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“There’s No Passion. Should I MOA?”

Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter is answered by freelance writer, Rachel East, AKA ReginaRey.

I’m in my late thirties and recently started dating a new guy. It’s been about six weeks. He seems genuine, likes me a lot, tells me often how he feels. He has a steady job, comes from a good family, has a close circle of friends, takes care of himself, works out, eats healthy. Really, there’s nothing wrong with him. Plus, he enjoys spending time with me. The problem is: I’m not developing romantic feelings for him. I enjoy his company, and we’ve kissed, but I just don’t feel a strong attraction to him.

At my age I am really ready to meet the right man and settle down. I don’t want to settle for the wrong person and be unfulfilled. I do have other areas in my life that are full: a great job, plenty of hobbies, family and friends, an active social life. But I want the relationship part of my life to finally come together and to start a family. I feel like this new guy could really be a lasting relationship and everything I’ve ever wanted could fall nicely into place. So why don’t I have feelings for him?

Part of me wonders if I’m just scared! I don’t want to get hurt again. Part of me thinks that I’ve been single and independent for so long, that it’s hard to transition into a relationship. Part of me thinks if I can’t make it work with him, then what am I looking for? I’ve had feelings of interest and desire for other partners in the past, but those didn’t work out in the end. So should I not be looking for someone I feel interest and desire for? Should I be going for someone who likes me a lot and will be good to me, but whom I don’t really like in return? Should I stick it out longer and see if my feelings grow over time? How long is long enough to know whether or not I’ve given it a fair chance? — Just Not Feeling It

Two months ago, I broke up with my boyfriend of two years. There was nothing wrong with him or the relationship, per se – he was thoughtful, caring, kind, generous, funny, and intelligent. My friends adored him and I was repeatedly asked if he was “The One.” And yet, we broke up.

Why? Well, because even though I loved him for the wonderful person that he was and is, I didn’t really feel like I was in love with him anymore. I didn’t feel any passion. I didn’t feel a deep soulful connection. I started imagining what a serious relationship might be like with someone I felt something more for. Eventually, I even started having nausea and anxiety at the thought of marrying him. In short, my relationship with my boyfriend had fizzled, and become more of a friendship than a romantic partnership to me.

I struggled for months with the decision to end it because there was nothing wrong with him or the relationship! I wanted it to work badly. But I just felt…deflated. I wanted more out of a long-term, marriage-potential relationship than feeling constant indifference.

The point I’m making by sharing my story is this: Sometimes, there doesn’t have to be anything wrong with a relationship for it not to be right.

After six weeks, I think you should be feeling something for this guy. After all, six weeks is the point in many new relationships where you’re over-the-moon giddy! You want to spend every waking second with them! You want to soak up the passion and excitement that practically emanates from the new relationship! Six weeks is more than enough time to determine if the chemistry is there or not.

The fact that you’re not feeling that with this new guy, when you’ve had time to get there, is a red flag. You’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to fill the missing piece in your life. Is it worth waiting out a bit longer? Maybe. It wouldn’t necessarily hurt to stick around for a few more weeks if that’s what it takes to convince you that the feelings aren’t there. BUT – you already know how you feel; you just don’t want those feelings to be right, because this guy seems so perfect. In fact, you’re actively denying what your subconscious is trying to tell you by generating new problems – “I’m scared, I could get hurt, and I like my independence!”

Those are valid concerns in any new relationship, to be sure, but if you felt powerfully attracted to him, the potential to get hurt would pale in comparison to how strongly you felt about him.

I know you want to get married and start a family, but in addition to the tangibles — a steady job, good family, physically active, eats healthy, intelligent, etc — you need the intangibles — the spark, the passion, the chemistry, the desire to be together physically. I urge you – don’t try to manufacture feelings. Imagine what would happen if you ended up marrying this man who you don’t have romantic feelings for. What kind of life would you have married to what amounts to a friend? Where is the excitement? The desire? The overwhelming force that keeps you together?

Stop blaming yourself for something you can’t control. When you don’t have a romantic attraction to someone, it’s a sign that they aren’t right for you, not that there’s something wrong with you. Move on now and find the person who’s right in both ways, and who will without a doubt inspire passion and strong attraction in you.

*ReginaRey (Real Name: Rachel East) is a full-time Events & Promotions Coordinator and a part-time freelance writer focusing on dating and relationships. One day, after tackling grad school, she plans to be your Marriage and Family Therapist…because the only thing better than talking about relationships all day is getting paid to talk about relationships all day. You can check out her weekly column here and follow her on Twitter @MissRachelEast.

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{ 122 comments… add one }

  • avatar Ck October 25, 2011, 8:02 am

    I didn’t have intense feelings of love when I met my husband, in fact, I wasn’t even sure I was attracted to him. But he had all those things that I knew I was looking for in a relationship, everything you listed above, and I knew that that counted for a hell of a lot when it came to making a relationship work long term. I did struggle on and off for the first few months wondering if I was settling for someone who I didn’t have that spark with, but in the back of my head there was something telling me to stick this one out and see what happens. And everything fell into place, my worries went away, and I can’t even imagine how I didn’t see the chemistry we so obviously had in the first place.

    My point is, if you’re looking for a relationship that is going to go the distance, and you want to get married and have kids and have someone who is going to support you through thick and thin, there is a lot to be said for all of those qualities you mentioned. Passion comes and goes, it changes over time, it can be intense, fade to nothing, start slow and develop, but it is always in motion, always evolving. That’s not to say that you should just jump into a relationship with someone you feel absolutely nothing for, but I would give this one some more time if you feel like everything else is what you’re looking for. Try to let go of your insecurities and worries and just enjoy spending time with him. If even then you feel nothing, then move on. But there is a lot to be said about the attraction of a guy who is your true partner in life.

    • avatar Amanda October 25, 2011, 9:22 am

      I absolutely agree. I had a similar experience with my fiance. I had been single for over a year and not really looking for a relationship when I met him. We started off as friends and in the first few months I didn’t feel ANY passion for him AT ALL. Then, something changed suddenly and I felt intense passion for him. LW, I would give this more time. In any long-term relationship, passion waxes and wanes, but it also may take time to develop in the first place. You may need more time to get back into a “relationship” mindset before you can put your feelings on the line, which is necessary for true passion for another (in my opinion). Good luck

    • avatar Flake October 25, 2011, 9:52 am

      I agree as well. Even though for me, it was a bit the other way around. When I met my BF, I was not looking for anything in particular, I just let things go naturally. There were sparks and passion and all that good stuff, and it lasted for a while. But then, in my opinion, even better things happened. We became best friends, we became very comfortable with each other. And although most of the time, I don’t feel that intense passion any more, what I do feel now is more like an evenly burning fire. It’s not going to sear your eyebrows off, but it will keep you warm and comfortable for a long time.

      • avatar Beckaleigh October 25, 2011, 10:19 am

        Very beautiful explanation.

      • avatar amber October 25, 2011, 10:27 am

        your explanation reminded me of this quote, it’s one of my favorites.

        “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
        ― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

        • cmary CMF October 25, 2011, 1:30 pm

          Oh, I LOVE that book. And that’s such a great quote- and so appropriate. (“Is that the cat that shat in my helmet?”)

        • avatar Slamy October 25, 2011, 6:39 pm

          I love that. Thank you!

      • LadyinPurpleNotRed ChicagoWoman October 25, 2011, 10:28 am

        But you felt that in the beginning. The LW says she’s not feeling it and didn’t say if she has ever really felt it. She says she SHOULD feel it, but doesn’t say that she ever has.

        • avatar Flake October 25, 2011, 10:42 am

          What I mean to say that even if you do have that in the beginning, there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way. And if that is your expectation, you might be disappointed when/if it fades.

          • LadyinPurpleNotRed ChicagoWoman October 25, 2011, 1:50 pm

            Well yes, but to know you want to start a romantic relationship with someone there needs to be a spark and chemistry because on paper there are a lot of people that sound like they should be “the one”

            • avatar Flake October 25, 2011, 2:03 pm

              To start a mostly physical relationship, maybe. But if you want to build a foundation for a long-term relationship, or a family, you just have to be attracted to his/her personality, have common goals and interests, and have respect for each other. How many times people on here say, “don’t rush, become friends, get to know each other better…”. Six weeks is not really that long. The LW is the only one who can make that decision. I think there is a big difference between not being sure he is the one and being sure that he is not. If she feels friendship towards him, But not crazy passion or lust, in my opinion, it may be worth waiting if that feeling grows into love. If she is INDIFFERENT, then I think she should move on.
              I can only speak from experience, and I say that what I considered absolutely essential for a relationship when I was just starting dating has changed as I have grown and learned that it definitely takes more than passion to sustain a relationship.

              • avatar PFG-SCR October 25, 2011, 2:18 pm

                “But if you want to build a foundation for a long-term relationship, or a family, you just have to be attracted to his/her personality, have common goals and interests, and have respect for each other.”

                Personally, I disagree. I’d never want a relationship that didn’t involve wanting to bone the other person, at any point in the relationship. The beginning of a relationship should be a “can’t keep your hands off of each other” stage…ideally, that never goes away even in a long-term relationship, but life does cause distractions, yet at a minimum, the desire should be there.

                • LadyinPurpleNotRed ChicagoWoman October 25, 2011, 11:00 pm

                  that’s what I was trying to get at. You need both and if the LW isn’t feeling one, then she shouldn’t try to force it because it sounds like it’s supposed to be right

    • avatar Shadowflash1522 October 26, 2011, 12:00 pm

      I know I wrote something kind of to the contrary down below, but I kind of actually agree with this too.

      Sometimes love just…happens. It sneaks up on you and you don’t realize it until it’s 2:30 in the morning and you get dragged out of a sound sleep because they flooded the bathroom and you’re elbows-deep in ice cold water holding the valve in the toilet tank shut with your fingers while you wait for the plumber to arrive. (this happened to me with my best friend). It’s probably been growing on you for a while, but then you find yourself wondering why you put up with this and you suddenly realize “holy crap it’s because I love this person!”. So give it a chance, but only you can decide when you’ve waited long enough.

    • avatar steve May 26, 2012, 8:52 am

      I agree 100%. I dont understand why some people give up on a possible great relationship. No one seems to want to work on things. Its just easy to say the feelings are not there, oh well. Its a crying shame because no on seems to value the good qualifications in relationships anymore. I think its a deeper issue within that person. Could be low self esteem or not feeling like your good enough to be with someone.

  • FireStar FireStar October 25, 2011, 8:06 am

    RR is right. For a successful relationship you need shared values, chemistry and the timing has to work. Two out of three isn’t good enough. The rest of your life is a long time. It will feel even longer if you are miserable. I understand the pressure to find that last little piece that will ‘complete’ your life. But you really can’t sell yourself short. A good rule of thumb? Don’t do anything to make your eighty year old self cuss you.

    • avatar phoenix28 October 26, 2011, 11:17 am

      “Don’t do anything to make your eighty year old self cuss you.”

      Love that!

  • avatar jess October 25, 2011, 8:08 am

    Question, is the LW on birth control pills? There’s a lot of research now saying that being on the pill messes with feelings of attraction. Normally, you get those “Omg I want to be them!” feelings for those whose genome is very different from your own (for better genetic variety/health for a potential child) But when you are on birth control, your body acts as if you are pregnant, and thus you are more attracted to those whose dna is similar to yours (an instinct to keep our pregnant prehistoric ancestors close to the tribe).

    Anyway, just saying, the ‘intangible’ feelings of passion the LW is lacking are biological, and if she is taking BC they might be being influenced by the medication.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/13/health/webmd/main4347457.shtml

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=birth-control-pills-affect-womens-taste

    • caitie_didnt caitie_didn't October 25, 2011, 8:24 am

      Actually, that research shows that women on the BCP are attracted to men whose MHC (II) (that’s major histocompatibility complex II) is more similar to their own, while women free of hormonal birth control tend to be attracted to men whose MHC (II) complex is different from their’s. It’s a matter of genetic fitness- if you and your mates MHC is different, your offspring will have a broader range of antigens to fight infection and whatnot.

      There’s also been research that suggests women on the pill are attracted to men with more “feminine” features (this is also true of women who are ovulating).

      So no, it’s not the pills. and even if it WERE the pills, so what? She’s supposed to go off birth control to “try and make it work” with this guy?

      • avatar jess October 25, 2011, 9:07 am

        People switch non-hormonal forms of birth control for other reasons- mood swings, acne, weight gain, etc. If it might be effecting her love life and the choices she’s making (she says she’s been single for a long time, the guys shes attracted to aren’t working out) than that seems like a good enough reason to me! In her late 30s she may not even be on birth control, I’m just throwing it out there.

      • avatar jess October 25, 2011, 9:11 am

        oh and btw the info your referring to is that women are attracted to masculine men when they are ovulating. not sure how you automatically jumped to “its not the pills”. How do you know? it could be… i’m just trying to give the LW a variety of advice, we don’t all have to say the same thing.

        • caitie_didnt caitie_didn't October 25, 2011, 12:28 pm

          There is literally not one shred of evidence that this is caused by her bcp and it’s just such a spurious correlation to jump from “i don’t really feel a spark” to “your birth control (that you might not even be taking!) are causing you to make poor choices in men”.

          1). she doesn’t say she’s on BCP- so we don’t know
          2). she doesn’t say that she’s been single for a long time
          3). she doesn’t say she has made poor choices in men, just that her past relationships haven’t worked out.
          4). Taking birth control doesn’t lead to making poor choices about the people you date- otherwise there would be a whole lot more divorces than there are, because seriously just about everyone is on some type of hormonal birth control
          5). There are a million reasons why relationships don’t work, and just because she is in her late 30′s and single doesn’t mean SHE is unilaterally responsible for the failure of her previous relationships.
          6). Presumably, she’s been in relationships before, so her hypothetical use of birth control hasn’t stopped her from feeling physical chemistry with other people.

          We don’t all have to say the same thing, but let’s not go making stuff up or pulling random facts out of our butts to give a “variety of advice”. especially where science is concerned.

          • avatar SpyGlassez October 26, 2011, 2:21 am

            Gotta say, this comment really sounds hostile to what was said above. However, ANY medication you take can have far ranging effects and it IS possible that her birth control could have an influence. For that matter, so could any antidepressant she is on, or whether she’s unmedicated for depression, and so forth. No, we don’t know these things – though that has NEVER stopped ANYONE in the past on this forum from making assumptions.

            I know FROM MY EXPERIENCE that when I started going with my BF, I was not on BC and I was completely crazy about him. I went on BC not long after we started dating for reasons unrelated to him (my cycle was whack) and a lot of that initial “in lust” feeling immediately vanished. I changed BC three times trying to find one that worked with my body and fixed my cycle issues, and what I am on now still dampens my libido. My antidepressants also dampen it. That means I work harder to remind myself of the things I love about him, and remind my brain why it wants him. The desire was and is there, but there are other issues that have arisen that do not allow it to express as easily as it did in the beginning.

            I agree that most likely, RR is right – he may be a great guy and a great catch, but he’s not the right guy now for the LW. However, it is something to be aware of in relationships, the affect that medications can have on said relationships.

    • avatar DDL October 25, 2011, 8:28 am

      I wouldn’t risk going off birth control to figure that out with my boyfriend. But it’s an interesting idea, though I don’t think it’s the fundamental foundation for why she doesn’t have sexual attraction to this man. A lot guys are great, but you just don’t feel that ‘click’ with them.

      As well, the Scientific American news article seems to draw conclusions, making it sound like a woman will cheat if she goes on or off b.c. and doesn’t find her man attractive anymore. Humans do choose who they pair up with, and obviously you have other connections with that person if you’re in a serious relationship. I find that this is a little one-sided, and I would hesitate to put all my eggs in this basket.

      Not to mention, there’s quite a bit about female hormones and brain chemistry that has yet to be studied, or completely determined. I would wait for more support before drawing any major conclusions like that.

      Anyways, sorry, you do bring up a point, and there will be a handful of women who are affected so severely by hormones, but I hesitate to believe that it applies in ever case so significantly.

      • avatar DDL October 25, 2011, 8:32 am

        Also, hormones or not, we still choose people who are similar to us, or people we grew up with. It a whole range – environment, genetic fitness, personal preference, hormones, etc. There isn’t going to be one determining factor as to why, scientifically, we choose certain people over others.

  • avatar DDL October 25, 2011, 8:13 am

    Agreed.

    LW, I don’t think you want to stick around in a relationship where you don’t feel that passion, and that desire, that drives you towards being with the person that makes you feel like … Mmmmmmmmm.

  • avatar CottonTheCuteDog October 25, 2011, 8:39 am

    wow, didn’t know RR broke up with her guy. I remember her talking about him before. Sorry to hear.

  • avatar scattol October 25, 2011, 8:54 am

    That’s all nice and good but the clock is ticking.

    I want to point out the well known “Stable marriage” math problem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stable_marriage_problem The solution to the problem is such that it contains matches that are individually suboptimal. You marry someone that isn’t your top choice mostly because they didn’t propose to you or they declined you. So math says that your best solution to being married may well not have you marry “The One”.

    Note that said problem has no limits on the number of “proposals” you can make and that you have perfect visibility of all candidates and a flawless ranking function. Both of these helpful conditions clearly aren’t met in real life so you would presume that in real life you end up with an even worst match.

    Or you could stay single…

    This math problem is a simplification of course and doesn’t take into account attachment (a change in the ranking function). Yet I think it helpfully points out that you can definitely set the bar too high and be left high and dry.

  • avatar artsygirl October 25, 2011, 8:56 am

    LW – RR is completely right. If you are not feeling attraction after 6 weeks, I seriously doubt that you will ever feel it for your BF. I would break up with him and kindly explain that while you really like him, you feel like the relationship is probably not right for you. Let him find someone who will love him passionately so you can find the person who fulfills you.

  • avatar amber October 25, 2011, 9:03 am

    RR is right when I think about what I was feeling 6 weeks in to the relationship with my husband. It was definitely not indifference and there was definitely a strong attraction. Does that happen for everyone? Maybe not, maybe there are some who build up slower and then realize the person is the one. Do I think you should marry this guy? Not if you feel indifferent. Do I think you should give it another date or two? Maybe. Try and let go of this I’m 30 and everything else in my life is great, now I need a man and to be married (I’m not saying it’s bad to want this, but that perhaps it’s getting in the way of dating at the moment.) Try one more date with the guy don’t look at him in a am I going to marry him in two years way, just say do I enjoy going out with you. Relax some. If you still feel the same way, move on. Don’t waste your or the guy’s time.

  • Lyra L October 25, 2011, 9:24 am

    I think society (and family!) tend to pressure people into marriage and remind us that the “biological clock” is ticking. With the holidays coming up, how many of us are dreading the: “when are you and ___ getting married?” question?? I know I sure am. I know my family means well, but I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “when is the next big wedding going to be in our family?” Of course my younger cousin recently got engaged and is getting married this spring, so people will now ask “when is the next wedding going to be? And who?”

    It makes me want to throw something. I will get married when I’m ready to get married. End of story. *end rant*

    Moral of the story, LW: yes, MOA from this relationship. Don’t waste your time trying to make things work when you just aren’t feeling it.

    • avatar honeybeenicki October 25, 2011, 2:56 pm

      In our family, you stop dreading the “when are you getting married” after you get married (obviously), but move on to the “so, when are you guys going to have kids?” I’m guessing its the same in most families.

      • Lyra L October 26, 2011, 12:23 am

        Ha. So true. It’s a vicious cycle. My friend from college got married this summer and people are harping her about when she and her husband are going to have kids. At this point in time they don’t want to have kids due to both financial and emotional reasons.

    • katie katie October 26, 2011, 1:45 am

      ah this is what i wanted to say below, and then it came off all wrong.

      i think its similar to the virginity myth. if its wrong to only value a woman if she is a virgin, shouldnt it also be wrong not to value a woman unless she is married and/or has kids?

      i wish that the world wasnt this way… a lot of women wouldnt feel so bad about themselves just because they arent married and popping out babies.

  • avatar atraditionalist October 25, 2011, 9:28 am

    While I agree with RR she is in her early twenties. I don’t want to scare you LW but you want to get married and have kids and you are in your late 30s-kids won’t come naturally for much longer. Passion fades and passion grows -it changes. Maybe go with the man who’s shown that he is a good husband/father. For all you know he might be “settling” for you as well because he’s ready to be married and have kids. I think you will regret throwing a good thing away because you hoped something better would come along.

    • avatar H October 25, 2011, 9:38 am

      I understand what you are saying. If having kids NATURALLY is her biggest goal in life then yes… she should go full-steam ahead with this guy. It may already be very hard for her to conceive.
      But, she needs to weigh out which is more important.
      She could maybe adopt with the RIGHT guy.
      As much as I would love to have a baby, I’d rather NOT have one than have one with a guy who I couldn’t really only muster “meh” feelings for. What kind of life is that?
      She needs to decide what is more important to her…

      • avatar H October 25, 2011, 9:42 am

        Grammar correction…
        As much as I would love to have a baby, I’d rather NOT have one than have one with a guy who I *COULD really only muster “meh” feelings for

      • avatar TheOtherMe October 25, 2011, 9:55 am

        ….”As much as I would love to have a baby, I’d rather NOT have one than have one with a guy who I couldn’t really only muster “meh” feelings for”…

        I totally agree. I am surprised when I see that people lean towards making one of the biggest decisions in their life, marrying & starting a family with someone that they have little or no chemistry with, just because it might take time until someone better comes along. That being said, it’s my own personal opinion & I would never judge if someone’s priority is having a family rather than being head over heels in love. Maybe I’m selfish, I want it “all” but I know that my “all” means probably never having children of my own.

        • avatar H October 25, 2011, 10:05 am

          Someday, the kids are going to grow up and move out. Don’t you still want to be happy with your husband/partner when that happens? I think the right person will make you happy whether there are kids present or not.
          But, as you said- everyone has to make that decision for themselves.

      • FireStar FireStar October 25, 2011, 11:12 am

        I agree with this. It really does turn on priorities. I feel it would be hard to have a family with someone you were only “meh” towards though. Marriage is work and kids are even more work…sometimes all you have is each other in the battle. When that happens, sometimes your shared vision for the future sustains you – and sometimes the fact that you love this person like no one else is what sustains you.

        I definitely think you need chemistry to have a good relationship. But like others have pointed out – chemistry is not the same as lust hitting you hard and fast. Sometimes it takes a moment to build.

  • Eljay Eljay October 25, 2011, 9:29 am

    I’m inclined to agree with RR on this one. I also recently broke up with someone who I had been seeing for three months for this very reason. Great guy, perfect on paper, treated me like royalty, yet I felt no spark/chemistry whatsoever. In the end, I started to resent him for what was lacking and couldn’t take it any longer. I felt horrible for dragging it on for so long, I just needed to be very sure that was the right decision just because he was so wonderful. As soon as I did though, a huge weight was lifted from me and although I am dreadfully lonely, I know this is far better than the horrible way I felt for three months trying to force a square peg into a round hole, and the ever mounting frustration in realizing that it just won’t ever fit. Good luck to you LW.

    • avatar melanie October 25, 2011, 10:10 am

      I agree. I also dated a guy that was good on paper/no spark. I also resented him. Once I finally had the guts to break up with him and found someone that make me swoon… I knew that I had made the right choice. That passion is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

      In the end, I had to break up with the guy that made me “swoon” because of some bizarre occurrences. But, I wouldn’t give up the time I had with him for anything.

      • Eljay Eljay October 25, 2011, 10:58 am

        I know that “swoon” exists, you – and so many others – have had it. I am still waiting (not so patiently) for it to happen my way. I’m starting to wonder if it will ever happen for me. If my marriage was it for me and I am destined to be alone. Who knows, but I am certainly not going to settle for Mr. Okay For Now Because I Don’t Want To Be Alone. I just did that and I was more miserable than I have been in a very long time.

        • avatar melanie October 25, 2011, 11:43 am

          It doesn’t come easily for me either. I’ve only felt that twice in my life. I’m not sure how old you are, but don’t give up hope. It’s out there.

      • avatar SpaceySteph October 25, 2011, 11:37 am

        Same story here. Dated a guy who was perfect on paper, when we hung out it was fine… but only fine. Not amazing, not wonderful, not something I had to have.
        I stuck it out for a couple months hoping I would find the spark, but I didn’t. I dumped him, started dating my current bf a few months later. There’s the spark. We are going on a year and a half and still have some fire.
        Though I felt bad about dumping a guy who wasn’t bad but just wasn’t it, the predominant feeling post-breakup with him was relief. I’m glad I held out for the spark.

  • avatar H October 25, 2011, 9:31 am

    I know that you probably feel that the clock is “ticking” as far as starting a family goes… and no sugar-coating… it is. At 30, my own clock is getting pretty damn loud. But, as wonderful as having children is (or at least I am told it is), are having them really worth the misery of being with and eventually marrying someone you don’t care that much for? I would say absolutely not.

    Give it a few more weeks. There isn’t too much harm in that. Try to talk to this guy about some of the things you are passionate about and ask him about his. Introduce him to one of your hobbies that brings you joy. Don’t hold back on being you and hopefully he will do the same. Maybe you just haven’t the chance to make that real connection with him. Maybe you’ve both been trying so hard to impress the other person, that your true colors haven’t had a chance to show through. But, I wouldn’t give it much longer than that. If you aren’t missing him when he’s not around, than there is no way you should try to form a life-long bond with him.

    Life doesn’t work out for everyone in the same cookie cutter way. That doesn’t make your life any less beautiful. So, don’t try too hard to fit that mold. You do have the rest of your life to find someone who brings you bliss. There is a point where people are TOO picky (well he snores, doesn’t make six figures and has a weird freckle… so I couldn’t possibly marry him!)… but if he has never once given you butterflies in your tummy and holding his hand doesn’t make you feel at home, then this probably is not the guy for you.

  • leilani leilani October 25, 2011, 9:34 am

    To me, it wouldn’t be worth the effort of rearranging my life and letting go of my independence for a guy I don’t even feel a spark with. Why would I want to dedicate my life to someone I wasn’t excited about? There are lots of great people out there that aren’t your personal match. This guy sounds like one of those. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving it a few more weeks to see if any romantic feelings develop, as sometimes attraction builds over time, but if you do that and you’re still feeling pretty iffy on the guy, I’d cut things off.

  • Budj Budj October 25, 2011, 9:35 am

    Something to be said for “unexplainable attraction” – you know what you want on paper, but you also need to find someone with the spark for you. You didn’t mention anything this guy likes to do – is he boring? Just not into the same things you are?

    Common interests and mutual senses of entertainment are also huge things to look for in a partner.

    Also – music video on my link…check it out…we worked hard on it and raised money to do it. Humor me please.

    • avatar callmehobo October 25, 2011, 9:53 am

      Budj,

      That was awesome!

    • Eljay Eljay October 25, 2011, 9:57 am

      Very kewl!

    • avatar TheOtherMe October 25, 2011, 10:02 am

      Go Team Budj !!! that was cool ! is that where your avatar came from ?

      also, Imma Bee cracked me up :)

      • Budj Budj October 25, 2011, 10:53 am

        yep! Thanks everyone for watching – you can download that song for free on our facebook if you “Like” us. It is also on iTunes – we would rather people just take it and spread it than buy it though.

    • avatar Rachel October 25, 2011, 12:45 pm

      Sweet video!

    • avatar PFG-SCR October 25, 2011, 1:03 pm

      @Budj: That video is awesome!!!!! I’m so impressed and happy that your music is working out so well. Hopefully you won’t have to keep your day job! ;-)

      I hope you’re doing a Reader of the Week here so we can learn even more about your music career.

    • avatar honeybeenicki October 25, 2011, 2:58 pm

      Love it!

  • avatar jess October 25, 2011, 9:02 am

    I’m not saying the LW should stay with this guy because he’s good on paper- the only boyfriend’s i’ve ever had were the “spark” kind where I knew I was going to fall in love with him 2 days after I met him. So I can’t imagine going on date after date with someone not feeling it, and forcing it, I don’t know what that would feel like.

    But, this topic reminds me of that “Marry Him: The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough” book.

  • avatar SGMcG October 25, 2011, 10:07 am

    I am a huge advocate of passion in relationships. However, I’m wondering if LW is categorizing passion solely on that head rush of hormones you get when you’re chemistry with a new person you met is off the charts amazing. Passion is more than that – passion also gives you the courage to go beyond your norm and be the best possible person you can be.

    LW, you mention that you have a fear of being hurt again, as well as an indirectly mentioned fear of being alone and not having that relationship/family you always wanted. Part of finding the passion you want is gaining the courage to tackle the fears you have. If this relationship with the good-on-paper guy doesn’t give you the courage to explore beyond what you know, the hurt and the idea of being forever single, as well as fails to ignite your passions so you can be the best YOU that you can be, you need to MOA. Yet if you’re not seeing the passion, because of this recognized fear that you have, you need to stick around a bit more to see if your courage develops enough to help clear a path towards potential passions, and the best possible you that you can be.

    Now I can’t really decide which path is the correct one for you to take LW – I don’t know how currently brave you are. The fact that you’re writing this letter, instead of talking to the guy in question, is either an act of cowardice to avoid a potential break-up or an act of bravery to pause, self-evaluate and ask for help on your past so far. I will say that no matter how you look at it, there is SOME form of passion there – it’s just not the type that you write epic love poetry over. It may not be the form of passion you desire in your relationship ideal, but it is passion. Whether you have the courage to passionately take a course of action that may have regret, whether it be a breakup now or a chance to close your single days in another pursuit that may or may not work, is the better question to ask.

    • avatar SGMcG October 25, 2011, 12:54 pm

      For the record, when I first met my now husband at the sci-fi convention – we definitely had a spark of chemistry together. The attraction between us was so obvious to our respective friends that they were trying to maneuver themselves out of the way so that we could consummate our relationship that night. Yet rather than going through my norm of indulging the immediate passion, I felt he deserved better and thanked him for the night. He also felt the same way and ended the night kissing my hand. There was the fear that the unexercised one night stand would just be the end of it, but both of us had the courage to try for long-distance and the passion go beyond what we’re used to. After two years of long-distance dating, a year of living together and four years of marriage, we still have the courage to conquer things together – and our respective passions, as individuals as well as as a couple, fuels that.

  • avatar Flake October 25, 2011, 10:39 am

    I want to add something else. Being a first-generation Canadian, I know a lot of people from my country (mostly guys) that are having trouble finding GFs here, for different reasons. So what quite a few of them do, is go back to their country, find a girl there and bring her over. When you tell this to people here, they all think that is ridiculous, that the girls are only after Canadian citizenship. But the ones that I know that did it, are doing just fine, raising families and working. What I think makes this work is the fact that they have the same goal. I mean, if sparks and fireworks are an absolutely essential for you in a relationship, then move on. But, in my opinion, similar values and goals and strength of character are the things that make strong families.

  • BriarRose BriarRose October 25, 2011, 10:44 am

    Add me to the list that didn’t feel much in the beginning (for my now ex-boyfriend). He was so sweet, nice, a perfect gentleman, wonderful to talk to, etc, but I just didn’t feel a spark. I thought he was kind of wussy when it came to the physical aspect, and I couldn’t bear to keep dating him because I didn’t think it was fair to either of us-I wanted someone I felt passion with, and I worried I was leading him on. So I told him we’d have to stop hanging out, then we ran into each other again (see the weekend thread for more). Something changed that night, he suddenly wasn’t so wussy and a spark that had never been there before was suddenly there. I can’t explain it at all, but I ended up feeling so passionately for that mad.

    All that being said, I don’t think you should be waiting months for those feeling to develop. Not every relationship starts with huge fireworks for both parties, but after a month or two if there is still absolutely nothing there, it’s time to go your separate ways. Settling may make you think you’ll be happy, and you might even be, for a time, but after a while you will feel trapped, unhappy, bitter, etc, and probably go through a bitter break up or divorce, which is not fair to either of you.

  • avatar Kerrycontrary October 25, 2011, 11:10 am

    I agree with RR but I also agree with some other readers that the perspective on this issue from someone in their early 20s can be way different from someone in their late thirties. Overall, I do not think it’s worth marrying someone that you feel no spark with. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out like you planned. You probably planned to have kids by your early thirties and be in full on mommy mode right now. But appreciate all of the fulfilling aspects of your life that you have because you didn’t get married and have kids yet. You would barely have time for those hobbies, social life, and not to mention a great career because whoever you worked for may have put you on the “mommy track”. I promise that the right person is out there, but you are going to let them pass you by if you settle for this guy.

  • avatar kryssie October 25, 2011, 11:18 am

    I believe the LW has to ask herself some hard questions. It is great that she is successful and has such a full life, but why has she not found someone to settle down with? Is it because her expectations are too high? Because perhaps she previously dated guys who were not good for her (she mentions she doesn’t want to be hurt again)? Passion will fade, people get cancer, a child may die. You can never predict the outcome or how you or your partner will deal with this kind of stuff. But what you do need is someone who will take your hand when life throws you a curveball and says “I’ll face this with you” and will try everything in his power to make it work. And that is what should make you jump up and down with joy because not many men will do that.

    Passion is great when you are 20 but at almost 40 you need stability, kindness, warmth, and someone who challenges you. I do really encourage you to read Lori Gottleib’s Atlantic article about “Mr. Good Enough.” Prince Charming doesn’t exist–people have flaws, people have issues, people have fears–what you need is someone whose issues and flaws and fears kind of make you smile.

    • avatar Flake October 25, 2011, 12:25 pm

      Yep, you don’t have to find a perfect person. He just has to be perfect for you.

    • avatar spark October 25, 2011, 7:53 pm

      My thoughts exactly! Well said. I hope she takes your advice to heart.

      I’d also like to add that although I think that RR gave great advice, I’m not sure that the life experience of an early 20-something can adequately answer this question from a late 30-something. Nothing against RR, cause the advice was great; I just think that there is more depth to this question.

  • avatar sypher October 25, 2011, 11:23 am

    When I met my husband I did not think that we’d get together. I thought that maybe we would date and hook up and that it would be kind of nice and low key. The sex was good and starting to get great but as far as any romantic feelings–I wasn’t feeling it. Now I was raised to be independent and I had a hard time letting him in because of it. But we had been casually dating for 3 months when I really started to see him. He was always coming to see me and calling to check on me. He was kind and sweet and ever presently there waiting for me to notice him. We’ve been together for 3 years and just got married this summer and I really couldn’t be happier.

    This may not be your situation but if you really look at him and think that there’s nothing there for you—or that you could love, then let him go. But if you think he’s the kind of man you might want to marry if not for this lack of passion–give it some more time and really be sure. Our passion has only grown since we’ve been together.

    • avatar rangerchic October 25, 2011, 12:00 pm

      I agree. I didn’t have that “spark” when I met my husband. He wasn’t my type (looks wise) at all and I wasn’t all that attracted to him in the beginning. We’ve been married 13 years this month and there is more passion now than ever. I have felt that “spark” with other men, it was great and all but what I have with my husband is so much better – like someone mentioned above a fire that is steadily burning.
      I don’t really remember what led me to give him a chance without the initial chemistry and I don’t really remember how long it took but it did develop for me.
      I say give it a little more time – what’s another couple of weeks. Let all your fears go and just be with him – you never know!

  • Jess jess of citygirlsworld.com October 25, 2011, 11:47 am

    Very very interesting comments on this one.

    This letter strikes close to home for me as I am also a woman in my mid-30s and was also single for a number of years after a few long term relationships that didn’t work out (growing apart mostly).

    I also dated a few men like this in my single 30 years. Men who were wonderful and who seemed to be totally in love with me. Why couldn’t I dredge up the feelings I was supposed to have? What was wrong with me? I went 7 months with one man in particular. He was everything I wanted, on paper. But in reality, my feelings weren’t growing. He didn’t captivate my attention. I didn’t have the spark I wanted.

    I asked myself:

    * Is my heart frozen? Has it run out of gas?
    * Am I only attracted to bad boys (my history didn’t show that but maybe I’d changed?)?
    * Am I asking for too much?
    * Is excited love something only young people feel? Is this was mature love feels like?

    In the end, I broke it off and here were the 2 paramount principles that guided me through that decision AND helped me deciding who to date afterward.

    1. That excited in-love feeling? HE clearly feels it for me. I deserve to feel that way too. Just as he deserves to find someone who reciprocates that. Shouldn’t both parties feel that in a new love? Yes, they should.

    2. Having children (while important) is less important to me than finding someone who I love deeply. Not just someone that I have an initial passion with (no, that doesn’t last) but someone who I want next to me on the couch when I want to shut the world out at the end of a long day. There is NO DEADLINE. If I can’t have my own children, I would gladly adopt. I know people who found love in their 50s. I hope not to wait that long but it comforts me to know that the heart has NO EXPIRATION DATE.

    Reminding myself of these things has kept me and my heart honest. RR is right. You can’t manufacture feelings. You’re cheating yourself and your partner.

    For what its worth, I broke up with the 7 month guy, dated for another 1.5 years –followed my heart, got a bit burned, and eventually found someone who made my heart pound, my brain engaged, and who has a deeply compassionate and generous soul. Now it’s been over a year and we just moved in together. 34 years and it was well worth the risk and well worth the wait :-)

    • avatar Ktfran October 25, 2011, 1:10 pm

      Your outlook Jess, along with RR’s advice, are great things for the LW to think about IMO.

      I understand what others have said about passion and it not being an important factor. And that someone who has a lot of great qualities is a good catch. But I also don’t think one should settle.

      LW – If you are ok with someone you have lukewarm feelings for, but is a great person who will treat you well, then by all means, continue dating this guy. If you want more than that, then MOA.

      Personally, I want it all. I want a friend and someone I have chemistry with. I’ve had both kind of relationships. One that was all chemistry and one that was all friendship. I think both are important and I won’t settle for something that’s not a mix of those too.

      LW – Just know what’s important to you and what you can live with. None of us can answer that for you.

      • Jess jess of citygirlsworld.com October 25, 2011, 3:17 pm

        I also think maybe there is a nuance in here that’s getting overlooked. I think there is an important difference between setting more realistic expectations vs settling. To me its like this:

        Being Realistic: recognizing people have flaws, passion doesn’t last forever, able to compromise, not seeking perfection (or working off of a dating wish list), learning to be humble at times, learning to stand your ground at other times, being generous, asserting your needs, accepting that you can never fully know or trust anyone and that falling in love comes with unavoidable (but totally worthwhile) risk, etc.

        Settling: entering into a relationship because you think you “could do worse,” because you think passion is for teenagers, because you want kids, because he loves you more than anyone else has (even if you don’t love HIM more than anyone you’ve ever loved), because he has the right education/job/status, because time is running out, because he offered, because his family is nice, because all of your friends are married, because your parents really want a grandkid, because you’re lonely, because it’s time, because you need the money/security.

        I’m a huge proponent of getting realistic about dating prospects. Relationships are not fairytales. They require work. But the work is much more fun and rewarding when you are with someone that you deeply love and respect. Someone who makes life better, even though it was pretty good to start with.

    • avatar mcminnem October 25, 2011, 3:25 pm

      “the heart has NO EXPIRATION DATE.”

      As proof of this, and because there’s nothing like a tearjerker on a Tuesday, I give you this:

      http://holykaw.alltop.com/81-year-old-sweethearts-reunite-after-62-year

  • avatar mf October 25, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I’m with RR on this one. Think of it this way: if you marry this guy and have children, you’re stuck with him for the rest of your life. If you’re not crazy about him now, will you love him in twenty years? Are you willing to take a risk on someone may be more of a friend than a lover?

    I simply can’t imagine committing the rest of my life to someone I don’t feel a tremendous amount of love, respect, and passion for. But that’s just me. You need to figure if this is something you’re willing to sacrifice in order to the get the whole package of marriage/house/2.5 kids.

  • avatar lk October 25, 2011, 12:20 pm

    I think she should continue to date him, but also date others as well.

  • avatar 6napkinburger October 25, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Here’s my take: Ask yourself these questions and really think about your answers:

    -Do you respect him? Do you respect his intelligence? Do you trust his judgment on almost everything?

    -Can you rely on him? If he says he’ll do something important, can you rely that it will get done without you haven’t to micromanage it? (not taking out the trash; booking the hotel and air tickets to your best friend’s wedding)

    -Can you talk to him about almost anything and enjoy the conversation? Maybe not the merits of gel nails over conventional polish, but politics? Movies? Books? What you just read in the newspaper? Whether it’s right for the them to stop broadcasting in analog to give the airspace to the cell phone carriers? Whether tinted windows are gangster or green, and whether its worth looking like one for the sake of being the other?

    - Can you cook together? Do you legitimately fight over who is going to be the main chef or the sous chef? Are you comfortable with the way he cuts the carrots or does it make you annoyed that he sliced them too thick even after you asked him to do them julienne? Do you ask him to cut them a certain way? Does he think you are crazily controlling for doing that and refuse, or does he kiss you, understanding its just who you are, and carrots are just carrots? Will you cut the carrots the way he wants, because clearly its important to him and they’re just carrots, or are you offended?

    -Will he ever pick a restaurant? Does he rely on you to make all the choices all the time? Or does he make decisions some of the time, especially after you have made it clear that you don’t want to choose?

    -Does he make you smile sometimes with no real cause, with inside jokes or little cute gifts? Does he have look that he can give you that you know is just between the two of you? Do you have one for him?

    - If you saw someone doing a full-scale reinactment of the speech in braveheart,painted face and all, in the middle of the sidewalk, pulling you into it and talking to you directly, would you call him first to tell him what just happened? or would you call your sister?

    -When you make love, does he care if you are enjoying yourself? Do you care if he is? If he asks you to do something that he’s always imagined and hoped he could do one day, are you happy to try or do you begrudge it? Can you tell him when he needs to move over to the left? Do you tell him to move over to the left or do you figure, it doesn’t matter anyways? Even if you weren’t the one jumping on him to start, once you’re engaged in the act, are you happy that you are, or do you just wish it was overwith so you could go to sleep? Is he willing to use lube or a vibrator or anything to increase your pleasure? Or does he make you feel bad that he’s “not enough for you”?

    -Are you comfortable bringing him to work events? Do you trust that he can hold his own in the company of your friends and coworkers, or are you nervous that he’s going to embarrass you?

    -Do people tell you that you are lucky to have found someone like him? When they tell you this, do you believe them? Or do you fake a smile and cringe inside, because they don’t see what you see and you know it isn’t enough? Or do you bask in your happiness, trying not to look too smug, realizing how lucky you are?

    -When you imagine your children with him, are you worried that they are going to get his terrible sense of direction or his pre-pattern balding? Or do you hope that they are going to get his dimples and his profeciency with numbers? Are you secretly nervous that his genetic code isn’t up to snuff? Or do you think you have found someone that you want to make little duplicates of?

    -How does he act when you are upset over something that is, in the grander scheme, not that important? Does he tell you to grow up? Does he shrug and say, “its not that bad”? Does he rub your back as you cry and tell you how much he loves you, how stupid your boss is and how in no time, they’ll realize how amazing you are? Does his response make you feel better or worse?

    Think about these things. In my world, this is what love is. Sure, it’s passion and drive, but it is also comfort, stability, and happiness. Think through these scenarios. Only you can figure out if he’s enough.

    • avatar Flake October 25, 2011, 12:30 pm

      This is awesome.

    • Jess jess of citygirlsworld.com October 25, 2011, 12:38 pm

      I like this list because (while long and impossible to fully cover in 6 weeks!) it fleshes out what love looks, acts, and sounds like. Love is not simply divided into 2 categories: chemistry and companionship. It’s more complex as this list demonstrates.

      Love is not just a list of things that a person does for you or ways that they show it. So much of love (yes, the long and lasting kind) is about the feelings it compels in YOU . Finding a partner is a not a contest of “Who loves/adores/spoils me the most?” –its about who draws out a deeper set of feelings from me and reciprocates them back in equal share. THAT is what you want.

    • avatar PFG-SCR October 25, 2011, 12:55 pm

      “In my world, this is what love is. Sure, it’s passion and drive, but it is also comfort, stability, and happiness.”

      While I don’t disagree with this statement, this isn’t a question on whether she loves him – she doesn’t even know if she really likes him.

      It’s been six weeks – long enough to know if there is some spark and chemistry. If she feels none, it’s not going to magically appear at three months or six months. She might like him more, but she’s never going to feel “it” for him, and there is a very big difference between the two. If she doesn’t feel “it” for him, the items on your list are irrelevant because she’ll never be truly connected to him in a way that she will have any long-term emotional connection to him.

      • avatar 6napkinburger October 25, 2011, 1:22 pm

        That’s why i think my 8th (wow that was long, sorry guys) paragraph is really important for her. If she just kind of suffers through having sex with him, that’s horrible and there’s no question she should not be with him. But maybe he’s jumping her instead of her jumping him, but does she enjoy it? Is she satisfied? Is she happy he did, even if she was indifferent before?

        I think that her answers to those questions are key. She also didn’t say “no sexual feelings for him”, she said “no romantic feelings for him.” Maybe ive been out of practice too long, but at the very beginning of a relationship, i’m not sure what the difference between those are. Does that mean she doesn’t want to lie in his arms watching tv, with him stroking her side or playing with her hair? Is that romantic or sexual? Or does that mean she shies away from his touch, always? When she kisses him, does she feel nothing? Or does she just not feel the butterflies and wetness she has in the past? It’s hard to give advice with a higher level of (somewhat oversharing) details, because they really are the difference between MOA and “wait a little while longer.”

        • avatar PFG-SCR October 25, 2011, 1:33 pm

          She says they’ve only kissed, so she can’t answer the sexual questions at this point. However, if they’ve “only kissed” after six weeks, I think it’s more of red flag that she’s not interested in him in that way enough to want to have sex with him. (I’m assuming that she’s had sex before.)

          No matter how good on paper someone looks, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to do it for you.

          • avatar 6napkinburger October 25, 2011, 1:49 pm

            Yeah, I missed that they only kissed. As I mention below, (in greater detail), if she’s THIS ambivalent, I think she should (very sensuously) bang him. Assuming she has no religious hangups about sex, she owes it to herself to know for certain that it is a no-go. Might turn out that he’s an eh kisser, but a fantastic lover, and it might totally change how she feels about him.

            (Granted, I know TV is not life) but there’s an episode of Friends where Monica keeps getting hit by Jon Favreau, but she’s not interested at all, no sparks, no attraction. Until he kisses her, when she realizes he makes her hot. That has been known to happen with more than kissing. She should give it a chance, if only to make herself the most confident in her decision she can be.

            • avatar PFG-SCR October 25, 2011, 1:55 pm

              Yeah, I see that comment, and while I think it’s great after a couple have gotten more comfortable with one another, it sets up some big expectations. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have sex, but to place all of her focus on one romp in the sack when he doesn’t know her physically yet is not really fair to him.

              And, I’m sorry but no matter how great of a kisser Jon Favreau is, I’d never be attracted to him. ;-)

              • avatar 6napkinburger October 25, 2011, 2:00 pm

                I didn’t mean to imply that if her eyes didn’t roll back in her head and her toes curl all the way, then she should dump him. But there is certainly a comfort that we can have with people in bed, and sometimes it takes some time to get there, but others its just a natural comfort (even if it takes a while to figure out how all the pieces align.) Laughing and joking when positions don’t work, when things go wrong, etc. If she feels no sparks with him, has no attraction to him, AND doesn’t feel comfortable in bed with him, that’s a lot of strikes against him and she could feel quite confident moving on. She doesn’t have to but she could. Plus, if its TERRIBLE , then she knows for certain. If its AMAZING, then she also knows. If its middling, she still has some choices to make, but at least she has an additional criterion on which to judge.

                And I just recommended the massage thing because that was the first night with my ex and it did a whole world of good to put me at ease.

          • Caris Caris October 31, 2011, 10:02 am

            If in six weeks they only kissed I’m thinking maybe there is nothing there? … idk, the first months I was with my bf I kinda wanted to have sex with him ALL the time, even at the very very beginning… previous to that we had only been friends for about only 2 months

    • avatar Kerrycontrary October 25, 2011, 2:40 pm

      I really like this and it makes me happy to be in the relationship I am in :)

    • avatar Kristen October 25, 2011, 9:33 pm

      I wish I could like this a million times. Especially the kitchen/carrot part.

      <3 <3

  • avatar Nick October 25, 2011, 12:43 pm

    1. I love these existential issues. The kind without easy answers. The role of chemistry in a relationship. Head vs. Heart. Courage vs. Fear.

    2. Rachel did a great job with this letter, which is difficult. I especially like her ‘tangibles and intangibles’ point. It helps illuminate the landscape. I also really appreciate the way she states her biases up front. That said, I mildly disagree with the move-on advice because of the age gap here. It’s too easy to hold out for passion at 2x years old.

    3. At 39, LW is near the point of final decision (I’m 36). My advice here is to for her to just understand herself and understand the likely outcomes–like chess. And as in chess, with a timer, when the time expires, you have to make a move one way or the other. Rumsfeld (and many others) would say a phrase that comes to mind here: “you go to war with the army you’ve got, not the army you wish you had.” It’s a fantastic life lesson not just about war, but sports, business, etc.

    4. I’ll also bring the bard into this one, because I want to make a 4th point. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet says that, and to me it’s a good reminder that the right answer is what we choose to make it and not some externally knowable thing or opinion.

    5. When I feel divided on an issue I do some future-backwards planning– this is when you imagine yourself in your ideal outcome at some future point and then look backwards and imagine what got you there. This often helps me discover how I really believe about something.

    LW good luck.

    • avatar PFG-SCR October 25, 2011, 1:10 pm

      Yikes, your comment gave me anxiety, and I’m not LW.

      As far as #3 – we’re not sure her exact age, but regardless, she’s not nearing “the end”, and plenty of people meet and fall in love at a much later age than she is now. Another perspective is that the longer she spends on a guy that she doesn’t feel chemistry towards, the less likely she is to find someone that she does.

      As far as her age and the idea of a family – there are many ways to have a family, and those don’t “expire” in your 30s.

      • avatar Christy October 26, 2011, 6:46 am

        I agree with PFG. To think that 39 is your last chance to make choices about romance and family is pretty ridiculous in my opinion. It also ignores the fact that you will continue to have friends and family and even romantic partners at a later age. So even if you don’t have a baby by age 40, you might have nieces or nephews or even kids of friends whose lives you can be involved in. You can also adopt, whether you’re in a relationship or not. In other words, you will still be ALIVE, even if you don’t secure the treasured ring and baby by a certain age.

        LW, I would encourage you to think about what’s most important to you. If it’s being married and having a kid by a certain age, then stay with this guy until you feel a spark or ditch him in time for a better fit. BUT, if you want a certain level of attraction and feeling, then hold out for that. Your life won’t be over if you’re not settled down in the next five years.

  • avatar cporoski October 25, 2011, 1:03 pm

    I might sound like a ho when I say this, but you have only kissed him. How do you know there is no chemistry. I would invite him over for a movie, climb on top of him and see what he has to offer. kiss him for over a minute and where do the feelings go then. To say there is no va va voom when you haven’t gone to the va va voom seems premature to me. The ladies talking here were talking about long term relationships that didn’t have enough spark, I think it is too early to tell and this good guy might have another side to show you.

    • avatar Marie October 25, 2011, 1:31 pm

      Also, I second the climbing on top of him proposal!

    • avatar 6napkinburger October 25, 2011, 1:38 pm

      Wow, i totally missed that they just kissed. Yeah, if you think you could like him, you need to try out the goods. If, after you start to undress, he touches you and you wince, ok, you know and you can stop there. But maybe you don’t wince. Maybe he’s able to show you all the things he’s been wanting to but was scared of scaring YOU away, because he could feel your indifference.

      Get a wax the day before (or don’t, whatever’s your thing), including your eyebrows (they make you feel beautiful) and your lip if you’re not a blonde (they can tell, they just pretend). Get a pedicure. Go back to that “get down” list we made earlier and download some of those, make a playlist, and have it playing in the background. Have 1 and a half glasses of wine (no more). Don’t eat within 1 and half hours before (its like swimming) or you’ll feel gross and you can blame the grossness on him and that’s not fair. Shower right before he comes over, so everything is fresh and you feel great. Have everything working in his favor.

      Maybe light candles and ask for him to give you massage, it will help with the undressing and adjusting you to his touch. Make sure you have massage oil or lotion, or it will hurt. Put on some relaxing music (enya type). See if his touch makes you feel good or uncomfortable. See if he seems like he knows how to touch you or not. If nothing else, you’ll be getting a massage. With you being that relaxed, maybe you’ll let your guard down and can judge him for how he really is. Does he seem really happy to be making you happy? is he just waiting for his turn?

      Then bag it up and go for it. You really have nothing to lose. If it sucks, then you know and will have no regrets.

      • avatar cporoski October 26, 2011, 7:31 am

        Love this :)

    • Lyra L October 25, 2011, 9:37 pm

      Personally I think there is a way to tell there is chemistry without the WHOLE package. My guy has given me butterflies just by holding my hand or cuddling with me. The “spark” happens when I get those “this-is-the-most-amazing-relationship-ever-we-have-such-a-good-connection” feelings. Kissing and make out sessions are also good for discovering if there is something there. If a make out session leaves you with that breathless “gotta have more” feeling, the spark is there. I think what the LW is talking about in her letter is the initial physical attraction…the stage just talking to him gives you butterflies and where you still have to be subtle when you check out his butt. ;)

      Of course, I’m not one to jump into the “va va voom” stage from the get-go. It all depends on the LW’s comfort level and what speed she likes to take her relationships.

      • avatar cporoski October 26, 2011, 7:36 am

        L
        You are right. But some people are very timid outside the bedroom and not inside the bedroom. She clearly likes alot about this guy so I say give it a shot. She likes this guy enough to write in so I say don’t give up so easily.

  • avatar Marie October 25, 2011, 1:30 pm

    So I’m a scientist right – so when people use all these terms “spark”, “chemistry”, “fire”, I just want to know what does that really mean? The truth is that is probably different for everyone but I wanted to share what it is for me, just in case it helps you LW. It is really getting to know some one incredibly well and realizing that you’re thoughts, values, beliefs, morals, and your general outlook on life really align. And guess what? This doesn’t really happy when you are just chillin watching movies, chatting about the work/weather. You really have to reach deep and ask those personal, difficult questions, to get to the core of someone. Before you do that, how do you have any idea if you really love someone? My boyfriend is one of those people who will never talk about anything deep if you let him, I really had to dig deep to get to know him and the more I’ve done that the more I’ve fallen in love. Do you really know this guy you have no passion for? I’d ask those hard, personal questions (if you haven’t already!) and see who he really is and see if he’s someone you really connect with. Then at least you’ll have all the data you need to make the right decision. Good luck!!!!

  • avatar MsMisery October 25, 2011, 1:31 pm

    It’s probably hard to make a life-altering decision with your biological clock *gong*ing in your ear. If you don’t feel the faintest of butterflies for a guy, you shouldn’t wast too much more time on him, especially if you want things like marriage & kids. Just thank him for his contribution and move on.

  • avatar heidikins October 25, 2011, 2:12 pm

    When a friend of mine got engaged I asked her why she was marrying this guy. I didn’t know him and was expecting some kind of answer like you describe, the “funny, sweet, smart, steady job, similar interests, blah blah blah” answer. I’d have even been happy with “the passion is incredible.” But no, her response was “Well, Heidi, I’m turning 30…” She wanted to settle down and start a family, and she didn’t necessarily care who with. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that, 3 years later, they are now separated.

    MOA. The On Paper Qualities only go so far, and (usually) it’s not far enough to provide a stable home and marriage and dedicated father to your children.

    xox

  • Chicago-Dude DudeInChicago October 25, 2011, 2:48 pm

    This is toughie.
    While there’s no formula for relationship success, your ultimate interest should serve only, well… YOU. What YOU bring to the table should mesh with what he brings to the table to make YOU (two) a stronger and dynamic-duo. To empower, mirror, support and challenge each other in ways unique to only YOU.

    One couple’s relational experiences should not serve as another’s litmus test for what a successful relationship should be like. Especially not the movies or the overly dramatic. Is there a happy medium? Perhaps… but you gotta find it for yourself.

    Further, you pose a few (rhetorical) questions which sadly, no matter what ‘advice’ is spake, will make any relatable sense as a nanogram of NaCl in a 10L bottle of fresh water – none. So let’s turn the table around a bit and let’s see how you respond:
    ____________________
    So why don’t I have feelings for him?
    - Rhetorical. Only YOU can answer this question. Try to be as honest with yourself as possible. Why don’t YOU have feelings for him? What feelings do YOU think is necessary for YOU to be happy in a relationship?

    Should I stick it out longer and see if my feelings grow over time?
    - I dunno. Compare and contrast what “feeling” you have for your guy to feelings for other guys you’ve dated in the past. What feeling was once there? How has it changed? Or not changed?
    Now, should YOU stick it out longer to see if YOUR feelings grow over time?

    How long is long enough to know whether or not I’ve given it a fair chance?
    - I dunno. How long do YOU need to know that YOU have given it a fair chance?

    Give yourself a fighting chance to properly evaluate what YOU want instead out of this relationship before you snuff the life out of it.

    All the best.

    PS – it’s beautiful outside today. Taking work to Caribou Coffee!

  • avatar HmC October 25, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Reginay Rey’s advice here *could* be spot on, depending on exactly who the LW is. But evaluating a situation like this turns heavily on social values that can vary greatly from person to person.

    We have this view in the Western world of what romantic love is. We tend to put pressure on our romantic partners, I personally think it is often too much pressure, to fulfill every need we have as human beings. And I think that doing so causes much pain and loneliness for people who think that there is something wrong with them, or something wrong with the opposite sex, that they cannot find their “perfect” partner. We forget that romantic love can be *part* of the tapestry of a beautiful and fulfilling life, and start to believe it has to be the whole tapestry, to the detriment of familial love, self love and other pursuits. Sparks are nice, but how many jerks give us sparks and then turn out to be totally wrong for us? Attraction is vital, but this endless pursuit of never-ending stomach flips is, I think, very naive. The book “We” by Robert Johnson explains this concept more thoroughly than I’d be able to do here.

    I’m not exactly criticizing Regina’s advice here- it may very well be perfect for this LW. I guess I just wanted to offer a few counterpoints based on personal experiences. Like:

    ~ People can grow on each other. Some would say 6 weeks is plenty to know if you have chemistry. I’m not so sure about that.

    ~ I read a study a while back that examined the existence of love in arranged marriages in India. From what I understood, the study showed that couples weren’t just staying together because of custom and and obligation. Many of them had actually fallen in love also, by all measurable standards, over time. I truly believe that long term love is more than just a stomach flip- it’s a choice.

    I don’t have all the answers about love and what it is and how it forms over time… nobody does! But based on what she’s shared, I would personally urge the LW to give it more than 6 weeks, and to think long and hard about what exactly she wants from a long term partner and why.

    • avatar ReginaRey October 25, 2011, 3:40 pm

      Just bought that book on Amazon for precisely 1 cent. I paid $3.99 in shipping, but $4 for a book ain’t bad! I’m interested to do more research into this. I want the lifelong attraction (not necessarily butterflies and lifelong flip-flops), and I’m curious to know what’s been written about it!

      • avatar HmC October 25, 2011, 3:55 pm

        It’s a really interesting book! It made me question things I’d taken for granted as being true my whole (young adult) life, and it made a lot of intuitive sense to me.

        I think it’s a tricky and sometimes very difficult balance between getting your needs met and having high expectations, and finding fulfillment outside of your relationship and accepting that everyone is imperfect. And it’s hard to deny that marriages in the Western world don’t seem to be having the best track record, nor do Western people seem to necessarily be the happiest, despite all of our so-called advancements.

        Ok I’m totally rambling. But I have to post a link to this hilarious Cracked article that I think is shockingly true:
        http://www.cracked.com/article_18611_the-10-most-important-things-they-didnt-teach-you-in-school.html

        (I especially like number 1, and how it would apply to our perceptions of “romance” perpetrated by Hollywood!)

        • avatar HmC October 25, 2011, 3:58 pm

          Heck I’m just going to quote it here, because I love it so much and I feel like people won’t click on the link and scroll through…

          “Many of you will get very depressed in your 20s, and some of you will stay that way the rest of your lives. Over the years your garage band will break up, you career dream will fall through, a girl will break your heart, you’ll be unhappy with your body, you’ll lose your parents, your favorite pet will die, you will endure at least one very terrible injury that requires hospitalization and breaks new boundaries for what kind of pain you thought was possible.

          The reason why this will lead to depression, where it may not have done so for an equivalent person 200 years ago, is because you were raised on illogical stories where things always work out for the main character for utterly arbitrary reasons. Han Solo can shoot straight, but none of the bad guys can–even though they train more. John McClane beats the terrorists because he has toughness and perseverance–something the bad guys lack, even though they should be equally desperate. If a guy and a girl are right for each other, they always wind up together, careers and geography and personal hang-ups be damned.

          Here’s the problem: these fantasies were created by adults, as a means of escape from the real world. You, however, have been watching them since you were five–for most of us these were our first impressions of how the adult world works, even if on a subconscious level. You had no context to realize they were bullshit. It sounds frivolous, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of you reading this will not survive the long process of learning how different the real world is…”

          Read more: The 10 Most Important Things They Didn’t Teach You In School | Cracked.com http://www.cracked.com/article_18611_the-10-most-important-things-they-didnt-teach-you-in-school_p2.html#ixzz1bpEdZ0Zv

          • Caris Caris October 31, 2011, 10:23 am

            So I’ve watched Hollywood movies and read countless of romance novels, and though I loved these (or not) I still never held them to be true… I knew they were/are mostly bullshit.
            I think it is in each one of us if we want to believe all this things as true or not, I think if you have a bit of common sense you’ll separate all this fantasy from reality.
            On the other hand, I do have friends that believe life IS a fairy tale…

            p.s: for some reason all this about ppl believing life is like the movies/books reminded me of A Song if Ice and Fire series…

          • Caris Caris October 31, 2011, 10:27 am

            I am reading what you linked by the way :D

    • Chicago-Dude DudeInChicago October 25, 2011, 3:54 pm

      Brilliant response.

  • avatar WatersEdge October 25, 2011, 9:08 pm

    I would like to be the 3rd or 4th to recommend the book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough. It will help you work though whether you are overlooking a man of good character who could make you happy in search of passion, or if this guy is just a terrible fit for you.

    The book brings up several important points. One that really stuck out for me is that we as women feel that we “deserve” all sorts of things that we do not in fact deserve. Fireworks, passion, chemistry are all good examples. I cannot tell you how many men I “just knew” were The One… only to get sick of them a few months later.

    If your goal is to get married and have kids (and sorry, feminazis, but that IS a legitimate life goal and she does not have to pretend that her hobbies and her friends give her the sense of intimacy and family that we humans naturally crave), then you should seriously consider this guy. People always say that if you hold on, then you will eventually meet Mr. Right. As if we all get a Mr. Right! But that’s not true. Some people who want to marry never marry, and some people who want to have kids never get the chance. On the one hand, a guy who gives you palpitations and is also a perfect fit for you might be just around the corner. On the other hand, this may truly be the best thing that’s ever going to come down the pike for you. And I don’t mean to be rude, but if you’ve gotten to your late 30′s with the goal of being married and you’re still not, then maybe your picker’s off (as Patti would say!). Meaning, maybe you only feel excitement for emotionally unavailable men and the security that goes with a genuine, stable connection doesn’t make you feel loved. If that sounds like you (ahem, your last paragraph) then you might want to consider introspection/a life coach/counseling. Just a little something to help you stop getting in your own way and start to appreciate a calm, easy relationship.

    Buy the book. BUY THE BOOK! I’m right about this one. You can thank me later. http://dearwendy.com/updates/updates-missing-my-salvation-responds/

    • avatar ReginaRey October 25, 2011, 9:40 pm

      I want to read this book, but I’m almost scared to. I didn’t break up with my boyfriend because I had a hunch that I could have a more passionate relationship. I just felt so neutral and indifferent about the relationship. I loved him, but I wasn’t happy. To have someone say that I SHOULD have been happy makes me sad. I believe that there were greater things at play in our relationship besides a lack of spark. In fact, I think those bigger things are what killed the spark in the first place. I get that no man is perfect, and that my “dream dude” is going to have flaws and be human like everyone else. But I REALLY, REALLY hope that I can find someone who I don’t become neutral about. I really can’t imagine spending the rest of my life feeling underwhelmed and not passionate at all.

      • avatar WatersEdge October 25, 2011, 10:06 pm

        Well, definitely read the book. It’s not scary. And it’s got some really wonderful, thought-provoking points. One of my favorite chapters is “How Feminism Fucked Up My Love Life”… all about how women intend to empower each other, but end up giving each other unrealistic expectations. Example: “Oh girl- he wasn’t there for you when your cat died because he had a huge work deadline? you can SO do better. the right guy will prioritize your emotional needs!”. Basically the book is about choosing a partner based on shared values and good character, and learning to get past the often unrealistic idea that we will just know when the right guy falls into our laps. It does NOT advocate settling for someone who is unkind, or who makes you unhappy. It’s more about re-framing what happiness could look like, so that when you find it, you know it.

        As for you, miss… I think you’re on to something when you say that the bigger issues killed the spark. What Lori Gottleib posits is that if you are aligned on the bigger issues, then a more subtle, slow-burning love can be just as satisfying as a relationship that has passion but also has more friction spots. And she definitely says that the slow-burning affectionate love with a true partner who you respect beats the hell out of searching for “the total package”, never finding it, and living your whole life alone (if marriage/family is one of your life goals, that is).

        But you’re only 23! I am someone who has been afraid of never meeting the right guy and dying alone since age 19, so I feel ya on the second-guessing. But I bet you did the right thing.

        PS- I am also NoVA and would love to be involved in a DW get-together! And/or a psych doctorate Q&A…

  • avatar DramaQueen224 October 25, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Have you two had any really romantic evenings together? If not, I’d actively try to create a completely non-platonic evening (wear sexy clothes, go somewhere intimate, share some wine etc) and see if there’s any hint of a spark. If you guys have the most romantic date every, and you’re still not feeling any passion what so ever then maybe you never will.

  • katie katie October 25, 2011, 9:17 pm

    LW, im sorry, i dont mean to seem like im attacking you, because im not, but wow. women like you absolutely make me angry. you are willing to walk right into the wrong relationship in the name of having a marriage and kids? you are willing to bring children into a world where their parents dont love each other and more then likely will get divorced. wow. just because this guy reads well on paper, you want to marry him so you can tell your family/friends/coworkers/strangers on the street that you will be having a wedding… and then buy a house and have a house warming party.. and then get pregnant and have a baby shower… and then have kids and have parties for all of their birthdays. im sorry, it just seems so selfish. you are looking at other peoples lives and wishing that it was your life. the thing is, everyone has different lives and different paths and thats ok!! it is completely ok to not be married or not have kids. if that is where life takes you, then accept it. welcome it with open arms and be thankful of the life you do have!!

    ugh. soceity has done a number on you….

    i just hope, for your unborn children’s sake, that you dont bring them into a world that is basically set up to fail. think of them first, before your own selfish desires to have a wedding and have kids.

    • katie katie October 25, 2011, 9:18 pm

      oh- and- if you want children so bad, why dont you just have them? why does there have to be the perfect husband after the perfect wedding to have kids? why not just have them- or better yet, adopt some. there are children all over the world who would love to call you mommy.

      • avatar HmC October 25, 2011, 9:24 pm

        I don’t really understand the logic of saying that procreating with a decent person who you think you don’t have passion for is selfish, but having kids with no father at all isn’t?

        (For the record I don’t think either behavior is any more selfish than 99 percent of the things that we humans decide to do on a regular basis.)

    • avatar Kristen October 25, 2011, 9:47 pm

      I really disagree with this and think it’s unnecessarily harsh. The LW isn’t trying to be selfish… she has a vision for her life and is just trying to figure out if the guy she’s seeing fits into that vision. For a lot of people, getting married and having kids IS a huge deal. I could have the most fulfilling career in the entire world, and I would still feel like I was missing something enormous if I wasn’t married with kids. That’s basically my biggest goal in life. I admire the LW for knowing this about herself and taking steps to make it happen. I hope for her sake that this awesome-on-paper guy turns out to be the man of her dreams.

    • avatar WatersEdge October 25, 2011, 10:36 pm

      You are the exact feminazi I refer to in my post above. There is nothing antifeminist about wanting to find someone to share your life with. Society has done a number on YOU, thinking that most people can deny their fundamental, animal need to connect with other people on a deeper level. Not everyone needs it, and bully for you if you’re one of the rare ones who can make it through life and be happy without building a family. But if this LW wants to get married and have kids, then you have absolutely no right to shame her out of it.

      I hate seeing women wield feminist views as tools to knock each other down.

    • katie katie October 25, 2011, 11:03 pm

      ok, hold on.

      i dont not at all think that people shouldnt strive to find someone to love and spend their lives with. i also dont think that getting married and having babies is anti feminist or something that should be looked down upon.

      what i hate is when people feel that there is a universal timeline that applies to every person in this world, and if you somehow stray from that timeline, that something is wrong and you should be grasping at straws to get back on “track”

      there is nothing wrong with wanting love, marriage, a family, or really any particular life for that matter. but you need to let it happen- in the matter of kids and marriage, you cant just arbitrarily pick someone who you think will work well just in the same of staying on the timeline that society puts on you.

      thats what i meant. i did say that I didnt mean to come off as attacking, i really wasn’t- i just wish that this LW could be happy in her life the way it is and not trying to force a relationship just because she feels that she “should” already be married and have children. to me its very sad.

      • avatar WatersEdge October 27, 2011, 7:22 pm

        Well, I guess we disagree about whether or not to “let it happen” and whether or not there’s a timeline. She’s in her late 30′s; her childbearing years are almost over if she wants kids.

        Basically, I feel like if you want something in life, you have to make it happen. That means if you’ve been dating for 25 years and you’ve yet to meet someone to settle down with (if that’s what you’ve been seeking), then you’re doing something wrong. Think about it: Guys in their late 30′s are either divorced (so there’s an ex-wife, probably kids) or perpetual bachelors… either way with baggage. It’s not like dating in your twenties! And they usually want a woman who’s slightly younger, to boot. So this guy may be the best offer she gets for the rest of her life.

  • avatar Addie Pray October 25, 2011, 10:31 pm

    This letter hit close to home because I find myself in this situation often. LW, do you find yourself in this situation often like me or is this an isolated event? It’s easy for someone on the outside to say if you don’t feel the passion, it’s not meant to be, move on. But if it happens time and time again, and you find yourself drawn to the “bad” boys, then I think the fact that you feel no passion for this guy is less about it “not being a right fit” and more about “you’ve got deeper issues.” I definitely fall in the “I’ve got deeper issues” category. The good guys like that that seem to have it all on paper – and are even objectively good looking – will ask me out and I will have none of that. Then, the emotionally distant “bad boy” will give me a minor compliment (in that he won’t completely diss me), and I’ll fall head over heals. Not good, right? Right. I don’t know what my problem is. But I know the “it’s not meant to be” advice is lost on me for this reason. So where do you fall? If you’re like me, I don’t have the solution for you. I’m waiting for Regina Rey to help me get to the root of that problem…

  • avatar GTR October 26, 2011, 12:13 am

    You’ve been dating him for 6 weeks, pumpkin. It’s not exactly a long term relationship. If you like him, as you say you do, keep going out and having fun. No one’s holding a gun to your head and forcing you to make a decision right now.

    The funny thing about relationships is that if you like someone they can actually grow more attractive over time. You need to allow more time to get to know this guy better – it’s only been six weeks, do you really think you “know” him yet?

    The real crux of this issue is the one that you recognise yourself: you can’t know what the outcome will be. Perhaps you will meet an awesome man next year and be sucked into the fairytale. But perhaps you won’t, and while you’re dithering your current beau will have found someone else, leaving you old and alone. You simply can’t know. The bitch of life is that nothing we on Dear Wendy tell you can help: either choice you make is a risk, and there’s a chance it will go badly for you.

    All I can suggest is to date him for at least a few months before worrying about things. He may surprise you, and make the choice easier.

  • avatar the other guy October 26, 2011, 2:30 am

    Sounds like the guy is perfect but as women like a hobby, namely improving their man he is wrong. Give it time you will find something to dislike, maybe he farts in his sleep? Once you find that something, then watch the sparks fly!

  • avatar Shadowflash1522 October 26, 2011, 10:52 am

    Interesting existential problem. Good advice from RR too!

    Personally, as a young twentysomething (for whatever it’s worth) I think there are two halves of love and they aren’t equal. 49% is factors you can control for: geography, physical proximity, likes and dislikes, life philosophy, etc — RR’s “tangibles”, if you will. The other 51% is unreasonable, irresistable attraction. Not necessarily of the sexual kind, which is why I hesitate to out-and-out call it chemistry, but I guess more of a personality chemistry. It’s the “click”, the switch is flipped. Walking into their presence is like turning the lights on; things are clearer and make more sense. It’s ageless, at least as far as my experience goes: no matter how much time or distance passes between you, you always know exactly why you’re good together.

    49% makes for a good friend and a strong ally, but for me without the 51% you will never make the list of “people I love more than anything in the universe”, and I don’t see any point in marrying someone not on the list. With the 51% ‘attraction factor’ in place, you still might not make the list anyway, but you definitely won’t without it. Why would I dedicate the rest of my life to someone not on that list, as long as such a list exists? For me, the definition of settling is dedicating your life to someone you don’t think is worth it.

    If all you really want is a father for your children (and a husband to your wife, breadwinner, etc), then by all means look only at the 49%. A good friend and a strong ally is ideal for that, because friendship doesn’t flame out the way passion does (by the way, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE, if that’s really what you want. You’re not settling if you get what you want). But if you want a romantic marriage, the “love rather than convenience” then there *has* to be some of that 51%. It can grow given time, but you have to take people on an as-is basis.

    It doesn’t sound like you’re ready to give this guy more time anyway, but I wouldn’t just MOA on the basis of “lack of passion”. I really, really, *really* think you need to take a long look at what you want, biological clock be damned. If you don’t think you can be happy with this guy, MOA! But men aren’t sides of meat, and you have to stop thinking like the “marriageable man” is some kind of object that you add to your collection of successes. Understand that even with my arbitrary percentages you’ll probably never get 100% either — perfect passion and perfect circumstances almost never align, that’s an unreasonable expectation.

  • avatar Rachel October 26, 2011, 2:48 pm

    I read all these comments and I think…wouldn’t it be wonderful if qualifying relationships were this black and white. So wonderful, if all great relationships had *everything*. This isn’t a rom-com. Not every great relationship has everything. *IDEALLY* every great relationship has everything. IN A PERFECT WORLD, every great relationship has everything.

    When I met my fiancee, I had no physical attraction to him. His lifestyle was atrocious, he partied everyday, always had a beer and cigarette in his hand and lived recklessly at times…at age 27. Run, right? Well…I did. I ran. For 3 months. He pursued. You know what happened? All along, there was this list of qualifications that he did not meet. Not entirely superficial things either. But what did he have, you ask? He is honestly one of the best human beings you will ever meet. He would do anything for anyone. That was always crystal clear. He had a good job too. But that was all he had on my list of PROS. One day, someone said to me, “You know, I get why you don’t want to date him. He’s a mess, but you know what else? You know he would love you more than anything. He would be so caring and loving and I really think he would do anything for you. It’s a shame because he’s such a good person.” That changed my entire perspective. I apologized to him for being a biatch to him, (which I did to set boundaries). I told him we could be friends, (because I still had no interest in dating him, no attraction.) We began to hang out and spend time as friends. He began to become physically attractive to me because he was so attractive as a human being. Then one alcohol fueled night, (it always happens that way doesn’t it? Especially in ROM COMS ;) ), we hooked up. We have been inseparable ever since. There are not these huge fireworks. In fact, for the first few months I was convinced we would only last a few months. Sometimes I think, wow, this could be way more exciting. But you know what? This isn’t a ROM-COM! Did I say that before? Did you hear it?

    Bottom line, give the dude a chance. You don’t have to marry him tomorrow. Relax and have some fun and you never know what could happen. But if you don’t give him a chance, then there’s no possibility. I always say, “a 1% chance is better than 0%”.

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