Dear Dr. Michelle,
I am trying to determine if Shannon is the right girl for me or if I should break it off. I have been dating her for 2 1/2 years. She loves me but I do not know if I love her.
A few facts: She is 24 and I am 25. We live together and spend a lot of time together. We were passionate, but now I have lost interest in being intimate with her. She has many qualities that I am looking for in a long-time partner but some characteristics that make me hesitant to settle with her. I can picture myself with someone else and wonder if there is someone out there that I would be happier with. I am scared to leave her and find out that I really should have stayed with her. I may just have an issue with settling as many men do.
I have never been in love and figured I would really know it when I was. I do not feel “head over heals” although I have fun with Shannon and like a lot of things about her.
It is a very difficult, but very important task to differentiate between fear of commitment versus really not loving someone. One of things you need to ask yourself is if you have ever been able to create a truly emotional intimate relationship with anyone or not. If you never have, you may have commitment issues. You also need to look at your expectations of a long-term relationship. Sex may not be filled with fireworks later in the relationship as there was in the beginning. (Of course, there are always ways to increase your pleasure and excitement level.) You also need to look at those characteristics that you do not like about Shannon. Look at how important those issues are for you. Are any deal-breakers? Are you-and Shannon-willing to compromise on any of them? In order to make this decision, you will need to spend a great of time looking inward, as well as at your relationship. You will need to be as honest as you can about what you see. Then decide what is right for you.