Attraction is the big X Factor in any relationship. When you have it, you don't think twice about it. When you don't have it, it's hard to overcome. Which would seem to indicate that if you're not wildly attracted to your boyfriend, you should break up with your boyfriend. Not so fast. I've put a lot of thought into the pros and cons of how much you should weigh the lack of physical attraction in a relationship. Please consider this before taking any rash steps.
Ask most long-term married couples about the relative importance of sex in their lives, they will generally say things like "It's the dessert, not the main course". And it's true. It's just hard to consider that when you're 27. But realize that in 10 years, you're 37, raising little ones and your life is no longer your own. By 47, your bodies have thickened and drooped. By 57, you're probably finishing menopause and his libido is largely gone. By 67, you're thinking of retirement, travel and grandkids. By 77, you're hoping just to stay healthy, and… Can you see how making a decision based on attraction is a perfect example of short-term thinking? Like getting a tattoo with someone's name on your back and breaking up four months later.
The truth is that life lasts for a REALLY, REALLY long time.
And yet we base our relationship decisions on evanescent emotions like lust, passion, and chemistry. Fact: In relationship studies, traditional "attraction" wears off within 18-24 months of dating. This probably corresponds to what you've experienced in real life – namely, that it's hard to get "excited" about someone with whom you've been intimate for two years straight. That doesn't mean it's impossible, but if you ask most married couples, the nature of sex changes. Sure, you might be that rare "three times a night" couple well into your fifties, but most of those cliches about parents not having time or energy for sex are true.
So if life becomes more about responsibility, friendship, compatibility and all those other "boring" things that old married couples cite, how much emphasis should we put on physical attraction in our 20's/30's? It is no secret that compatibility is a stronger predictor of relationship health than chemistry. Yet chemistry is what we chase – somehow hoping that it turns into compatibility as well. It rarely does. Look at your most "passionate" relationships. Where are they now? Exactly. Yet we can't help ourselves. We're attracted to what we're attracted to – often to our own detriment. Which is how men end up with hot crazy women and women end up with hot emotionally unavailable men.
This isn't my opinion. This is life. Just look around. Does this mean that you should stay with your amazing boyfriend even if you don't feel attracted? Ah, if it were only that simple…
As you know, sexual attraction rarely grows over time. With men, this almost never happens. With women, it tends to be correlated to her feelings about her partner. However, this is presuming a steady baseline of attraction from which to grow. If there is NO attraction to start, there's not even any room to go down. That's a rough proposition for you to endure with a boyfriend. Thus, it's impossible to convince you to give a shot to someone you're purely NOT attracted to. No rational thinking is going to overcome your genetic and cultural biases. As noted dating guru David DeAngelo says, "Attraction is not a choice".