, passionately in love. Many people find this, but just as many -- if not more -- don't. So you're not alone.

Some people will tell you that you should settle for nothing less than to be with someone you love madly and fully and passionately. I wouldn't disagree with that. On the other hand, I'm also a realist, and I've seen many people reach a point where they can either continue to hold on to their high standards and remain single, or be a little less picky and find a mate. Which road anyone chooses is her own business, and right or wrong has nothing to do with it.

The real question is this: Are you happy? If you're content with things the way they are and don't want your life to change drastically, then I'd absolutely not tell your man how you feel. To do so would only hurt him and could very well lead to a breakup. What your guy doesn't know can hurt him -- and you -- in this case.

But if you're unhappy and want out of the relationship so you can go find someone you're crazy about, which is your right, then yes, you'll have to tell him how you feel because it'll be the reason you want out, and he deserves to know.

I think everyone deserves the kind of love they dream about, but I also know that we don't always get what we want. Love is a complicated thing. In the end, all you can do is follow your heart and do what you need to do to be happy.

Have a question for dad? Leave it in a comment below or email us here -- be sure to choose Love & Sex as your topic.


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