MANSWERS: Five years in, there’s no romance and my heart is breaking

MANSWERS: Five years in, there’s no romance and my heart is breaking

theres no romance and my heart is breaking

My boyfriend and I have been together for five years, and I’m in love with him. I know he loves me too, but he’s not romantic. I asked him about this the first year we were together, and his response was that he was ‘going through something’ and that he ‘used to be romantic’ and one day would be with me. We’re now long distance but nothing’s changed.

I’m not asking for expensive stuff. Not even flowers. I’d just love a random line or a text or for him to say something nice to me. He’s told me he’s not the lovey dovey type, that he ‘lives in reality’ and I ‘live in dreamland’. I feel like I’m not asking for a lot and I’m starting to feel that maybe he doesn’t feel that way for me. And maybe that I’ve wasted so much time trusting him and trusting that one day he’ll change and become romantic. It’s not about sex … its about a hug, a kiss, a cuddle, an arm around me or him holding my hand. But he’s so heartless, or that’s what it feels like. What should I do? My heart is breaking. APS

Reality Chick says… What bothers me is that he told you he used to be romantic, presumably with other women, and promised that he ‘one day would be’ with you. Kinda weird. You’re either romantic or you’re not and it sounds like romance (and basic affection) are way down on his priority list.

For some women, this may be A-OK. For a sensitive soul like you, it’s not – and although you’ve tried to come to terms with it, it’s seems that he and the relationship are making you unbearably sad. I know you’re in a kind of limbo, having written in with this, and I do feel for you. However, I also think that you’re asking the wrong question. It shouldn’t be how to get him to be the guy you want him to be – but rather whether you actually want to be with him anymore. Only you can figure that out, but I think it’s worth considering your options, including moving on and finding someone who’s a better fit for you.

Manswers Man Mr E says… First the optimistic view. It sounds like your boy might be preoccupied with something. We men are single tasking creatures and often our lack of attention to loved ones can be accidental rather than intentional. It could be something completely unrelated that’s stolen his focus, or possibly other issues in his life which have consumed him.

Less optimistically, if your boy shows you zero attention there must be a reason. If he’s not preoccupied then maybe his heart isn’t in it as much as yours is. Maybe he just can’t be the one you want him to be. Boys often find it hard to live up to expectations to act a certain way, and if you are telling him how you want him to be all the time you might be pushing him further and further away from what you want. If he feels you are being demanding and he can’t be that person you are moving in opposite directions.

Manswers Man BB says… The early days of a relationship are a bit like a job interview. You’re charming, witty and generally on your best behaviour, and it’s only once you ‘get the job’ that you relax a little. Sadly for you, if ever there was a time for romance it was probably at the start of the relationship, not 5 years in. In your bloke’s defence, could it be that he is a good man in most other respects, just a bit clueless with the romantic stuff? On the other hand you don’t appear to asking for much, just for him to be a bit thoughtful.

It may not be your responsibility but have you tried sending him a nice text letting him know what you think of him? Or even tell him that you would really appreciate some affection that isn’t necessarily a roadmap to the bedroom? The fact that he says he lives in reality and you live in dreamland suggests that ultimately you may need to weigh up whether the relationship is strong enough for you to continue, with the knowledge that he probably won’t change.

Manswers Man Dr Phil says… Reality and dreamland need to meet half way. It sounds as though your boyfriend had a past relationship that he needs to get over, and that may be affecting his affection towards you? Long distance relationships are difficult at the best of times: romanticism is required to maintain the connection between you. He needs to realise how important this is to you. A lot of men can shrug off romanticism like an optional extra, when it’s an arguably integral part of any relationship.

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Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Lisa 8 years ago

    Hey, i feel what you going through, maybe its because the relationship has been very long and his lost all interest in being romantic and all, but if you say he never was romantic from the start then how the hell did you survive for 5 years? And saying all these things to him now he will wonder if you are trying to change him into the man you want him to be, man might find that controlling and all but theres nothing wrong with changing a man for the better i think its teaching him how to love you better and how to make you happy, you need to sit down and talk to him, if he loves you and wants to make you happy then he better let you tell him how to…

    cause only you know better what would make you happy but hey men are thick headed they dont wanna feel controlled like a puppet. If he doesnt listen and his making you feel neglected and doesnt show you the TLC you want and doesnt seem to make an effort then his not worth your time, rather spend a minute alone happy than spend years with him feeling neglected and unhappy………

    its all upto you, let him know you want him to give you what you deserve and if his not willing to step up then you aint sticking aroundd cause if you dont he will continue taking you for granted and not paying enough attention to you. Relationships are about compromising, meeting each other half way to keep each other happy and satisfied.

  2. Ali 8 years ago

    Hi APS, I recommend for you and your boyfriend to fill out this questionnaire on emotional needs by the Marriage Builders organisation:
    (I hope Reality Chick doesn’t mind me linking).

    My boyfriend (now fiance) and I did it and we learnt so much about each other, about what makes each of us feel loved in our own way. You basically fill out what makes you feel loved, what’s important to you in a relationship, etc, then you swap with your partner and read what they wrote, so you can put that stuff into action. You’d be surprised at how differently someone else feels, experiences and shows love and affection. What’s important is that once the questionnaires are swapped, that your partner then focuses on how to love you in the way you need to be loved.

    If your boyfriend really loves you he will want to make you feel loved and happy!! Good luck, I hope you receive the love you deserve xxx

    • That’s a lovely idea Ali (I may even make Mr Chick fill out that questionnaire, haha!)

      Thanks for sharing xx

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