Ask Dr. Mark Goulston

By Dr. Mark Goulston (KRT) Dear Dr. Mark, My last boyfriend was romantic. He adored and doted on me, but he had no drive or ambition, and eventually, I lost respect for him and then my passion left soon after. We broke up, and I was relieved. My current boyfriend is really a great guy _ good sense of humor, generous, fun-loving, ambitious _ but he’s not romantic at all. He says I’m being too old-fashioned to be bothered by the lack of romance and that I should be able to overlook it and focus on what’s good in the relationship. He’s got a point. There is a lot of good to focus on, but I can seem to get past the romance thing. How can I get him to be more romantic, or how can I get over it mattering so much to me? _ No Romance at Northwestern State University Dear No, Here are a few ways to get him to be more romantic. The first approach is to use an analogy. Do this by thinking of how his being unromantic makes you feel. You might feel that he is being insensitive and inconsiderate especially if this is something that is important to you. You may feel that you go out of your way to do things that he likes and feel that he should reciprocate. Perhaps you feel that he doesn’t want to do something that he doesn’t believe in. Think about something that you don’t particularly like to do, but you do anyway because he likes it. Pick something that he’ll notice if you stop doing it. Then stop doing it, and when he acts disappointed or upset, tell him you needed to help him understand how he makes you feel when he’s not romantic so that maybe he’d give it a try. Second, start doing something that he likes that he knows you don’t care for. If he asks why you’re doing it, tell him that you were so focused on what you weren’t getting from him that you started to realize what you weren’t giving him and thought you’d give that a try in hopes that it might motivate him to return the favor. Third, tell him you figured out that the problem may not be that he’s unromantic, but that he really doesn’t know what to say or do to be romantic. Instead of pressuring him to surprise you with something romantic, suggest romantic ways you can spend an evening or weekend together. ___ (Dr. Mark Goulston is the author of “Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior” published by Perigee Books. Send your questions to Dr. Mark at [email protected] or visit him at ___ ‘copy 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.