I have the perfect guy, but I'm not attracted to him

I'm in a long-distance relationship with my ideal man, but I'm not as attracted to him as I should be. Everything else is perfect about him, but I find myself lusting over more attractive men. The next step is marriage, but I want to marry someone who I can wake up to and fall in love with all over again. However, I also don't want to throw away a great relationship over what might just be lust. Am I asking for too much in the "perfect guy"? Is there such a thing? Am I truly in love?

Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

The basic guideline for relationship satisfaction, is to know what you can and cannot live with and without.  And, since you are considering marriage, for how long do you imagine yourself being satisfied living with and without certain qualities of your partner.

There is a hard wired dynamic between two people that defines the basic structure of the relationship.

While life is filled with surprises and can change in an instant, the basic way in which the partners of a couple, connect.

Do you understand why you are not attracted to your partner?   

Whatever the reason, now is a good time to state this about yourself.  

He may be quite willing and interested in developing new ways of sexually stimulating you.  

Maybe he is just as shy about talking about this topic as you are.  On some level he must know that he doesn't satisfy you.  He may be relieved to hear you bring up the topic!

As always, remember that if discussing a relationship matter feel hard to start, consider utilizing therapy services with a professional, credentialed and licensed therapist.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

Hi Montgomery, 

Your first sentence says it all. He might be an amazing person, but there's something missing for you. I'm curious...you say this is a long distance relationship. Did you make a connection through social media or email first? Maybe a dating website? I'm just wondering if this is the case. These modern ways of meeting people are awesome because we can be exposed to a wide variety of people who we never would meet in the grocery store or a friend's party. There are complications, though, and one of the drawbacks is you can feel very connected to someone and care about them a great deal before you ever meet them in person. Then, when you finally meet them and there isn't that spark of magnetic physical attraction, you're in a bit of a difficult spot because you've already established that you're drawn to each other in other ways; you're already connected. It can be very awkward then to say "Now that I meet you, it doesn't feel the way it should for me". In the future, I suggest meeting up in person early on, to answer that crucial question "Are we physically attracted to each other?". Clearly, this is not only important for you, but it is for most of us.

My guess is that you feel you owe this man your affection and commitment even though you're not really all that into him (lusting after other men is a sign of that), because you like absolutely everything else about him. But honesty is crucial here, both with yourself and this man. Just because you don't find yourself attracted to him doesn't mean that you're a bad person, or that he's not attractive. Someone else might drool over him and I think he deserves someone who does just that. You can have both love and lust. For most people, only one of them isn't enough.

Nat Roman
Nat Roman
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc RP

Attraction is important but sometimes over-rated. I'm curious about your comment that you are not as attracted as you "should be" - What is your measuring stick is for what you are supposed to feel in terms of attraction in a relationship? Do you want to be sexually intimate? Do you enjoy having sex with him? Are you satisfied with your sexual relationship when you are with him? 

The fact that there is lust for other more attractive men does not necessarily mean anything. There will always be attractive men and more attractive men than your partner and these attractive men will be even more appealing when you are in a long-distance relationship far from the arms of your partner. Loving someone does not mean that you stop being a sexual being who no longer notices and desires attractive men. 

Attraction results from a number of factors beyond appearance - including the degree to which you feel emotionally open, safe, and connected and how in tune you are with each other's bodies. It sounds like you think very highly of this man "everything else is perfect about him". Maybe it is worth spending some more time together in the same place if that is possible before deciding on marriage or that you are not truly in love. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Christianna Morgan
Christianna Morgan
Individual & Couples Counselor, Parent Coach

Long distance relationships have their challenges, and I am wondering if part of the missing attraction is due to the distance. Has the relationship always been long-distance, or is this a change? How do you feel when you are visiting one another? Are you distracted by your lack of feelings of lust for him? Or do those thoughts mostly come up when he's not with you? And the men you find yourself lusting over--are they men you see in real life?  Perhaps you are experiencing moments of lust for these other men because it's too painful for you to experience them about someone who is far away and not physically accessible to you.

It is normal for physical attraction to ebb and flow over time. And it is normal to be attracted to other people outside of your relationship. Being in love with one partner and building a life does not mean you stop having normal, human urges about other people you find attractive. Being in love does mean choosing that partner over others despite those urges of attraction.

There are many reasons you might wake up and fall in love all over again. But I would offer that those reasons are harder to experience in a long distance situation. Physical attraction is "easy" because we can experience that reaction based on a picture. But the day-to-day things a partner might do to make you feel loved, secure, cared for, and honored (which could give the same falling in love all over again feeling) are harder to experience and trust when you aren't physically together.

If the relationship is great and he's the ideal man in many ways, give some thought to what the next step for your relationship could be other than marriage. Is it possible to spend a significant amount of time together? If your potential marriage wouldn't be a long-distance relationship, then it might be worth exploring what it would be like to be in each other's life day in and day out. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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