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Can I get the love back?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 9, 2010 09:40 AM

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Friday I'm in love. But she may not be.

Q: Dear Meredith,

I cannot believe I am writing to LL…but here it goes. I’ll try to keep it as brief as I can; I know people dislike diatribes.

I am in my early thirties and have been in a relationship for about eight yrs. We are not married but we own a home and have a dog together so we are more than invested in things. Over the past year plus, I have been feeling less and less physically and emotionally connected to this person. Our sex life is pretty bad and has been for a few years but we both just seemed to block it out because there were other things (house, dog, peaceful coexistence). We've talked about the problems before but we always just seem to go back to the same pattern of no intimacy. From a compatibility stand point we do, however, make a good "team."

We had a big talk about this recently. I told him I don't think I can handle the lack of intimacy anymore and that I don't feel it’s something we can get back. While I was somewhat doomsday, he seems determined that we can regain some sort of physical connection. We never really talk about marriage but now he tells me he was looking for a ring a week before our talk (oy vey)! Ever since we talked he has really been trying, which I do appreciate, but to put it plainly, I am just not feeling it. I feel no connection and almost become nervous at the thought that he may try to "make a move." I guess I am asking if there is any way to salvage an otherwise decent relationship. This man is really wonderful – honest, hard working, laid back, and caring. As a person and a friend, I truly love him. But I fear that if I try to force or convince myself I can overlook the missing chemistry I may come to regret it several years down the line. I'm not getting any younger and may want to have children before I am 80. Can a relationship survive on good companionship alone? And should/does a relationship even still HAVE chemistry after so long? UGH!!

Thanks for any help,

– Worried, Confused, Celibate, and Feeling Guilty in South Boston

A: A relationship can survive on good companionship alone. Many people think that's enough. But you don't. And that's fine.

I think you're done with this person, at least as a romantic partner. You're talking about staying in it for him, not for you. You're trying to squeeze out the love. Not once did you mention a fear of being alone. Not once did you mention a fear of what life would be like without him as your boyfriend. The thing that scares you is the ring. The thing that scares you is him "making a move."

This decision is loaded because you're in your early 30s. That's when people get married. That's when people walk around thinking, "Thank goodness I'm with someone who wants to stick around." But that's also when people get married out of fear. You're not clinging to your guy because you're afraid there's no one else. You're saying, "I want to leave now as opposed to years from now." It’s upsetting, but it's honest.

Yes, a decent relationship can be saved -- if both partners want to save it. I'm not getting the sense that you do. This won't be easy. Oy vey, indeed. Hang in there as you go with your gut.

Readers? Do you agree? Is this relationship over? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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