Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Relationship Gone Stale?

DEAR NATALIE: I have been dating this guy for about a year now. Everything is fine, but I feel like that spark is gone. He's more like a friend than a lover at this point. The problem is, he's much more in love with me than I am with him, and he's talking about getting engaged. We went ring shopping the other day, and while I think it's romantic, I felt nothing. I don't want to break up with him, though, because he is a great person. But living in this stale relationship is not working either. What do I do? -- SPARKLESS 

DEAR SPARKLESS: Being a great person is one thing, but a relationship is its own separate entity. There is you, there is your boyfriend, and there is the relationship. On his own, he may be a great person, but if the relationship component isn't working, it isn't fair to him -- or you -- to stay and be unhappy. Talk to him about the fact that you feel as though you may be moving too fast and see what he says. If you are afraid to lose him, ask yourself why. If there is still something there, work to strengthen it. But, if you are just afraid to be alone or afraid to cut him loose because he is a good person, I suggest you do some soul searching. It is selfish of you to keep him around because you basically are saying: "While I don't like you enough, I don't want anyone else to have you either." Not cool. 

DEAR NATALIE: I recently got married, and now I feel like I made a big mistake. We didn't know each other for that long when we got engaged, which was exciting, and planning the wedding was a lot of fun. But, now I am feeling depressed. There is nothing to look forward to. I talked to my husband about this, and he thinks I'm crazy. He said to me, "The wedding was the biggest party we will ever have. Just think of those memories, and you will be fine." Ugh, isn't that depressing? Like the best year I'll ever have is behind me? How do I get out of this rut? -- WEDDING BELL BLUES 

DEAR WEDDING BELL BLUES: The first year of marriage can be quite a challenge because you are coming down from the adrenaline rush of engagement excitement and wedding bells. Try reconnecting with your new husband and find fun ways to be together. Take a class together or plan a weekly date night to keep the energy flowing. Or, instead of sitting around moping about the amazing year that you had, acknowledge that times change, emotions ebb and flow, and then get off your butt and do something to help someone else. There are about a million humanitarian crises happening around you. Why not organize an event (because you love parties) and help to raise money for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting or the hurricane victims in the Caribbean or Florida or Texas? There are so many people and places that need our help right now. So, don't sit around and mope because of a lack of excitement in your life. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)