Q: Dear Meredith,
I've been a longtime reader of your column and finally have a problem that I think is worthy of your attention!
My boyfriend and I have been together for over 4 years. We met in college and now live together. Like any long-term couple, we have been through ups and downs but have managed to work through it all. We share similar life values, money styles, parenting beliefs, and career ambitions. We are on the same page about having a family, how we want to raise our kids, and how we see our future going.
He is a wonderful person -- funny and smart, hard-working, stable, kind, and totally committed to me. Whenever we talk about the future, he always says that he doesn't care when we get married, but he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and so he's ready whenever I am.
And that's the problem. When I think about marrying him, I have to wonder if he's really the right person. Maybe I'm expecting a fairy tale, but I just feel like something is missing. We don't really have a spark anymore and the passion from our relationship has definitely dwindled. We have sex, but it feels like I'm having sex with a close friend, not the man of my dreams. When I think about raising kids with him or buying a house with him, I know he would be the most wonderful partner. But when I think about passion and romance and sex, I come up empty.
I tell myself that real love is built on mutual respect and willingness to work things out, that sex comes and goes ... and isn't a man who thinks I'm beautiful and wonderful and wants to have a life with me more important than bed-rockingness? But still, there's a voice in the back of my head that says, "This is it?"
I think about leaving but the idea of someone else being with him and having to start over alone always stops me. Leaving him would mean completely changing my life -- giving up my home and my life partner.
So do I break things off now because I don't feel the spark? Or am I just waiting for a Disney princess ending that doesn't exist? I'm afraid that I'm never going to meet someone who I respect like my boyfriend and who treats me so well, but I also want a life that's filled with passion and someone who knocks my socks off.
– Ambivalent, NYC
A: This hurts to write, but you have to let him go. You found a husband long before you were ready to have one. You're already wondering who else might knock your socks off. This isn't an I-fear-the-grass-is-greener question; this is about you being bored of your grass altogether.
If I told you that a socks-rocking guy was already waiting in the wings, you'd bolt, right? You can't start a marriage if that's how you feel.
You mention the fear of being alone. You mention the fear of someone else snagging your wonderful guy. But you seem less concerned about having to go through new experiences without him by your side.
After four years of dating, some people are begging for a ring. You're looking for a way to avoid one.
You said it best: "I don't feel the spark." That's your answer. After four years of dating the perfect guy, that's where you are.
Readers? She seems to have it all. Any way she can save this? Can she get the spark back? If she bails will she regret it? Is this a Disney princess issue? What should she do? Help.
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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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.