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You Asked: Is the Romance Gone For Good?

Dear Sugar,

I have been with my boyfriend for nearly four years and we were very good friends for about two years before that. He's great, and I love him to death — we're even planning to get married sometime in the next year but lately it seems like we are more like best friends than a couple. We talk and hang out, but all of the romantic feelings are gone. I've tried all the usual tips to make our relationship hot again, but nothing has worked so far. We're both virgins, so having more or better sex isn't an option. What can I do to make this work?

— More Like Friends Madison

To see Dear Sugar's answer


Dear More Like Friends Madison,

As I'm sure you know, it's perfectly normal for couples to go through different stages during the course of their relationships. It's also easy for the sensation of lust to be replaced with a feeling more similar to friendship. Sometimes the adjustment can be difficult as many people feel like their feelings have fizzled, but the fact is the novelty of falling in love does eventually wear off. However, once the initial change takes place, the new feeling that you're left with should be one more akin to contentment than panic.

It sounds like you really want to make your relationship work, and are willing to do whatever it takes for that to happen. That kind of positive attitude is great, but I suggest that you try to stop worrying so much about whether or not the romance is still there and focus on figuring how you're both really feeling. Open up and talk to your boyfriend. I also suggest you take a step back — you might see that you're actually really happy with where things are and just not used to the change, or you might realize that you guys are no longer sharing the intimacy you need for a relationship for a reason. Either way, you'll be able to consider things without the pressure you seem to be putting on yourself. Take it one day at a time and good luck to you.


Join The Conversation
geebers geebers 9 years
I understand the decision to not have sex until marriage but that comes with the additonal challenges you are facing in this relationship. If you want to really see if you two connect romantically and lustfully- sex has to be part of that. It is really what connects two people in the way you mentioned. If you are waiting for sex because it is special -then there is your answer. You obviously are marrying for the stability and trust that all relationships need and sex is not the main reason . So what exactly do you mean by romance? Romance is almost always a means to an end. Romance can last for months or weeks - hours even- but the end almost always leads to sex.
petite42 petite42 9 years
Every single relationship goes through this, so relax, you are completely normal and this doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with your relationship. Most relationships go through a stage called infatuation, then a stage called limerance. Around the 4-year-mark (you are right on schedule!), limerance fades and turns into more of a contentedly bonded stage. That doesn't mean you can't rekindle the early romantic feelings and liven things up a little. And no, you don't need to have sex to do this (although that would work - as it accomplishes a few of the items I'm about to suggest). Someone suggested trying new things together: this is a tried-and-true method!! When you introduce novelty, endorphins flare and if you're doing something new together, it will rekindle those early stage feelings. At least once a week, try something new together. It can be as simple as going to a new restaurant instead of the same old one. My hubby has a motto that we *must* learn two new things each day. It has helped keep our relationship strong and interesting. We're always doing something new. Other suggestions include: learning something new about each other. Sounds corny, but you probably think you already know everything about him. It's doubtful that you do. Ask him a question every day, such as "if you were stuck on a desert island, what three items would you want with you?" Spending some time apart works, because absence makes the heart grow fonder!! Working on your own self to continue to grow as a person works as well. Another piece of advice I got from the book "Science of Love" (I think that's the name) is to spend time each day sitting face-to-face. For example, when you eat dinner together to you sit side-by-side? Switch this up, sit across from each other. Are you spending too much time sitting side-by-side on the sofa watching t.v.? Turn off the t.v., play a boardgame, sitting across from each other. It doesn't matter what you talk about: the point is to spend time gazing into each others' faces. This is how we fall in love in the first place. Something in our lover's face reminds us - on a deep level within our brains - of our first experience of love. It sounds corny and too simple to work, but *it does.* My own parents are married almost 50 years, and they still make a habit of spending at least 30 minutes each night lying on the bed, face-to-face, sharing about their day. Naked chest-to-chest contact is also very important, because through such contact the man absorbs estrogen and the female absorbs testosterone, which helps fuel the connection and passion (and also helps the man stay healthy). Invent some new romantic routines. Leave a romantic note in his briefcase every morning. Make up a new pet name for each other. Etc. Finally, have FUN together. Couples that have fun together - and rate "having fun" as the primary purpose of marriage - report higher levels of satisfaction and are less likely to get divorced.
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
If you don't want sex, what about oral sex? 69's? How could you even go that long! I guess you just don't know what you are missing. Sorry, I am in awe. Anyways, I think in every relationship the romance goes away sometimes, you have to find a way to keep the spark going. I would say have sex, I am not saying it is a magic cure, but expressing sexuality is a part of expressing intimacy, even if it is not intercourse.
Jessie-M Jessie-M 9 years
Maybe you guys should spend some time talking about your future. Discuss your wedding, talk what kind of housing you would like in the future (will you want to rent? condo? townhome? detached?)You could even talk about children! Start daydreaming about your future together-it may spark some of those warm fuzzy feelings you two started off with. I do understand you are both virgins, and good for you! I respect that. Depending on what you two do sexually (oral sex? mutual masturbation? I dont know how the no sex before marriage thing works or what the rules are...) you could always try and unleash your inner bad girl. Go get your nails done, a sexy haircut and some flirty new heels and spend the night pampering your man in whatever sexual way you both feel comfortable with. This might encourage him to amp it up a bit (most girls know if a guy is expecting some sexy times he tends to be more 'romantic') and you two just might banish those 'just friends' feelings.
lattegoodness lattegoodness 9 years
Sadly I agree with TFS and amkc. It's either sex or no sex. Romance shmomance. Phooey!
amkc amkc 9 years
The cynical soul inside of me has to agree with TFS.
TFS TFS 9 years
your just another person in a long line of people. romance is dead for everyone these days. it doesnt exist anymore.
nextjen nextjen 9 years
Sometimes I feel like my husband and I are best friends, in an "uh-oh! is that all we are?" kind of panicky way. But it's a really good thing. Can't you just see yourself on your wedding day telling friends and family that you have just married your best friend? If you attended a wedding and heard the bride say that, wouldn't you think "Wow. They have something special!"? I agree with ninjastarlett. Make sure you're taking the time to go on proper dates, do something new that you consider to be romantic: walk hand-in-hand on the beach, have a picnic or a bonfire. f you don't feel a little warm and fuzzy then, there could be a problem. Don't worry if you don't feel the spark every day. If you respect each other and you hardly ever fight (sometimes is totally normal) and he hardly ever makes you cry (again, it would not be normal if this didn't happen from time to time!) then maybe you have something really special.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
Try something new together, like a new food/restaurant or a nearby attraction? Something to break the routine a little?
Designgirl Designgirl 9 years
Wow. Way to go guys for respecting someone else's decision. They should be applauded for making it 4 years and still standing by their beliefs (even if you don't understand them). Omilawd has the right idea-plan fun things to do together. It does suck to be missing that electric feeling, but what you have is obviously a stable, loving relationship that has an amazing foundation to it. That's something you should be proud of-most people think that sex is what will hold the relationship together when nothing else will. Most of the time, those don't work out. DearSugar had some great advice-you're probably just not used to the way this new stage in your relationship feels. It took me a while when my relationship changed gears. Nothing is wrong with you-it's totally normal. Keep trying though-those feelings that were always there will return, and probably be stronger!
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
i agree with Sun_Sun. you guys are burnt out. it's time to do the nasty. most people who hold out usually get married by now. what do i know . . . sure, sex isn't ALL there is to a relationship, but sex (with a person that you love) is the most beautiful and romantic thing two people can do with each other. so . . . i don't know what to tell ya. i would imagine that your boyfriend/fiance would be a best friend that you sleep with a few times a week. so since you guys aren't pumpin',then i guess you're just left with a best friend. get over it, go horseback riding, or sky diving, or something.
lolalu lolalu 9 years
My advice- You DON'T need to have sex to improve your relationship. You can have a great relationship without having sex, and you can have an awful relationship with great sex (trust me, i've been there ;) ) I also think you can't force romantic feelings. Its either there or its not, and if its not there, what's so bad about having your boyfriend just be your best friend?
omilawd omilawd 9 years
Try doing something different with your boyfriend or take a little trip together, even if it's just going to the next town over and staying at a bed and breakfast or a motel.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
well the way i see it, and correct me if im wrong, this is how it went for u guys on the earlier nights of ur relationship: romantic candle lit dinner lots of staring into each others eyes/googly eyes holding hands rubbing arms/knees peck on the cheek kiss on the neck get to the lips making out hands all over each other then STOP! NO SEX! *frustration* dont feel like going thru that over and over and over again romance leads to intimacy leads to sex...if theres no sex i dun wanna do the rest....maybe thats y u guys dun wanna torture urselves anymore..... my 2 cents, can be wrong
shaina0890 shaina0890 9 years
I understand what you're going through. I just ended a relationship of a year and three months because of losing interest in him. I was very confused as to why i didn't feel like doing anything sexual with him, and then i realized that i didnt have feelings for him anymore...but, if i were you I would stick through it because every relationship has its rough patches...four years is a long time
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Truthfully, this post is lost on me. Romantic feelings come from within, not from an outside source. Romantic feelings lead to romantic behavior, not the other way around. Are you and your boyfriend romantic people? Naturally, some people aren't, and that's okay. People can still have loving relationships, without the romance.
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years
Ok..I just read dears advice all the way through (sorry, Im too impatient to actually read it first, I'll forget what I was going say) and you should just listen to her,if you are both sure that you arent going to have sex ...she knows what shes talking about, I guess thats probably how she got this gig though. ;) I just really love having sex with my boyfriend(we've known eachother for 5 years..I think we lasted about a month before we had sex.. ha) and I think if you are feeling like the spark is gone..after six years of not having sex, I did you guys keep alive that long? Im really in awe of you! You are alot stronger than I could ever be, again good luck, you sound like a smart girl, so Im sure you'll figure things out!
imLissy imLissy 9 years
I don't think you need to have sex, maybe just make out a little :P Or hey, just be naked together, that's always fun :D
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 9 years want my honest answer? Ok. Have sex. I know that alot of people wait until they are married, and I respect that..but it sounds like your relationship is ready for it at this point.You both obviously love and respect each other very much, so whats the problem with taking that next step?Its only natural for a man and woman who love eachother to have sex.. I know thats probably not the advice you wanted, but thats all I got, sorry. :( Good luck!
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