Ask Dave-I’m Bored With My Boyfriend
After a few months of dating, one man finds the spark is gone—what should he do? Here’s advice.
I’m a gay male in my early twenties and have been dating a 32-year-old guy for the past five months. Our relationship has been very solid, so solid that we have never ever had an argument, even a minor one. Everything has been perfect. But the problem is
that I don’t feel the sparks. I know when first dating someone, usually there are sparks and you feel that thunderbolt. But with my boyfriend I never felt that. I just kind of rushed into it and now I feel like it might’ve been a mistake. We engage in low-key activities like going to the movies or watching TV, but, most of the time, I feel bored and start thinking about dating other men. My friends tell me that I should be honest with him and let him go, but I’m scared of hurting his feelings. I know I can move on, but he wants to only be with me.
|I recently met another guy and ended up making out with him.|
I recently met another guy and ended up making out with him, and now I kind of like this new guy. I don’t know what I can do to fix the situation. In the long run, I know my boyfriend and I won’t last because he just moved to another state, where he will be for a whole year, and I just want to go out and meet other guys. Can you help me?
Dear Holding On,
Unfortunately, never having an argument doesn’t mean things are perfect. In fact, honest debate with your partner is often an important experience in which you learn (hopefully) to understand each other, accept differences, and show respect for those differences.
But I think I understand your point about things being perfect, which is that you like each other and share space easily. That’s great and, for some, that might be enough to sustain a romantic relationship. Everyone has different physical and emotional needs. There’s no cookie-cutter formula for what works in a romantic relationship.
But it’s not working for you, and that’s the real point. I empathize. Ending a relationship is often as hard on the dumper as it is on the dumpee. You don’t want to hurt anyone, nor do you want to be submerged in guilt. You want to handle it as smoothly as possible.
That’s why a heart-to-heart talk is in order. Out of fear, loneliness, concern for his well-being, or some combination of the three, you are being silent in your relationship. In this case, silence equals slow death. Your relationship is dying on the vine unattended, and now you’re starting to act out physically with other guys, which will hasten the process.
But jumping from a failing relationship into the arms of another is a cowardly way to go. It would be better if you talk with your boyfriend now about your feelings. A sample script might be something along the lines of, “I really like you, but lately, I am not having the same romantic feelings I had initially. I don’t think it’s fair to you or me to continue with our relationship as is given how I feel.” Then add, “You deserve someone who really loves you and wants what you want in a relationship.” As cliché as this sounds, it’s true for both of you.
Once you’ve spoken, ask him to tell you how he feels. You might be surprised at what you hear. While he may not have noticed a difference in your relationship, chances are that he has and just
hasn’t brought it up. Why? Probably for the same reasons you haven’t said anything either; fear of losing you, loneliness, concern for your well-being, or some combination of those three.
|By having an honest talk with him, you might be surprised by the outcome.|
By having an honest talk with him, you might be surprised by the outcome. I have known couples who’ve reconnected after a long period of estrangement. I have also known others who’ve decided to continue dating, but change the status from serious/monogamous to casual/open. For couples who decide to part, the result is often initial upset followed by acceptance and understanding, which made the upfront communication worthwhile.
After all, isn’t the sharpest pain from typical breakups caused by lies, deception, or lack of communication? I am not trying to minimize the pain of any type of breakup. No longer seeing someone you’ve grown so close to hurts. Period. But getting cheated on, getting dumped without an explanation, finding out that what you thought you had wasn’t real… these are much more painful than hearing that, for whatever reasons, feelings changed and someone needs to move on.
As you consider your next step, factor these dos and don’ts into your plan:
- Think long-term. Even if he is in love with you, it’s better to inflict short-term pain than to let the wound fester. Exhibiting honesty and respect rarely backfire in the long run.
- Tell him in person. Don’t send an email, leave a voicemail message, or tell him over the phone. Make sure you tell him face to face.
- Overlap relationships. Even if you have a new romantic interest, don’t share your new romance too soon, especially if you are the one initiating the split. Especially if you are the dumper, flaunting a new love too soon can only wound your ex’s pride and make a split more acrimonious.
- Be guided by guilt. As dating coach Robert Torrey says, “Caring about somebody and wanting a relationship are not the same. The majority of people on this planet do not like to hurt others, especially somebody they have been close to. Guilt has been used more often than not to keep relationships together.”
Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.