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Parallax - Advice

April 1, 2002

An old flame?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!When do you know if you have enough romantic chemistry? How important is it? My boyfriend and I recently admitted to each other that we still feel awkward and not super-passionate. I am his first girlfriend. From the start, I felt our kissing was out of sync. He suggests we may not be as compatible as we thought, that we are both too stubborn and afraid to leave because we have become co-dependent. I am confused. Although I have felt more passion with other guys, I've never felt as intellectually or emotionally compatible. Despite the occasional fight, I feel a real connection with him and we are best friends. I don't want to lose this relationship, but I could not handle being 'just friends.' I'm not sure what to do.Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Flambé,

If you need a timeline to figure out if there is enough passion in your relationship, then there isn't.

That's not to say that the best friend approach 'sans passion' is not the current state of many a successful marriage. It all depends on what you want. Usually you get at least a few years of 'roll around passion' and then move into that leisure suit of marriage.

From the passion angle, this sounds a bit doomed from the start. My guess is that you probably won't get it. The word co-dependent is not a positive, I might add.

So, this one depends on your need for a buddy or a hottie: I'm afraid you won't be getting both in this relationship.

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His view:

Dear Flambé,

Discovering that one doesn't always have a spontaneous combustion with any-and-all reasonably attractive members of the opposite sex is one of those character-building experiences that tend to catch one by surprise.

Deciding you don't really need that aspect of a relationship to make it work is one of those mistakes that eventually lead to lots of head-scratching and what-the-hell-was-I-thinking personal time.

It's not unreasonable to think that your friendship is weighing down on physical attraction, dampening it by the mutual fear of failure. Perhaps this obstacle can be overcome, with heavy does of frank conversation and an implicit choice on both parts to lower expectations.

On the other hand, it may well be that there is no real chemistry here, period. Many are the 'just friends' who end up in bed because the attraction is impossible to resist - friendship be damned.

Maybe you should give it a couple more months, but don't let co-dependency drive the decision. In the meantime, start picturing yourself as 'just friends.' From what you say, you may be one of the few couples who could actually pull it off.

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