Scratching the Seven-Year Itch, Part 3


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 woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

Don’t insult your brother, SY! This guy sounds like a dud and if you were doing anything half as twisted as actually kissing your brother, I bet it would be a gigantic improvement over your boring relationship with your current boyfriend.

I know right now it feels like the life and the kind of relationship you want are really far away, and that getting those things means you have to do a lot of uncomfortable, painful things. But try not to let yourself get overwhelmed with all that and just take it one step at a time. The first step is to talk to your boyfriend. Once you know how he feels, you can determine your next course of action. If he wants to change things, and you truly feel he can be the “great guy” you say he is, then give it another shot. But set a timeframe for when you’d like to see change in your relationship, otherwise you run the risk of staying too long and writing The 4-Way for advice again in another six months. If he doesn’t want to change, then you have to start making some hard decisions. I’d start by moving into a friend’s place until you can get your own apartment. That will give you the distance you need to start healing and begin living the life you want.

As a single woman looking for love, I have to believe myself when I say this: if you want love, you will find love. Eventually. It may not be an easy road, and it may not be the fastest (ahem … still waiting), but you have to put yourself in a position to receive it. I know that sounds all new agey, granola-Californian of me to say, but it’s true. And continuing to exist in a dead relationship will not put you in that position, nor will having an affair with someone. Say so long to your brother and go get the life you want.

Check in tomorrow to read the gay man’s perspective by Darren Maddox.

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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