Week of:
Nov 23, 2018

In love, but not in lust

Dear Alice,

I have been going out with my boyfriend for nearly four years and we are both approaching the engagement decision. We get along great and never lose the ability to have fun and laugh together. The only problem is that while he wants to engage in intimate activities often (we are still both virgins), I am not that interested. I love him, but I still don't get physically turned on with him as I do while fantasizing about other guys. Is it wrong to marry someone whom you don't feel a total "romance novel" passion for?

— In love, but not in lust

Relationship, not just sex?

Dear Alice,

I've had a great time at college, but all my relationships have been based on one thing... sex. Sometimes it is all that I want, but sometimes it is all that she wants. Any suggestions on how to find a "nice girl," just to have a good honest relationship with? I'm a model so I don't have problems meeting girls, just keeping them! I am also a very nice person, concerned with nature and I could never hurt a person's feelings if I tried. This leads to problems, however, because it is hard for me to "make my move" for fear of upsetting the girl. I have never been turned down for a first date — plenty of second dates though, but only because I make sure before the first date, through a friend, that there is an interest. If any of this makes any sense, give me a write!

— Seeking love in all the wrong places, Mr. Nice

Can't make a commitment

Hi Alice,

I just discovered this service, and hope you can help me. I'm a grad student (mid-twenties) and was very deeply involved with a man several years older than me. Although it was a monogamous relationship — we had a wonderful and very fulfilling sex life, and were generally very happy in each others company — he was unwilling to make a firm promise not to date other people if he found someone he liked. I broke up with him because I didn't like what this ambiguity was doing to me — making me extremely possessive, jealous, etc. We have both been hurting a great deal since then and were planning on getting back together... but he backed out because he doesn't feel able to make a commitment. Part of this is cultural (he's Indian, I'm American), and part of it is probably developmental, as he didn't start dating until quite late by American standards.

In any case, we were considering marriage at one point last summer, and I am still deeply in love with him. He still has very strong feelings for me as well, but I get the sense that the fear of commitment is paralyzing him. I'm at the point where trying to let go and get on with my life seems to be the only viable option, but I'd love to hear your suggestions and comments.

— Heartbroken

First year — No boyfriend?

Dear Alice,

After reading several letters on your site I decided I just HAD to write you. I am so lonely. I'm not ugly or a loser or anything; in fact, I'm an attractive, upbeat, and outgoing first-year college student. But no matter what I do, I can't get a guy to be interested in me as anything more than a friend. Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. There are a lot of guys I'm interested in, but none of them will give me the time of day. There is one guy I really like. He is a senior and he is president of a fraternity. I see him every now and then and I've been dying to approach him, but I'm not up for rejection. I guess I should just do it, right? I mean what do I have to lose besides my pride... I'm just kidding!! But, seriously, what should I do? I bet you think this is a pretty lame problem compared to some of the serious questions you get, but for me this is as serious as it gets. Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Infatuated to the nth degree

Should we have an open relationship?

Dear Alice,

I have been involved in a monogamous relationship for seven years. My partner and I lived together until last August when he went to Europe to study for a year, and I came to NYC. I had not fooled around with anyone else until recently when I went out with some friends and at the end of the evening, ended up at the apartment of a guy I've known for years. He'd been hitting on me since I moved here last August, so I went for it. It was fun (and safe) and we'd like to make it at least a semi-regular activity. I'm afraid that I'll get too emotionally involved with my "f*** buddy." I find it difficult to separate the physical and the emotional; I won't go to bed with someone unless I really like them.

Also, when my partner finishes up in Europe, he'll be going back to his job in Boston, but I'll still be in NYC. I don't know how often we'll get to see each other. We have had such a great seven years together, but I'm worried about our future, and I've told him as much. I really like being in a relationship, but I'm afraid that as a result of this separation, I'm going to establish some pattern of infidelity or something.

Another question. After my “indiscretion,” I talked to my partner and told him I thought it more sensible if we entered into a "don't ask, don't tell" agreement (before, we'd both assumed that we'd be celibate, although he'd told me it was OK if I had an affair, as long as I was safe). What can you make of all my garbled thoughts?

Thank you,
Lustful and Confused