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Q. I have been dating my boyfriend on and off for the past four years, in and out of school (we’re in our early 20s now). This time around is the longest we’ve dated without breaking up. We’re almost at our two-year mark and things are going well.
The problem is that over the past year, I’ve been thinking about someone else, a guy I knew in school who used to like me years ago, and I was always attracted to him. We didn’t keep in touch after graduation, but he randomly texted me the other day to tell me he has a girlfriend who is a “version of me.”
Ever since he messaged about his girlfriend, I’ve been weirdly jealous, and I keep having sex dreams about him. I don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with my boyfriend because I love him so much, but ... what if I never get the chance to be with anyone else?
I know my boyfriend is the one I want to be with for the rest of my life. Maybe it’s just me being stupid right now, but this other guy — I just can’t get him out of my head for some reason. What should I do?
A. There’s nothing to do about this other man, really. You have a significant other and so does he. Your best bet is to have your sexy dreams and enjoy them. You’re allowed to have fantasies, and in a long-term relationship, it’s hard to avoid them.
You might be less haunted if you stop thinking of your current relationship as a lifetime commitment. You’re not betrothed; there’s no promise of forever just yet. I think you’re becoming obsessed with this other guy — and panicking about your future, in general — because you’re asking questions that you can’t answer right now. Maybe in a year you’ll decide that you must say goodbye to your boyfriend to experience being with other people. It’s also possible that in another 12 months you’ll feel even more confident about the relationship you’re in.
All you know is this: “We’re almost at our two-year mark and things are going well.” If you drop all of your big expectations, you might feel breezier about your fantasy life.
Your itch needs to be scratched. You clearly committed too early to The One And Only, and you’re now realizing that there’s more life out there than you saw before.
1. “I don’t want to jeopardize my relationship with my boyfriend because I love him so much, but ... what if I never get the chance to be with anyone else?” 2. “I know my boyfriend is the one I want to be with for the rest of my life.” These two statements seem to be diametrically opposed.
“I know my boyfriend is the one I want to be with for the rest of my life.” No you don’t. You’ve broken up on and off over the years. You fantasize regularly about another man. You feel romantic feelings toward another man, coupled with jealousy of his current paramour. You are scared to commit to a life with him without sampling others. None of this says happily ever after. Stop trying to make it fit just because you don’t want to be alone.
“I know my boyfriend is the one I want to be with for the rest of my life.” When you are 37 you may feel differently — or not. The point is you don’t actually know this.
Chances of your boyfriend being the one you are with for the rest of your life <5%.
When all of you commenters were young, did you really find wisdom in platitudes from older people such as: “You are too young to know what love is, so dump him,” and “You have no idea what you want at this time in your life, no matter what your heart and head tell you,”? Did these cliches actually make or break a major life decision for you? No, they did not, because old people saying “You are too young to know...” sound like repetitive creaky -windbags.
Nothing like being told you’re too young to know to make you want to prove those old fogies wrong.