I am a terrible person. I have been in a relationship for three years with a wonderful boy. We are a great couple, or so it would appear. He is a good boyfriend, but he just doesn't do it for me anymore. I love to spend time with him. He is my best friend and has been for as long as I've known him. As far as the relationship goes, our spark is gone.
I would love to sever our sexual/romantic ties and just be his best friend. However, he once said that he could not be my friend if I broke up with him. He also told me that he would not pursue another relationship because he could never find another whom he could love like he loves me. I have stayed with him because he is my best friend and I don't want to hurt him. Meanwhile, he complains that I'm not affectionate enough. I don't know how to tell him that I'm not in love with him anymore.
It's so easy to dump an asshole. My last boyfriend, Evil Incarnate (have you two met?), was such a cruel motherfucker that when I finally wised up to this fact (doh!), I dumped him pronto—over the phone. Didn't even give him the courtesy of the in-person kiss-off. It was easy, and my only regret is that I let the fetid little troll invade my life in the first place. But when you're faced with someone you care about and have no concrete reason (infidelity, abuse, etc.) to heave-ho, it's way harder to wrap your head around.
Many years ago, I was faced with a dilemma similar to yours. My then-boyfriend was a sweetheart. He'd fuck me (or not) whenever I wanted, and he was great in the sack, told me I was beautiful no matter how shitty I looked, drove for hours so I could see the Damned in all surrounding states—in short, a real mensch among men. But after a while, I didn't love him anymore; I tried very hard to, but I just didn't. I eventually grew to despise him, which only made him more eager to please, which only made me more impossible. I had to get out, but I didn't know what to do. So I manufactured a fight with him. He committed some minor—and I mean minor—offense, and I blew it up into a deal breaker. I moved out and blamed it on him. He begged me to come back and told me he'd never love anyone but me. I stood my ground and told him I couldn't forgive his reprehensible behavior. It was over, and it was all his fault, I'd remind him as tears welled up in his big brown eyes. Years later I see that I behaved miserably and was a horrible, horrible bitch about it. It was a chickenshit way to dump him, but hey, it got the job done. I like to think I'd do it differently today, but who the hell knows.
You are not a terrible person. It's just that you've lost that lovin' feelin'—whoa, that lovin' feelin'. By staying with someone you aren't in love with, you aren't being fair to either of you. If your boy is complaining that you're not affectionate enough, he knows something is up. He says he doesn't want to be friends with you if you split, and as painful as that might be, you're gonna have to suck it up and respect his wishes. He might change his mind in time; he might not. But friends or not, you'll both be better off in the long run. When you do the deed (and I hope you will), please do him a favor and be as kind as you possibly can without giving him any false hope for a reunion. He'll probably be sad, then furious, but don't rise to the bait. Let him rant a little bit, and then make your exit. It's not going to be easy, because it sounds like you do love him, but don't call to check on him—have mutual friends do that for you. If he calls you, be kind but firm. As for him never loving again—remember my sweet, loving man who swore he'd love me forever? He moved in with another broad within a few months of our split and has been with her ever since.
Love hurts? Write Dategirl at firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.