Dear Barb – Intimacy Lost

Dear Barb:

I really enjoy reading your column every week. I am in my mid-twenties have been with my present boyfriend in a serious relationship for three years. We moved in together last year. The first two years were fantastic, but I’ve noticed that since we moved in together he is not as attentive and doesn’t seem to want to do special things for me. It feels like we are growing apart and that he doesn’t care about me or our relationship anymore. For example, he used to bring me flowers once a week and take me out for dinner a couple times each week. He rarely does this anymore. Also we used to sit together and watch movies, now he goes downstairs and watches sports or goes to a friend’s place to watch a game. I talked to a few of my friends who are in long term relationships and they say that all relationships eventually go like this and that It’s not a bad thing. I am not happy and really don’t want a relationship like this. If he is like this after three years, what is he going to be like after five or ten years? I really don’t think I have to settle for a relationship that doesn’t make me happy. Do you think I’m overreacting, or maybe he’s just not in love with me anymore? Help Laura!

Hey there Laura:

First, you are the only one who can make you happy, you cannot get your happiness through a relationship. Happiness begins within you and a relationship can only enhance that happiness. I think you may be overreacting. You say this change has occurred since moving in together. Undoubtedly your relationship is going to change when you go from dating to living together 24/7. Your friends are somewhat correct, but I would not say all relationships are like this. Some relationships go this way, but It’s not because the parties don’t love each other anymore, It’s more likely because they have become comfortable. Comfortable sounds like a good place to be, but in a relationship sometimes being comfortable means complacency and as a result one party may feel as if they have become invisible, or are being taken for granted. Have you talked to your boyfriend about how you are feeling? He may be totally unaware of what’s happening. Most people do not realize they have fallen into this pattern and simple awareness may bring about the change you desire. Perhaps he is not bringing you flowers and taking you out to dinner as often because of the ongoing expense. You could set a date night once a month or every two weeks, whatever you can afford. This will give you both something to look forward to and time to spend exclusively with each other. At the end of the day most relationship issues can be resolved through effective communication. Thanks for your great question Laura.

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