The Man You Fell In Love With

BY: - 12 Jan '11 | Relationships

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by Eric Payne

Recently my wife told me I’m not the man she fell in love with. I don’t believe there’s a man I know, happily married, divorced or otherwise who has lived with a woman for more than a few years and hasn’t heard these words.

This particular set of words can cut like a knife and may not bode well for the near and/or long-term future of a relationship. In spite of this I can honestly say I wasn’t exactly fazed by the comment. Not because I don’t care. But because she is right.

My wife fell in love with me more than a decade ago. And at the time the man she fell in love with:

  • wasn’t 100% committed in mind and spirit to her.
  • wasn’t anything close to father material for her five year-old son (now our 15 year-old son).
  • scoffed at the idea of marriage.
  • scoffed even more at the idea of bringing a child into the world.
  • knew the world didn’t revolve around him but didn’t exactly understand or attempt to practice selflessness.
  • thought he was invincible.
  • thought that he could do very little wrong.
  • dealt with criticism, constructive or otherwise, by dismissing it.

I’m sure there are at least a dozen more traits I can add to this list. Things that may have appeared to be all that and a bag of chips on the outside, were a bit sketchy on the inside. Like fine wine, time and experience age people, both men and women, for the better. Sometimes when you’re around something for so long you are able to see it for what it truly is.

The shine may not appear to be what you once thought it was or it very well may be gone altogether. But you could be looking at it through your own pair of dusty lenses. Seeing and understanding the full truth of a person sometimes does dampen the oohs and the ahhs that that other person may have created inside you years ago. Or it might just make that person even more beautiful in your eyes.

Clearly when a woman says, “You’re not the man I fell in love with,” she isn’t implying any of the above. And the man who chooses to defend his “I’m The Man status” usually opens the door for a nasty discussion showcasing all that is wrong with him. Whatever the reason for the statement, whatever the outcome for better rather than worse, one thing is certain: The Man You Fell In Love With, more times than not, is a ghost of the past. He disappeared into the ether the moment after you Fell In and your relationship became REAL! Leave him in the past where he belongs.

Besides, how does a statement like this, no matter how heartfelt, accomplish anything productive when neither party involved still exists in the past? Is it even feasible for a man to reach back into his past and consult with his former self?

BMWK fam in 2011 maybe we might be better served if we make the effort to love, check and challenge our mates in the present in order to love the one we are with? Who knows how far this may take us on our journey with our spouses?

Author of the now infamous, My Wife Is NOT My Friend (on Facebook), Eric talks about being a father and a husband on his blog, Makes Me Wanna Holler ““ Man, Dad, Husband. You can follow him on Twitter or find him chopping it up on his Facebook Page. He is the author of I See Through Eyes, a book of poetry and short stories. In his “spare time” Eric reviews autos and writes relationship articles for Atlanta-based J’Adore Magazine.

About the author

Eric Payne wrote 83 articles on this blog.

Named a Top 50 Dad Blogger in 2011 by Cision Media & awarded Top 50 Dad Blog in 2011 and 2012 by Babble.com, Eric writes about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between on his blog MakesMeWannaHoller.com. He speaks around the country about social media and blogging. He is the author of "DAD: As Easy As A, B, C!" and is a regular on CNN's Headline News station and the Jennifer Keitt show on KISS 104.1 FM Atlanta.

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29 WordPress comments on “The Man You Fell In Love With

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Man You Fell In Love With | Black and Married With Kids.com -- Topsy.com

  2. m!

    Eric,

    Thank you SO much for this post. But im dealing with the opposite. My husband (boyfriend at the time)
    *called me all the time especially when he is out of town. just to make sure im ok!
    * made sure i was ok
    * respected and understood my ideas
    * felt as is i was a priority
    * did everything to keep me

    Years later, after being married, he
    *tells me that he is taking care or business when he is out of town so certain things i say or text him i cant do(rules and regulations). When he is out of town he don’t call me as much as he used to
    *when it’s a bad situation that i was in, he don’t seemed concern about my well being as he used to be
    * I’ll tell him my ideas about somethings and sometimes he’ll say “well you are going to have to accept this now”
    * i feel as if his job or his interests are a priority over me most of the time
    *nonchalantly tells me “well if your gonna leave then leave.”

    my relationship HAS change and im SO torn. Due to the fact that I LOVE this man and would do everything for him. But no i only get about 50% from him instead of that 100% that i’ve seen out of him. I miss all of that! and im really starting to believe the saying, “what ever you did to get them, you gotta continue to do the same to keep them”

    I’ve talked about this issue with my husband and he basically says that he dosent see where the change is.

    What do you think about this situation? ‘

    M!

    Reply
  3. EPayne

    Hi, thank you for reading. What you’re describing sounds like a shift in priorities for your husband. The unfortunate reality is that you value/highly prioritize the things we respect. Maybe you should consider counseling in order to figure out all the angles of what is going on between the two of you. If your husband isn’t immediately open to the idea then you should consider seeking it out for yourself in order to gain some perspective and then revisit approaching him.

    Reply
  4. Staycee2

    WOW, “M”, u r not alone!!!! I’m going through something similar, but it’s mainly during football season and when he takes a drink and get the courage to tell me how he really feels. I went as far to ask can I have a boyfriend for football season…..People don’t understand that they just can’t turn you on and off at their discretion, NOT FAIR!!!!!! I’m tired of being told to leave as well, so what I plan to do is get all my ducks in a row, because they’re not. I refuse to continue to be told to walk if this unacceptable behavior continues, but then apologizes the next day as if you’ve forgotten the poison you planted the previous night!!!! AND I thought it was ONLY me! I’m all fed up & plan to do something about it if he doesn’t work on this, cause I don’t expect him to change!!!

    Reply
  5. Michelle

    I’m happy to say that neither my husband or I are the same people we used to be. We are more mature, loving and accepting of each other than we were when we married 10 yrs ago.

    I am not saying that the last 10 years were a cakewalk, nor am I saying that we don’t have more work to do. However, we respect each other and try to meet each others needs as best as we can.

    Reply
  6. m!

    It is unfair…. I continue to love my husband they way that I’ve done from the time we actually got serious. And I actually give him more love over time

    They crazy part of this is I told him to not romance me if this is who u are not. Just be yourself and in the beginning if we decide to break it off due to personality then there would be less of a heartache. It is much easier not to impress and just be yourself :)

    Then my husband wonders why I’m angry alot or have jealousy issues. Because again it was never a prollem before until he changed!
    And I’ve told him over and over but i guess it’s up to him to figure it out

    I don’t even have one duck in a row so I’m not able to think about sayin leaving yet. But if it continues to be me put on the back burner I’m pretty sure that one day it will come.

    Reply
  7. Keeshab2002

    My husband and I have this conversation at least once or twice a year. We ponder if we just met today…would we have connected. We’ve been married 15 years, right out of college, and feel like we basically “grew up” together. He say’s yes, he would bee-line straight to me if we’d just met…lol…but I tell him, honestly, I can’t say. The older we get, the more questions we know to ask, the more skeptical we are. We’re still together because we were friends first, so as changes came in our lives (kid’s, me leaving my career to stay home with the kids, tragedies,etc.) we were able to talk them through, eventually, and continue to love each other.
    IF WE WERE NOT FRIENDS BEFORE WE GOT MARRIED IT NEVER WOULD HAVE WORKED!!! I mean seriously, our friendship held us together when nothing else seemed to work. We also acknowledge that we are still changing, and it can be scary because you don’t know where it’s all going to go. I’m getting VERY serious about my relationship with God, for example, and cutting down on some of the foolishness, and I can see him biting his nails wondering how “saved” imma be LOL!!… But, we rest in the fact that we are both trying to move forward in a positive way……not backward!
    Change is good!
    Good article, Mr. Payne!

    Reply
  8. Keeshab2002

    Staycee, FOOTBALL SEASON IS WHAT IT IS, GIRL!!…Most of us have to suffer through it..I’m in Chicago, so I have to help put out the HUGE BEARS FLAG on game day, and make sure the Bears pariff is out. If I put on one of my Jersey’s, and get the kids geared up…he couldn’t be happier!! I just either grin and bear it and watch it with him, or not. He likes to be home to watch the game, no friends, just us (say’s people talk too much through the game), so I KNOW it could be worse. I look at it like this, he could enjoy doing something that is way worse……
    P.S., it’s almost over! LOL

    Reply
  9. Staycee2

    Thanks M! I don’t want to give up on him, I LUV HIM SSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOO MUCH!! Counseling is my next suggestions cause I care that much to make it work! Just Sayin….

    Reply
  10. AQUAPH0ENIX

    …It’s not necessarily a productive statement. It’s an expression of hurt…not necessarily intended to HURT you.
    While I appreciate the perspective on the statement, developed here in this article–listing improvements from over the past 10 years, it would be very wise to also make a list of NEEDS-improvements…and let her make that list. Constructively. Just humble yourself, open your eyes…and listen.

    Reply
  11. Mrs. D

    Something a professor told us a long time ago….When you marry someone, you are marrying three people: the one you met, who they really are and the person they become while married to you. People do change. We should hope and pray that those changes are for the better.

    Great post Eric! And, great perspective because we do tend to lean towards the negative when there are so many positives we could embrace.

    Reply
  12. blazer00

    WOW, so every relationship one way or the other goes through this faze. My wife and I are not the same people we were when we met as friends and eventually husband and wife. Growth in all forms are good, however the fear of the unknown sometimes can cast doubt into subjects of this matter. We all change and change is good, but the way you handle it determines the outcome. Stay prayerful, continue to communicate (which I personally need to continue to work on) and remember to continue to do the things that got you where you are and elevate them to a more mature level.

    Reply
  13. Christine Pembleton

    That’s a painful statement to make. Definitely sounds like a person at their wits end, trying to communicate their needs. Sometimes we say what we want but don’t get a response. So these kinds of statement scome up.

    Never thought to say this to my husband, but then again I try to consider his strengths more than his shortcomings. Helps me to be grateful rather than become bitter. Also, I have to note that when I share with my husband what he needs, there’s always a shift from him. He’s the best!!! (sorry — had to put that in).

    Reply
  14. Vencada

    Well, I’m going to travel down a different road on this one. I don’t think it should be taken as a hurtful statement – it should be taken as an awakening statement. If my husband said that to me, I would first ask him what he means – and what am I not doing, or what has changed. Speaking from a woman’s point of view,when that statment is blurted out, I think men need to understand what we are really saying. It’s apparent that we, men and women, speak two different languages. So, in a nutshell, I think we are trying to convey the following:
    1. you have gotten too comfortable in the marriage.
    2. You have stopped puting forth the effort to do anything romantic, affectionate, spontaneous, or freaky. (We as women are emotional beings – we love affection and being adored- that’s how God made us). Maybe before marriage – you did all of that and more.

    2. You communicate less (woman are talkers – we like to bounce things off of your heads) Maybe you used to listen more intently before marriage.

    3. Maybe she sees that your attitude has turned from positive to negative. Remember, we are the closest to you – we see and feel everything that you guys go through. We are the first to know when something is wrong. God also gave us intuition – it’s a good thing. Maybe before, you were a very positive person and you inspired more – now you are the total opposite.

    4. If you are a spiritual person – maybe your lifestyle has changed. Once again, we can see if your closeness to God is dwindling – we can pray for you – but since you are our covering – we depend on you to hear from God and be that man to us that He called you to be. So, maybe she sees a change here. I’m just saying…
    So the statement “You are not the man I fell in love with”, is a vast statement. It can be a way for men to refocus and take a look at what’s going on with them personally, and in the marriage. I can tell you this, what you started back then – you have to keep doing it – plus more. It may be small things, but we, women – love to know that our husbands are doing whatever it takes to show us that we are number one, and that we still got it!!! We do the same for you!

    Reply
  15. Vencada

    Usually, we have to lead and show them what we need. We have to be open and understand that everyone has a different LOVE LANGUAGE. Discuss what your love languages are and see what happens. Communicate is first and most important and he needs to know that you are angry and have jealosy issues – but you need to tell him exactly why. A great way to express to each other is in writing…find some tools to help you explore ways so that both of you are feeling fulfilled. In a marriage, you have to be free to share when you are feeling neglected. Once you talk to the person – they need to process and then take action. If you are both valuable to each other, you will take the steps to get there. I know what you feel – I have to remind my husband of what I love. I also tell him what i miss as well. Life stresses can put a strain on any relationship, but take time to share with each other. Be blessed. V

    Reply
  16. blazer00

    Mrs. D I like that, the one you met, the person they really are and the person they become. My wife and I married in our early 20′s, no children, just us, but as we grew and our family grew, we experienced change, however as people change, lifestyles change. We need to stay focused on what got us where we are and strive to become where we want to go.

    Reply
  17. Brwneyes8

    The man I fell in love with is now in love with Farmville/Cityville. Thanks FB. He now devotes much of his time online playing what I consider childish games. He is now asked to accept friend invites to a Blocked Freaks Only site on FB and wonders y I am upset with him. Duh; if you can’t figure it out, then you need not be married!!!

    Reply
  18. Sthomas

    I am a therapist and I agree with Eric, the two of you should seek marriage counseling. This tends to be a common theme with the married couples I see in therapy. Unfortunately, over time, people tend to take one another for granted, priorities change, goals change and the communication skills are just not there to resolve the issues that have gotten you where you are in the present day. Both parties need to be on the same page as far as willingness to put the effort and resources into making the neccessary changes within themselves for the benefit of the marriage. Unfortunately, again, many of these issues need to be discussd prior to marriage but are not (how you problem-solve, how open are you to constructive feedback, etc); therefore, when it gets to this place, it seems one-sided and now you don’t know what to do to fix it. Communication is one of the main keys to any good relationship and it’s one of the main things that breaks down in marriage when left unchecked. I help teach my couples how to communicate assertively to get their needs met and assertive communication allows one to commnunicate honestly without creating an angry, hostile conversation, thus, creating understanding rather than distance. I hope this was helpful.

    Reply
  19. Sthomas

    The honeymoom phase was over about 6-9 months after you started dating. Now real life starts to kick in when people settle in to who they really are in the relationship. People put their best foot forward in the beginning of a relationship because they want to impress and they want the other party to like them, be attracted to them and possibly be in a relatonship with them. Marriage is hard work and most people don’t really have a clue about what goes into becoming “one” in marriage when they’re dating and falling “in love..” The honeymoon phase is fantasy living and never lasts because it isn’t reality, but people get stuck there because it “feels” so good for someone to be so attentive, etc., to your needs. That’s why we can’t base life on our “feelings” because feelings can be irrational and make you do things you would not ordinarily do or allow things to be done to you that you wouldn’t ordinarily allow. The divorce rate in America is so high because people are looking to live in marriage like they did when they were dating and it just isn’t so. And, unfortunately, many people (and I’m not sayng your situation) aren’t willing to make the necessary modifications in themselves for the good of the marriage. You have to be selfless in marriage or it won’t work; you have do what’s right for the sake of the marriage in any given moment and not be so bent on who’s right (what’s right in this situation, not who”s right). That’s hard for many people to do.

    Reply
  20. EPayne

    I agree with your sentiments totally and clarify exactly what you’re speaking toward the end when I stated “Clearly when a woman says, “Youre not the man I fell in love with,” she isnt implying any of the above. And the man who chooses to defend his “Im The Man status” usually opens the door for a nasty discussion showcasing all that is wrong with him.” There is hardly a painful discussion that does have at its roots some pain or hurt suffered by the offender. Sometimes at the hands of that person closest to you, sometimes not. Either way the comment isn’t productive, nor does it allow for that person to receive whatever lessons he or she needs regarding present and probably necessary improvements. You don’t tune up a car under the premise of what it did. You tune up a car based on how it should be performing based on the mileage it presently has and where it (and you need it to take you). Unfortunately it’s hard to be humble while in the midst of being humiliated. Not impossible, but definitely a challenge.

    My closing statement/question: “BMWK fam in 2011 maybe we might be better served if we make the effort to love, check and challenge our mates in the present in order to love the one we are with?” Is the perfect opportunity to do this constructively.

    Thank you for your perspective!

    Reply
  21. EPayne

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes the statement can be taken in a variety of slants. Please see my response to AQUAPH0ENIX above. And I believe the marriage counselor in the first response hit the nail on the head, as well.

    Thanks for reading!

    Reply
  22. Anonymous

    Great post. The reality is, none of us know who we are marrying. We just don’t know how they will react, respond, change, or grow during the course of our lifetime together. It’s all a FAITH walk.

    Reply
  23. Pingback: The Man You Fell In Love With | Black and Married With Kids.com – A Positive Image of Marriage and Family « wtpdiaries

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