@Ankh - I’ve been having the same revelation the past year or so. I’ve been in a relationship with my ISTP boyfriend for several years now. We fell hard in love when we first met. In the beginning, it was full of passion, adventure, and some of the best sex I’ve ever had. But as time went on and we phased out of the rainbows and butterflies, I started to feel increasingly unhappy in the relationship. I still love him, but I don’t feel mentally stimulated by the relationship and I wonder if he truly even sees me or if he’s capable of understanding my complexities. He seems to be completely oblivious to my unhappiness, though I know I’m also to blame for this since I have not been honest with him about the way I feel. I just wish I didn’t have to tell him and that he would just notice.
It’s been hard for me to fully come to the realization that my partner doesn’t fulfill me in the ways that I long for. All I want to do is break free, but I’ve been dragging my feet and delaying the inevitable because we’ve been together for so long and there’s such a comfort in our relationship that I afraid of losing. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not fulfilled because he’s the wrong person for me or if I’m just not capable of finding lifelong happiness/fulfillment with anyone. Because even if someone does “check all the boxes”, the kind of love that I so deeply yearn for will inevitably change and become the reality that is life…
My dad once told me something about love that’s stuck with me to this day: “the only way [romantic] love can truly be preserved is in memory.” I was 18 years old at the time going through my first real heartbreak over my first love. My dad, who’s never really opened up or shared anything about his life before us, came to me with a photo album and began telling me the epic story of his first love. The album was essentially a time capsule, filled with all the letters his first love had written to him and photographs of them together. I read through the letters as they referenced lyrics to Jim Reeves songs that my dad had grown up singing to us - it all started to make so much sense. My dad and his first love had to go their separate ways when he emigrated to the United States (where he ended up eventually meeting my mom), and even after nearly fifty years, he still hasn’t let her go. But I realized his love for her only lasted because he didn’t actually end up with her. I’m sure if he had, it would’ve eventually grown to become the same loveless, unhappy, broken marriage that my parents have had since as long as I remember.
I think the greatest blessing for me is that I’ve already found my soulmate, but in my best friend. She and I have a bond like no other and everyone who’s known us over the years, including our men, understand that the love and understanding we have for each other is unparalleled (ever watch Naomi Watts and Robin Wright in Adore and witness the pure understanding they have for one another? kinda like us in a nutshell minus the whole fucking-each-other’s-sons thing). She provides me with the mental stimulation and emotional understanding that I don’t get from my boyfriend (which actually only makes it harder to leave him because she somewhat fills that void).
I guess what I’m trying to say to your statement about love not being enough is that you’re completely right, love isn’t enough. We shouldn’t expect to find personal fulfillment in just one aspect of life, let alone one person (it’s also why I’m terrified of motherhood but I digress…) How can it be enough? There is so much more to live for. Anyways, I totally went down my own rabbit hole and I’m not sure if this even gets at what you’re seeking to express but it sure helped me express what I needed to, so thanks for that ha!