Scratching the Seven-Year Itch, Part 4


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 gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox

I hate to break it to you, SY, but you’re not in a satisfying relationship, you’re in a relationship of habit. Nowhere in your question did I see you even hint that this is the man of your dreams, or that you don’t know how you’d go on without him. What I did see was a little too much relationship justification. Sex is not everything, but intimacy in a relationship is a natural way for couples to grow together and remain close to each other. And now when you kiss him, you feel like you’re making out with your brother?

Look, go out there and find yourself someone that will make your toes curl when you’re lip-locked. I assure you not all the good guys in your age range are taken. In fact, some of those good guys think you’re taken because you’re still in a relationship you can’t walk away from. Here’s the thing, you’re obviously close to the guy you’ve been dating; having him as a friend is not a bad thing. A transitional period is hard, and sometimes feels impossible. But if this person is someone you hope to have in your life in some capacity, you’ll be able to figure it out. Take some time out for just you to examine your feelings closely and read the question you submitted more than our answers. You’ll see that you’ve already reached a conclusion. You just need to take action.

Check in next week for another Q&A series with The 4-Way.

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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