If The Lust Has Faded, Should I Dump My Great Boyfriend?

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Hi Evan, I stumbled across your blog while looking for advice. It’s been really helpful for me so far! I have read what you’ve written on passion and chemistry, and I know you get a lot of questions on this topic. I am 27 and have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. He is the kindest, most compassionate guy I have ever known. He treats me like gold and is just the coolest, most gentle person who understands me completely and is always there for me. I feel safe and calm when I am with him. He makes me so happy and when we are together we have so much fun and I am always so happy I feel like I’m on cloud nine! He really does feel like my soulmate and I feel so lucky to have met someone like him. I love him very much and have a strong feeling that I always want to be there for him and make him happy. There is just one little problem…

I don’t feel that same passion and lust for him as I did when we first met. I am not super excited and giddy around him anymore. I used to want to jump his bones anywhere and everywhere, even in the supermarket. But that feeling has faded and now when we are doing everyday things together like shopping or cuddling on the couch I feel more of a peaceful comfort and warmth with him. Don’t get me wrong, I still find him attractive. I still love to be physical with him and we are constantly touching and kissing and cuddling. It’s just not that exciting anymore; it feels more comforting and warm and loving rather than lustful. I don’t think about him every second of the day anymore, don’t get butterflies in my stomach when I see him and don’t feel nervous, giddy or weak in the knees anymore. When we are together doing ordinary everyday things I don’t feel that intense lust anymore, but rather a warm comfort and joy. This makes me so confused. I love him so much and want to stay with him. I cant imagine being with anyone else. Isn’t a relationship or a marriage supposed to have that intense lust? Would I be wrong to stay in a relationship where the lust has faded? Marisa

 

Marry him.

Like, right now. Lock it in.

You’re in a dream relationship and you’re trying to find cracks in it.

That’s like inspecting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to see where Michelangelo colored outside the lines.

Just reread what you wrote above:

“He makes me so happy and when we are together we have so much fun and I am always so happy I feel like I’m on cloud nine! He really does feel like my soulmate and I feel so lucky to have met someone like him. I love him very much and have a strong feeling that I always want to be there for him and make him happy.”

 

This is what it’s all about, Marisa. And it’s not like you’re turned off by him:

You SHOULDN’T feel butterflies with the person who will be there until you die.

Don’t get me wrong, I still find him attractive. I still love to be physical with him and we are constantly touching and kissing and cuddling. It’s just not that exciting anymore; it feels more comforting and warm and loving rather than lustful. I don’t think about him every second of the day anymore, don’t get butterflies in my stomach when I see him and don’t feel nervous, giddy or weak in the knees anymore.

This is exactly what healthy relationships should be like. You SHOULDN’T be nervous around your best friend. You SHOULDN’T obsess about the man you’ve loved for 3 years. You SHOULDN’T feel butterflies with the person who will be there until you die.

That’s what happens at the beginning — and, to make sure you feel normal — this feeling wears off within 18-24 months in most relationships, according to Dr. Helen Fisher, author of “Why We Love”.

Which is why, as a dating coach, I spend most of my time telling women to find the relationship that feels EXACTLY like yours does, Marisa!

You’ve hit the lottery and you’re worried about paying taxes on it? Really?

Just know that the “exciting, shiny new car” that you bought last week will, in two or three years, just be known as “your car”.

That’s how things work. They’re exciting when they’re new and comfortable when they’re old. People who chase that exciting new feeling are the ones who are either perpetually single, perpetually trying to “trade up” in relationships, or prone to cheating because they feel that the grass is always greener.

Perhaps Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice”, said it best in Lori Gottlieb’s “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” To paraphrase:

…what you should do when you’re dating is attempting to find the “6” with whom you can spend the rest of your life.

At some point, you realize you shouldn’t marry a “10”, so you go for the “8”. But once you fall in love with the “8”, over time, once you get accustomed to him, he turns into a “6”. Once the bloom is off the rose, you start to think you can do better than your “6”, and you break up with him, only to find another “8”, forgetting of course, that in a few years, he, too, will become a “6”. So really, Schwartz advises, what you should do when you’re dating is attempting to find the “6” with whom you can spend the rest of your life.

My wife did that.

You’ve done that, Marisa.

And I can assure you, when you sit back and watch all the lustful couples break up while you’re growing old with your soulmate, you’re not going to have the second thoughts you’re having now.

Instead, you’re going to wonder how you could have ever thought your life would be better without this man by your side.

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Comments:

  1. 21
    Stacy

    #13

    dude, are you for real? Unless we’re talking porn stars, 27 IS the peak of her attractiveness. She’s a lot more competitive at this age than she was  at 24  because now she can attract both guys her own age,  a bit  yonger and 10+ years older who are either  divorced or single and accomplished.  Age is not the reason she should marry him. The fact that she likes being in a relationship with him does.

      

  2. 22
    JB

    @Bill #13- Errr…. I don’t know how old  YOU are but if you think women are LESS attractive at 27 you are delusional.Actually SOME (not all) women become more attractive as they age and emotionally mature into their 30’s and beyond to a great number of men.Believe me,I can vouch for it.Marisa is  27,I don’t think she said how old he is?I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s not on the road to “30 and over the hill”…..lol

  3. 23
    Honey

    I think this relationship sounds great!   It’s how I feel about Jake, and yes, as others have mentioned, passion/lust comes and goes in waves in great relationships.

    And I don’t see why they should be married or even engaged after 3 years, or what this would have to do with being insecure or uncertain.   Jake and I have been together almost 5 years and aren’t engaged yet.  My best friend from grad school has been with her boyfriend for 4 years, they’re expecting their second child this spring, and they don’t plan to EVER get married.   There are LOTS of other factors besides the stability of  the relationship that go into  deciding when – or whether – marriage is right for you.

  4. 24
    Bill

    I am in the marketing and sales industry. Yes women who are accomplish are attractive to a lot of men. But women who are physically attractive especially youthful are wanted more by men than accomplished. It is the sad reality of life.

  5. 25
    Stacy

    Bill.. sorry but you’re dead wrong on this issue.

    I am 29 and I’ve dated and been in relationshps with older men my entire life (as in 15 years older). I can tell you that at 29 my dating options are by far better than they were at 23. I now  fish in the pool of highly accomplished men who would not even look at a 23 yo (unless she’s an escort I suppose). The reason is they value the fact that a woman is mature enough to not get them into any stupid trouble, and secondly, many told me that they’d be highly uncomfortable dating someone who could be their daughter. In addition, scoring a date with same-age guys (as in up to 5 years senior) is a breeze and I recently went out with someone 2 years younger. I’d say that 27-32 is the golden age for women to date. They have the most/best options during those years.

  6. 26
    Karl R

    Bill said: (#24)
    “I am in the marketing and sales industry.  […] women who are physically attractive especially youthful are wanted more by men than accomplished.”

    Presumably you’re not marketing and selling women. Therefore I’m wondering, what is your source for this information?

    If you’re basing your statement purely on your own experiences, why is your anecdotal evidence more accurate than Stacy’s (#25)?

  7. 27
    starthrower68

    @Karl #26,

    I’d even delve a little deeper into this subject.   Just because men may want the more physically attractive especially youthful women doesn’t mean they necessarily make the bet partners.   Assuming of course a man who ends up with such a woman is truly looking for a partner.   Not all extremely attractive and young women are  poor partners and not all of them are good.   Physical attraction is a factor, there’s no denying it.   But content of character is what makes the relationship successful.

  8. 28
    Goldie

    Where are all these men who purposely look for a woman half their age for an LTR/marriage? I don’t even see them on dating sites, most profiles I’ve seen state they’re looking for someone roughly in their age group.
      
    Personally, I would find it absolutely awkward to be in a relationship with someone same age as my children.
      
    Also, I believe this was discussed here before, in a thread/post about a 21yo girl who wanted to marry ASAP – at this age, your personality is still a work in progress. So marrying someone young (I believe the thread said 25 and younger) is a crapshoot – you may end up with a completely different person ten years down the road.
      
    LOL @ first paragraph of Karl’s #26 😀

    1. 28.1
      Cat

      Goldie, #28: the post you’re looking for is this one.

  9. 29
    Lance

    Is this a real letter? Seriously?
    Would love to know her man’s perspective and get a good hard look at how he projects himself in their relationship. Does he still make himself attractive, act like a confident man, and live a bold and passionate life? These are the things that sustain passion for a lifetime. If he’s too comfortable and not taking charge, then sure the lust/passion will fade. Otherwise, it sounds like she’s got it pretty good.

    1. 29.1
      Cat

      Lance, #31: Of course, all the letters here are real. Seriously. At most they are shortened to fit the space.

      That’s what Evan would write if he didn’t have his first child born yesterday-literally. Congrats, Evan!

      And Lance, when have we ever heard both sides: letter writer and the object of her letter? I think her question is valid for her age and experience. From those of us older and wiser, keep him or let us have him! A lot of lust/passion is based on uncertainty. That won’t exist after three years (unless it’s a really dysfunctional relationship, in which case, the answer would be to dump him.) I think since she’s still attracted to him and enjoying the sex + says he’s her soulmate and makes her feel so awesome, yeah, she should marry him!

  10. 30
    jrd

    My guess is that Bill @ #13 spends time at a male-centered site where one of the  tenets is that women have a use by date of 25.

  11. 31
    Lance

    @Bill @Stacy, actually Bill is completely right. Men could care less about accomplishment and look at looks and attractiveness first and foremost. Hardly news. Bill doesn’t state an age range, so it’s possible that his definition of “youthfulness” extends to your range.

  12. 32
    Diana Brown

    Evan, the person who wrote this letter to you doesn’t seem genuine enough. Did she just make up this relationship? I mean the way she described her relationship seems a bit fake. Why would you ever describe your relationship as “without lust”?
    most likely i’m being overly judgmental and overly analytical here but based on what I read it doesn’t seem like a “real” relationship.

  13. 33
    A-L

    Congratulations on the baby’s birth, Evan!

  14. 34
    starthrower68

    @Lance #32,

    Ok so it is what it is. Looks first and foremost.   And if that’s the most important thing then no complaining about women beng gold diggers, psychotic, etc.  

  15. 35
    Steve

    @Karl   #26
      
    How not to make this sound harsh to either you or Bill?   While the marketing industry isn’t a giant prostitution ring like you wrote,   they do use women’s sex appeal to sell people everything from toothpaste to cars.     Given that is all about pure looks that explains Bill’s opinion.

  16. 36
    Goldie

    @Lance #32, actually Bill does specify the age range, see comment #13 – apparently a 27yo woman is past her prime… tee hee hee
      
    As for the letter, I suspect there is something else going on, otherwise the letter sounds pretty pointless. I mean, it’s a known fact that this red-hot physical attraction fades after 18 months or so – the letter is stating the obvious. Either the letter-writer is pulling our leg, or there are other concerns that she’s not telling us about 😉 my 2 cents.
      
    I found the letter useful anyway – it’s a good guideline for what our end goal should be in this weird dating game 😀
      
    @ Cat #33, wow, congrats Evan!! My first baby is turning 18 in three days, what a coincidence 🙂

  17. 37
    Stacy

    Lance #32

    Actually, he does specify the age and nobody said nothing about accomplishments on the side of a woman. So you may want to read more carefully.

    Steve #37

    If he really was in the industry, he’d know that most models work into their late 20-ies, and some continue working after they give birth. Jeez.

  18. 38
    Stacy

    …and I apologize for multiple posts, but to illustrate the point:

    In 2010:
    The average age of Vogue cover models in the past year is 34.5; Harper’s Bazaar, 32.5; Elle, 31.6; InStyle, 34.2; and W, 34.9.

    Their marketing guys must really be sleeping on the job!!

  19. 39
    Honey

    @Stacy, #40, know a lot of fellas who subscribe to those magazines, do you?
    What are the average ages of those on the cover of Playboy, Maxim, GQ, etc?

  20. 40
    Stacy

    Honey #41

    The circulation of Vogue and other fashion magazines is comparable to those of playboy and maxim. All these numbers are public. As to the age of the models, the age range of playboy cover models is between 18 (youngest legal in the US) to 35 (January 2003 cover). Hope this helps!

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