A.sk RossAbout Standards & Losing That Loving FeelingMarissa A. Ross

A.sk Ross is where I, Marissa A. Ross, answer questions you ask me. Keep in mind I am simply a girl who’s been through a lot & has acquired some wisdom along the way. I own no certificates proclaiming my word is law, so please don’t take it as so. If anything, take my advice with a grain of salt and a pinch of optimism. Have a question? Email me at A.skRossNow@gmail.com.

Hey Marissa,

I am a 20 year old college student. I used to have boyfriends constantly in high school. My longest relationship was 3 years. After that relationship, I changed and I think I changed for the better. I became more independent, concentrated more on school than I ever have before and have spent a lot of time with my family. Good right? Well after being on a dating hiatus for 3 years, I think I’m ready to get back out there again. My friend forced me into signing up for an online dating website. After a handful of guys who didn’t really meet my standards which, in my opinion, are pretty low– all I ask is that they don’t smoke or do drugs and are somewhat family oriented– I literally was in the process of deleting the account when all the sudden this guy caught my eye. He took a look at my profile and he looked so familiar. I decided to send him a message, we hit it off and we are planning to meet this week. The funniest part is we actually went to school together for a year until I transferred. He makes me smile all throughout the day but here’s the thing: he smokes “sometimes”. What do I do now? I’m breaking my own standards and I feel like I’m in too deep already. I lost quite a few loved ones due to heart problems that were caused by smoking. And I just hate seeing guys that smoke. I don’t really believe in changing people but I’m lost. Help!

- B.

While dating a guy who doesn’t do drugs and is family oriented is important, there are a lot of other important factors too. Your top standard should always be someone who respects you. The cool thing about this standard is that if this dude that smokes sometimes respects you, he won’t do it around you. And not to say this will for sure happen, but from my personal experience with dating “sometime” smokers, if things get serious they usually stop smoking because they’re around you all the time and you don’t smoke. This has been true with both my boyfriends who were smokers when we first met but I don’t smoke. I can’t promise that will happen with you guys, but it does give some promise to your situation.

Yes, smoking sucks– I don’t want you to think I’m condoning it or dismissing your feelings– but if he’s a good guy who genuinely makes you happy, I don’t think you should throw him away because of an occasional smoke. Of course if he’s like, smoking in your house and being a jerk, that’s a different story. But a cigarette here or there? I don’t think it’s worth losing someone who makes you happy.

I agree you can’t change someone, but you can express your feelings. Just have a talk with him and explain why you feel the way you do about smoking. If he’s a good guy, he’ll accept your feelings and respect them. If he’s not, he’ll tell you to shove it and then you know you shouldn’t be dating him anyway. The point is to come to a compromise because you both not only respect one another, but also accept one another. But the key here is to compromise. You shouldn’t make him stop nor should he expect you not to care. Every healthy relationship has a middle ground and I hope you guys can find yours.

Hey Marissa,

I’m 21 and I’ve been in a relationship for 2 and half years with my boyfriend (he’s 21 as well). He is my first boyfriend, while he had one brief girlfriend before me. Of the two and half years we’ve been together, we spent 7 months apart while I lived in France on exchange. Although I love him just as much, I’ve struggled since coming home because while I was away (I came home about 2 months ago), I missed him so much and subconsciously, I think I romanticized the idea of him (even though we spoke every day while I was gone). Now that I am home, I still love him a lot, but I do not feel the same passion that I did while I was away because back then I was absolutely convinced he was the “one” but I don’t think I even believe in that! And now, I’m not so sure and I’m feeling guilty for being unsure, even though I love him just as much, just differently (more normally). I’m worried that I’m too young and haven’t experience enough to know if he is the “one” but then I worry that questioning that means that I’m unhappy. Basically I’m really confused even though he is my best friend and I simply could not imagine my life without him!

- AJ

Ah, yes. The classic “I love you but I’m not in love with you”. It’s only cliché because it’s incredibly common. It is completely normal to feel this way about a significant other. How can you not love them when you have shared so much? I bet he is your best friend, but best friends aren’t necessarily who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Unfortunately, if you doubt he’s the one, he probably isn’t. But hey, take solace in the fact that very few people find their true love at eighteen or nineteen years old and stay with them forever. Sad but true. This doesn’t mean you don’t love them, it just means you know there is more out there. You’re right when you say you’re young and inexperienced. That’s exactly what you are. That doesn’t mean what you shared with your boyfriend wasn’t special but it does mean that it’s probably time for you to move on.

Give it a couple weeks and see how you feel. There is a chance that yes, you over romanticized things and you need to come back down to reality. There is also a better chance you were in France on your own for seven months and came back with some new perspectives. If within a couple months you still don’t feel “in love”, do both of you the courtesy of breaking it off. I know he is your first boyfriend, so your instinct is to try to make it work. That’s fine, that’s why you should give yourself some time to figure out how you truly feel. But remember, you can’t force feelings. The longer you wait to be honest with yourself and him about the situation, the harder it is going to be.

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  1. I’ve just discovered your implication with hellogiggles, you are going to hear from me soon!! :)

  2. Thank so much! Doing my best and oddly becoming borderline obsessive with astrology haha =D

  3. Marissa help! I am A.J.s exact opposite position, I’m the one who got broken up with for her similar reasons! Got any good advice for the receiving end of the harsh hitting words “I don’t love you anymore?” :/

  4. <3 you are so incredibly kind and helpful. I love your posts, they are always so calming and insightful!