Perfect Husband Not Enough?

Q: I'm 27 and married to the perfect man. I get everything I need and want. But I am not happy. I don't love him the way he loves me. Is it selfish to not to want to be married to him anymore? I am afraid that we will grow to hate each other. I also think that if I stay he will hate me because I cannot give him what he needs. I know that he knows that there is something missing, but I don't how to fix it. Do I stay and live like this or do I move on? -- Charlene

Dr. Susan: Is it selfish to expect another person to bear the responsibility for your happiness? Probably. Mainly, though, it's shortsighted and foolish. The answer to your question of should you stay as you are or should you leave and find someone new is: Neither. You've made a commitment to this man and you owe both him and yourself a better try than this. And he has to do his share, too. Even perfect men can learn a thing or two about how relationships work.

Every couple goes through moments -- sometimes years! -- of doubt and boredom and even what seems like incompatibility. And here you are insisting you've got the perfect guy but your "feelings" aren't as infatuated as his are for you? The problem is that you think you have to feel those butterflies in your stomach forever, but true love changes over time. If you left the perfect guy and hitched up with someone else, you'd be writing to me again in a couple of years with the very same question. That is, if you didn't find yourself in a much worse marriage.

Has he been complaining that you aren't passionate enough? Maybe he's the one who expects romance and wild crazy love to continue forever. My interviews with really happy couples (see my Loving in Flow), as well as the latest in scientific research, all suggest the same thing. Once you two find some fun and stimulating activities to share, the novelty will help your feelings about one another spark up again. If one of you blames the other for a perfectly natural evolving of feelings, that bad. It's up to both of you to make this marriage come alive again. It doesn't sound unfixable to me -- so don't throw it away!

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