Should I Marry My Boyfriend Even If Our Chemistry Is Lessening?

Should I Marry My Boyfriend Even If Our Chemistry Is Lessening?
Dear Evan, I’m in a four-year relationship with a truly amazing guy. He is thoughtful, considerate, and funny. We share many of the same interests, and we truly enjoy spending time together. We have been living in different cities for a couple of years now and have managed a great long-distance relationship.

I am about to take the plunge and move across the country to be with him, but I am plagued with doubt. As great as we are together, I am finding that the closer I get to moving, the less I am attracted to him. We’ve never had sensational chemistry, but I’ve told myself that it doesn’t matter because he is such an amazing guy and we’ve enjoyed a fulfilling relationship despite that lack of spark.

Long story short, I am not sure if I am no longer finding him attractive because I am about to take a huge risk to be with him, or because the match is simply not right, or because (as awful as this sounds) I simply don’t find him attractive. I feel like I am crazy to not be head over heels for him and I know that he deserves someone who thinks he’s sexy — and I want to be that person. He is my best friend, and I want so badly to have that missing piece in our relationship fulfilled. There must be a way to help jump-start a spark or better chemistry…right? –Sara

Dear Sara,

I have a few questions for you.

If you’re essentially “vacation” love – seeing each other once a month, talking or texting a couple times a week, your relationship is much weaker than a prototypical four-year relationship.

1. How often did you see your boyfriend over the past four years? Lots of long-distance relationships involve flying every other weekend, spending family holidays, taking full month leaves.

Yet I wonder how much your lives are truly intertwined after four years. Because if you’re essentially “vacation” love – seeing each other once a month, talking or texting a couple times a week, your relationship is much weaker than a prototypical four-year relationship.

2. How did you make it four years with this guy, given your lack of attraction? Because if I were to read into your short note, I think this is something you’re creating – your anxiety is actually TURNING this into a problem. Witness the evolution of your email, in which you get increasingly pessimistic in each paragraph:

Paragraph 1: “We have managed a great long-distance relationship.” (Which presumes that the sex was good, too, since that’s part of the relationship).

Paragraph 2: “The closer I get to moving, the less I’m attracted to him. We’ve enjoyed a fulfilling relationship despite that lack of spark.” (You’re acknowledging the issue and teetering.)

Paragraph 3: “I simply don’t find him attractive,” you write. (You’ve all but talked yourself out of your relationship.)

So which is it, Sara? Is it somewhat sexually fulfilling? Or is kissing him like kissing your brother – and you’ve been faking it for four straight years?

3. What would you do if you thought that your boyfriend had these feelings? Would you encourage him to break up with you – his amazing girlfriend of four years – to find a better “spark”? Or would you acknowledge that attraction generally goes down over time as familiarity increases?

I suspect that you want me to give you the permission to break up with him to find the spark, but that you wouldn’t want him to break up with you for the same reason. I suspect that most of our readers would feel the same way – you wouldn’t want your man to leave you because you put on ten pounds, got a little wrinkly, had a baby, gone prematurely grey, etc.

So what does this mean for you, Sara? It means whatever you make it mean. You could toss your boyfriend back in the sea in hopes of finding a man just like him with an amazing spark.

Chances are it would take you a few years of dating to find him, you’d get your greater chemistry, but you would discover that the new boyfriend lacks some of the qualities that the current guy has – maybe he’s emotionally unavailable, maybe he’s short tempered, maybe he never wants to get married.

Or you could stay with him, which is what I’d probably advise. And instead of focusing on what you don’t like about him, you focus on what you DO like about him – the same way you’d like him to do for you as you age. So maybe your knees don’t get weak when he approaches, but if he’s got a tongue, fingers, a penis and the desire to please you, I would suggest that you can have a great sex life, even if you don’t have that spine-tingling chemistry.

There’s no right answer. Just know the pros and cons of either choice you make. I think there are many men who can make you hot for an hour. I think there are a lot fewer with whom you’re comfortable building a life.

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  1. 31

    I really enjoyed reading all the responses on this. They were very interesting and I agree with quite a bit or what P has said but I do see both sides. I do think that sex is a important component of a marriage, because it is a part of romantic intimacy. But I also believe the attraction does fade as the pheromones wear off.
    At the end of the day, the OP has to decide for herself if she can see herself with this guy long-term or not.

  2. 32

    To be honset most of you have to in a online realationship to know what she is going though. I understand her just like me I’m in a cross road. The only thing she can do is make a list and write what she like about him and does not.I think that its something about him that is making her feel the way she does.Maybe the way he acts talk Ingnores her ??? Be honest with yourseft .We all lie to ourseft so the best thing is to talk to yourseft 

  3. 33

    Paraphrasing Emily Giffen “what’s not to love is hardly a reason to love, and the catch of your life is not necessairly the LOVE of your life”

  4. 34

    First, Sara is giving up the life she established to see where things will evolve with her boyfriend. It must be scary! Then, when she is in in her new town, she’ll need to make friends, find a job, build a life separate and with her boyfriend. She needs to get her own place for her own space as a poster suggested earlier. She is taking a big risk but all is a risk in love…HOWEVER, I would want to be excited about this move to be with him. Jumping out of my own skin excited!!!
    I really need to feel an intimate connection with someone. Kissing, touching and sex are major ways to be closer with someone. If it’s ho-hum with the smooching and the nookie after four years, the “room for improvement” time period has come and gone. This is something that cannot be faked. And, it should not be faked.
    My point, we all know what we need to be in an amazing relationship. Maybe there was  additional excitement because it was long distance. Maybe now reality is setting in thinking about what she is giving up or she isn’t feeling… Maybe. Maybe.nMaybe. What does your heart say? This is what really matters.

  5. 35

    Talk to your man more to get to know him better. Ask him questions that will help you understand better, how courageous of a person he is, what his leadership capacities are, etc, ask him character type questions. the key point here is that, while most women want a good guy on there life, they are more attracted to a man’s strength  than his good nature. I believe that the reason a lot of women are drawn to bad boys is because of the very quality that is indirectly displayed visibly in the bad boy. If you try this exercise, you may find, if you have not chosen a loser for a boyfriend/husband, that you have been with a very courageous person who for whatever reason has not been showing you his true nature. In fact, you new interest in him may cause him to outearsly display those qualities that will increase the attraction you have for him. It is no wonder that long distsnce relationships tend to develop this problem, the woman doesnt see her man on a daily basis, his attitude toward life is not somethimg she sees daily, his daily acts of courage, May or may not be known to her. She ends up seeing him in some cases as the guy who has nothing better to do but to talk to her on the phone. i find it hard to believe that the Sara would post this question if she finds out suddenly that the guy she is considering leaving single handed saved his company from loosing 10 million dollars and saved the jobs of 5 men and women with families to feed as a result. 

    To reiterate my advice to you ladies, ask questions of your man that will help you truly know him better and be open minded as you listen.  And for the somewhat reserved kind of guy who is too selfless to make himself the topic of any discussion, be wary of this problem when it comes up in your relationship and realize that as the ‘man of the family’ you got to put on yoir work gloves and go to work on your relationship and help your woman regain focus (read above). 

    I speak from my own experience and hope this helps.  

  6. 36

    wow, its like sarah read my mind and posted my situation. I don’t agree with Evan here. I think Sarah you should end the relationship. Your heart is telling you to do so, but you are too afraid to make that big change. I know the feeling of living a perfect life, with the perfect guy that you love, however are not IN love with.

    I’ve been in 3 relationships, each one 4 years. the first two were not even close to being the perfect guy, however i was exploding with excitement every single time i saw him, was madly in love with him. could feel sad, happy, horney , all at the same time. crazy feelings. He was not that attractive either but oh man was i crazy for him. I never had one doubt in my mind why i wouldn’t marry him. Eventually we broke up because he had to move and i was still in university. we lived on separate sides of the world. it was just to painful. my heart brake lasted years. 

    second relationship, same exact thing. the guy was not physically attractive but we had chemistry in every department, that it made a perfect relationship. I thought he was incredibly sexy because of this. again we broke up because of studies and oh so painful.

    third relationship, love the guy so much. much more patient, balanced, hilarious, more loveable than any of my other guys that i have been in a relationship with. perfect qualities! but the chemistry was never there. exactly how you describe it. that should be copied and pasted right here. 

    i loved that he was so sporty, polite, always treated me like a queen.. he is always positive, happy, even thought he lost his mother to cancer and has no other family members. He took his heartbreak from all the loss in his life and somehow managed to turn that into happiness.  he was always positive, funny and sweet to everyone. we lived in a gorgeous house in paradise! with all the money in the world from inheritance. there is not one reason why i should have any doubts of marrying this man. But i did. i had many doubts.i cannot explain it but the chemistry did not exist, sexually, romantically, physically (even though he is so hott). its just was not there.

    I use to marvel at my first two boyfriends who had no where near perfect qualities because i was IN love with them. even after 4 years of experiencing terrible fights, long distance and then moving in together, i just knew i loved him! now my last relationship was the opposite. my night in shining armour had arrived but i was not IN love with him. I stayed for 4 years and realised i started to resent him for stupid things. our relationship became a friendship and not a romantic love relationship.  it Took me so long to admit to myself that that was the truth. i was afraid of leaving such a comfortable life. but one day i woke up and remembered who i was before, a person who lived for love and ended it and it was hard for awhile because i felt sorry for him, since he has lost everything he ever loved. i knew he deserved an honest relationship. to be with someone who felt the same about him as he did about her. its a two way street. its selfish to stay and making someone believe you love them the same way as he does, when in reality you know you don’t. He deserves better and you deserve to be in love, not just to love. 

    sometimes the universe is telling you something and you already know the answer. it take guts to follow your heart and actually make the right decision for you. Don’t try and rationalise, or convince yourself, just believe in yourself and make the big leap. 

  7. 37

    I am in a quandry, going through a very confusing time in my own relationship because of the same reasons Sarah began her question about chemistry. The responses are fascinating to me and have really made me think. Love is not self seeking, but seeks to build up and give to the other. Yet, we are all basically selfish and this runs contrary to our most basic make up. A spiritual relationship is the most important aspect of the entire relationship. If God (Jesus) is not at the head of the relationship, it will certainly unravel as the focus shifts to our desires and how our imperfect partner isn’t meeting them. They simply can’t. We likewise can’t meet their deepest needs. Those deepest places are reserved for God and we are blessed to receive the gift of an imperfect person to face the challenges of lifelong covenant together. It is our “job” to face our own lacking abilities toward another and trust the Holy Spirit to grow our partner in the ares we desire from them if they are so lacking. To share this kind of bond, I see now, is the ultimate “ideal relationship” and so “magical”. Out of this ground springs forth good fruit in its season. Can Americans trust God and wait for this season to arrive is the question?

  8. 38

    I wouldn’t give up on the relationship yet. Maybe there are underlying issues you could resolve, which might help the physical side. I wouldn’t recommend marrying someone for whom you feel no/ little physical attraction. That doesn’t mean you need off-the-charts chemistry but you should at least want to have sex with him every now and then, for both your sakes. In much the same way that you can’t force yourself to love someone, you can’t force yourself to feel attracted. You could probably force yourself to have sex but you probably don’t want to live like that.
    A marriage is more than being roomies, especially if you’re relatively young.

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