Question: "My boyfriend and I have been dating for six years now. We started dating in grade 11, but we’ve basically been better together since grade 8. We even went to university together and now share an apartment. He is a great guy, and has always been my best friend, even before we started dating.
When we started dating it was amazing. He was the most romantic and best boyfriend ever. I was obsessed with him and felt like the luckiest girl in the world. That being said, as time went on and we went to university, he stopped wanting to be intimate with me as much as usual, stopped buying me flowers, hasn’t taken me on a date in about four years and rarely compliments me. Any time we are intimate it’s because I’m initiating it, and most times he will shut me down about four times before agreeing and wanting to do anything.
Video: Love letters reveal life of previous homeowner
I have bawled my eyes out and talked to him about it probably over 75 times over the last four years, even asking him if he’s still into me and saying if not, he should just leave me. He always answers that he’s so in love with me and thinks I’m so beautiful and apparently loves being intimate with me, but has a bad way of showing it. Apparently, mentally for him he finds doing anything romantic with me very hard because he’s just not good at it, which I know is a lie because the first two years of dating, he was something out of a movie with how cute and romantic he was. I really don’t know what to do anymore. Other than all the romantic and intimacy issues, we get along great, and when we are intimate it is good. I just feel I shouldn’t always be the one initiating it.
Should I walk away? My boyfriend moved in after just a few months and then totally changed.
I feel like his lack of romance has given me doubts and driven me to have body issues and be somewhat insecure. At this point I’m not sure what to do as I’ve told him how I feel and it’s always “I’m working on it,” but there has been little-to-no progress, and I’m not sure I can continue to feel this way for another year. What should I do?"
Answer: A regular co-host on my podcast "Two Hot Takes," Lauren Rolfe, has dealt with something very similar in a past relationship. I think she would be a great person to address your issue, so I am going to suggest she weigh in. Lauren, what do you think?
"When it comes to a committed relationship, I recommend focusing on what you feel versus what your partner is saying. It doesn’t matter if your partner says they love you or respect you 100 times a day if you don’t feel you are receiving love and respect the way you would like. Sometimes we gravitate toward familiarity, safety and our routine, which is why it is easy to stay in a situation we are unhappy with. Now this may not be your case, but it’s something I’ve noticed with friends and family in their relationships, especially when it comes to partners they started dating at an early age.
My husband's best friend lives with us: Can I kick him out?
You have been with your partner for quite some time, and it’s easy to imagine the potential you could have and ignore the reality of where he's at. If you feel you have communicated your needs effectively and there has been no change, then it is time you look figure out what is best for you. Usually, women emotionally check out of relationships before they actually make the decision to end it. So you may have the answer to your issues already but may be avoiding it because it’s scary to act on. And while change can be scary, it’s sometimes necessary to grow. However, you may decide you’d like to give your relationship another shot, and that is also OK.
If you decide to stay with your partner, I recommend looking into love languages and attachment styles. The way people show love can be vastly different. The love languages have been grouped into five categories: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service and gift giving. There are many books on this topic that can help you to further explore your needs, your partner’s needs and how both needs can be met while also promoting a deeper connection between you two.
In my past, I have been in a relationship where my partner and I had completely different love languages and it caused some conflicts. Something that really helped us to understand each other better was to take an online quiz on love languages separately and talk about our results together after. Through this exercise, I realized that I was so focused on how I want to experience love from him that I wasn’t thinking about how he wanted to experience love from me. Learning about him helped me give him a space to communicate his feelings with me, which in turn led him to hearing my needs more clearly as well. This is an intimate, vulnerable exchange so be sure to give each other grace and the room to talk freely. Feeling love from our partner is the most basic emotional need in a relationship and you deserve to find that — whether it be in your current relationship or elsewhere.
Wishing you the best,
Morgan and Lauren
Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the podcast, "Two Hot Takes" where she and her co-hosts dish out advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her advice with USA TODAY's readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at Mabsher@gannett.com or you can click here to share your story with her.
My coworker outed me, and I am horrified: What should I say to her?
Am I overreacting? My boyfriend won't stop looking at other women on Instagram.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Boyfriend relationship advice: He won't take me on dates, refuses sex