Q: Hi Meredith,
I'm having trouble figuring out if I am being realistic or if I am settling.
I'm a 33-year-old woman who has been dating "Henry" for about three months. I like everything about his personality. He's smart, interesting, kind, funny, emotionally mature -- which is a huge plus in my book (I am not so much, but am working on it and know that I really need someone who is). I feel like we can talk about anything and he doesn't judge and I don't judge him. Except on his appearance -- and I wish I didn't. It's a few things that taken by themselves are fine, but all together make me not super attracted to him physically.
My married friends and family say that won't matter in the long run, but my single friends think I am settling. He's heavy -- tall (6'3") and probably close to 300 lbs. He has about 15 tattoos that he got when he was very young -- nothing offensive just visually unappealing in my opinion. His style of dress is very different from mine. I was hesitant to hook up with him, but when we did it was fine -- no fireworks, but fine. He's even made comments about us being an odd pairing on looks alone. After our third date I was going to tell him that I like him more as a friend, but I had so much fun I decided against it and to continue to see where things went. Every time we've hung out since then I go into it thinking I'm going to break it off, but then he gets me to warm up and I end up really enjoy our time together. He recently asked me to be his girlfriend and I deflected by saying I really liked the way things are going, but I want to take it slow. I'm feeling the pressure to make a decision now and don't want to lead him on if I'm not fully in it.
How do I learn to accept everything about him -- since it is the superficial things about him that I don't love? Or am I settling and "learning" to like someone? Should I feel that passion right away? Should I keep looking? Will I always have the grass-is-greener syndrome?
– Being realistic or settling, NY
A: I'm surprised this has gone on for three months. This sounds like "Groundhog Day," where he has to start over from scratch at the start of every date. Sounds exhausting.
I have to wonder whether he's hung out with your friends. Have you brought him into your life at all? If the answers is no, you might want to try a social event as opposed to a dinner date. See how he fits in -- or doesn't. Sometimes the butterflies come out when you see how a potential partner relates to your community.
I'd also ask yourself whether the tattoos and the weight are becoming at all endearing. When you hook up, are you looking away to avoid the tattoos? Is it a lights-off-or-else encounter? Or are you ignoring the specifics because you're enjoying the experience? Honestly, if you're still wincing, let that be a sign. Attraction is a big deal. Sometimes it comes late, but it has to be a part of the relationship. Your married friends should agree.
Based on what you've told us, you seem to be doing the right thing for now. You want to take it slow and you've made that clear to him. He's giving you more time, which is great. Because frankly, I can't tell how you feel. Three months is a long time to grin and bear it. You're either really good at passing the time, or there's just something about him that keeps you coming back. Continue to see him until you know what you want. I promise -- it won't take much longer to get to a definitive answer.
Readers? Is she wasting his time? Why does she keep coming back? Is she falling for him? Do you agree with her married friends? Think she'll naturally get to an answer? 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 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.