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.