I'll post the "Casablanca" contest entries tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who entered. It was good reading.
Q: My boyfriend and I are at a breaking point. The time has come to get engaged or go our separate ways. We have been together for a few years. We are in our mid-late 20s and we are best friends. We respect each other, care about each other, laugh all the time, etc. I have no complaints except for the "making grilled cheese sandwiches" part. That area is definitely lacking and he is aware of it. We have tried to improve it and I honestly think he is okay with the current state of things. Clearly, I am not okay with it, but I've reached the point where I realize we have different preferences when it comes to intimacy. My question is -- how important is all of that in a marriage? I feel like without it, we will be nothing more than best friends, and I love him and myself too much to allow that to happen. I'd rather let him go so he can find someone who is more compatible in that area with him, but I do love him and I cannot imagine my life without him so it is hard to let go. I just don't want to marry him and 10 years down the road complain that he isn't passionate enough for me. It's not fair to him or to me. I'm in a tough situation right now and I don't want to be selfish. Thoughts? Suggestions? By the way, there are no third parties involved or anything like that. We are very open to each other and loyal. My boyfriend and I just come from different backgrounds. My parents were very loving and affectionate; his parents were distant and cold. While my boyfriend has taken great strides to improve our love life, I can tell something is still missing.
– Sad in Boston
A: It sounds like you've already made a decision, SIB. The fact that you're even open to the idea of him dating someone else suggests that you've already come to terms with what's going to happen.
You want more affection, and not just the grilled cheese. He's working hard to make things better for you, but it's not quite enough. That sets him up to fail over and over again, and it sets you up to be continuously disappointed.
We all have a list of things we can't put up with in a romantic relationship. Some people can cope with a lack of grilled cheese but consider financial irresponsibility a deal-breaker. Other people could care less about grilled cheese and money but require have a partner who shares their religious beliefs.
You're telling us that you love your boyfriend but that you don't think he can make you happy in the long run. Fearing that you'll miss someone is not a great reason to marry them.
Readers? Do they have to break up? Should marriage be on the table? Am I right to say that she has already made a decision? Discuss.
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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.