Spark is Missing for Him, Not Her

Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. We shared an incredibly intense first few months and have now settled out into a stable, happy, exciting relationship. He lives three hours away and, though it's not easy, we spend about half our days. But something has happened in the last month or so. I don't see that sparkle in his eye when he looks at me. If he kisses me it's a quick peck. We stopped talking about plans for the short term future (we haven't really addressed long-term plans yet). When I confronted him about it, he said that he's been stressed, etc., and does not really know how he feels and has not had the time to think about it. He admitted that he hasn't been feeling that "spark" for a few weeks. He said that he still loves me, still wants to be with me, sees a long term future here, but doesn't know how or if that spark will come back. We left it as he needs to go home and think about things and we'll talk in a few days.

I'm madly in love with him, still, pathetically so. Is there anything I can do to help him get that spark back? Can he get the spark back? — Isabel, 25

Dr. Susan: Ah, that old spark that begins nearly all relationships. The spark that always dies down after a few months, or at most a couple of years. The spark that everyone's always trying to get back, but that if they're lucky, comes back in fits and starts, now and then, but never exactly like it was at the very beginning.

Not to be overly cynical, but I wonder if your boyfriend has been experiencing that spark with someone else lately? It's certainly possible. But if he's sincere about still loving you, but is just "waiting" for the spark to come back, it's not likely he's the one for you. I understand that you love him deeply. Perhaps the two of you haven't had a chance to develop a deep enough relationship to withstand the changes that naturally happen over time. From what you've said, it doesn't sound like this is something you can fix for him. Meanwhile, keep spending whatever time you can together and see how things develop. And then, if things have truly fizzled beyond the point of repair, accept with good grace that some guys aren't ready for the reality of a long-term relationship.

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