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Suzanne
Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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First of all, Im going to seem absolutely awful for this....but

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First of all, I'm going to seem absolutely awful for this....but I need to know if I'm headed down the right road...

I've been with my current boyfriend for nearly 3 years now. We've been very happy, and I care very deeply about him. Aside from being a couple, we are very good friends and have been for a long time.
However....he's the only real "serious" relationship I've been in. I've only had one other boyfriend, ever. I've dated a couple others, but really only been tied down to one. Quite frankly, I'm wondering what else is out there....I know....I sound like such a terrible person. I'm just not sure I'm entirely happy anymore.

Recently a new friend has come into my life, and I think I'm developing feelings for him. Not sure what they are.... He is quite possibly the nicest, sweetest guy I've ever met in my life. He is such a gentleman, and we share a lot of the same interests. He is a wonderful person, and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with him. I feel safe with him, and he makes me feel like he truly cares about me. (Not that my current boyfriend doesn't have these qualities.) He seems like he is something really special. Unfortunately, he is moving away in December(graduated from college and is moving back home to find a job)....and I can't help this nagging feeling that I could miss out on someone amazing. He seems so wonderful in every way, I'm just in awe of him. I don't know if I just have a silly crush or if there could potentially be something there.
I don't even know if he even thinks of me as more than a casual friend, but part of me wants to go for it and avoid kicking myself later for losing "the one." Part of me says that even if I went for it, I'd be causing myself and him pain because he is going to be moving pretty far away pretty soon. And a huge part of me is ashamed for even thinking such things, because it hurts me to even think about hurting the guy I've been with for so long. I love him, but honestly I can't help wanting to see what else is out there. I'm afraid that I could be making a mistake by deciding to possibly spend the rest of my life with the first guy I've had a serious relationship with.

What do I do??? Do I talk to my guy about this other person? Do I need a break from being tied down? Do we need to figure out where we both stand on our future together? I'm confused and I don't want to end up hurting myself or either guy.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Suzanne replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for writing to Just Answer.

 

You didn't mention if you lived with your boyfriend or not, so I'm going to answer as if you're not. If you are, double the intensity of everything that follows:

 

The first thing to ask yourself is if you were feeling "tied down" to your boyfriend before the other guy came into the picture.

 

If so, it may be time to take a good look at the relationship. Just the fact that you chose the phrase "tied down" may be an indication of how you've been feeling.

 

However, you need to know that your current relationship is 98% sure to end if you tell him you want a break.

 

Imagine that your bf came to you and said he had met someone, and wanted to find out it that other relationship can work. If the very thought of him being with someone else is upsetting, then think carefully before ending it. If the thought brings relief, then you know it's time to leave.

 

I would caution you against leaving him "for" someone else. There are no guarantees that the other guy is as wonderful in private as he is in public. Some of the most controlling, horrible husbands are men who everyone (but their wife) thinks is wonderful.

 

He's also leaving. Are you thinking you will pack up your life and follow him?

 

The one thing I always ask my clients to do when they are feeling a vague dissatisfaction with their relationship, job, etc is:

For one week, the very first thing in the morning (before you shower,even) get up and immediately sit down at your desk and hand-write (don't use a computer) three pages of free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness journaling. Don't stop moving the pen, even if all you're writing for half a page is "I have nothing to write" over and over. Sooner or later, your subconscious will emerge, and things will come pouring out (usually after about one and a half pages.

 

Why do I recommend this? Often when we have a vague, nagging sense of discontent, it has more to do with ourselves than with our partner. Is there something you want to accomplish but haven't? Are you stuck in a job or in a major at school that doesn't fit you?

 

What's important is that you don't pin your hopes of a better life on some new guy...this could start a life-long pattern and leave you twenty years later with a string of broken relationships and wondering what happened to that great guy you dated for 3 years back in the day.

 

I just have a feeling that what you said: "I can't help wanting to see what else is out there"

has more to do with your life than with your relationship (notice you didn't say "who else"..you said "what else").

 

This is all to encourage you not to do anything rash because the other guy is leaving soon. This adds a false sense of urgency which could pressure you into making a decision you'll regret later on.

 

I hope I've given you some new ways to think about what's going on...

I wish you the best, XXXXX XXXXX what you decide,

Suzanne

Suzanne, Therapist, LCSW
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 919
Experience: Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency
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Experienced in treating trauma, relationship issues, co-dependency