I talked with one of my closest friends last night, and she and I talked about something that has been on my mind but I didn't include it in my previous post. She talked about she and her boyfriend have also had lengthy conversations about the romance, including the lack of it, in their relationship. And she mentioned that she has started appreciating daily stuff more- when he cleans up the apartment or makes dinner. Which reminded me of something that J said the other night, which was that he had felt romantic toward me all day while he went grocery shopping and made a really amazing dinner.
Which also reminds me of different "love languages"- touch, verbal, actions, etc. I am definitely a "touch" person by instinct, while I know J is more of an "action" person. It's learning to recognize how we express love and devotion in our own ways, and appreciating that expression even if it's not something that innately speaks to us.
And, we received a really amazing email from our sister-in-law who read my first post. She expressed exactly the concept above, and encouraged me to reframe and redefine "romance." I think redefining the concept is really important so that I can continually recognize the "romantic" actions that J engages in (cleaning the apartment, watering the plants, cutting our dog's hair, grocery shopping, etc). Redefining romance to include these things makes my "romantic" life feel a lot more full than it did, and also makes the thing that I feel is lacking (romantic and sensual touch) feel like less of a big deal (still really important to me, but a more manageable deal).
Thank you friends and family for supporting us!! It makes struggling feel a whole lot less alienating and it gives me much-needed perspective.