I love my boyfriend of more than seven years; he's caring, sweet and extremely loyal. But things in the bedroom have been fizzling for a while, and I'm about to snap. I'm a bit younger than he is and feel like I should be enjoying my youth while it lasts. Sex with him is once a week if I'm lucky, and it usually leaves me unsatisfied — and, frankly, a little resentful. Lately my eye has been straying more that I care to admit. Though I haven't cheated on him, I feel the urge to more and more. I'm not sure if I'm attracted to him anymore, yet he is my best friend. I feel like a jerk, but also that there's a hole in my life that isn't being filled — pun intended.
I don't know what to do. Should I just keep on keeping on with him — growing old, scaly and bitter? Or should I break it off in search of greener pastures that may or may not exist?
Dear Straying Eye,
Call me superstitious or old-fashioned, but I actually believe in the seven-year itch. While the phrase is usually meant to describe seven years of marriage, I think it can be applied to any serious commitment. There's truth to the notion that after seven years in a committed relationship, happiness can start to fizzle.
I'm also a huge fan of the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch, which is based on a three-act play with the same name. The film stars Marilyn Monroe, and in it is the iconic scene in which she stands over the sidewalk grate and her white halter dress billows up around her. Sigh ... Anyway, I digress. I also believe that if you're willing to work on it, the happiness that was once there can be reborn.
Relationships take work, and thinking otherwise is a fantasy. People grow and change over time. We can lose sight of what brought us together in the first place, take each other for granted and get lost in the daily shuffle of family, work, Facebook and Netflix. Ask yourself: How have you tried to ignite more passion into the relationship? What have you been doing to initiate more sex? Have you tried simply asking for it?
Maybe it's a talk or a surprise getaway, or jumping him in the kitchen while he's making dinner, but try something! If your mind and eyes are wandering, give your boyfriend a chance to win back your affection before you give up. The only way to give him that chance is by confronting your feelings about him, and with him. You owe that to your seven years.
If you do try your darnedest to make it work and still find your heart moving in the opposite direction, then at least you can walk away knowing you gave it your best shot. It's hard to end a relationship with someone you still deeply care for, but you mention feeling resentful already — don't leave angry, too.
If you just go ahead and cheat, the relationship with the boyfriend will most certainly end with bitterness and heartache. It's important to be true to yourself and your needs, but you don't have to hurt him unnecessarily. Even if you end up walking away, first make sure you gave your everything, and gave him the chance to do so, as well.
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