Q. I recently (about 5 months ago) started dating Mark, who is absolutely everything I’ve wanted in a guy. A little backstory: I got out of an abusive relationship in December 2012, and vowed to be single for an entire year to gain back strength, rediscover my identity, and evaluate what I want in a partner. In January 2014 I decided I was ready to date. A few days after that decision, Mark appeared.
Mark always makes me laugh and he’s very sweet. He’s generous and truly has a heart of gold. Our problem is intimacy. He’s a very simple and happy guy. He always sees the glass half-full. I need that and appreciate him. But I truly feel like we lack passion. We never really have late-night heart to hearts, and after a couple weeks of him “courting” me, the long texts about how he feels and the compliments have disappeared. We frequently bicker over sleeping together because, to be completely honest, I want it more often than he does. On top of that, sometimes (definitely not always) the bedroom’s a little dull. Sometimes I feel like it’s more of a friendship than a relationship, although I know that he adores me so much, and even after this short time I could not picture myself happier and more loyal to any other guy. If I question the lack of “mushy talk,” he’ll say, “I just don’t like girls who fish for compliments. I’m with you because I want to be with you. I stay because you’re confident, amazing, and it’s better we focus on having good times than talking about having good times.”
I guess I’m wondering how to make a guy want to be romantic or more passionate. Overall, the relationship is so healthy and I really don’t have many complaints other than this. I would do anything to make him happy and I feel so much passion and lust for him. I do everything in my power not to be a nagging girlfriend and I do not harp on this issue with him too much. But sometimes it makes me feel like I’m not desirable and it gives me a strange insecurity (especially when dealing with the bedroom). I feel silly and selfish even writing this, but I do believe that romance is a pretty big ingredient in a relationship. Should I just accept him for what he is or is this something worth working on as a couple? I would love your feedback!
A.Something tells me that you wouldn’t be stressed about the missing mushy talk if your sex life was in better shape. You want to be with someone who wants you. You want to have “good times” in the bedroom.
Instead of complaining about the lack of romance, lead by example. Give him a compliment. Tell him about the lust. Sometimes talking about lust leads to lusty things. Telling him you’re in the mood is better than asking, “Why aren’t you in the mood?”
Try this direct approach for a few months and then evaluate. After only five months, some of this is just about getting to know him. Passion is a fluid thing, and your sex life will always be changing. But you shouldn’t feel like you’re dating a friend. If it feels more and more platonic, it’s not a match.
Five months in and you’re already wanting to change him? Just accept that he is not compatible with you. And that’s OK.
You’re happy except for a whole list of things. You guys aren’t compatible. You might find somebody more sexually compatible with you, but I’m not sure you’re going to find somebody that wants to have late night heart-to-hearts with you every night. That’s sort of tedious.
I think I agree with Mere on this one; you wouldn’t be looking for compliments if you were more satisfied romantically. Perhaps this isn’t the guy for you.
Trying to figure out “how to make a guy” DO ANYTHING is a bad idea. This is 5 months in. If it’s not working, it’s not working. And we know its not working because after 5 months you are trying to figure out how to make him be something he’s not.
HMMMM. 5 months in, it would seem like you would still be going at it like rabbits. I agree with Meredith that you might want to show him when you are feeling frisky, rather then argue about it, because, that’s not hot, is it?
I find it odd that you set a timeframe to be single and then lo and behold, “In January 2014 I decided I was ready to date. A few days after that decision, Mark appeared.” You are forcing a match where one doesn’t exists. These are big important things that are missing. He says he is with you in part becuase you are confident, but his behavior makes you unconfident.
I’m not convinced that you’re even really into this guy for him — it seems like he magically appeared after your one year of imposed celibacy, and is everything that your ex isn’t. Sweetie, there are lots of guys out there who aren’t abusive like your ex . . . you don’t have to go running into the arms of the first one who shows up.
A bit against the tide here but I think you should stick this relationship out a bit longer. Perhaps coming out of your prior bad relationship has put you in a position where you are seeking out constant validation (including through sex) in your current relationship. I think as things develop with Mark you may become more comfortable and confident and need to hear the words less and simply come to “know” it to be true through his actions.
DISHEVELEDColumn and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at email@example.com.