Am I Settling if I Marry My Best Friend I’m Not Attracted To?

a guy and his female friend holding water bottles

Hi Evan, I am a 37-year-old, physically attractive, kind and compassionate woman. Over the years, I have dated many men. Unfortunately, things never work out. None of my relationships last any longer than 18-24 months. I feel like I have a curse on me! Recently, I split up with my partner of almost 2 years (right on schedule). I’ve had it.

Here’s where the real trouble starts…I decided to give things a try with my best friend of 11 years. He is a great guy and has been a wonderful, supportive friend over the years. He is, and possibly always has been, in love with me. I do love him, but only as a friend. Evan, I am tired. I am tired of all these failed relationships; tired of moving in and out with people; and tired of the lack of stability in my, and my 15-year-old son’s life. I moved in with my best friend and told him we should be a couple. He jumped all over it. We are even building a new house together, which he is financing.

The problem is that I have zero attraction for him. The thought of him touching me is repulsive to me. I’ve told him that I am not a sexual person and that I don’t want to have sex with him, or any other guy for that matter. This is a lie. I am sexual and I do want to have a great sex life – just not with him. My son is everything to me. I want him to have some stability in his life. This man can provide this for us. Before, we were moving almost yearly, with no medical benefits, etc. Now we can have a beautiful home, and all the other wonderful benefits that come along with this great friend who is financially stable. Am I a horrible person? This guy really loves us…I don’t know what to do. —Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

To arrive at your answer, all we have to do is flip this over. Let’s say…

You have a longstanding crush on your best guy friend.

There’s no way a guy is going 40 years without sex.

You’ve watched him go out with all the wrong women over the years and turn to you with his problems. You know you’d treat him better than any of these other women if he’d only give you a chance.

After his latest devastating (but predictable) breakup, he tells you that maybe he’d like to give a relationship with you a chance. He knows you’ve always loved him and he agrees that it would make sense to be with a woman who has stuck by him through thick and thin. At the very least, you’re stable and will treat him well.

Oh, but there’s one hitch: he has zero attraction for you.

The thought of him touching you repulses him.

He’s told you he’s not a sexual person, but that’s a lie. He’s highly sexual and wants to have a great sex life — just not with you.

But after all he’s gone through, it only seems sensible to marry you. After all, his son really needs a mother figure and since you make more than he does, he’ll be able to upgrade his home, his lifestyle and his future all by tying the knot with you.

So, Elizabeth, is he a horrible person?

I won’t answer that for you, because I don’t think doing a bad thing makes someone a bad person, but I will say that if a man were to marry you under those circumstances, we might very well conclude that:

a) He’s selfish — He’s failed at relationships and sees you as his safety school. And even though he finds sex with you to be disgusting, you should just be happy to be with him as a platonic life partner. Right?

b) He’s a liar — To begin a relationship under false pretenses, such as “I don’t like sex” is really a poor foundation for a future, wouldn’t you agree? I would expect that the person who really likes sex will seek it out in some form or another. Which leads us to the biggest problem with this scenario…

c) He’s setting himself up for failure – If a sexual person denies himself sex within a marriage, it’s going to come out in either an affair or an online porn addiction. There’s no way a guy is going 40 years without sex.

And neither should you.

So unless you want to be the woman who is later considered a selfish liar and cheater, you should politely recuse yourself from this relationship.

Maybe you can possibly preserve your friendship because he’s so whipped on you that he can’t think straight.

But if I were advising him, I’d tell him to stay far away. You may not be a bad person, but, make no mistake, you’re about to do a very bad thing.

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  1. 1

    Wait…you’re trying to solve the lack of stability in your son’s life by shacking up with YET ANOTHER GUY? Considering you’re a parent, you should have waited longer to move in and out of multiple boyfriends’ houses, don’t you think? Maybe find some stability without a man, and teach your son that he comes first in your life. And now you want to hurt your best friend, too? Listen, you have three more years until your son is 18. Focus on him instead of chasing one guy after another, trying to provide “stability.” I know it’s hard being single, and especially being a single parent, but you have a responsibility to your son. You can date all you want after your son is grown.  

    If you can’t provide your son a stable home without the financial backing of a boyfriend, you need a financial planner.  

  2. 2

    The problem is that I have zero attraction for him. The thought of him touching me is repulsive to me. I’ve told him that I am not a sexual person and that I don’t want to have sex with him, or any other guy for that matter. This is a lie. I am sexual and I do want to have a great sex life — just not with him. My son is everything to me. I want him to have some stability in his life. This man can provide this for us. Before, we were moving almost yearly, with no medical benefits, etc. Now we can have a beautiful home, and all the other wonderful benefits that come along with this great friend who is financially stable. Am I a horrible person? This guy really loves us…I don’t know what to do. —Elizabeth

    You are using someone who loves you.   No disrespect.   Just do the right thing and break up with him.   You are making a fool out of him.

    1. 2.1

      Dear Elizabeth


      Im so glad to learn how you finally truly feel about our relationship and how much you care that I loved you 11 years. I have since adopted your son, set up a trust for his college and law school, paid of your credit cards, amd eliminated your debt with a loan shark/street pharmacist from your past. After its all settled in I realize all will be ok. Its odd now I dont feel so bad that over the holidays I got your little sister pregnant. I wasnt sure how to break the news, but now I feel vindicated with very little guilt.






  3. 3

    Right on Evan.

    I have a man in my life who loves me and I know would jump at the chance to be in a relationship with me (even though he’s been with someone for a long time).   We are exes from 15 years ago.   I would have a great life with him because we have shared friends, we understand eachother, he’d have a child with me, he’s financially secure etc. etc. BUT I am not sexually attracted to him at all, in fact like Elizabeth I find the idea of  sex with him a total turn off (and I’ve been there  before so  know it for a fact).   And this is the reason why I won’t be with him.   It wouldn’t be  fair on him.  

    Yes Elizabeth, you’re being selfish, mercenary some might say.   But you have to live with yourself.  

  4. 4

    I’m going to come off as sounding cold here but the cold hard fact of the matter is that YOU, Elizabeth, need to grow up and start providing the stability that you and your 15 year old son need. YOU are responsible for that and not anyone else. If it was just you I wouldn’t even comment but what kind of an example are you setting for your son?

    Time to grow up, girl.

  5. 5
    Karl R

    Elizabeth said: (original post)
    “My son is everything to me. I want him to have some stability in his life.”
    “I am tired of all these failed relationships; tired of moving in and out with people; and tired of the lack of stability”

    If this had been your entire message, I would have some very simple advice for you:

    1. Get an affordable two-bedroom apartment for you and your son. (It probably won’t be fancy, but it will be yours.)

    2. Get medical insurance. (It might not be great insurance, but it will be yours.)

    3. Take a three or four year  break from dating.

    That course of action would  allow you to accomplish all of your stated goals. You would have medical insurance. You wouldn’t be moving in and out. You would have time to focus on the one relation that you can not afford to fail at (your relationship with your son).

    You chose a different course of action.

    Elizabeth said: (original post)
    “I moved in with my best friend and told him we should be a couple.”

    Instead, you entered another romantic relationship (under circumstances which ensure that it will fail) and simultaneously  moved in with the man.

    And you explained why you chose a course of action which was doomed to repeat the same pattern that you’d like to avoid.

    Elizabeth said: (original post)
    “This man can provide  [stability] for us.”
    “Now we can have a beautiful home, and all the other wonderful benefits”

    If you want stability, learn to provide it for yourself.

    And is a beautiful home (and all the other benefits) more important than stability in your son’s life?

    Elizabeth said: (original post)
    “Am I a horrible person?”

    I would say you’re unwise.

    You have repeatedly jumped  from one relationship  to another, and in an effort to break the cycle, you’re jumping into another relationship.

    Think it through.

  6. 6

    Elizabeth, don’t do it!   Or rather, undo it while you still can.   I’m really sorry you’ve had such disappointing relationships.   It’s terribly demoralizing and this new solution must seem like a godsend but you’ll end up hurting him and debasing yourself.   The fact that you’re questioning your actions says to me that you already know you may be in the wrong.   You are better than this.

    Unless you’ve made it very clear that you see him only as a friend, are not attracted to him and will likely never be, you are being very unfair to him. You are essentially using him for his resources while giving him the hope that one day you will be as deeply in love with him as he is with you.   If you care about him, (as he’s your best friend you probably do), don’t put him through this.   There’s nothing worse than being in a relationship with someone who finds you repulsive, especially when he doesn’t know this very important fact.

    At the very least, you owe him the truth.   Good luck!  

  7. 7

    You know, I get the exhaustion. The sense that it “always falls apart.” And also the sense that you’ll “never find anyone better.” I have been there. Many have been there.
    But that’s exactly the time to take a look at yourself, and your patterns.
    I doubt you’ll find much support for your current decision. Frankly, your friend deserves better than to be lied to and settled for in the way you’ve described it. You’re just using him for the stability you can’t seem to find on your own, or with another.
    You’re really risking this friendship here. It might already be too late to break up with him without some damage, but the longer you wait, the worse it will get.

  8. 8

    Elizabeth, what makes you think this relationship will work out any better than the rest of them have?   Why don’t you use this time and do some self-reflecting.   Maybe then you will find a real relationship where there is mutual love and respect.   


  9. 9

    Agree with everyone else so far… move on because you’re not being fair to this guy.
    As for the rest of the story, is it possible that the reason you’ve had so many relationships end is because you move too fast? Are you moving in with all of these guys or most of them? That’s a big step, and for it to have happened more than once with a man who hasn’t been a boyfriend that long indicates that you are jumping too quickly into such situations.
    And how is your son being affected by this? I assume that he is also moving in and out of random men’s homes. That can’t be good for him either.

  10. 10

    There are lots of gay men who get married to women and don’t feel attracted to their wives. And back in the day, when women were bartered in marriage, I suspect it was a very common scenario for the woman to be repulsed by her husband.

    But these setups  can be stable if both parties understand the relationship as a material union or if there is some external pressure (society, church, threat of stoning) to stay together despite physical dissatisfaction.

    Your situation doesn’t sound like any of these.

    I disagree with Evan on one point. There are men who can and do go without. It’s not typical, granted. It isn’t clear what your friend’s motivation is in agreeing to this arrangement. At some point over the years he must have gleaned that you aren’t that into him. Maybe he really wants to help. Dunno.

    In general, though, I’m for women getting out there and carrying their own weight. Which usually means giving up the big house on the hill if you can’t afford it. What you gain for relinquishing that dream is integrity, which  feels so much better.

    I’m also for both parents supporting their children, at the least financially, if that’s all they can muster. Sounds like your son’s dad is long out of the picture, as in, no child support. Perhaps you should track him down.

    1. 10.1


      You sound like a nice person. But I have to be politically correct and brutally honest with you. Evan is right. No guy is going to go 40 years without sex. There is no reason in this day and age we would do this. Guys who you think are “going without,” are not really going without. If you are a woman who is not sleeping with your husband, at the VERY least he has a massive porn collection. At the VERY least. If you aren’t sleeping with your husband and you discover this, you should celebrate. You should be extremely happy, because typically what happens in these scenarios is the guy has an affair or multiple affairs. The “wife” and her friends think the guy is going without and he, behind her back is having sex with other women. If your man is not having sex with you, he is having sex with someone else.

      Another thing Bettina. Evan has said this and I will say it. Men are NOT mind readers. You get it. We don’t get hints. We don’t have a crystal ball where we can figure out what you women are thinking. There is no way he could have “gleaned” anything unless she came out and told him she wasn’t that interested in him. She told him she wanted to have a relationship with him. So he is going to think she is into him. He is in love with her and believes she is in love with him, because she has said she wants to be his wife.

      Elizabeth is simply using and manipulating the poor guy.

  11. 11


    IF this guy is truly your “best friend,” and has been “wonderful and supportive” over the years, then I ask you: How can you do this to him?

    Don’t let your fear and insecurity about your future turn you into a woman who would use her best friend for what he can provide and arrogantly think that he’ll be tickled pink just to have your presence in his life  without getting  anything in  return. How little you must respect him?!

    You’re about to make a huge mistake and put your son through more heartache, and…..lose a friend and your self respect in the process.

    1. 11.1

      Well said, Gem.

      And please consider that you are teaching your son how women treat men. By being duplicitous.

      I sincerely hope that your son doesn’t fall into the same pattern that his male role model is doing, but if he does, you may have played your part. And how will you live with that?

  12. 12

    Elizabeth, I think its really admirable that you want to commit someone for the benefit of your son.

    Lisa wrote on the List Post
    “My parents have been married for 42 years My mom said my dad had integrity and she knew he would be a loyal husband and father.   And he is- we couldn’t ask for better.”¨Is it any surprise that the marriage rate is steadily declining?”¨”
    Elizabeth is doing just this. Finding a good husband and father, It’s just in previous generations it was more acceptable for women not to be attracted to their husbands. My grandmother was relieved she was after my grandfather got a pacemaker because she was finally relieved of her “wifely duties”. She would never describe the marriage as unhappy she would never divorce him. But sex was about baby making not passion.
      Most women I know or either attracted or not attracted. If dating the many attractive but unavailable men is foolish and dating available but unattractive men is selfish what is the other option?”¨”¨
      Much of Jack’s ire is against women for not  appreciating less attractive men.  But how does one go about that. Karl has suggested that people try to adjust their level of attraction through mindfulness. Evan I would love to hear some advice on this.
      ”¨(Maybe instead of trying to convert the gay Evangelicals can repurpose and rebrand themselves saving marriage by making women into short bald overweight men attractive to women through shock therapy.)”¨  

    1. 12.1
      Jenny Ravelo

      “Most women I know or either attracted or not attracted. If dating the many attractive but unavailable men is foolish and dating available but unattractive men is selfish what is the other option?”¨”¨”

      What about marrying a guy who is in between? What about a guy who is attractive AND available?

      I’m not so sure marriage back then was any happier just because more women settled for men because they had no option. What I suspect is that people talked less about such matters.

  13. 13

    My ex told me- after a good long period of marriage and me wondering why he was not very interested in sex- that he thought of me as his best friend, but I really wasn’t sexy. So he had had sex w other women.
    Do you think I enjoyed hearing this ? To put it more politely than he deserves, no.
    My voice is added to the chorus: don’t marry this man ! Please.

  14. 14

    Wow, Elizabeth, look over your entire dating and relationship history and search for the common denominator.     It’s YOU!

    Why would you lie to and manipulate  your best friend?     What will you have left when you destroy that relationship?

  15. 15

    Why does sex have to be the be-all and end-all of a relationship?
    I would assert that Elizabeth is not necessarily doing something terrible. From what I could tell of her letter, she has not promised her male friend ANYTHING. People can be housemates without having sex. She just needs to make sure she is doing her fair share. It is her business, and his. If he is happy to have her and her son living with him, with the benefits they provide (companionship, maybe meals, shared chores, etc.), then that’s their business, and none of ours.
    There are so many different arrangements of relationships that work out there. Not every one has to revolve around sex. Not even marriages, for crying out loud – let’s be realistic here. As long as both parties are happy, it is fine if people base relationships on practical matters.

    1. 15.1

      NO No No.

      You don’t understand men Helen. I can tell you what is going through that guy’s mind. He sees this beautiful woman he has longed for for many years. he has been in her life in some manner for over a decade. He undoubtedly knows many of her boyfriends. he has undoubtedly heard many locker room stories about what a wild cat she was in bed. Probably angered him to hear some jerk speak so flippantly about her sex life, while he himself wants to be her knight in shining armor…a man that would never tell. Since he was her “friend” she probably also let slip things about these guys. Maybe when she was talking to other women and didn’t know he was within ear shot. Like, “why do you stay with that jerk?” “Because he’s great in bed.” Whatever, the point is, he likely knows that with at least some of those guys, she had a vey healthy sex life. However, he also likely believes that she is now beat down. That she finally learned what creeps these guys were. She has now recognized that he is her knight in shining armor and is finally allowing herself to give him a shot. Yes, this is likely what he is thinking. I’ve known many men like him. The guy who loves a girl so much he will wait for her to finally wake up to the fact that he’s he best guy for her. And…he does want sex from her. So why would he accept her excuse? Because h is her knight in shining armor. He is going to rescue her. And this is just one more thing she has to e rescued from. See, he doesn’t believe that she just doesn’t want to have sex with him. Nor does he believe what she says. He believes that those bad guys he dated messed with her mind by using her, and so for now, she is turned off to sex. he believes that if he just continues to be a great guy, her wounds will heal, and she will return to being a mentally healthy human with a healthy, natural sex drive. At some point he’s going to want to have sex.

      OK, so here’s the bottom line. He;s mature, she’s not. She doesn’t realize that in all likelihood, she has been running into guys that learned how to run game. Women should look up on Youtube for the videos teaching this. And then remember that many men are resorting to this stuff. I hear so many women claim it wouldn’t work on them and yet the guys who are good at it would prove you wrong. The thing is you wouldn’t even know it is being done to you. One guy who teaches it actually used it on Jessica Alba with her knowing he was going to do it and she simply went…”WOW.” I thought, no way is he pulling this off. Now, to be fair, he did it and then she went “WOW and they ended it there, but you could actually see the mastery in what he did, and so did she which is why she said, “WOW.” It was simple really. He started off by saying this stuff won’t work in a situation like this because she knows what he is doing but he carried on just talking as if he wasn’t even going to do it and then probably at the point she thought he wasn’t going to, he turned to her and said, OK, without mentioning your looks, or your job, tell me 3 reasons why you think guys would be attracted to you. It is so slick what he did, because first he took her two most powerful arrows out of her quiver. Then put her into the mode of having to prove that she has value. She thought about it for a minute and then went, “WOW.” This stuff works. These guys go and pick up dozens of girls they just met using this stuff and post it on YouTube to let you get a taste of it and prove it works. Even girls with boyfriends. One guy got sued for putting the video up. The girl admits she has a boyfriend but he keeps on, eventually getting kisses,walking hand in hand, and a date. Of course he wasn’t serious about her. She was an advertisement. Then her boyfriend finds out about the YT video. So now he has the same video up but this is the only one where her face is now blocked out.

      You know the old saying that if a man ever figured women out, he could write a book and be set for life? Well these guys did it. And they teach it. And they even had them on Dr. Phil, and proved it works. Dr. Phil provided them with a few young guys who then went into a night club being secretly video taped and they struck out in flaming fashion. they were basically being nice guys. Not using weird corny lines. Doing what most women says works..just going up and introducing themselves, and saying hello. Then just small talking with the women. Not one perked up. Then they got to go through the school these guys conduct. And then went back into the same club many weeks later and scored phone numbers.

      What these guys did was learn what worked and what did not by using the scientific method. Many many men have bough these books, CD’s, DVD’s, paid for the actual classes, became masters themselves and start their own schools, etc… You see the same themes running through their videos.

      My point here is that these guys learned how to tap into a woman’s brain and play it like a musical instrument. But here’s the problem. It’s going to be exhausting doing this. When do you get to stop? Answer IMHO? Never. You got her through game, you will have to keep her by using game. Some disagree but then they aren’t looking at the bigger picture, that while this method works so good for getting girls, these guys don’t always keep the girl. So IMHO, and I would love to hear Evan’s take on this, but my take is that by tapping into what works to cause the right signals and basically bombard the woman with these, the woman in some way almost becomes like a crack addict. He overcame her resistance using these techniques…what makes you think he can just stop doing what got her in the first place? SO here she is, with a guy that her initial instinct likely said no to, but oh the excitement, “Mr. Bad Boy was so confident, and had this amazing ability to always say the right thing…he swept me off my feet.” Then one day he is tired of the effort, or she is tired of the same old stuff. She has become immune to it and now the cracks begin to show. “Why is this happening again?” she whines? It’s simple…you fell for game. you in fact have had so many guys running game on you which is actually fun and pleasurable for women or it wouldn’t work…so how is ole honest Mr. Reliable who respects women to much to even learn game, supposed to compete with all of that excitement.

      Of course she can’t stand the thought of this guy touching her. She is used to game being run on her before she can get in the mood. The crack addict needs her fix. She knows crack is not good for her and vows to stay out of it, but oh boy does her life feel boring now. It’s Mr. Excitement with his playfully cocky, or playfully confident game that she craves, and doesn’t even know it.

      The bottom line is that this guy is a great guy…a GOOD MAN, and this flaky chick doesn’t deserve him. She is not good enough for him. The fact that she doesn’t know this does not make it not true. She’s not good enough for him.

      The truth is, I and many men hate that game, that even we must play even just s little bit. You can’t just use what these schools call the direct approach. Read that as the basic honest but no game plan approach. It works outside of the US, but will crash and burn in flaming fashion here. It is one of the primary reasons for my preference.

      1. 15.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I will respond briefly, since it’s after work, and I don’t have a 2000 word manifesto in me.

        As usual, Rusty, you have many valid points that are invalidated by one glaring error. You don’t have to play games to have “game”. That’s a huge misconception – generally from guys who don’t have “game”. Search the blog for the phrase “nice guy with balls”. That’s what women want. Not an aloof, cocky, arrogant, negging game player. They PUT UP with that guy because he’s interesting, confident and attractive, but they don’t WANT him. Same way men PUT UP with crazy behavior from women if they’re hot. Do you WANT crazy? No. At a certain point, you want sane… after years of being criticized, micromanaged and disrespected.

        And so, as a guy who has done plenty well for himself without ever reading a PUA manual, the only thing I had in my arsenal was the fact that I was really confident, liked myself, had opinions and boundaries, was a direct communicator, and had a sense of humor. Oh, and I treated my girlfriends REALLY well – the way a “nice guy” would. But I wasn’t a “nice guy” for the reasons I just outlined. Go read “No More Mr. Nice Guy” because you seem to have too much intelligence and potential to believe that you have to go to South America to find a good woman, or that you have to be a dick to do well with American women.

      2. 15.1.2

        This is sad.

        If any human (female or male) implies that they want to move forward with another human in a committed relationship (she said that), move into a home together (she allowed that), try to build something emotionally stronger (she is doing that), acknowledges that the other person loves their child (she knows this for fact), tells another human they don’t want/need/desire something that maybe essential to humans (she ACTIVELY told him she does not like sex (her words) and she states here she does and is “repulsed” by the idea of being physically intimate with a man she ASKED to move forward and build an intimate relationship with knowing that this man has always loved her.

        Please stop acting like she is using integrity with this man.   You know very well she isn’t.

        We are all adults here…most of us.


        p.s. sex is a healthy essential part of humans…females and males…. please stop acting like men are dirty is they can’t go 40 years without having/wanting sex…something that is a basic biological function.   Likewise, women should not go 40 years without having/wanting sex either.

        In case you are wondering I am a woman.

  16. 16

    @14: Other common denominators  might also be dating, dating men, dating men in a certain age range, dating American men, etc.

    One question: Isn’t the poster doing what is recommended in the “Settling” book? If not, would like some clarification on the distinction. Not seeing one.

    1. 16.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Hey, Bettina, maybe you should read the “settling” book for yourself so you can learn the difference. I can tell you that the distinction is obvious to everyone else who’s read past the cover.

  17. 17

    Good god, what kind of an example would this set for Elizabeth’s son? what would it teach him about people and relationships? not to mention, friendships? He is at an age where he re-evaluates everyone and everything, and seeing this marriage(?) unfold, presumably for his financial benefit, will leave him jaded for life. For that reason alone, I’d pass.
    If the friend is able and willing to help financially, great! Maybe a no-interest, long-term loan would be easier on you both than a sham marriage.

  18. 18

    Sharon, my parents were and are very attracted to each other.   My mom has way too much integrity and class to use anybody, least of all her husband.  


  19. 19


    I agree 100% with all your points.   But the argument only works when both parties are aware of the situation and choose to be in it.   That is not what I got from Elizabeth’s letter.   Being housemates is one thing but saying “we should be a couple” is another.   It involves much more than being platonic housemates.   She has also been less than honest about her desire, or lack thereof, to have sex with him.   As long as he understands and accepts that they are not sleeping together because she is repulsed by him and not because sex just does not interest her, there is no problem.   Otherwise, as Steve pointed out, she is making a fool out of him.

  20. 20

    Agreed, Evan. Bettina, read the book! It’s really interesting. And it’s not even close to advocating what this woman describes.

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