Dear Neil: My ex-boyfriend proposed to me recently. I have not given him an answer. I am not fully in love with him. He has great personality traits, but I do not feel physically attracted to him, and I don’t know what to do. I am afraid if I say yes, our marriage may not end up working out because attraction is important. Also, I recently started a long distance relationship and I feel emotionally connected to this other person—and I am afraid to hurt either one of these men.
Wavering in New York
Dear Wavering: It sure doesn’t sound to me as if you’re wise in accepting a marriage proposal from a man you not attracted to and not confident that you would want to remain married to over time. Marriage is something you want to feel confident and sure about. You make vows to each that are supposed to stand the test of time and adversity—and you want it to have a strong sense of commitment, security, desire and confidence.
Is there something your boyfriend could do that would make him more appealing and attractive to you? If so, tell him—and make sure he understands that it is important to you. If not, let him go. He isn’t the one you should marry.
Dear Neil: I would greatly appreciate some advice. My ex-girlfriend and I dated off and on for nearly five years. Finally I overcame the commitment issues I had and completely devoted myself to her, and we were discussing marriage. A couple of weeks ago she developed a “crush” on someone else. She still wants to see me almost daily, but now she has no sexual appetite. In your opinion, is this relationship able to be saved? The feelings are still there, but there seems to be a wall blocking their expression.
Perplexed in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Dear Perplexed: It sounds as long as you were the problem, she didn’t have to confront her own hesitations or fears. But as soon as you resolved your commitment issues, her commitment fears showed up big time.
Allow her some extra time and patience to go through her own decision making process about whether she wishes to be wholly devoted to you as well. However, if she acts on this recent crush and develops a close relationship with him, she is most likely saying “no.”
Dear Neil: My girlfriend and I have been dating for one year. She’s 23, and I’m 35. We are only able to spend one or two nights together each week. Nearly every night that we’re not together, she goes out with friends or parties until early in the morning. The few days and nights that we are together all she wants to do is rest or sleep. She says that when she’s with me she feels relaxed and wants to take it easy. Many times she feels too tired, depressed or hungover to go out and do anything when we are together. I feel like she gives her best moments to everyone except me. She doesn’t want to change her lifestyle and I don’t know how to cope emotionally.
Confused in Boulder, Colorado
Dear Confused: I would be tempted to say that because she is 23, she might eventually grow tired of her party lifestyle and be ready for a full time relationship. But as you and I both know, some people never tire of partying and over-drinking. Your girlfriend is saying to you that she isn’t ready to be tied down. You’re going to have to decide if this is the kind of relationship you want, and how long you’re willing to wait.
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