It did take him 2.5 years to say he loves me, and it was in the midst of me leaving because he hadn’t said it. A few months after he said it, I moved out because he said he wasn’t sure he could marry me. He fell completely apart after I left, couldn’t eat or sleep and begged for me back 3 weeks later with a promise to marry me. He had some things he wanted to work on for himself but he was definitely going to marry me soon. Fast forward 8 months… we’ve been in couples’ therapy since we got back together and have gotten to know each other on a deeper level than I could imagine.
But come to find out he isn’t attracted to me and he isn’t sure he can marry me because of this, and is nervous how our kids might look. He didn’t tell me this directly, but I came across notes he had written that said these things. I’m not ugly – I definitely don’t have the most adorable face but I do the best I can with what was given to me. I keep my hair highlighted and choose light makeup that accentuates the good features. I’m 5’5, 130 lbs, very active and have never had problems with dating or men checking me out. Our sex life has always been and still is great and frequent, he’s openly affectionate with me but he avoids any pictures and NEVER compliments how I look.
Do I leave and find someone who can offer all of these things and finds me attractive….or do I stay and hope he gets over his hang ups on his attraction toward me, but also worry he might cheat or leave me for someone more attractive in the future.
I’ve heard this story before and it does not end well.
I know a guy who had an amazing relationship with someone he liked, respected, had fun with, and was legitimately his best friend.
Privately, he always confessed his lack of attraction.
I told him I didn’t understand. Their sex life — if the reporting was accurate — was as active as ours. How could he spend two years sleeping with someone he wasn’t attracted to?
He couldn’t quite say. All he said was that, on a scale of 1-10, his attraction was 0.
So I did what absolutely no other guy friend in history has ever done before:
I told his girlfriend to dump him.
Predictably, she didn’t want to. She loved him and saw him as her future husband and the father of her children. There was no way she was letting go after two years.
My request fell on deaf ears. Except for my friend, who heard what I did and confronted me.
Him: “How could you tell my girlfriend to dump me? You’re supposed to be my friend!”
Me: “You’re not going to marry her. You’ve already told me.”
Him: “She knows that. I’ve already told her as well.”
But she’s 38 and wants to have kids. If you loved her, the right thing to do would be to let her go find another guy.
Me: “Then why don’t you break up with her?”
Him: “Because I enjoy the relationship.”
Me: “But she’s 38 and wants to have kids. If you loved her, the right thing to do would be to let her go find another guy.”
Him: “She can break up with me if she wants. I’m not going to do it.”
THREE YEARS LATER, they broke up. It was a mutual decision.
This only goes to reinforce a popular Evan-ism from a long time ago:
Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.
The positives? “He takes me on vacations, makes dinners and packs lunches for me. Offers many surprises, backs me up when I’m mistreated. We have a lot of the same interests; we make each other laugh and can carry on deep, authentic conversations. He has introduced me to his friends and family and we moved in together after 1.5 years.”
The negatives? It took him two and a half years to say “I love you.” He only did it at the threat of you leaving. He said he was going to propose to you quickly, and 8 months of therapy later, he still hasn’t. Finally, and most importantly: he said he wasn’t attracted to you, isn’t sure he could ever marry you, is worried about how your kids will look, and avoids taking pictures with you.
As always, the negatives win.
This isn’t putting up with a guy who likes video games, or has a crazy ex-wife, or has a slight potbelly. This is ignoring a disaster waiting to happen, all for the sake of continuity and not starting over.
You deserve better, Erin. The sooner you act, the sooner you will have it.
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