How important is romantic love?

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Hi Meredith,

I hope all is well, considering. I just broke up with my boyfriend of almost seven years. We started dating in college and he was my best friend. At that point I had been single for about a year and felt ready to jump in to something new. He is an awesome guy but I expected my love for him to grow past the best friend love I'd already felt.

After school, we maintained a long-distance relationship for two years during our first jobs, and nearly seven years after getting together, I still wasn't "in love" with him. I loved him deeply but knew I didn't feel romantic love. I broke up with him because he started talking about moving forward with plans of marriage and moving in together – something I am not ready for.

My question here is, how important is romantic love to a fulfilling longterm relationship? Is love for a person enough to look past the need for stereotypical "head-over-heels in love" kind of love?

– Be well


Romantic love is important – because it's what you want, and it's possible to find. You coupled up with a best friend and it wasn't enough. It sounds like you're questioning your decision just a little, but don't, please. You want something new. Go figure out what that is (safely; it's a pandemic).

The good news is that you have a gut that knows what it desires. When your significant other started talking marriage, you knew it was time to leave and you followed that path. I'd only ask why it took the talk about big commitments to get you moving on all of this. I'm sure that being with him was pleasant and comfortable, making it easy to stay. I'll just remind you that as you meet new people, going is acceptable. You don't have to let something play out forever.

Start by adjusting to a new single life and getting excited about romance. It's important to you (again, that's what matters here), and now you have a chance to find it.

– Meredith

Readers? I think a question here is whether romance fades over time anyway. How important has it been to you? Is it more essential at the beginning of a relationship?