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AdviceHey, Bonita!

Should I Stay With My Great Guy Even Though There’s No Spark?

Heyyyyyy, Bonita,

I need some help! I’m 36, and would really like to meet a guy I could have a family with. There are a lot of things that are important to me in a potential partner, but the long and short of it is that I’d like to date a guy whom I genuinely like and am excited to be with, and who is also excited to be with me. There are some more particulars, but that’s the meat of it.

About a year ago, I met a guy who seemed to have some promise, and we’ve been dating since. He has a lot to offer—he’s smart, educated, successful, seems to think seriously about relationships and wants a family. His interest in me also seems really sincere and hasn’t faded over time. We talk easily, and I haven’t met a lot of guys with all of these qualities, so I’m really reluctant to give them up.

But: I’m not attracted to him. Which feels like a horrible, disloyal, superficial thing to say, and I feel guilty even typing it into this anonymous submission box. It’s not that he’s not attractive. In fact, when I arrived for our third date (almost a year ago) and before I walked inside, I saw him through the window. I didn’t immediately recognize him, and I thought, “Oh, wow, that guy’s cute.” I felt guilty for having those thoughts when I was going to meet someone else, but then I happily realized that actually WAS my guy.

All that to say, it’s not that he’s not attractive. It’s that, for some reason, I don’t want to kiss him, or have sex with him. Without going into detail, I can say this has not been a problem for me in other relationships, and it’s not the case that my interest in sex is gone. I just don’t want a physical relationship with this guy. In fact, when we do kiss, it makes my stomach kind of hurt, because I’m doing something that I don’t want to be doing.

I can’t really imagine giving up on the idea of a happy full sexual and physical relationship, and wouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of continuing this relationship, except that he has other qualities I want and like in great quantities, and those qualities have proved so hard to find.

I actually Googled “What do I do if I’m not attracted to my boyfriend”—and only got as far as “What do I do if I’m not” when Google auto-filled the rest for me, so I guess I’m not the only one with this problem—but the results weren’t super helpful. So, if you can just tell me what to do, it’d be much appreciated. A numbered list of steps would be especially helpful.

Thanks!

I know that feeling, and I’m glad to provide an answer in the format you requested. I hope this helps!

1. Break up with him.

Why? Because you’re settling, and that’s all you’re doing. You and this man have no future together. You want to be in a relationship, so you’re choosing not being alone over being with someone you actually like. How are you supposed to meet the person you might actually marry and procreate with when you’re bored in a placeholder relationship? Not to mention there is probably a person dying to sidle up to your boo while you occupy that space in his life.

I know you don’t mean any harm, but you are doing harm to both of you. I would never encourage or advise a person to deny their true selves or fake any aspect of their lives for propriety’s sake. Break up with him so you can both move on and get happy.

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