HELP ME, HARLAN! – Boyfriend’s cute quirks are suddenly unattractive after moving in together

By Harlan Cohen

Harlan Cohen

Dear Harlan,

I’ve been in my first long-term relationship with a guy for about a year and a half. We are in our mid-20s and recently moved in together, and it has been going fine. However, I suddenly realized that there are major differences in our personalities (he is an extrovert; I am an introvert). I also realized that there are certain things he says and does that are very unattractive to me. I won’t go into detail about it, but as a result I am having some serious doubts as to whether this will last. I am aware that relationships can become stale; however, this feels different. I also know that two different personalities can work together, because many relationships and marriages are that way. At this time, though, I don’t know if these are simply common irritations or if they are red flags. I just accidentally met someone who more closely matches my wavelength, and now I wonder if it was a coincidence. The more I think about him, the more doubts I have. Now I’m questioning why I am still in this relationship if the feelings I once had for my boyfriend are dissipating or even absent.


Dear Doubting,

When the morning gas, middle-of-the-night snoring and dirty jokes stop being cute – that’s how you know the infatuation period is over. It happens to most couples. It’s part of being in a long-term relationship. Bottom line: You need to want this relationship to work. If the answer is “no,” it’s done. If the answer is “yes,” bring up what’s making you second-guess the relationship. Be open. Ask him if there’s anything turning him off or making him uncomfortable. There’s no risk in having an honest conversation. But don’t be so quick to end it. It’s normal for relationships to have peaks and valleys. Plan a trip together. Go on awesome dates. Stop accidentally meeting other men and thinking about them. If you’re having the same feelings in a few months, consider finding your own place. For now, see if you can make this work. 


Dear Harlan,

How many times is too many times to go back to my boyfriend? We have been dating three years and have broken up three times. One time, I went back to him. The other two times, he asked me to get back together. It’s been a few months, and I want to get back together again. My friends don’t understand why I would want to get back together with him. I miss him and love being with him. I’d rather be with him than be single. I’m not good at being alone. I’ve known him since I was 18. Should I get back together with him or listen to my friends?

Yo-Yo Dating

Dear Yo-Yo Dating,

When you have to ask how many times is too many times to go back to your boyfriend, you’ve reached your limit. I’m with your friends. Do not get back together with him. Do not date anyone. You don’t need a boyfriend. You need to get great at being single. That’s your biggest problem. The reason you go back isn’t because you’re in love with him. It’s because you do not love yourself. Here’s my suggestion: Spend a year being single. If you can’t handle being single, talk to a therapist and work on yourself. Learn to love yourself first, then invite someone else into your life.


Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.

© Harlan Cohen 2018; Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.


HELP ME, HARLAN! – Boyfriend’s cute quirks are suddenly unattractive after moving in together–