Q. I’m 26 and have been with my partner for seven years. He’s sweet, considerate, hardworking, generous, patient . . . he’s stayed with me through my battle with mental illness, grad school, and even me cheating on him early in our relationship. My parents love him, my friends love him, his family loves me, etc.
We work well together (we are in the same field and occasionally collaborate), we travel well together, and I know he’s going to make a great dad one day. He loves me a lot. We’ve been engaged for two years — we don’t have the money for a bigger wedding, so we’re trying to save up. But if I’m 100 percent honest, I don’t know if I want to get married. My partner is really special to me and I do love him, but I’ve always felt like there was something missing.
I’ve met guys who I instantly clicked with and fell head over heels for, but those tended to be really unhealthy relationships. My relationship now is calm, steady, and comforting, but I always find myself missing the crazy passion I’ve had in past relationships. This is by far my longest relationship. Is this just what happens over time? I see couples that seem crazy in love and can’t live without each other and I just can’t imagine being that way with my current partner. We’re fine with long distance. We have our own independent lives. I enjoy having him in my life and I value what he brings to my life. Is that enough to base a marriage off of? Is this what actual adult love is supposed to be?
A.“Actual adult love” takes many forms. Some partners become less passionate about each other over time. Others experience ebbs and flows. In your case, it sounds like you’re not feeling enough flow. It’s good to figure that out now — because you’re allowed to change your mind. You do not have to marry someone just because he’s really nice.
It’s common to have doubts about big commitments, but your letter is about so much more than that. You want bigger feelings — and to miss someone when they’re not around. It is possible to find that with someone who treats you with respect.
I can’t promise you’ll have suitors lined up to show you what it’s like to be crazy in love. I also can’t pretend that it’ll be easy to let go of someone who’s been in your life for seven years. Being single after this much time in a relationship will be a significant adjustment.
But this kind of ambivalence can be just as unpleasant. If you know you don’t want to get married, it’s time to come clean.
If you’re only getting married because it’s the next step and breaking up would be inconvenient, don’t marry him. WIZEN
“Is that enough to base a marriage off of?” Yes. I’m not sure you could create a better list for a long-term stable marriage. And yes, this is what stable, long-term adult love looks like. But, it would be even better if that was coming from BOTH participants in the relationship. SEXUAL-CHOCOLATE
You aren’t feeling it anymore. This happens to everyone. That doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Even if this guy were a saint, it wouldn’t mean you have to marry him. JDROTTENReaders, send your questions to me at email@example.com. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.