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Am I going to drop the other shoe?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 21, 2010 08:30 AM

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Thanks for your great comments yesterday. I'm sure the letter writer appreciated them.


Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years and have been living together for the last eight months. We have what seems to be the perfect relationship. We get along incredibly well, we have fun together, he listens to me, etc. I don't doubt our love for each other. But lately, I'm starting to think that maybe there are some cracks in our seemingly perfect relationship. I'm the kind of person who's always "waiting for the other shoe to drop" or expecting the worst. So maybe that's my problem. The subject of our future comes up frequently, and before the day comes when he's on one knee asking me to spend my life with him, I need to know that this relationship is truly satisfying and fulfilling for us (OK, for me). He says he's perfectly happy with our relationship.

My concern is that he is not as affectionate as I need. He's not a very sexual person and rarely initiates intimacy. He doesn't like to hold hands or cuddle, although he will if I ask him. But I don't want to ask him. I just want to know that I'm desired, that he finds me attractive. I've brought it up to him a couple of times, and he tells me that of course he is attracted to me and loves being intimate with me, but he just isn't an openly emotional person and doesn't know how to show it. He tells me that he appreciates all the work I do for him, cooking and cleaning and managing our home. But I feel that our relationship lacks that deep passion that I've experienced before, the kind of passion that makes you weak in the knees and gives you butterflies when you kiss. We don't have that. I often find myself wondering if I could be happy with our relationship as it is for the rest of my life. He's my best friend and I adore him. I want to share my life with him and have a family. But I can't help but wonder if I will ever be completely satisfied. I know that one of the biggest reasons couples divorce is because of sex or issues with sex. I don't want that to be us. I know there is no perfect relationship or perfect partner. He completes me in every other way and is so good to me. Is it enough though? Should I just shut up and be grateful that I have such a great guy?

– Will I Always Want More?, Wareham

A: Well, I don't know if you're paraphrasing or quoting him directly, WIAWM, but your boyfriend has told you that he doesn't know how to show his feelings. So tell him. "I want you to initiate sex twice a week." "I want you to tell me when I look awesome." Spell it out. Maybe even write a list. He's the kind of guy who needs specifics.

As far as I know, there are two types of stomach butterflies. (Actually, there are three, but the third relates to nausea and is not relevant to Love Letters.) The first type is about excitement and lust, and it goes away after a relationship gets real. The second type is the occasional butterfly you get when you realize you're with someone you love who loves you back. If you're looking for Butterfly 1, forget about it. That's a new relationship thing and you've had that experience. But if you're really lacking Butterfly 2 -- those moments of feeling totally in sync with your boyfriend -- then yes, you should worry -- not because of the sex, but because something bigger is missing.

But I'd start with the specific instructions. Because he'll follow directions. And if you still feel antsy after he does, you'll know that you're looking for a reason to drop the shoe. And that's OK. Better now than later.

Readers? Is the intimacy thing that big of a deal? Is this about him or the letter writer dropping shoes? Should she let go of an otherwise good thing? 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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