My Boyfriend feels like a brother; what should I do?

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Hi guys,

I have been together with my boyfriend for six years and I have been feeling for quite some years that my boyfriend is more like a brother to me. I love him so much and I can’t imagine myself not having him in my life anymore, but I don’t love him as a man; I love him as a friend. He is my family and I’m his family but I don’t see him as a man and he doesn’t treat me as a woman. I tried to save the relationship so many times by talking to him about this and even giving him ultimatums, saying I wanted to leave him if he didn’t change etc..

We already had a break for 5 months where we were living under the same roof but we where sleeping in separate rooms. He just doesn’t change anything. He accepts me sleeping in a separate room, everythings seems to be fine for him. In an earlier stage of the relationship, I also discussed about me wanting to have family and get a ring but nothing happened. He says when we will have money we will, but I believe he only uses it as an excuse. I have told him I would be happy to get even the cheapest plastic ring, I just wanted him asking me to marry.

The whole ceremony could wait, even 30 years, but at least I would see if he wanted to commit. Even when we had a six years anniversary, he went to play football with his friends instead of arranging something special with me. His excuse was (as always) the lack of money. But he could have arranged a romantic dinner at home, or given a simple rose to show his affection. I believe that this past events have led me to feel this way about him, especially the sex part. We don’t have sex any more. Before it was a strugle to have the desire for sex. Now it would even feel weird to have sex with him, like having sex with a best friend. I’m turning 30 and he is 34, I think it’s too young to give up on sex and romance.

What’s so confusing is that when I tell him I want to end the relationship he says he loves me and that he wants a future with me. But then it comes to action he doesn’t change even a bit.

Even if I end the relationship, he doesn’t seem to be sad, just a bit hungry for some hours and then he acts like nothing, laughting like nothing happened. Even the fact that we don’t have sex anymore doesn’t bother him. He prefers to not EVER talk about relationship problems.

I get the feeling that he is settling for me though he feels the same brotherly feeling for me, and this is because he seems to think he won’t find somebody attractive. (He has even told me so when we were on a break). That’s another side of the story. He does not feel like a very attractive man, and to tell you the truth, it was not his looks that I fell for in the first place. I’m not a person that sees just the looks. I got in a relationship with him becasue of his inner qualities. On the other hand( not to sound egocentric please) I’m considered very attractive. The sad thing is that I get the feeling that he is still with me because he won’t find any other good looking girl.

What should I do? Am I crazy for feeling this way? Should I break the relationship and try to find love?


Dear Lola,

Thanks for your question.

The two of you are stuck in a rut. Neither of you want to take the necessary steps to either work on the relationship, or break it off, so you’re in this perpetual state of limbo. However, he seems comfortable with this holding pattern, and you seem bothered by it.

First of all, you’re saying two different things and we’re confused. On the one hand you say you don’t love him as a man, but on the other hand you want him to propose, or at some point you did. That seems confusing to us. You either love him or you don’t. You either want to marry him or you don’t. And what are these ultimatums you’re talking about? Why would you give him an ultimatum if you’re not really sure you love him as a man? This is something you need to sort out Lola. Are you so ready for marriage that you’ll settle for someone you don’t love romantically? Or do you truly love this man and want to spend the rest of your life with him? Here are some things to think about.

Don’t downplay friendship when choosing a partner. Some people do marry their friends and are completely happy. But are you one of those people? You mention physical attraction and sex a few times in your note to us. If those pieces of a relationship are important to you—be honest with yourself—you might be frustrated if you stay in your current relationship. If you think you can live without them, maybe you’ll be happy.

It’s also important to ask yourself why he’s with you. Is it because you’re good looking? Or because of other qualities you possess? You seem to think he’s dating you because of your looks only, but then you also say, he sees you only as a friend. Once again you’re saying two different things. Either way the two of you need to have some serious discussions about these issues. And if he’s not willing to talk about the relationship, that’s a red flag in itself. Communication is vital for any healthy relationship.

Finally, it’s odd that the two of you sleep in separate bedrooms. Even if you don’t have sex, being near each other can only bring you closer, and help strengthen emotional connections. What’s going to happen if and when you get married? Will you live in two different houses?

Lola, you have a lot to figure out if you’re going to move forward in this relationship. If it feels like you’re constantly swimming against the current, then maybe it’s time to move on. It does seem like the two of you are moving in different directions. But since you’re such good friends, the two of you should be able to sort this out together.

Good luck,


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12 Comments on My Boyfriend feels like a brother; what should I do?

  1. I am feeling the same way with my boyfriend. We have been together six years too and I put him out. So now we are not living together but we are still seeing eachother trying to work out our problems. But I am getting to the point where i am too tired to work it out. I don’t love him as a boyfriend just as a best friend! It is so confusing and unhealthy! My sex drive i getting very low even when he touches me. I am trying to dress up again and be sexy for him but i have no desire with him anymore. He love me I know he does but I need more than love. I want to spend my life with a person I love on all levels! And right now we are not seeing eye to eye! I am 22 and he is 24 I wonder if this will go away.

  2. @Kate…….Loving someone and being in love are two different things. Don’t settle or try to force yourself to be in love when you’re not. (As long as there aren’t other barriers getting in the way) But if you truly love this guy just as a friend it’s time to let him go and try to find someone you can have a completely fulfilling relationship with. Just keep in mind that no relationship is “perfect.”

  3. Hey Lola and Guys,
    I have a very simmilar problem going on at the moment, I have only been dating my boyfriend for a few months, but for most of this time I have realised I dont love him (as in a relationship) but I love him more like a friend or family.
    I Havent had any successful relationships in the past, and so I am wondering if that is impacting my current relationship.
    My boyfriend and I talk lots every day, because we only see each other one a week and occassionally on weekends. In all our convo’s we mainly talk with hearts and kisses, though I think we are exaggerate these because we are both afraid of loosing one another.
    I cannot imagine my life without my guy, he is one of favorite people in the world (my BFF comes first – i have known her since i was 4)
    When he asked me out, i said yes immediately because I had been waiting for him to ask, but I know that actually i was waiting for someone to stich me back up after the love of my life left me bleeding (not literally). I felt like my heart had been stolen, but Maison (my boyfriend) made me laugh and feel alive again.
    I know how you feel, its complicated – literally.
    My relationship is so complex and diverse, noone i know has had a problem like it, so noone can help me!

  4. @Amy……We understand this is complicated. So how old are you? And him? And how many unsuccessful relationships have you had? We’re not quite sure what you need help with. You don’t love him like a boyfriend, right? So are you worried that if you break up with him, you’ll lose him as your friend? What exactly is your question? Fill us in and we’ll offer some more ideas/opinions.

  5. I have a similar problem. I’m 20 years old and I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years. I’m starting to realise that I love him as a friend, even as a brother. I don’t know what I would do without him, I need him in my life, we see each other every day, but we never make love or even kiss. It’s not that he doesn’t want, he does, but I am the one who avoids that kind of intimacy because I cannot make love with someone who is like my brother or best friend. I also imagine myself being with other men. I don’t know what to do because I love him, but I miss feeling the passion and being intimate with someone, but I obviously can’t have that with him.

  6. @Marija……..You met when you were 17. It’s rare to meet someone at that age and be with them for life, although it does happen from time to time. In general, people change when they mature. People grow in different ways. Your needs have changed from what they were when you were 17. By holding in the way you feel you’re not being fair to yourself, OR your boyfriend. We understand you love him. He might be your boyfriend by name, but he’s really your close friend. Could you be honest with him and keep him as a friend? Would he go for that?

  7. Dear Guys, I’m sure he would not want to be friends with me because, first of all, I know he loves me as a girlfriend and second, he would probably be mad at me or simply too hurt. I don’t want to break up, but I don’t want to live without passion neither. I don’t know what to do, especially because I am afraid that I won’t find better person than him because he is truly an amazing guy and I don’t know if I could live without him. I don’t know, it feels like I am stuck.

  8. @Marija….Is he okay with the way things are? The lack of passion and physical intimacy?

  9. Yes. I mean, he doesn’t say anything. He just sometimes mentions like “We never cuddle”, but he’d never initiated sex, it has always been me who makes the first step and since I’m not doing it anymore, we aren’t intimate.

  10. @Marija……We understand. Well, once again. You’ve got to weigh your pros and cons. We know it’s hard but the decision has to be yours. That said, could you bring up the discussion with your boyfriend w/out breaking up? Talk about how you feel about it and see where the conversation goes? What we can tell you is that at some point the issue will come up. Either it will be you, because you can’t take it anymore, or he’ll decide it needs to be addressed. Starting the conversation might help you figure this out.

  11. Julie Johnson // March 11, 2017 at 11:22 pm //

    Man… you don’t get it. You have to build a person up, not tear them down, if you want to save a relationship. Seems like you’really just putting wedges between you. It’seems not them. It’s you.

  12. @Jule….Thanks for sharing.

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