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speaking from experience
I have a girlfriend. I am faithful to her, respect her and care for her, but I don't love her. Furthermore, I don't think I'll ever love her. If I do, I will ask her to be my wife, but I doubt that will happen.|
We have both agreed to have a relationship that most probably will end sometime in the future, most likely when I leave the city I live in now. I have had a few relationships like this in the past - especially when I was in university. I have never regretted those past relationships and in fact still stay in touch with those girls. It was hard for us to part, but in the end I think it was better that we got together and then had to part than to have never had gotten together at all.
I do want to meet a girl who will become my girlfriend and then my wife someday, but I feel like that's still a few years down the road. I'm not ready to get married yet. In the meantime I don't want to remain single all the time. It's more fun to have a girlfriend. We can learn a lot from each other and grow into better people with each other's help. Of course, there's always the risk of seriously hurting her or yourself, so both partners must be very considerate of the other and communicate very carefully to them what they are thinking and feeling, and also make it very clear what the intentions of the relationship are.
When I get married I will be completely faithful to my wife. I will have no mistress, lover, girlfriend, prostitute, etc. I will only have my wife. While I have a girlfriend I am also completely faithful to her.
I think that people can have a very satisfying relationship with someone who they don't intend to marry, and that from that angle one can have a different code for girlfriend and wife.