Claudette in Boise writes:
I’ve been dating exclusively for three years and I suspect that my partner hasn’t quite gotten over his last girlfriend or he is looking for an ideal. Either way, I get the sense he is not mature enough, even though he is middle aged, to handle real love or a healthy relationship that is committed. I am beginning to wonder if he is the one or I have just built him up in my mind due to my fear of being alone and need for an ideal love. Should I tell him how I feel or suggest that we think about space and dating others, neither feels right. I feel stuck and waiting for him to come around. I’ve never been with someone so long unless married.
Your relationship seems to have hit a plateau, and your man is looking to you for guidance as to what comes next. Both of you seem to be fairly content with the status of your relationship, because neither of you is revealing how you truly want the future to unfold.
You partner may still have fondness for his last girlfriend, but he is also accepting that the relationship has ended. He isn’t pining away for her or spending time fantasizing about a reunion, but he does compare you to her from time to time. If it makes you feel any better, he did the same thing to his ex with memory of the woman who came before her. It is a pattern of his, a facet of his personality and how he processes things.
You really should sit down and talk with him about your desires and your concerns. While this isn’t going to create miracles, it will bring the two of you closer together. While the two of you are highly compatible, some of the thrill of this relationship is fading. Increase the level of communication and passion, and the relationship will mature. As for the man, he’s never going to be completely ideal, but you can be incentive for him to evolve.