Q. I recently ended a four-year relationship with a man who was very kind, thoughtful, caring, drama-less . . . really wonderful in every capacity except for the fact that we weren’t connecting. We didn’t connect mentally and had issues connecting physically. Over those four years I lost my attraction to him, lost the “spark,” and as hard as I tried, I just didn’t feel it coming back. Our sex life was almost nonexistent toward the end. I do find myself missing his companionship a lot, as we did enjoy each other’s company and had fun hanging out together.
Here’s the thing though: I’ll be 50 this year.
I was married and divorced in my 20s, spent most of my 30s and early 40s chasing my career, which involved multiple moves to different states (but that’s in a really good place now). Admittedly, I did not focus on the relationship part of my life during that time, but have had a few long-term ones that didn’t work out for various reasons. I have good friends, and I’m comfortable being on my own, but a relationship would be nice.
At this age I’m feeling that my options are becoming limited, unless I consider crazy old cat lady an option. So, here’s my question: At what point should the physical part become less important than the companionship part? Am I crazy for walking away from a “good enough” relationship? I don’t want to be alone, but I still really don’t want to settle either. Thoughts?
A. It’s understandable that you’re doubting the breakup. But please remember that your relationship wasn’t just lacking in the sex department. You say that you and your boyfriend “didn’t connect mentally.” That doesn’t sound like a “good enough” relationship to me.
In some relationships, the physical is essential. In others, attraction and sex are important, but there’s enough going on mentally to make up for any lulls and gaps.
You need to find someone more compelling. Yes, your options have probably changed, but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad. And even if no one is waiting in the wings, you had to break up with this guy. As soon as you start using words like “settle,” it’s over.
Finally someone in my age bracket. And I’m going to tell you . . . exactly what I would tell a young person. Do not settle. You should marry a person with whom spending one lifetime does not seem enough.
Listen, I’d like a relationship too, but you can’t just shove the wrong person into that role. Not everyone can earn that place.
From a single person in their 30s . . . the dating scene for people in their 50s seems more hopping than mine. Have fun with it.
Without a spark there is no relationship. Once that is gone, the guy was reduced to the role of a cat anyway.
SUNALSORISESColumn and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.