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Why am I not in love with my girlfriend?
June 8, 2012 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Why am I not in love with my girlfriend? I'm 25. She's 28. We're 7 months in and things are fine, but sometimes I wonder if things should be better. Am I over thinking things? Is more time going to change anything? Answers based off a guy's similar experience would be awesome, but all advice is appreciated.

Like I said, we've been dating almost 7 months. In general, it's been a very good relationship. We have similar religious and political beliefs. Have some shows, movies, and music in common. We generally enjoy doing the same things and are on the same page about how often to hang out and how much to stay in touch. There are no jealousy or faithfulness issues. She's super supportive, encouraging, sweet, generous, kind, and loyal. She accepts me for who I am completely, even after knowing some less than pleasant things about me. We make each other laugh. We comprise well.

The only problem is that I don't have that strong head over heels feeling (alternatively called the "spark" or the "in love" feeling). The only thing I can maybe figure out is that sometimes I don't find her super attractive. I feel shallow and sort of bad about it, but it's just certain things sometimes: when she turns her head a certain way, she gets a little of a double chin; her legs are a little un-toned (but only in a certain light); she has small breasts (a-cups); a lot of times her breath is kinda bad; we have different styles of kissing (and despite both of us working on it, it's still not amazing). The thing is, though, that she is super fit and can look really good. She's had way more boyfriends than I've had girlfriends. She's very fashion conscious. But sometimes I'm not just knocked-over by how pretty she is.

I know it is shallow, and I really would like nothing better than to be able to just get over these admittedly superficial things and be completely happy. But at the same time, after 7 months I feel like she deserves some certainty from me (she told me she loved me about 2 months ago and I didn't say it back -- which I also feel bad about). Recently, I told her we should talk more about our dreams, hopes, wishes, deep-thoughts, and etc., because I hope that if we connect more deeply, then attraction will naturally grow. But I just don't know if that's enough.

Anyways, any anecdotes, advice, criticisms, are appreciated.
posted by yeahyeahyeah to Human Relations (61 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everything in your first paragraph will matter in 30 years.

Nothing in your second paragraph will matter in 30 years.

30 years from now, will you happy that you sacrificed all of that stuff in the first paragraph for all that stuff in the second paragraph?
posted by DWRoelands at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


("will you BE happy"). Dangit.
posted by DWRoelands at 8:07 AM on June 8, 2012


If you don't find her attractive then you don't. Do her a favour and step away. Encouraging her to put more effort into it and share herself more with you when you just don't feel it will just make things harder for her. If you have any kind of feelings towards her just end it. Stretching it out in hopes of feeling something for her will just be cruel. Sometimes attraction is just not there. It is neither of your faults.
posted by kanata at 8:08 AM on June 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


Regardless of the specific reasoning, I really really don't think anyone should ever talk themselves into being with someone. If it's right, it's right. Listen to your gut.
posted by something something at 8:09 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude, if you don't love her, you don't love her. It sucks, but that's just the way life goes.

Here's the thing about superficial stuff like that: you don't get over them. Some people let niggling things bug them and get a little obsessive (like you seem to be -- just a little!). Why do you think those little things, like the way she looks sometimes from one particular angle, get to you? Do you think it might be because you're searching for her flaws in hopes of finding a reason to NOT like her "that way"?

Those superficial things are not only NOT going to go away, they're going to get worse and multiply. And if you don't find at least some of them endearing instead of repellent, that's a problem.

I mean, I don't like it when my husband farts, but the fact that we can laugh about it is actually the kind of thing that DOES attract me. If that's not happening for you at least occasionally... time to move on.
posted by Madamina at 8:10 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think the 6-7 month mark is where all the initial buzz has worn off, and you're stuck with who the two of you actually are. If you're beginning to feel strong doubts about being together around this point, it's probably not meant to be. I don't really believe you'd break up with her over her chin and her legs, though; are you just not in love with a girl you find perfect on paper and looking for excuses to bail?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:14 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know it is shallow, and I really would like nothing better than to be able to just get over these admittedly superficial things and be completely happy.

Yeah the thing is - it is shallow and it is superficial, but if you were in love with her, you wouldn't care. Her double chin and cute boobs would be endearing and adorable to you.

"I really like you but I'm not in love with you and I can't make that change" is not only a perfectly good reason to break up, it's a courageous reason to break up.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:14 AM on June 8, 2012 [50 favorites]


> Dude, if you don't love her, you don't love her. It sucks, but that's just the way life goes.

Yup. The mid-20s are notorious for getting together with people and breaking up again because it just wasn't working out for whatever reason. It's tough, because you don't want to be going into any given relationship with a cold-hearted expectation that it won't work out, but you don't want to find yourself hanging on desperately to something that isn't right for you (or the other person). I'm not saying you should bail out, just that you shouldn't look at yourself as a failure for not making it work. It's the commonest thing in the world. And it can take a long time to find the person who's really right for you (and vice versa); it took me until I was pushing fifty. I'm not at all sorry I had the previous relationships, and you shouldn't feel too bad about this one not working out (if it doesn't). Just remember you're at one point in a long journey.
posted by languagehat at 8:16 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


You have an adult, solid relationship. The majority of your "problem" is that you're looking for some kind of imaginary perfect woman, who shares your every whim and desire and also looks astounding and does everything exactly the way you want.

You won't find that in a real person. Everyone has off days, funny looks, and the occasional awkward pose.

Love is not about toned legs and never having wrinkles, or never having bad breath: it's about having a partner whom you trust, enjoy being around, and who (most importantly, IMO) makes you strive to be a better human being. In fact, any woman you're with now will not look like a teenager in 10-15 years; if you make THAT your criteria, you will be sorely disappointed and likely pretty lonely for much of your life. (You won't look so great in 10-15 years, either, kid!)

This "problem" is not with her chin or kissing, so much as it is about your expectations.
posted by ellF at 8:16 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I have bad breath sometimes, small breasts always, a double chin when I'm looking down to read, and my legs are ridiculously untoned. But my boyfriend still loves me. Let this girl go so that she can find a guy who likes what you perceive to be her flaws, and you can find a girl you're in love with. 6-7 months is nothing. Don't drag this out for years -- you're both young. She's had a lot of boyfriends? She'll get over you. Cut her loose.
posted by jabes at 8:19 AM on June 8, 2012 [52 favorites]


When you're in love with someone you don't notice that they have untoned legs sometimes in a certain light, you notice that most of the time, their legs look great. It's not that you're blind, it's that you focus on the positive.

If you're not in love you're not in love.
posted by Kololo at 8:22 AM on June 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


You do not need an excuse to not be in love with somebody.

You seem to think that love is reasonable and amenable to logic, but it is not.
posted by emilyw at 8:23 AM on June 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I think one thing that is important to ask is this - when you initially met her, were you attracted to her? If so, then you can get back that feeling. If you were never particularly attracted to her in the first place though, then it seems unlikely you will find her more attractive in the future. (Given what you've written about her personality, I'm a little surprised you don't find her more attractive now than when you first met her.)

In my own experience, I generally need to find somebody fairly attractive in the initial stage of dating, but once that attraction has been established, my mind plays a weird mental trick on me and I still find them equally attractive at future points in time, regardless of how much time has elapsed or how they've aged.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:24 AM on June 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


You will never find a perfect girl, but you'll probably find a girl whose imperfections are appealing to you. That's the key. Relationships are like apartments - there is no perfect apartment, but for some people lack of closet space (so to speak) is a dealbreaker and others really don't care about lacking closets but think the hardwood floors are the best thing ever.

(Unless you've been socialized by some freakish combination of Photoshop, videogames and porn to believe that it is physically possible for women to, like, have plasticky skin with no marks and that bodies can look "toned" all the time from all angles in real life. If that's the case, you should think about some kind of therapy because it's a kind of delusion that will mess with you in the long term.

Also, you're sure you're straight, right? You sound like you're sure you're straight...but just in case, one of the things I've experienced about internalized homophobia is getting into straight relationships that always end in a kind of "eh, whatever" about bodies of the wrong gender. Something silly like a double chin "from certain angles" (like when you push your chin against your chest?) gets blown up into unattractiveness because really there isn't much attraction there in the first place.)
posted by Frowner at 8:26 AM on June 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


Two thoughts. First, I have broken up with people because some number of months in I realized that I was not in love with them and knew I never would be. Great reason to break up. Also, my husband once told me that he knew he had to break up with one girlfriend when he realized he couldn't stand how she ate cereal. "When you're getting that picky," he said, "it's time."
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:36 AM on June 8, 2012 [17 favorites]


I think it's time to end this relationship. You seem like you need to do some more self-searching in order to become aware of what you want. Your girlfriend deserves to be with someone that LIKES what you perceive as her flaws.

You can't force yourself to be attracted to someone. You can't force yourself to love someone.

You are fixating on such small details to the extent where you might even argue that you dislike the way that her hair blows in the wind.

Women and men for that matter, rarely look like anything you'd see in magazines. We're real. We're not photoshopped. We're going to have flaws. You have them too. And, that should be okay.

But, at the end of the day, if those flaws just make you increasingly unhappy then what good is it for you and your girlfriend to remain together?

Staying in what appears be a loveless relationship or one-sided type of relationship where she appreciates you but you don't appreciate her is a waste of time for both of you. Stringing her along despite how much you can't stand her flaws is a pretty unfair thing to do.

End things now.
posted by livinglearning at 8:38 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't beat yourself up for being "superficial" or "shallow." You'd be shallow if you only cared about physical beauty. Wanting to be with someone you connect with and who really turns you on as well isn't shallow.

You're 25. The fact that beauty fades over time doesn't mean you shouldn't want to be with someone you find really sexy right now. You're not a bad person for wanting more of a physical spark, even if you mesh personality-wise.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:40 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Reading your question honestly made me a bit sad, even fearful that I could be her in a relationship like yours, and not know that they felt that way about my appearance, things that are part of me that they'd see as bothersome flaws.

It doesn't matter the reason it's not working out, and you're not a bad person for focusing on what seem to be superficial physical issues, but you should not be with her if you feel this way.

Let someone else love all of her.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:42 AM on June 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


For this girl, as others have said, it's not working for you. Don't try to force it. It's possible you're not ready for a serious relationship, or maybe you're just not interested in a relationship with this particular girl. Either way, end it now and don't drag it out, for the good of you both.

You may have larger issues due to unrealistic ideals and that sort of thing which you may want to work on, or you may fall head over heels with a normal, imperfect girl and figure it out by chance. Either way, if you catch yourself thinking this way, try to remind yourself that a perfect ideal simply does not exist. All those seemingly perfect girls on tv and in magazines have terrible hair days, cellulite and other supposed imperfections like the rest of us. And honestly, that's a good thing!
posted by Glinn at 8:47 AM on June 8, 2012


As a side note, you should never have to put up with bad breath (except in the morning!). I am not shy about telling someone to give their teeth a quick brush, and I certainly don't get offended (and shouldn't) when someone tells me the same. Just say it nicely.
posted by Glinn at 8:50 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I suspect, but do not know, that you have cause and effect backward. If you were mad crazy in love with her, you'd never think that her thighs don't look quite toned enough in certain lights.

That said, do her the favour of breaking up with her -- she deserves to be with someone who loves her, imperfect thighs, occasional double chin and all, not someone who is picking apart tiny details of her appearance in order to justify their own lack of affection.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:51 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Let's take a totally different perspective. Let's say your gf posted a question on AskMe with her side of this... "I've been dating my boyfriend for seven months. Two months ago I told him I loved him and he didn't say it back. I've had a lot of experience with relationships, and he has less, but I feel like there's a lot of potential in this relationship... I feel like things are going 'okay,' but there's just something missing and I can't put my finger on it. Sometimes it feels like maybe he's disconnected. I don't know if it's an attraction thing or he's just missing the 'spark,' but I really want this to work out."

My guess is a lot of the responses would be along the lines of "He's just not that into you." "Move on." "He's emotionally unavailable/immature." "You deserve to be with someone who loves you and connects with you."

I'm also guessing that if you're not totally attracted to her, she knows (unconsciously, semi-consciously, or consciously) and that's sucky point number one, and potentially pretty damaging to your partner. You're trying to learn from this relationship (kudos!) but it's not really fair to the other person in the meantime (boo...).

With more dating experience you may discover that the things you thought you wanted or found attractive (like a smokin' bod and big boobs) were in fact red herrings. And you may not. Take what you've learned and break up now before it goes on for another seven months.
posted by ariela at 8:58 AM on June 8, 2012


The first answer to this question is some really, really, really bad advice in my opinion. Actually, no, it's just straight up bad advice and I deal with that attitude from a lot of people who I help with their dating profiles. "We get along well, but I'm not that into her physically..." with a shameful feeling that they're shallow.

It's NOT SHALLOW to need to find your partner attractive. You don't find her that physically attractive. Move on and you will both find someone who you find attractive and thinks you are super attractive.

You will find someone that you mesh extremely well with on a physical/emotional/mental/spiritual level. I didn't say perfect, I said mesh well. Their imperfections will actually seem somehow like benefits or no big deal.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:11 AM on June 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Please please please break up with her. If she knew how you felt she'd probably hate herself (and you!).
posted by stoneandstar at 9:14 AM on June 8, 2012


I think that if you're still waffling after seven months then it's time to cut her loose, for both your sakes.

It's not out of the realm of possibility that I'm wrong, and that you are an extreme edge case and something will just click in the next few days or weeks or so and she'll suddenly be the awesomest woman in the world to you - but those are the kind of odds where I'd be very comfortable making a wager that no, that's not going to happen.

If you were really into her, then the flaws you're talking about, you'd find them charming. You don't, because something - whatever that unquantifiable spark is - is just not there. Affection can grow in time, sure, and sometimes it surprises us, but I think that after seven months, you've stuck it out long enough. Let her go.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:17 AM on June 8, 2012


This isn't about how hot she is. This relationship has run its course. Sometimes there just isn't a spark, and it sucks, but that's that -- and this is one of those times.

"You're great but I'm not in love with you" isn't just a bullshit line.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:17 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wasn't attracted to my first boyfriend and never was during our whole time together. There is nothing like not only finding someone you are compatible with but whom you find smoking hot! That's part of being in a romantic relationship.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 9:19 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I had to do this like a month ago, btw. It's for the best, really. We're still friends because that is what I look for in friends, and I was honest and she took it well. It really wasn't anything she did, I just wasn't feeling a spark and we didn't line up well sexually.

I could've written things like what you wrote in your second paragraph and also struggled with "Those are dumb reasons." but they weren't the real reason. The real reason was the lack of spark/love which is why I noticed anything else.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:21 AM on June 8, 2012


Drop her, you are not in love with her. Sooner or later you will leave, it is better now for her so that she can find someone who appreciates her just as she is. Seems like you are not that turned on by her which is fine but makes me wonder why you got involved in the first place.

When you have to start searching for reasons to be with someone then most likely you are not the right person for her.
posted by pakora1 at 9:23 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it. It doesn't really matter if we think you're shallow or justified - that's the bottom line. If your gut says no, time to go. (I didn't mean that to sound so cute.) When objectively minor things start to grate or wind you up unduly, then that's a signal that it's not working out for you.

To me, outside the relationship and objectively, yes it does seem shallow - if you were a friend of mine I'd feel sorry for your girlfriend for having too small breasts and too chubby legs for your liking. (Like rachelfaith, it does spark the thought that former partners may have thought this about me. Not nice.) And I'd probably do well to remind you that none of this stuff lasts. Everyone has physical flaws. It doesn't matter how many people you've been out with, or how fit or fat you are. Everybody throws up, uses the toilet, takes an unflattering photo at a particular angle, or breaks a foot and puts weight on for a while. I wonder whether she has a similar list of 'flaws' you have, or whether she has stopped noticing them as she really likes/loves you (in which case, do her a favour and end it).

If these things feel like potential dealbreakers to you, then either you have a little more to learn about relationships and people, or the good stuff doesn't outweigh the importance you place on what you see as her less than 'super-attractive' ness.
posted by mippy at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why am I not in love with my girlfriend?

Because she's not The One.

So quit wasting her time, do her a favor and cut her loose. You're both in your 20s, there's plenty of other likely candidates around.
posted by Rash at 9:26 AM on June 8, 2012


And I should point out that I knew a fling wasn't going to be anything more when I realised I couldn't stand the guy's habit of going 'Aooooouuur!' exaggeratedly at cute things ('So I went to the shop, and there was a puppy outsid-' 'PUPPY! AWUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR!!!'), or saying 'woo-hoo' Homer Simpson style on a regular basis. If I was going to fall for him, I would probably have found these things cute and endearing. It's not fun to feel like your life is an episode of Seinfeld, but it happens.
posted by mippy at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The same person can become very attractive if you're in love with them and then absolutely beastly if things turn sour. Emotions have a lot of sway over what seems like objective observation.
posted by the jam at 9:27 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was in relationship with my former partner for nearly 10 years. We had a heap in common, had fun together. I thought she was cute, if not stunningly attractive. I was fond of her, loved her and liked to think she thought the same of me. There were little things that annoyed me, and as the years went by, they grew more and more frustrating.

We were never super-keen to get married but I thought all along that it was something nice we would get around to one day.

For the last 2 years or so I have been with my current partner, and it has been completely different. We have less in common than I did with my ex, but we are so head-over-heals for each other that it almost physically hurts when we are apart for a length of time. I would marry her tomorrow if I could.

Being fond of someone (as you clearly are with your GF) is not the same as being in love. With me and my current GF we have had to work on making our relationship work. With my ex, things just kinda plodded along and took each other for granted.

While I am good terms with my ex, I can't shake the feeling of remorse that I kept her in a nice middling relationship for 10 years when she could have used that time to find someone who would find her as incredible as I find my current GF.

I think you know what you need to do. Good luck.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 9:55 AM on June 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


In my experience, the more you like a personality, the more physically attractive you find a person. (on preview, I agree with the jam) I dated a string of guys that I got along okay with, and I found them "kinda cute" at the time, and looking back at old pictures I say to myself "wtf was I thinking." I am now married to a guy who I get along pretty much fantastically with, who has put on about 50 pounds since we got married and gotten glasses and cut his long hair that I loved off, and I love him more now than I used to.

If you're not happy with things the way they are now, don't expect them to change. Either end it now or come to terms with this not being a long-term relationship.
posted by agress at 10:01 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


What strikes me as weird about your question is that I think most men would be sympathetic and empathetic to the pressures of women. So you're right to feel ashamed of thinking the way you are---it's not very nice and it's not fair.

You can tell her to floss or get help for halitosis. But to scrutinize her like a doll instead a person is something you need to get over, especially if she's not so hideous that you choose not to have sex with her.

Sounds like you have maturing to do, so break up with her. Don't date women you're going to henpeck in your head.
posted by discopolo at 10:04 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's okay not to find someone physically attractive and to have that be a dealbreaker. (Just don't tell them that's why you're breaking up with them, because that really hurts to hear. Especially when it's something they can't control like a double chin.)

But I suspect it's not her legs or her chin that are the issue. I think you're just not in love, and you're really trying to find an explanation because it seems like the spark should be there, and the closest thing you can find is the physical things. But there might just be no explanation at all. Sometimes it doesn't work.

Emotional attraction does influence physical attraction, as well as tolerance of things that would otherwise turn you off or drive you crazy. I think for you, something's just not there, and that's all the reason you need. Don't overthink it.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:12 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


You're not in love with her. She deserves someone who is in love with her. End this relationship.

You might think about whether making catalogues of your partners' "flaws" is a useful quality for you. I would suggest not. There is an episode of "Seinfeld" that is actually about this very thing, and honestly it's funny because it's true. People who treat their romantic relationships like they're auditions for catalog shoots are never, ever happy.

(It's possible that you don't do the catalog of flaws thing, but that you just generated these things for us because you can't explain why you don't find this perfectly attractive woman unattractive. And the thing is that there is no universal standard of attractiveness. But seriously "her legs look untoned in certain lights"? That sounds like a model agent talking, not a boyfriend.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:14 AM on June 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think this just comes down to a lack of visceral chemistry. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just how relationships go. Believe me -- speaking from personal experience here -- sticking with a long-term relationship that has all the nice qualities EXCEPT for spark/chemistry is, sooner or later, pretty much bound to be soul-crushing.

She sounds like a lovely woman who you do genuinely care about. Let that caring be your guide as you end things in the most respectful way possible so that you are both able to find someone with whom you share the spark.
posted by scody at 10:16 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'd second discopolo's advice, just because I have been that guy, the one who needlessly henpecks tiny details in my head about women, and in my case, I just needed to mature a bit in how I approach relationships (and I'm older than 25).

It is tricky, I mean, for me, my last girlfriend was gorgeous, unfailingly kind, treated me super well and we had fun together, but something, that spark, just wasn't there, and I honestly am not entirely sure why. Maybe it's because I had an immature idea of what a relationship was or held women to unreal standards, maybe it's because I had all sorts of other crazy work/life stress happening for much of the 2 years we were together and that bled into how I felt about her, or maybe it was because we just weren't right for each other, I don't know.

But, whatever the case, I stayed in the relationship too long. It was unfair to her to stay with her when I wasn't sure about how I felt. I know I hurt her, and I know she knew that I wasn't as in to her as she was to me, and I'd guess your girlfriend knows this too. She deserves to be with someone who is crazy about her and totally committed to the relationship, so it's probably time to let her go while you work on figuring this out.
posted by tokaidanshi at 10:20 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Y'all are confusing "henpecks" (which means "nags") for "nitpicks" (which means "compulsively over-thinking details") in this thread. I know how this happens--someone has a brainfreeze and types a wrong, but sound-alike, word, and then everyone else carries on with it--but my own nitpicky brain is freaking out about it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:25 AM on June 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


This question made me think of the British royals - Prince Charles and Camilla. He was supposed to prefer Diana, because she was younger and prettier and virginal and whatever. But he didn't. Years of marriage and children and lots of public pressure didn't change that. It just made them both miserable.

So I'd agree with emilyw - love is not amenable to logic - don't feel bad if you just aren't that into her.
posted by EatMyHat at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


yep, sorry about that. totally meant nitpick.
posted by tokaidanshi at 10:28 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I totally agree with ellF here and it doesn't seem like an 'omg you can't stand her break up now' situation.

It sounds like you are in an adult relationship and the honeymoon period is over. You are never gonna be in a relationship where you always think your partner is 1000% smoking hot, you have the deepest most profound emotional/psychological connection, and there are magic snowflake love sparkles floating around your head.

IMHO as a mid-30s guy, long term relationships involve accepting this fact of life, loving your partner for who they are and accepting that there is no such thing as perfection.

This doesn't mean you can't break up if you wanna. Just be sure you are not simply thinking the grass is gonna be greener on the other side.
posted by gnutron at 10:43 AM on June 8, 2012


Sparks burn faster and hotter than most anything... they leave as soon as they come but sometimes that very spark can start a fire and burn consistently across a field. Much like love or even drugs; sparks give you an unbelievable feeling of euphoria and slowly over time it levels out and plateaus into comfort. It's not a bad thing to be comfortable because it comes hand in hand with stability. You are solely responsible for igniting your own fire with sparks and creating the fuel to cause it to burn as hot as you'd like. You need to communicate as well as feel and sense how each other are feeling. Don't be afraid to discuss kissing or anything intimate because I'm sure you both want to feel as much pleasure as possible so don't half ass it. Just take a step back and look at it from a different perspective then identify what needs to change and finally don't lie to yourself and act on your feelings!!!! BE HAPPY time is precious =)
posted by isopropyl at 11:49 AM on June 8, 2012


It's NOT SHALLOW to need to find your partner attractive. You don't find her that physically attractive. Move on and you will both find someone who you find attractive and thinks you are super attractive.

No, it IS shallow, but you should be realistic about yourself. If you're shallow like that, then you should take it into account and if you don't find her that physically attractive move on.
posted by ThisIsNotMe at 11:57 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh man, this thread makes me sad. I hate to gender stereotype but as soon as I read that you were a guy and that you weren't in love with your girlfriend, I had a strong feeling that it would be for superficial reasons. Women can be superficial too, but I think the way that men feel when they are in love is fundamentally different in certain respects -- it's much more tied to the physical. It's also very common for guys to nitpick on tiny physical flaws, even when they themselves are far from perfect.

Before my parents got married, my father was having some doubts about getting engaged and my mother discovered a diary where he had written down obsessive thoughts about her appearance and comparisons between her and other women (my mother was gorgeous, mind you). They were mostly ridiculous trivialities like her having slightly dark circles under her eyes in certain lights. My mother was actually a lot more attractive than my father, and it was almost as if he needed a perfect looking woman in order to compensate for his own insecurities about his appearance. I have no idea what you look like or how you feel about your own appearance but you might want to consider whether this is the case with you.

Instead of confronting my father about the book, my mother tried an experiment. She decided she would start being more confident around him. I guess she had been a bit insecure before. Almost magically, after a few months of this, he stopped writing in the book and proposed to her.

I do think that sometimes a guy's reservations about a girl's personality or his general commitment phobia can manifest as dissatisfaction with his girlfriend's appearance. But I've also seen cases where the guy is simply superficial and it has nothing to do with personality. Usually if this is the case, the guy is just insecure and is seeking some sort of goddess to compensate for his own inadequacies. Or some combination of the two.

I do think you should break up with her, because even if the problem is your own insecurity (which I suspect it is), I don't think you'll be able to change that about yourself in this relationship. It will be easier to do with someone new.
posted by timsneezed at 12:24 PM on June 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


I agree with pretty much everyone that you should break up with her. I do have a question, though, for you to think about - has this happened with other girlfriends? You've had a few other partners - did you find absolutely everything about them attractive? What feels different here?

Also, when you do break up with her (because you will eventually) please, please, please do not give any of these little things as the reason, in case that's not completely obvious. I once had a boyfriend break up with me and the reason he gave was something very superficial that I also happen to be super-sensitive about. In retrospect, I don't think it was the real reason (because I had been like that when we got together and he couldn't keep his hands off me!), any more than the "real reason" here is your GF's occasional double chin, but it didn't make it hurt any less at the time.

He also made a point to tell me how bad he felt about being "shallow" and oh my god, that made me want to punch him! Because when you say you're being shallow, what you're really saying is that you think your perception of attractiveness is objective and universal, and only a really deep, non-shallow guy would be able to find someone with those physical qualities is attractive. Which is bullshit, but also very hurtful.

So when you do break up with her, be kind. Let her know you think she's a wonderful partner and love spending time with her, but you just don't think it's right for the long term and leave it at that.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 12:52 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a reason they say love is blind. If you were in love with her you probably wouldn't see the little flaws or at least not see them as flaws.
posted by Carbolic at 12:55 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


As others have said, I think you've got the causality wrong. It's not that you aren't in love with her because you find her unattractive; it's that you find her unattractive because you're not in love with her. I once quasi-dated someone who I thought was the bee's knees in all kinds of ways--talented, kind, fun to be around, and physically attractive. But the attraction was abstract, aesthetic, and that spark of excitement just wasn't there. Eventually we drifted apart and found other partners to whom we were much better suited.

It's especially important that you realize that your girlfriend's physical flaws are not the reason you're unsatisfied, because if you believe you can only date people who are physically perfect you're in for a world of disappointment. Everyone looks bad at certain angles or in a certain light.
posted by fermion at 1:07 PM on June 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think your plan of getting to know her better is good. You may also want to embark on a project that helps you bond together. Say, volunteering, or making art, or training for a race. Some people fall in love more slowly than others. I don't think you need to break up with her right away, but I do think you need to make an effort to understand if you can be with her long term. Some people need "the spark", and some people don't. Have you dated enough people and been in love enough to know which of those you are? If you have been in love, can you imagine setting aside a woman you are in love with to stay with your current girlfriend?

My experience has been that if you aren't in love now, it won't get better over time. I had a boyfriend who could have described me in the way that you describe your girlfriend. I was good to him, but he wasn't in love with me and it made him notice my flaws more. He nitpicked at me-- I slouched, I was awkward, etc etc. He is now with a woman who is probably 40lbs heavier than I am, with acne scarred skin. From what I can tell, he adores her and doesn't see any of those things as flaws. So don't worry about whether or not breaking up with her would mark you as shallow or superficial. You don't have to be in a relationship with someone you're not into.
posted by sockomatic at 1:17 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


she has a double chin when she sits a certain way? her breasts are small? her LEGS ARE UNTONED?

that is some nitpicky shit right there, all over things she has very little control over. it could also describe me, despite years of running and cycling and being otherwise very fit, and my partner of seven years thinks i'm the hottest thing around.

this woman deserves someone who feels that way about her.
posted by hollisimo at 2:25 PM on June 8, 2012


Here's a warning: at some point in any relationship, even with someone you were madly in love with originally, love ceases to be a warm feeling and becomes a choice. The future of this relationship and every other relationship you have or will have orbit around these choices. You're there now, you've been there, and perhaps you were there from the beginning. You've been choosing to keep going--perhaps out of inertia, but it seems like you can at least rationalize this relationship as good and worth keeping.

How much do you trust your reasoning about this? How strong and self-disciplined do you think you are? How much do you value what you have and have had? What else do you want from your relationship that you don't have now? Which regrets do you think you can live with?

I expect you'll regret this either way but whatever choice you make you better own it. I think DWRoelands in the very first comment has it right: you'd be a fool not to try to make this work. I think hollisimo has it right too, she deserves some one who doesn't have to work so hard about it.

Love is large. You will both love and be loved again. Perhaps even by each other.
posted by wobh at 5:36 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


As the others have said, all of those 'faults' are cute and quirky with the right woman. Go forth and find her.
posted by mleigh at 8:52 PM on June 8, 2012


Recently, I told her we should talk more about our dreams, hopes, wishes, deep-thoughts, and etc., because I hope that if we connect more deeply, then attraction will naturally grow.

As you see from other responses, there's something to this theory, and it really shows that you're a decent guy and not horribly shallow that it even occurred to you to try a strategy that might increase your intimacy, connection, and therefore attraction. People do get more attractive to us the more we care about them. So the problem here is just that you don't have much of a bond beyond the superficial-level stuff -- not just looks but activities, bands, politics, yadda yadda - that drew you together. OFtentimes stuff based in taste or habits is just as superficial as stuff based in looks. You have a friendly level of compatibility but you aren't offering each other the kind of complementarity that really fuels deep connections and makes someone grow more interesting to you over time, despite their flaws, rather than less.

I wonder if she responded to your idea of talking about dreams, hopes, etc? If not, maybe she's the shallow one. Because you're right - that's the good stuff, the stuff you need, that makes everything else, your flaws and hers, possible to move beyond.

Don't feel bad about it, just recognize it, and take the steps to move on. I know it seems like a hard thing to do but it's really best for everyone. And recognize, too, that this isn't about these tiny things "wrong" with her looks. It's about the fact that you don't have anything else going on with her that would make those things seem inconsequential - because you're not seeing her with eyes that also know about the possibility of a deeper connection.
posted by Miko at 9:07 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree with the sentiment in the first response after the OP.

However, I think you can probably only learn those things on your own, not from a thread on the internet. If you're asking, you're not ready yet. Move on.
posted by General Tonic at 7:30 AM on June 9, 2012


The thing that seems off about this isn't that you aren't attracted to her -- it happens, or it doesn't -- but the specifics. Like, the things you describe in your profile are things that you almost certainly noticed going in, right? If she has A-cups now, she had A-cups when you started dating her. If she had "un-toned legs," they didn't un-tone themselves after a few months. If she gets "a little of a double chin," but only when she turns her head a certain way sometimes... that's how chins work, you know? Where I'm going with this is that presumably (hopefully) these things were OK with you in the beginning. And when you say "the only thing I can maybe figure out," it seems like you're trying to come up with an explanation for something that's not quite that easily explainable, and what you're producing are nitpicky societal micro-standards of beauty.

I'd say break up with her. But I'd advise you to be a bit more honest with yourself, either about whether you're attracted to someone in early dating or why you don't feel it later on.

Oh, one more thing: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T TELL HER YOU'RE NOT ATTRACTED TO HER WHEN YOU BREAK UP WITH HER. That shit can and will destroy people's self-esteem.
posted by dekathelon at 12:26 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the late reply, but thanks for all the advice. I think I knew what I had to do but really wanted to find a reason not to or a "better" reason for it. We did break up and there was a lot of crying on both sides. She is an amazing person and she deserves better than I could give her. Despite it all, she told me she wanted me to happy and that I deserved the best that life had to offer. She kept telling me how I've treated her better than any of other previous boyfriends. Dear god. All I could say was that being treated well and how you want is the bare minimum you should always expect from a guy.

I definitely agree with the idea that if you're in love (whatever that may be) it makes the person seem flawless. That happened to me with my previous ex. She was the most beautiful person ever at the time. I look back at pictures, though, and she's a little chubby, has big ears, etc. We broke up because I was infatuated and she was not, so I think I was also feeling guilty because I'd sort of become what I didn't want to be.

I kept hoping that I could grow to love her and to a certain extent I did, but I could never get peace about it. Anyways, thanks again for the advice.
posted by yeahyeahyeah at 11:08 AM on June 18, 2012


And we did try talking more, getting closer on different topics. I bought two dating books and we did some emotional bonding exercises. It seemed to help some but looking back on it when we first started dating she wouldn't really respond to any sort of those overtures and it did bum me out a bit. I remember thinking it was strange that when I asked her how her day was, she'd give a one word answer. I'd ask follow up questions and not much there. It felt like a game of 20 questions sometimes. I'm aware nothing extraordinary probably happened, but when you first start dating you kind of want to know about the other person's life.

I mean, after almost 7 months, I felt like I had to be honest and if I couldn't find a way through and stick to it with some confidence, then it would just be more pain and more wasting of her time.

I realize the sparks always wear off and it isn't everything, but it does seem like some sort of signal that the person has something you want and that's why it excites you so much.

I'm definitely going to look into what attracts me and evaluate what I think is beautiful. I also should figure myself out more completely and decide on some longer term goals. I do need to look into my insecurities. I know I have them and we even discussed them. She said, perhaps perceptively, I'm afraid that you don't feel like you deserve to be happy and so that's why you don't want this to happen. That could be true, I don't know.

I do sometimes think if she had projected more confidence, shown me that she didn't need me, that might have helped. At a certain point though, I felt that I couldn't keep asking for different changes. You love somebody for who they are, how they are, not for what you hope they become, for the ways that you can change them.

I worry about having made a mistake, I worry about not being able to figure it out, but
that's why I stayed in for so long, hoping to discover her to be the person I couldn't live without. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
posted by yeahyeahyeah at 11:29 AM on June 18, 2012


Congrats on doing the right thing even though it's painful.


She said, perhaps perceptively, I'm afraid that you don't feel like you deserve to be happy and so that's why you don't want this to happen. That could be true, I don't know.


Eh, it's ok to half-heartedly agree with something like that to help her save some face, but I think it's BS. From your update it really just sounds like you aren't compatible.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 3:02 PM on June 19, 2012


Congratulations, I think you did a really admirable thing for all the right reasons. It sounds like it was hard but it will free you to move on towards a realtionship where it clicks for both of you and the infatuation is mutual. I wish you the best luck.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:16 PM on June 19, 2012


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