Scratching the Seven-Year Itch


By: The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way,
I’m in a seven-year relationship with a guy I care about deeply. We own a home together, get along very well, and have a safe, stable relationship. The problem is that our relationship feels platonic, and to me, unsatisfying. I’m thirty-two and he’s thirty-eight, but we only have sex about three or four times a year. When we kiss, it’s like I’m kissing my brother. I work out and take care of myself, but he doesn’t seem to notice my efforts at all. We hardly ever do anything social together.

I feel like our connection is being lost, but on the other hand, I’ve already invested so much time and effort into the relationship. I dread the thought of having to move out, date, and start over again. I’m also scared that I won’t meet anyone new since most of the great guys in my age range are already taken. I can see myself growing old with him and maybe I won’t care about the lack of sex or going out and having fun when I’m older. In the meantime, however, I’m more and more tempted to have an affair. Is that the solution? Am I being selfish for having such a great guy but wanting more?—SY, Roanoke, Virgina

   The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy

Yes, the solution to your problems is to have an affair. Those usually end well for everyone involved. That should help your relationship with this guy that you deeply respect and care for. Having sex with another person to garner a little enjoyment out of the bland existence of the life you’ve chosen will definitely give you all you need to be happy. Then after that affair ends and possibly several others (once you start, it’s hard to stop), you should be old enough and numb enough to be content to settle in with this guy until you die after years of mediocre and trite living. (The previous paragraph would’ve been printed in the sarcasm font, if it so existed.)

Okay, I feel like we ask this a lot here at The 4-Way but have you TOLD him that you want more out of the relationship? Have you DONE anything to make it less boring and more satisfying? Are you putting genuine effort in here, or are you just complaining without doing anything about it? The acceptance of life’s doldrums without taking any actions to change them IS boring and unsatisfying.

Obviously, if you’ve told your boyfriend this, and you’ve taken actions to change things, and he hasn’t changed any of his behaviors or made any attempts to make your relationship more interesting and romantic, then that would give you considerable evidence to initiate a breakup. (NOT an affair, a breakup.)

But with the time you’ve both put into this relationship, I suggest you re-double your efforts to make it work. Plan more date nights out. Inspire him. Tell him/remind him what inspires you. That’s the only way you’ll find out if he’s really the guy you should grow old with or if he’s just the guy who is growing old.

Check in tomorrow to read the gay woman’s perspective by Jody Fischer.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.

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