Ask Margot-The Sparks Aren’t Flyin’

A woman wonders: Should she continue dating a good guy she’s just not physically attracted to?

By Margot Carmichael Lester

ear Margot,
I am in love with a man who I am not sexually attracted to. We are both good Christians, and I believe that the foundation of a good relationship is shared values. We both love children, our Bible study group and baseball. The scary part is that
I worry that in the future if we get married it will be a loveless marriage.
whenever I see him, I get weak in the knees and can’t wait to feel his arms around me… but no more than that. It stops with hugs, kisses and talking. I don’t want to end the relationship because I can’t stand not being with him. But I worry that in the future if we get married it will be a loveless marriage. How important is sexual attraction in a marriage if everything else feels “right”?
– Lovelorn Laura

Dear L2,
I’m sure a whole bunch of people are going to get mad at me for saying this, but sex (and sexual attraction) is a vital part of any marriage. Even after the passionate fire burns itself out, an enduring pile of embers continues to contribute to the overall bond — and health — of the marriage. I’ve got friends who are in their 70s, and even though they’re not necessarily enjoying conjugal relations on a regular basis, they remain very affectionate and loving. Five minutes in their presence, and you can tell they still find each other totally alluring.

It sounds like you have a wonderful companion in your boyfriend. He’s comforting, supportive and shares your beliefs and values. Those are wonderful attributes to be sure. But they are only part of the picture.

Join me (and Mr. Peabody and Sherman) in the Wayback machine. Several years ago, I was on the receiving end of this situation. I was wildly attracted to a man who offered all those wonderful things your man offers you. He loved being with me to the point that we kept company almost 24/7.

But whenever I wanted to get closer, he put on the brakes. He loved me, but not like that. We shared a deep emotional intimacy, but when it came to physical intimacy, he was looking elsewhere. Most days, I put up with this less-than-ideal situation because I was so afraid of being alone. Other days, I figured he’d “wake up” to his true physical feelings for me if I could just stay with him long enough.

Then a good friend, Hou, gave me some wise counsel. Hou pointed out that if I continued this way, I’d
It’s not right to continue to see someone you know isn’t right for you.
be settling for less than a full, loving relationship. And that would take a huge toll on my self-esteem. I wasn’t asking for anything outrageous—just some good lovin’. But I was asking it of a man who couldn’t give it to me. And signing up for that for the rest of my life would be horrible. I’d probably come to resent him and doubt myself, which would likely erode what intimacy we did have. And that would be the end of that. Hou’s message was painful to hear—as the truth often is. But the clarity helped me do the right thing and break it off with this guy before I was too far gone to come back to reality.

That’s what lies ahead for this man of yours, and I hope you’ll see things from his side after reading this story. I also hope you realize that you’ve got to come clean.

Before you talk to him, answer these questions:
  1. Are you staying with him because you’re afraid you won’t find someone who meets your needs for emotional and physical intimacy?
  2. Do you really want to be sexless for the rest of your life?
  3. You say you both love kids, so that requires some kind of sexual contact. But if you don’t find him physically attractive, wouldn’t you just be using him if you had sex just to have kids?
  4. What if you eventually met someone you were attracted to in all the great ways? Then what?
  5. Have you even thought about how he might feel if he married you thinking you were just holding off on sex till after the ceremony?
Then consider this: It’s not right to continue to see someone you know isn’t right for you. And you know he’s not, or you wouldn’t be writing little ol’ me. I urge you, then, to tell him the truth about your feelings. You should be out there looking for someone who makes you weak in the knees and then some. And he should be free to search for a woman who digs him beyond compare.

So stop thinking about settling. No one is perfect, but there are plenty of people out there who are just right. You won’t find any of them, however, if you stay in a relationship that isn’t as fulfilling physically as it is intellectually or emotionally.

Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. Send your faith-based dating questions to
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