DEAR JOHN: Why is it that, at the start of a relationship, most guys tell you how beautiful and wonderful you are, then two years down the road, they don't even see you when you march around the house naked?
— Attention Starved, in Jackson, Miss.
DEAR STARVED: When it comes to romance, most couples fall into a “sophomore” (take-it-for-granted) slump within the second or third year of their relationship. Unfortunately, it's usually the man whose passion has to be reignited.
Of course, this encouragement has to come from you, and it only happens if you approach your goal in the same manner as when you were first dating. That means pulling out all stops in the way you look (war paint), the way you act (flirtatiously) and the way you feel (romantic), and what you do (something new and unexpected).
In most cases, if you put out that vibe, he'll pick it up and follow your lead.
DEAR JOHN: I have been dating “Jack” for almost six months. He has one annoying habit: He is thrifty, although I know he has money. I noticed this right off the bat, but I discounted it because I had a husband who went bankrupt, so I understand and appreciate the value of thriftiness. But Jack takes it too far, and it's beginning to bother me. I feel like a financial expense rather than an emotional investment.
Recently, we went skiing, and he insisted that we take my car. I offered to buy gas, thinking that he would say “No way,” but he kept his mouth shut instead. I know how guys must feel about picking up the tab, so I've contributed. I've bought him nice gifts and an occasional dinner, and I always give him thank-you gifts.
— Tight Times, in East Orange, N.J.
DEAR TIGHT TIMES: In truth, Jack is not thrifty; he's cheap. If you want to give him the message that you expect better, do it now, because you won't get if you don't ask. For example, if he asks to use your car, say, “I'd prefer if you drove.” If he does not offer to pay for gas, ask for a donation. Only you can set the criteria by which you choose to be a part of this relationship. If you don't like having to regularly do that, and I don't know why you would, move on.
John Gray is the author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” If you have a question, email him at www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous and will be paraphrased.