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Should I Get Married?

DR. DENNIS NEDER AND KYLIE Dr. Dennis Neder, Author: "Being a Man in a Woman's World"

Dear Dennis,
I have been with person for 5 years. We're both 25. We've been engaged and living together for 2 years. He is very sweet, and kind, and treats me very well. We are very comfortable together, and I love him like a member of my family. He is always there for me when I need it.

However, sometimes I still feel like there is something missing. You know how there are some friends that you can talk to for hours and hours? We have never had that. The conversations we have are rarely very deep or meaningful, or frankly, even very interesting. We always have a pleasant time together, chit chatting, or watching TV, or what not, but still, I wonder if I want something more. If we had once had that "soul mate connection" at the beginning, then I would think that perhaps these things fade with time, but it was never like that, not even at the beginning.

Also, he is a different religion. I am willing to compromise about any kids, etc. in this area, but I would prefer not to have to.

Also, recently, I have been having strong attractions to other men. It started two years ago. At first I thought it was just the distance (we were long distance for two years), so I arranged to move to where he lives. Then a year ago it started to happen again. I was going through a very stressful time at work, so I thought perhaps that was the reason. But now everything's fine and it's happening again. I have never been a "boy crazy" person, not even when I was in high school. I have of course, not even considered cheating on him. However, just feeling this way makes me feel awkward. It doesn't seem normal.

I'm wondering, is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with this relationship? I doubt I will ever find someone who loves me as much, and who is as sweet and loyal. Is this just cold feet or "the grass is always greener" mentality or is this really a sign that he's not the one?
Any advice would be appreciated.

What on the surface seems like a simple question but actually very complicated. I'm going try to cover this in depth, so please bear with me.

1. Relationship phases
First of all, it's perfectly normal for couples to get "comfortable" with each other and have less to talk about over time. There are 3 phases that all relationships eventually get to if they survive long enough:

1) Excitement phase - this is when you first meet and you're all tingly to be together. Many people mistakenly believe this is "love" and constantly seek it out. When the excitement phase begins to wane, they think they're also falling out of love and start the exit plan.

2) Bonding phase - this is where you've been together for a while and still look forward to being together, but the excitement you first had is gone. You now have a steady, predictable relationship.

3) Familiar phase - many experts believe that this is when real "love" happens - it's after you've been together for some time and you revert back to focusing on your personal needs rather than the needs of the relationship itself. You do this because you're "bonded together" and the relationship is very strong; no longer needing the care it once did to survive.

2. Long-Distance Relationships
Now, you claim that you've been together for "5 years", but I counter - no, you haven't. You've been together for 3 years since 2 of those were long-distance. That's a very different type of relationship; and while it seems "real", in fact, it's not. It's also why you began to start "looking around".

My concern however is that your original relationship is based on false ideas about each other. I'm not trying to raise issues that don't exist here - I'm just trying to give you perspective. Being long-distance means that you are missing a TON of cues that you'd otherwise have in order to build impressions of each other. Guess what your creative, powerful mind does when it lacks these cues? It fills them in for you! These are based on your own perceptions, beliefs, goals, desires, etc. - NOT reality. Thus, at least some of your original attraction is also based on this false information. That doesn't mean the attractive itself is false - in fact, it's entirely real - and feels that way. However, as you've gotten to know him over these years, much of that has changed and this is a good time to reevaluate your on-going attraction BEFORE you jump into a marriage.

3. Interest in Others
It's absolutely normal to find others "attractive" and "interesting" even when you're committed to someone. When you enter into a relationship and "commit", you have to accept that others will be attractive to you. A commitment isn't a promise to not be attracted to others - it's a promise to build the core relationship itself and to not be distracted by these other interests. You've done that and apparently, so has he.

4. Longing for - and continuing that "spark"
When I get letters from long-term couples that complain about their 3rd-phase ("familiar") experiences I recommend that they get a "couples hobby" together. This is something totally different and apart from what their current patterns together. For instance, you might be interested in something and your boyfriend in something else. I suggest you continue to pursue those interests, but to find something you both can do together as a couple that is totally and completely different.

There is an almost unlimited number of new things you can try: everything from scuba diving to sky diving, horseback riding to hiking, biking to book clubs, fine dining to wine tasting - and everything in between.

What's cool about doing this is that you instantly get some new material to talk about! You both can experience something new together as a couple and continue to grow together - just as you're now doing individually! This not only helps to re-energize your relationship, but will help you to bond even more.

In your case, this might be a critical move!

Consider that if you both can't find something totally and completely new that you're both interested in, you may not have a foundation to be married! Eventually, this feeling of non-connection will begin to eat away at you - and your relationship - until you feel trapped in your marriage rather than enriched by it. Eventually, one or both of you may seek to end it.

There's one more aspect you need to understand about all of this.

5. Communication "types"
Your specific comment about not being able to "talk for hours and hours" leads me to believe that you're what is known as an "auditory". In other words, you experience your world - including your relationships - via words and sounds. That's neither good nor bad - it just "is".

It's also likely that your boyfriend is a different "type". For instance, he may be a "visual" that experiences his world (and relationship) via visual cues or he may be a "kinesthetic" that experiences things mostly through feelings.

These differences don't spell an end to your relationship at all. Instead, they give you a new realm to explore. If you knew what your boyfriend needed in order to see, hear or feel love, you'd certainly want to do that, right? I bet he would too. However, I'll also bet you've never considered that you and he might be different types before.

I tell you this not because it's a specific key to your issue, but that it's likely one of the areas in which your relationship needs to grow. By learning more about how your boyfriend perceives his world - including his relationship with you - and by teaching him your experiences, you both are gaining valuable tools to make your relationship - and a marriage - work.

6. Finally.
So, this comes down to the simple question: should you get married or not?

The answer is: if you can reconcile thing points that I've made in this letter to your experiences - and actually work through them and so can he, then yes, you should get married. If you can't or at least aren't able to find compromise positions on them, then I'd suggest you just stay living together until you can or until you decide to move on to find someone with whom you can.

Best regards...
Dr. Dennis Neder

Have a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all email. You can write to me at for answers.
For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:


Copyright (c) 2007 Dr. Dennis W. Neder All rights reserved.



Dr. Dennis Neder


Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Author of: Being a Man in a Woman's World
Dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships.
Start having the relationships YOU deserve!
Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit: 
About The Book:

Men and women continue to complain about their relationships. Married or single, the same issues seem to keep coming up.

Many men have trouble meeting women. They might meet them; they just can't get their numbers. When they do get a number, they can't get them to go out. When they do get them to go out, they wind up spending a fortune and getting dumped a month later. Of those that actually do establish relationships, they find them unfulfilling and fraught with the same, consistent, almost predictable problems.

This book began life about 13 years ago. It was directed to the single man looking for love in Southern California. Since then, it has evolved into something similar, but much more broad in scope. It seeks to bridge the gap between men and women by combining an understanding of men's place in today's world of women, communication skills, sales skills, and an organized plan - once and for all. It does this by focusing on the man's core - who we are, by evolution, by education, by society, and by necessity.

Men and women have continued to have the same problems for hundreds of years. It's time to put these problems to rest. We are in a woman-focused time in history. Not that this is bad, but it is one-sided. Men have an opportunity to succeed in their relationships just as they have strived to succeed in their jobs.

It's time for men to take their place. To be the partners that women want them to be. Not necessarily what they say they want, but what they really want - and need! As men we owe this to our women. Women crave who and what we are fundamentally. May the joy of being a man become part of your daily life. May the women in your life find new reasons to love and cherish you. May you begin to get along, communicate, and find your best with your partner. I wish this for you.

Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:

aLoveLinksPlus is pleased to feature Dr. Dennis Neder every Thursday with new articles to help men take their place as partners in a women's world.



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