My Boyfriend Is In Love With Me, But I’m Not Sure I’m In Love With Him.

Pretty Woman doing yoga

After ending a 5-year relationship with my son’s father (who I was never able to fall in love with) several years passed before I decided to get seriously proactive about going for what I want the most and finding out what prevents me from having it. Love (of course!). I read many dating books including yours, wrote a great profile to call in the one (as you all say), got beautiful pro photos taken and had a fair amount of success in dating (for over 2 years), in the sense that I dated regularly and almost always was asked out again and again. I had several men who wanted very badly to make me their girlfriend.

I also got clear on what I have to offer as well as what kind of man I want, making lists and a vision board, etc. Then I met Aks. I loved his profile and pictures and wrote him back right away. We immediately had a flow in our emails and texts, like no other. We had a great first date and became exclusive shortly thereafter. I was very attracted to him and felt that he well suited what I had looked for in a man. We waited for quite a while to have sex, as the tension built in me.

Fast forward 9 months. I now have a man who would do anything for me and does. He adores my son and my son adores him. He is kind and generous. This man is 14 years my junior and although I initially had concerns, they no longer exist for that reason alone. Although he has/had a great deal to learn in the bedroom, he is eager to learn.

That said, it does concern me that he never wants to spend any time apart and would prefer to be together 24/7. I enjoy time alone. Although he has a great job, he does not have any passions or extra-curricular activities outside of work, or any friends that he wishes to spend time with. His main focus is my son and me. Every woman’s dream, right?

You’re as confused as anybody else who confronts an ambiguous world without clear-cut answers.

Yet here I am…again, same pattern, new dynamic. I am not feeling in love with this man. I appreciate him, feel that we are good companions and think he is very attractive. And, as I said, I am not thrilled in the bedroom nor am I having feelings of desire. (But, we are openly working on that.).

What do I need to learn about myself to break this pattern? I practice yoga and am a massage therapist, so I am in tune with my body and my heart. Can you help me to crack this open and could he still be the man for me?

Thank you Evan! You Rock!!

I appreciate your self-aware question, Jennifer. I particularly like the fact that you’ve done your work and are still open to what you can’t see.

So here’s what I see:

You’re a searcher. Yoga. Massage therapy. Self-help. Spirituality. Calling in the One. In tune with your body and heart.

Sounds lovely. But if you read “Why He Disappeared” you would know that all good qualities come with bad qualities. So what’s the downside of being a woman like you? Since you’re not here to tell me, I’m going to go out on a limb.

Searchers are always dissatisfied, which is why they keep searching. They try different religions, different self-help courses, different hairstyles, different names, all in the name of personal growth, and yet they never really find what they’re looking for. Their joy is in the searching, experimenting, and somewhat faith-based belief that there’s meaning behind the search, and yet they tend to be less happy than, say, my wife, who has never tried any of this stuff.

You say you’re in tune with your body and heart, but are you, really? Does a woman who is truly “in tune” spend five years with a man she never loved and nine months with another man who is going to end up on your searcher scrap heap? I don’t think so. You’d like to think you’re aligned and self-aware because of all the work you’ve done, but you’re as confused as anybody else who confronts an ambiguous world without clear-cut answers.

Sorry if I’ve slightly misrepresented you; I’m doing the best I can here. But I think I can tell that your pattern (and problem) is twofold: first, that you’re looking for the “in love” feeling, and second, that you’re addicted to searching. Your belief that there’s something more than what you have right now with your boyfriend IS the problem, not your boyfriend.

I know. You feel the way you feel. You think you should be “in love” and have that heady “in love” feeling. Well, I’ve written about the difference between love and “in love” here, and even made a half-hour video about how chemistry can be an illusion.

But if that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll appeal to a higher power: Wikipedia

When I get clients, Jennifer, who feel like you, I make them come with me to Wikipedia and read aloud:

Psychologist Erich Fromm maintained in his book The Art of Loving that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the “feeling” of love is superficial in comparison to one’s commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time. In this sense, Fromm held that love is ultimately not a feeling at all, but rather is a commitment to, and adherence to, loving actions towards another, oneself, or many others, over a sustained duration. Fromm also described love as a conscious choice that in its early stages might originate as an involuntary feeling, but which then later no longer depends on those feelings, but rather depends only on conscious commitment.

A few people “just know” when they meet their soulmates. They fall “in love”, get married, and stay together forever. It’s a lovely narrative, and a particularly rare one. You know what happens more often?

Being “in love” is just a feeling, like getting drunk or stoned or dizzy.

People fall “in love”, get married, and get divorced even though they “just knew” they were “soulmates”.

What I’m suggesting — per Erich Fromm — is that being “in love” is clearly not enough to sustain a relationship. Being “in love” is just a feeling, like getting drunk or stoned or dizzy. Real, actual, enduring love is a commitment to the commitment, the desire to make your partner’s life better every single day. By giving that kind of love, you are more likely to receive that kind of love.

Sounds to me like your boyfriend is feeling the first type of love — the irrational, tingly, all-consuming kind. Sounds to me like you are feeling the more realistic, lasting kind of love — the one based on character, kindness, consistency, commitment, and appreciation. Your boyfriend will eventually see your flaws the way you see his. You’d better hope that when he does, he doesn’t become disillusioned with you because his “in love” feeling has turned into the softer, deeper, tolerance that is the mark of all successful marriages.

I could probably agree that your boyfriend can up his bedroom skills, develop a life outside of you, and understand that you need alone time. That’s not what your question is about. The onus is upon you to recognize that the only issue here are your unrealistic expectations about what you’re supposed to feel. You already have what is tantamount to a happy marriage with a devoted man. The question is whether you’re going to squander it in search of a higher feeling, which will likely draw you to a man who is not as devoted.

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  1. 1

    I completely agree with this:

    “What I’m suggesting — per Erich Fromm — is that being “in love” is clearly not enough to sustain a relationship. Being “in love” is just a feeling, like getting drunk or stoned or dizzy. Real, actual, enduring love is a commitment to the commitment, the desire to make your partner’s life better every single day. By giving that kind of love, you are more likely to receive that kind of love.”

    With that said, things that Jennifer describes as minor concerns (wanting to be together 24×7, having no interests, having no friends) would each be a deal-breaker to me. Can’t say if a man like that is “every woman’s dream”, but he sure is this woman’s nightmare! Could that be the reason why she’s not “feeling it”, that those things are deal-breakers to her too, and she’s just afraid to admit it, since that would mean she and Aks are officially over and she’s back to square one?

    1. 1.1

      I am in a similar situation. My boyfriend of 1 1/2 years has no hobbies, no interests, all he wants to do 24/7 is talk to me or be with me. He has a stable job is highly educated, he is also very kind. But he still doesnt interest me, the conversations I have with him are very boring, he either doesnt have an opinion on anything or doesnt feel like sharing it with me.
      I understand when Evan says you cannot compromise on kindness, in my opinion Evan is right and I have been trying my best to love this sweet simple dependable guy, but I just cannot bring myself to it. He cannot do any mechanical stuff in the house, he is scared to drive, doesnt play sports or workout, when I ask him for advice he always tells me what I would like to hear and not what his actual opinion is.
      He always wants sex, while I am not attracted to him one bit. I have realized that I need more, just kind and caring is not cutting for me, I may be left all alone and may never find anyone but this relationship is now seriously suffocating me. He is extremely boring for me, I am sorry but I have tried hard to love him, but I cant, he doesnt interest me in anyway anymore.

      One of these days I am going to break up with him.

      1. 1.1.1

        you definitely break up with him and find someone who interest you, I believe you have known the feeling of being totally interested before maybe with other guys and you should stop and look for that feeling again, you can’t go on with a life of mediocrity just to avoid hurting someone who doesn’t deserve to be hurt, you might break up with him and be surprised later on, he will find a girl who thinks he is interesting and you will find someone who is more challenging, the break up will do good on both sides, he is very nice to you maybe because that’s how he is and not because he is in love with you .

        1. Edan

          Of ll the responses i find this one to be most accurate…There are some peoole who are pushovers and not in tune…without intuition or clue that someone is not reciprocating because they are not in love with you says alot…also people go from one extreme to another for example people will go through series of relationships from abusive to too loving until they find their own flexible spine…one that will get them to the balance needed in their lives…its a part of life, it is through experience and awareness of yourself…let him go, you will only build resentment and a spiritual health decline that will eventually lead to physical illness…

      2. 1.1.2

        “One of these days????” I feel sorry for the guy.   You’ve been stringing him along for a year and a half, for crying out loud! !

        1. Gloria


      3. 1.1.3

        Uncanny i feel exactly like you except im male, my partner ive been with for just over 2 years, and she would be many mens dream im sure, and like you i have to break up with her i just cant seem to find the strength to do it


        1. rocky

          i beg you, please do it.

        2. Sarena

          Why would you not tell her how you feel. It’s going to hurt her even more knowing she was loving you and you were just giving pity

      4. 1.1.4

        Omg i feel the same way 🙁

      5. 1.1.5

        Hello Rohit I just read your comments about how you don’t feel any attraction or interest in the man your dating . That is a huge red flag because you speak very negatively of him and only see his flaws and even when you did point out his good qualities you said so in a more negative way like they weren’t good enough for you . I am not judging you since I was In a similar situation and have been in previous relationships and it really is a deal breaker for me too ! I can’t stand men who are submissive all the time and who can’t stand on their own without having you 24/7 it really is annoying to me . That is why you must end your relationship , it seems like he is emotionally coedependant on you and it’s very unhealthy and there is no love there trust me !

      6. 1.1.6

        Girl, I have never related to something so much in my life. This is my exact situation. I have no idea what to do but I know if I leave him he will get extremely depressed and it will hurt me that he is.

        On the other hand, I know I’m going to have to do it some day, I guess I’m just hoping he falls out of love with me, because this sucks so bad.

      7. 1.1.7

        Sounds like he wants a mom

      8. 1.1.8

        Break up with him now. You are wasting both of you guys time. I was a similar situation. With the guy about a year and 3 months. He was a good guy and he loved me but I didn’t love him and I knew that for a while but I was scared of being alone. I broke up with him 2 weeks ago and it has been hard and I do feel very lonely and sad but I know it was the right decision.

      9. 1.1.9

        Rohit…you SAID it clearly. “He always wants sex.” THIS is why he is with you…not any other reason besides that (I don’t care how kind he is!) except piggy backing on your life as to not be alone. He has nothing to offer you in what YOU want. Get rid of him. He is NOT for you. And you need to not stay with him just because of being alone. I know that sucks…trust me…I KNOW that sucks…but what you are now in sucks more!

      10. 1.1.10

        Out of curiosity did you go ahead and finish your boyfriend after this?

        What happened?

        Because I am in this situation and I need help.

        It will break his heart but it needs to be done


    2. 1.2

      Goldie, exactly! Relationships based in dependency is most often deal breaker!

      Love is sharing not dependency and who want partner   who is rather burden and not standing with his own feet….having independent hobbies, friends so on too…? Not many I guess and it is not every woman’s dream….I think opposite.

      Also, romantically there must be some attraction…if you don’t feel like touching and hugging and being close….and sex is more like turn off than on, it is time to move on and   be just friends, what is the case anyways.

      Also being single does not mean searching all the time. We all must learn that it is also completely fine and in many case even better to be alone and being single does not need to mean same as lonely.   We are already whole and there is lot more in life   than trying forcefully be in relationship with someone . One day someone might really hit home but if not it is okay also. Life is anyways as good as we make it to be.

      And what comes to kindness, we women have learned to always be kind and compassionate and sometimes it can really feel like a big compromise towards ourselves. It is better to be honest for ourselves and to other people, after all everyone honesty is same as respect.

    3. 1.3

      Yes Goldie! What I find so funny is I’ve always heard from dating gurus that YOU as a woman should be “happy” with your life and living life and have hobbies and passions etc. etc., etc. but on the flip side I’ve heard them say that most men are just “waiting” to find a woman to bring things alive in them so they can start living life! (and I have met some of these men and frankly…they are a turn off!) I mean seriously? Why does there have to be such a double standard for us? Craziness!

  2. 2

    It is perfectly reasonable for a woman to want to break up with a guy who has no life outside of her. Who cares if he’s perfectly loving and devoted? Is that really the love of a man who is grounded, whole, and confident? Or is he just needy and somewhat lame? Having no friends and interests would be a gigantic red flag for me, personally.

    1. 2.1

      100% agreement. There’s wanting to spend lots of time with your partner, and then there’s having no life outside your partner. The second one is not OK no matter how good the rest of the package is.

      The lack of sexual attraction is also a huge red flag. “Working on” satisfying each other physically is good for everyone, but if you have to “work on” wanting to have sex with your partner at all, something is wrong.

      Any number of things could be holding Jennifer back here. She might be feeling trapped by her initial attraction/chemistry or her initial decision to become exclusive (i.e., “I chose him, so if I’m not happy, it’s my fault”). She may be reticent to break the heart of a good guy, feeling he doesn’t deserve to be hurt when he hasn’t really done anything wrong — or feel like something must be wrong with her because he ticks most of the boxes on the Good Boyfriend checklist but she doesn’t love him. And it’s got to be hard to take a person out of your life when your child has bonded with the person (I don’t have kids and so can’t speak to this myself, but I can imagine).

      All told, I think this response missed the mark. I don’t think Jennifer is whining about non-issues or trying to hit on 19, at all. Even if she is a chronically unsatisfied “searcher,” it doesn’t mean her current relationship is a happy one that she should keep. (Not once in the letter does she mention being happy…)

      1. 2.1.1

        Clarification: “if you have to ‘work on’ wanting to have sex with your partner at all, something is wrong.” — I mean that if you don’t find your partner sexually attractive and have to “work on” feeling physically attracted to them, something is wrong. I certainly don’t mean that everyone is supposed be DTF 24/7 regardless of stress, fatigue, or anything else going on in day to day life!

      2. 2.1.2

        Being happy … hmm find me someone who has found it and maintains it… the response was a interesting one .. you dont change a commitment like underwear beacuse it does not match your mood. Searchers …happiness starts within you … when you seek it … you dont have any happiness to share … you beget what you sow.

    2. 2.2

      Interesting ..look at that in reverse …. trying to justify reasonability to break up so you dont feel like a bad person ?? Love is a feeling ..alot of women are governed by feelings as opposed to thinking. Being together is a commitment ..and above all   a sacrifice . A selfish individual would never be able to see this.   

      1. 2.2.1

        Those people have found happiness   who follows their own hearts. Nobody is responsible to make other person happy or make their own self unhappy just because other person is a nice guy or what so ever. Sacrificing own needs and feelings is pure stupidity.  Who want to live in lie?

        But it is really easy to be commited to people and things which one really love and is one’s passion. But obviously it is not the case in Jennifer’s situation.

        There is millions of nice guys and nice girls out there…that does not mean you have to commit to them out of bity. If sacrificing oneself is   unselfishness then the other person who let this sacrifice happen must be most selfish person on Earth.

        1. daisy

          Susan thank you this has helped me a lot

        2. Mannan


          I think its correct comments.


    3. 2.3

      Exactly.. .

    4. 2.4
      John Nicholas

      Jenna – you’re 100% correct! Women deserve a man who’s sometimes unpredictable, ambitious, chivalrous, a gentleman, won’t take crap from someone who oversteps their boundaries, not always available, a go-getter, adventurous, curious, passionate, confident – in other words “a catch” – not a needy wuss. Unfortunately very few men understand female attraction in long-term relationships.

      1. 2.4.1

        Very true John! And I can add…what you are describing especially for us women over 45…men like this are either pretty much taken now…or VERY few exist who get this!

        1. Stinger

          Unpredictable? Really? That’s a good quality for someone to have for women over 45? It may be exciting, but you’ll never meet a keeper with that attitude. This is exactly what Evan is trying to point out. What IS it about you women that just compells you to be drawn towards men that you will ultimately complain about as abusers, as disloyal, as being players, as being men that you ultimately can’t have a life with?

  3. 3

    I agree very much with this: “love is ultimately not a feeling at all, but rather is a commitment to, and adherence to, loving actions towards another, oneself, or many others, over a sustained duration”.

    Feeling inspired to love is a mysterious process, but then we date to find out if we can commit to choosing to love that person. It’s the time to carefully assess each other’s ability to give and receive love, ability to commit, character qualities, relationship skills, and potential deal-breakers.

    It looks like the Letter Writer is able to feel inspired to love, but she can’t switch to the commitment/adherance phase of true love. Might be because there truly is a deal-breaker, but given her pattern, it’s most likely because she is too rigid with her “vision board” and not enough open to others’ vulnerabilities (and maybe her own as well).

    It’s anyone’s prerogative to name something a deal-breaker, but as Evan constantly reminds us, the more deal-breakers we have the most likely we will remain alone. It’s a shame when those “deal-breakers” are irrelevant for the health and happiness of a relationship.

    The Letter Writer’s boyfriend might be too clingy, but he does seem to have the ability to listen to feedback and improve. They could therefore probably talk about how much time they could realistically spend together, and see if they could find a compromise. It’s one of those difference that seems easy enough to discuss and compromise on if the guy agrees to spend time by himself from time to time.

    Even if the guy were truly too clingy and dependant, it would not change the fact that the Letter Writer seems too picky, especially given that she has a young child from a previous relationship. Not only does she want to find love, but she needs to find a suitable step-father for her child.

    Letter Writer, I’d suggest you to focus on 3-5 non-negotiable, ditch the rest of your “vision board”, and truly work on opening your heart.

    And… Not sure what color your yoga mat and meditation cushion are, but if it’s anything like the stock photo color scheme, it’s time for a change! Channeling love in one’s life requires a lot of reds and pinks in one’s environment : )

    Good luck!

  4. 4

    I can identify with this questoon as I also started dating a guy that is other wise a good ‘catch’ – god job, caring, helpful, willing to listen & learn but I just don’t find myself that attracted to him. I knew I was only moderately attracted to him to begin with but had hoped the smal spark would smolder & grow. However it has just fizzled instead. I’m at the point where I know I need to break things off but he is such a nice guy & hasn’t done anything overtly wrong – it’s going to be tough &i will most likely feel like a jerk. But it shoudn’t be a chore to be physical with someone you’re with. I feel like the advice did miss the mark on that point. I don’t think she is just searching for something more exciting, just something that feels right.

    1. 4.1


    2. 4.2

      Hey! I agree with you. Sometimes we just don’t click with the person that loves us, on the other hand If we do click with someone all the other issues become less of a problem for us. My boyfriend loves me and he is an amazing guy,   but we dont click very well, and Im doing my best to make it work, but a lot has to be compromised and changed. Its not easy! Im trying because he is a great man Loyal, loving a caring, its difficult to find men like him these days.

  5. 5

    I think Evan is right — I’m not even sure if the OP even knows what exactly she is searching for. She says she’s made lists and vision boards, but what does that really say, in the end, for the kind of “feeling” that she is looking for? Has she defined for herself what love means? It does not sound like she knows what she is looking for despite adopting many new-age recipes. If she doesn’t dig deep and figure out what that is, she will always have something missing.

    As for the faults of the guy, I’m not sure if wanting to spend all his free time with her is such a bad thing. They’ve only been together 9 months. It’s not unusual for someone in love in the beginning to want to be with the person they love and it doesn’t necessarily make them maladjusted. My husband and I are newly married and we pretty much spend all our free time together automatically. Neither of us are particularly reclusive but we are just the other’s favorite person right now. We do everything together — errands, grocery shop, shop for clothes, household chores, cooking, We don’t even like to be in different rooms of the house unless there’s a reason.

    If her boyfriend backed off, then she might say he’s being too aloof. Maybe that would peak her interest more — the fear of being abandoned. He just can’t win. If she wanted someone more independent, she shouldn’t have dated him. This goes to the point that she doesn’t seem to know what she really needs.

  6. 6

    Evan, I will say that I don’t think it’s weird for a woman to take a long time kicking out her child’s father, especially if he is a good man.

    I don’t really think the problem is the men, though. I think the OP doesn’t know herself very well. Also, the problem with having a fair amount of luck and finding men who treat you well is not having the experience of the other side. There may be a general awareness of having an appreciation for good qualities in others, but without a yin there is no yang.

    OP, try being a giver and not a taker. Love is something you give but you are doing all the taking. No wonder you’re dissatisfied! Granted, sexual disappointments are sometimes hard to overlook in the long-term (unlike a flaw like an unusual quirk), but what you are looking for doesn’t sound like the emotionally healthiest thing to desire anyways.

  7. 7

    Wow, Evan, I am a searcher and am addicted to searching too. I never understood the downside to this and I’m so grateful for your comments. Sometimes I wish I could get off this constant self-improvement treadmill and just be happy with what is. I have no idea how to do that.

  8. 8

    I’m addicted to searching as well. 🙁

    It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry’s mother says to him “When are you going to settle down, what are you looking for?” And Jerry says “I don’t know but I like looking”

    1. 8.1

      There’s a Seinfeld episode for everything, lol!

  9. 9

    I never thought of the concept of a “searcher” being hard to find happiness. This is a thought provoking response for sure. I think Jennifer the LW should end the relationship. She let her relationship with her son’ father drag on for 5 years. So at least she learned to recognize when she isn’t feeling it. 9 months is enough time to know. Don’t lead this guy on. End it now and don’t feel guilty. Dating is about finding out if you want a LTR with someone. You know your answer that you don’t want to with this dude so end it.

  10. 10

    I usually agree with pretty well everything that Evan writes, he is practically a genius 😉
    But on this issue I think it’s either a problem of definition, or misunderstanding. For me, love is something I can experience towards anyone – family, friends, partner. However, “in love” simply indicates love, with the addition of sexual desire and attraction, so normally would be out of the bounds of family or friends. I know that in several languages they differentiate the different “kinds” of love, but it’s less clear in English.

    I don’t feel this has nothing to do with honeymoon stages, infatuation or anything else. This is about feeling love and attraction, on so significant a level that one feels “in love”. I would certainly hope that couples don’t stop feeling attracted to each other after the “honeymoon phase” wears off, and spend the remaining decades in mere companionship. I think Evan makes this too black and white an issue. There are shades of grey between obsessive lust and comfortable companionship. You have to feel enough attraction for your partner in order for the relationship to work, and for you not to feel your needs aren’t being met.

    Being nice, kind, stable, dependable, interesting are all essential, but without enough attraction they make for an excellent friendship. The letter writer seems to be saying that there’s a 10 compatibility, but perhaps just (a guess) a 4 chemistry. That’s not enough – love or no love – and is nothing to do with labels.
    “In love” involves sexual “love” as well as emotional. It is an important differentiation because it has boundaries ( like familial, gender-related, age, sexuality etc ) on which it’s dependent. If a parent loves you, vs is “in love” with you, it is a huge difference, and not to be put down to a label. Love, alone, does not have those constraints, it can encompass literally anyone. But in this context, it just sounds like she has insufficient attraction towards him to feel he’s right for her.

    1. 10.1

      YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!! Hit the nail on the head. I agree with you 100%. Evan had a points here or there but ultimately this was not a black or white situation. I’m not sure if Evan didn’t have some personal bias in this response considering one of his responses was that she “better hope that when her SO comes down from the clouds and that they doesn’t become disillusioned with her.” But as you stated its important to have both the compatibility and attraction or else you would be friends. You can have both compatibility with a great man and have crazy attraction with them too. That’s not rare or far-fetched.

  11. 11
    Django Unhinged

    The searching starts off as a way to feel better about what is.
    My divorce left me a shallow fraction of a person with low self esteem and heavy guilt for my children growing up in a broken home because of my poor decisions and irresponsible behaviour. Therapy opens a can of worms and puts you on a path of discovery that’s tricky to get off. So many perspectives, so much unravelling, many breakdown and break through moments – it can be exhausting. Ultimately, once you’ve gone through most of the self help/new agey material you recognise they all point in the same direction – suffering is an unavoidable part of being human… everything is impermanent… accept what is… make peace with the ego and (my favourite zen approach) chop wood carry water.

    Searchers are a lot to handle, always looking for a deeper meaning, always trailblazing.
    I hope since failed relationships made me identify faults in me – I can get off the path to ‘enlightenment’ (it’s never ending – the land of Oz is an illusion!)and re-establish my appointment with life. I gave up on relationships as I failed at them, and favoured soul searching instead, but after being drawn to these posts, guru Katz has basically added that no one has failed and that it takes a lot of practise and perseverance to find a match.

    I don’t want to end up surrounded by crystals and cats. So it’s time to make the effort and practice more ‘fall down get up’ zen approach to dating instead of staying down just because it’s easier.

    Apologies for long post, searchers can ramble on about what they’ve uncovered for time and yet I know nothing, but that I’m still alone (12 yrs). That’s ok since I’m at peace with that but now my kids are older I can venture back to where I left off, behaving irresponsibly again – with hindsight!
    Let me be a lesson to you all!
    I roll my eyes at myself at times.
    Bloody hippies!

  12. 12

    Jennifer may be a searcher, but the solution does not lie in trying to force yourself to be happy with someone who outwardly has the whole package. The solution, in my humble opinion, lies in finding someone who gives you the freedom to be yourself. And if part of being yourself is having a fair amount of alone time, then that is a basic need and necessity to some people, myself included. I feel stifled to the point of unhappiness, and definitely to the point of not feeling much attraction, if the person I’m with tries to pressure me to spend too much time together without due consideration for my need for alone time. That is a major problem and incompatibility for me. I can’t speak to how important that need is for Jennifer, but she makes it sound reasonably important.

    I differ slightly from Evan in that I don’t think the mark of how successful this couple is, is how devoted the man is. I think it’s, to what extent are the two people able to be themselves, to what extent are they comfortable and happy, as, if Jennifer is not happy, there’s very little point.

    “Searcher” types may come off as perpetually unsatisfied, but another thing they usually are is independent. As I’ve said, I think a searcher type could settle down with someone who respects their need to be looking for answers, their curious and active minds, who respects and supports their hobbies and interests, and preferably has a few of their own, and doesn’t try to stifle them. I know that is what has worked best for me. Yes these do tend to be the more independent type of men, who are maybe not as devoted, but some people are willing to make this trade-off.

    1. 12.1

      I like  with your answer, Clare.

  13. 13

    OP, how old is this guy you are dating……21????? You say he is 14 years younger and very inexperienced in the bedroom- based on that my guess is that he is early to mid-20’s or perhaps younger??? Let me guess….you went after a toddler and suddenly found out he has mommy issues…..

  14. 14

    Be careful what you ask for…you might get it.

  15. 15

    I too, usually agree with Evan. However, I do not think anyone should go along with a relationship does not “feel” right simply because it looks right on paper. While I am working on being a better “dater and relater,” go with your gut and find the person who meets all your needs and I think if you are realistic, he is out there. We have instincts for a reason…don’t ever second guess your instincts and physical chemistry does matter…

  16. 16

    Jennifer’s perpetual dissatisfaction aside, does the obvious strike anyone else here??

    -Why is this man dating a woman 14 YEARS OLDER than himself?
    -Why does he have no real friends he wants to hang out with?
    -Why is he dating a single mom and assuming the “father” role?
    -Why does he suck in bed?

    Because he’s a chump!!

    He probably IS a nice, stand up guy. But he knows next to nothing about being an independent MAN and some semblance of a balanced life. He holds women in higher esteem than himself and he is clearly pedestalizing Jennifer.

    Dude needs a life and he needs game. Badly.

    Jennifer needs to stop dating down and stop searching for herself through new age quackery. I guarantee you if she was seeing a man who was BETTER than her in some way, she would feel “in love” again and maybe even have some purpose. Hypergamy is real. Women cannot date or marry down and be satisfied.

    1. 16.1

      Interesting comment – I came to the same conclusion.

      “Because he’s a chump!!”

      Ha, that made me chuckle.

      “Jennifer needs to stop dating down…if she was seeing a man who was BETTER than her in some way, she would feel “in love” again…Women cannot date or marry down and be satisfied.”

      Ah the dichotomy of the modern woman: whether to date up and feel “in love” – but run the risk of her man not feeling the same and disappearing. Or, trade the “in love” feeling for a secure, long term relationship – where her man will feel “in love” and thus commit.

      Men face the same dichotomy – although we don’t have as much choice in the matter due to female hypergamy.

      To date up, or date down, that is the question. Only Jennifer can decide which choice she wants to make. Her circumstances and where she is in life should dictate this decision.

      1. 16.1.1

        I understand Jennifer. But i think that sex is very important in a relationship. If a woman is not satisfied in that area it isn’t a good sign. You can’t try to feel chemistry. It is there or it isn’t.
        It is very flattering to be with a man who adores you and treats you great, but i understand that maybe she needs to be with a more independent MAN and not a boy. I don’t mean she needs a narcissistic jerk, but a more equal partner who loves her without being so clingy. Does this kind of man exist? I don’t know, i haven’t found him either. I also either meet narcissistic men or clingy ones..
        So i understand her.. She just has to let her feeligs guide her and maybe she needs a little more time to clear these feelings..

    2. 16.2

      I’m voting for “Chump” too. or “Mama’s Boy” or “Wolf”.    This woman was probably having an ego rush until she realized, this guy has dependency issues.   Or he could be a total manipulative wolf. She’s asking how this will evolve when it already has.   She’s looking at the result and wondering if she can or should “settle”.   Anyone on the planet who settle’s, will eventually be settling somewhere else.   There is alot of quilt for females if they are not feeling that “loving feeling”, most often they project it onto themselves.   But, a woman should never underestimate their amazing intuition’s, it’s usually right on the money.   She’ll end up supporting and taking care of him financially and emotionally.
      Until of course he grows a pair or just grows up and wants a fresh start a family of his own.   Right now, it’s a teacher/student relationship and once he graduates, she’ll be saying “I knew it”   She sees the writing on the wall but the relationship still serves her ego or need for control.   She isn’t “searching” so much as she is negotiating the relationship.   She says she had the “list” the “vision boards” she’s determined to find love and in that mind set, she will make almost anyone fit the bill.   I know that sounds ridiculous, but these “lists” and “boards” are a desperate need for success, and it usually backfires because who wants to be wrong about such honest, determined tactics?    She should look at her dream wall and ask “How many dreams do I have to pull off this wall to make him fit?”   Those are her red flags.   HER red flags.   But firstly she must ask herself, “Am I in need to control my relationships, am I the one with the problem towards intimacy” – “Have I picked men who would never challenge me?” – “What is it in me that makes me afraid of men who have a life of their own, or men whom I need to feel “more” than?”   You see all she complains about is really the opposite of what she wants, so the mystery is not in the “boy” but in herself.  

    3. 16.3

      and the guy is afraid of driving.  this gal needs to be aware of what this man is teaching her sonon being a man, just by living  his life.  does she want her son to emulate this man? I wouldn’t.if he doesn’t have friends–red flag–abusive men have no friends they hang out with.  he wants to be with her 24/7–needy, clingy–is he also jealous?if so–another red flag– abusive men are jealous.get to know him.  don’t make commitments with him until you know  him for 2 years or more.    

  17. 17

    From the letter: “And, as I said, I am not thrilled in the bedroom nor am I having feelings of desire. (But, we are openly working on that.).”

    I am curious as to how one openly works on creating desire where none exists. If it wasn’t there in the first few months when the relationship was new, what makes one think they can create it 9 months later?

    For me it’s been the first 2-4 weeks after becomming sexual that determine compatibility in that area. It may not start out great, but it either gets better or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t then I know we aren’t a match. No one’s fault – it just is what it is.

    Evan could be right about the seeker thing, but I think it’s possible this woman knows he is not the best match for her despite how loving he is to her and her son. She could keep “working on it”, but what if she happens to meet someone who does spark her desire? Does she dump the loyal boyfriend then?

    I think the guy in this situation deserves someone who DOES love and desire him, not someone forcing herself to work on it month after month.

  18. 18

    …or, all this great and true insight about Erich Fromm etc. notwithstanding, her boyfriend could simply not be a good match.   I’m a searcher,   too, and can relate very well. Never, ever could I envision being with a partner who has no interests outside of work and me. When I read that part,   a huge, flapping red flag popped up before my mind’s eye.   

  19. 19

    Holy moly….you are so frikkin brilliant Evan. As a man who has a similar problem but who is definitely a “searcher” when it comes to this subject….your post hit me on the head with a 10-ton hammer. Just made a lot of sense to me. I am hoping this is the answer to my dilemma, which is rooted in superficial nonsense. I am with the perfect woman, I just can’t get over two superficial things which I deem to be stifling my “attraction” to her….but I know she is the best woman I am going to meet in terms of understanding and caring for one another and being able to work through anything. I don’t want to let her go but at the same time I don’t understand why I don’t feel that all-consuming “in love” feeling. The problem is NOT us, it’s just me…..thanks for clarifying this…I hope I can gain the stillness within my soul to realize what really matters and not let something amazing go because I’m searching for that “perfect” relationship that may not exist.

  20. 20

    This is me too…any of you “searchers” Aquarius as well? Lol…I too find selfish narcissists or clingy men that end up making my skin crawl…its making me crazy. Just turned 34 and still don’t want to “settle” for this amazing man – good looking, goes to the gym, kind, honest, dependable, great job, adores me, showers me with gifts and everything else. However, he doesn’t make me laugh and his clingy-ness makes me cringe. I thought he was super hot in the beginning but now I just find myself wanting to roll my eyes and pull away from him. It sucks – I really wish I could force chemistry with this one. 😢 I dont mean to sound like a brat and I’m really not…promise.

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