Red Responds: His Heart is Not In the Relationship

Chris in Green Bay writes:

I have been in a relationship for over four years now, with someone who is absolutely a wonderful person. However, for some time now (approximately 6 months or so), my heart has not been in the relationship like a heart should be, and my feelings have not been the same for him. I do not have the “guts” to take the risk and get myself out for fear of breaking his heart and my family’s hearts (they love him!).

I also do not look forward to the complications and messiness that may be involved (i.e. moving out, taking him off of joint accounts, etc.). Also, to add to this mix of things, I recently met someone. This person is wonderful, however his feelings were hurt when I did not immediately tell him that I was involved in a relationship. I feel I am in a mess and would love some insight on the future of either of these two relationships. Do you see a future for me and the man I am in a relationship with, and if not, will there be an opportunity with this other man that I recently met?

Dear Chris,


This may not be what you want to hear, but you need to hear it. Your attraction to this new man feels like a rebound, only you haven’t gone through the breakup. While there is a very real possibility of an affair or fling, this will bring you a massive amount of guilt and confusion, but not the happy relationship your mind conjures as a possibility. Your new man isn’t the answer, he is just a symptom of your current struggles.


Deal with one situation at a time, starting with looking at all the excuses you have presented as reasons to stay in your current relationship. Breaking up with someone is rarely easy emotionally. As for detangling lives and assets, that isn’t much fun, either. It seems like you are putting the cart before the horse, though. Your current relationship doesn’t have to come to an end, unless you decide that is truly what you want.


Your heart may not be all a-flutter, but there is still a deep bond between you and your man. You do have a lot of love for this guy. What you need to be looking at is the issues you have with him and this relationship. It’s not so black-and-white as you’ve fallen out of love, or had a change of heart. It seems that you are suffering from a bit of boredom, a touch of complacency, and a lack of honest communication.

The honest communication is a biggie. While you are comfortable in the life you have created with this man, the romance and fireworks have faded. Sometimes it takes work to reignite those smoldering embers of love into bold and radiant flames. You are very fortunate in the fact that you are with a man who loves you enough to not only to listen to what you need, but also to do his best to step up and provide it. But, you have to talk to him. While he may not like what you have to say, he will hear you out and work with you to bring about positive change.


If you do nothing, nothing will change, and you eventually will get to the point where you are willing to deal with the messiness of a breakup in favor of something more exciting. But you are in danger of creating a pattern that will repeat with a new guy when the newness fades from that relationship as well. Even a stable relationship with the most wonderful partner can feel empty, when you go through it pretending that everything is just fine. Newer isn’t always better, it is just different. Different can be exciting… at least for a while. It is only when the excitement dies down that you are left with what is real. What you have is real and what you think you want will eventually fade away.

Good luck,
Ext. 9226

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