I have always considered myself lucky in love. So far, I have been really fortunate to fall in love with kind, quality men who loved me back. The beginnings of all of these relationships were amazing and I couldn’t believe how head over heels I was for them. However, in each relationship after about 8-12 months, my feelings would start to change; I would get bored, the sex would slow down, and I would become unhappy. It would then take me another six months to actually break up with them because I was attached, and did love them, and kept hoping things would go back to the way they were.
I’ve never had a relationship that lasted longer than a year and a half. I always assumed one day I would meet a man and this getting bored thing wouldn’t happen and that’s how I would know this person was the one I should marry. This pattern was okay when I was younger but I’m nearly 30 and I’d like to build a life with someone. I want to be able to think about the traveling-the-world and ‘creating-a-home’ experiences of my life and have them be with my husband, not distributed over my many ex-boyfriends!
I’ve been with my current boyfriend a little over a year now and the butterflies are starting to fade. Up until now I’ve thought *this must be it!* but now I’m having second thoughts. I’m graduating from grad school in August, and have been debating moving back to my home town and old company (which would mean ending this relationship, as it would be very long distance if I moved). I’m just not sure he is *the one* anymore, or that a relationship with him is worth living so far away from my family. Maybe I could meet someone else closer to home whom I’d love just as much, or even more. Or maybe I’d never find love like this again, this is as good as it gets, and I’d regret leaving him forever.
From a logical standpoint my current boyfriend has all the qualities that would make a wonderful husband for me, we’d have a great life (apart from living far away from my family), and he’d make a great father. But honestly, I could say the same for several of my exes. I just don’t understand how many people say they knew their husband was the one after only six months, because really I felt that way about most of my ex-boyfriends after that amount of time. Am I just spoiled and throwing away good relationships for the thrill of something new? Or have these guys really not been right for me and with the right guy, I won’t ever feel this way? — Addicted to New Love
I’m not so sure it’s necessarily the “beginnings” of relationships you’re addicted to so much as the excitement. You like the butterflies — who doesn’t? — and the adventure. You like the unveiling of one another, and the creativity you feel when you begin to meld two lives together. The problem is, you’ve somehow convinced yourself that these things only exist in new relationships. Your own personal experiences have shown you that eventually, relationships get boring and stale, and that at some point it’s inevitable that you’ll question whether you’re truly with the “right” person. What’s more, you seem to think that in simply questioning whether you’re with the “right” person, on some level you’re admitting defeat — failure in making the perfect choice; failure in creating the perfect relationship.
But, here’s the thing: no one person is going to be perfect for your all the time. No relationship is always going to be exactly what you want. Like anything — friendships, your career, hobbies, personal interests, even vacations — there are moments that are better than others, and there are periods that require a little more work that maybe make you question your choices. But those questions are healthy. It’s important to re-evaluate where we are in life every once in awhile. It’s necessary for personal fulfillment and satisfaction to take stock of what we have and what we want and make sure we’re on the right road to achieving our goals. Relationships are no different.
So, rather than simply dump a boyfriend when you begin questioning whether he’s “right” for you, what if you started questioning how you could make the relationship more of what you want? If excitement is what you need, then instead of always turning to a new relationship to scratch that itch, think about how to inject excitement in your current relationship. Rather than “hoping things will go back to the way they were,” take an active role in actually spicing things up.
For example, I’d think moving with your boyfriend to a new town would certainly shake things up a bit. You say you’re graduating from grad school in August and considering moving back home, but that you wouldn’t want to have a long distance relationship with your boyfriend. Well, have you considered asking him to move with you? Or, have you thought about how a short-term LDR might give you much-needed perspective? Perhaps, if you moved home on a trial basis — say six months — before deciding whether to not to pull the plug on your relationship, you’d have a better sense of whether you’re happier with or without your boyfriend in your immediate, day-to-day life.
Then again, it’s certainly possible that at “nearly-30,” you really haven’t met anyone you could build a happy life with. But the way you say it, that isn’t the case. It sounds like you’ve dated numerous men who have fit the bill of what you’re looking for in a long-term partner, but you haven’t been able to wrap your head around the idea that sometimes relationships get a little boring. Sometimes, when the newness wears off, it takes an active investment on the part of the people in the relationship to keep things exciting. What have you done to remain active in creating your ideal relationship? How have you taken charge in creating your own happiness? Because happiness doesn’t just happen to people. Hell, even winning the lottery doesn’t just happen. You have to actually go out and buy the ticket. So, are you buying the ticket, my dear? Are you taking some responsibility in creating the destiny you want?
As you have discovered, finding “the one” isn’t the hard part. There are lots of “ones” out there for each of us. The hard part is sustaining a happy and fulfilling relationship with any of those numerous “ones” we meet. And that takes five things: timing, effort, compromise, creativity and commitment. So ask yourself not whether you’ve found the “right” person, but whether you’ve got those five things on your side. You may find many Mr. Rights, but until you have those five things — the latter four of which are totally in your control — you’ll never ever sustain the relationship you really desire for the long haul … no matter how many times you start over.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.