Ask Cece: Commitment vs. Comfort
I’ve been with my girlfriend for almost three years now. I love her in every conceivable way but she just doesn’t really do it for me anymore. If I could try to briefly explain, I don’t get excited to hear from her or see her, I find myself bored of our little “routines” and I think/fantasize about other people. A lot. I don’t know if this is just a rut or if this is a clear sign that it’s the end.
So three years and no spark, huh? Hardly a “clear sign” of anything in itself but I guess I can see your concerns. Three years is a lot of days. Depending on whether or not you live together or how often you hang out, and what you do when you hang out, if you’re not hitting it off more often than not, that collection of mere days can feel like a Groundhog Day type nightmare. “Sparks” are kind of an elusive term I don’t like to use for many reasons but if you’re already experiencing this much uncertainty, I would say that it sounds like the end to me.
I mean, where is there to go after admitting that you’re bored of whatever you’ve built with her (if certain things became routines, you participated in making them so) and that you’d rather be tongue deep in someone else’s face when you’re looking at hers? It’s not that I don’t believe you when you say that you do love her in ways. It’s just that I believe you already know the answer to this question.
I think too many people confuse being comfortable with being committed. Comfort is something you sink into, haphazardly and without realizing it. Commitment is actually a choice, and one you must make every single day. When shit is hard, multiple times a day. A comfortable man is not necessarily a committed one, but a committed man will almost certainly experience true comfort. When you give yourself wholly to anything—be it a person, a cause, a routine—you leave very little room for your mind to wander. If I am actually committed to becoming vegan for the right reasons and with the greatest intentions, my rate of failure will probably be pretty low. If I settle into becoming vegan because I wanna seem woke or lose ten pounds I’ll probably be thinking about cheeseburgers all day but lose ten pounds anyway from sweating bullets because I am consumed with guilt (that’s a Catholic upbringing for you!)
The point is that I would be a liar, and you can’t be comfortable being a liar unless you are a sociopath, and if you are a sociopath I probably can’t help you. You’re not one though, because you had the conscience to review this relationship you’re in and even seek counsel. You deserve to have the types of relationships that fill you with excitement, that genuinely intrigue you, and that make you wake up feeling ready and eager to participate in them. So does your girlfriend. No relationship is perfect but I would call these basic expectations. These are like, “the bar is on the floor” level standards. I can imagine how painful it is for you to look at her smile or watch her do some awkward shit in front of you because she thinks that’s the direction your relationship is heading in, all while knowing that she doesn’t do it for you anymore. I think you should tell her sooner than later, because I can also imagine how painful it will be for her if you drag it out, let’s say, another three years.
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