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Love my boyfriend but I'm tempted to stray

Tagged as: Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (26 January 2018) 5 Answers - (Newest, 26 January 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

Hi there, thanks for looking. I hope it’s ok to ask this.. but please be nice as I’m already feeling in a very low place right now, and hate myself for this already.

I guess I’m looking for the sort of advice a parent might give. I can’t stop crying.

I’ve been with my partner for 7 years and never doubted my love for him in the past. He is very loyal and reliable and would take a bullet for me, but he’s also not spontaneous or romantic, he can be grumpy etc gives me very little attention and has a temper and doesn’t often initiate sex. Well this guy I know who I used to work with started messaging me about 4 months ago and we really hit it off. It was just friendly but we ended up talking a LOT. It made my confidence so much better and I’d forgot what it was like to feel a ‘spark’ or feel good about myself. He complimented me and messaged me constantly. This guy also has a girlfriend but they aren’t in a good place.

We ended up flirting quite a bit and becoming quite close, he told me he likes me and though we both agreed we wouldn’t sleep together there is definitely something there. He told me how he found me really attractive etc. However he sometimes messes me about, I think he’s a player.. he says he willl message me then doesn’t, and I also recently found out that in the first two months we were talking he’d also been sending flirty messages to another girl. I didn’t know he was like this until I was already into him. Of course I know he is bad news but I feel addicted to him.. he didn’t message me when he said but I feel I’ll still jump to reply when he does. He always messages first but I don’t think he makes as much as an effort now as he used to. Last week He told me he didn’t mean to, but developed feelings for me, but sometimes I wonder if that is true. However this week he has hardly even messaged me.

I know my boyfriend deserves better than this and I’ve tried talking to him, he doesn’t want to break up he wants to make it work. I know nothing can happen with this other guy but I’m crazy about him, even though he appears to just be messing me about. And my poor boyfriend is lovely.. I don’t know where my feelings have went, because until this guy came along, I knew I loved my boyfriend. I feel like I’m having a quarter life crisis. It’s like I’ve got a broken heart over another guy, and I feel like a terrible person but I’m hurting so much. How can I stop fancying this other guy? How can I get over him? We have mutual friends so I can’t avoid him making it very hard to stop liking him.

Thanks so much in advance for taking the time to read this :-)

View related questions: confidence, flirt, has a girlfriend, player

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (26 January 2018):

You've got what they call the 7-year itch, back in the olden-days. When you've been with a person in a committed relationship or marriage so long, you start to feel yourself getting restless. You get a roving-eye, and a yearning to seek lovers on the side. To stir-up some drama and passion.

If you were older, I'd advise you to work on it and try to save it. But I can't!

Your boyfriend has been with you so long, that you could say you've nearly "grown-up" together. You get pretty used to each other. For a guy, after that much time; being romantic isn't as easy as it was when you first became a couple. Youth has a shorter attention-span! You need new toys!

Passion tapers-off. Things run hot; until the sexual-energy begins to plateau. Activity slows-down. Things may get a little luke-warm in the bedroom. Real-love stays strong. There is no cheating in real-love. Real-love also self-repairs; but only when two people tend to each others wounds until they heal.

If your relationship is in good-shape, the heat of passion comes back. It naturally fluctuates. If it's floundering on it's last-legs, you'll drift-apart. The flirting with others begins, secret messaging, strange behavior ensues, and someone is likely to cheat. Cheating leads to lying and deceit. Trust is lost, and the relationship will not survive. You do get temped, that's normal; and you can make mistakes. If it gets too hard to avoid temptation, all is lost.

The ladies always seem to be the ones to want him to "be more romantic." How? What do you do to make him want to be romantic? What is your definition of romantic? It's not the same for everyone. You don't feel so romantic when you've been around someone like a sister or brother practically forever. When you've been fighting a lot, you feel cornered, and you're not sure if you can keep pretending you still want to be together.

To most guys, having sex IS being romantic. We tend to be more to the point. All the extra stuff adds spice. But what's it all leading to, but sex? The ladies usually have something else in-mind. Wanting him to be the more greeting-card lovey-dovey. The romance-novel lover. The soap-opera hero. All movie-like...kisses, hugs, valentines, and mushy.

You're not dating anymore. It's not fresh like it used to be. It's the same-old/same-old. Young people don't survive well on "stale" or "old." You change your phone every year!

Mushy-love can't be sustained for too long. It starts to feel weird and silly. Passion has to be spontaneous. If you can't get that spark, the pilot went-out; because you've over-played it.

Two people in their early twenties trying to make a relationship mimic a marriage. Nuh-uh! Don't work! You dragged it out too long, sweetheart!

If you "ask" for more romance, it just doesn't come-out right. It's robotic or mechanical. It's easy when you're trying to woo someone for the first few months you're together. Eventually the honeymoon-phase is over. Especially after seven years playing married. You should have been seeing other people and dating in your teens through 20! You've been with him since you were about 14!

Then you mention he has a bad temper and gets grumpy. That's a sure sign he's tired of the relationship; but he feels stuck and pressured to stay. Sticking it out is his duty.

You'll cry, get all emotional, make a dramatic scene, and make him look like a real dick. You've conditioned him to this over the years. Now you're getting itchy-feet and sneaky hormones!

You both are afraid to let go. You're describing a relationship that has expired; but continues out of habit and old-time tradition. Not love and passion. That slipped-away some time ago; but the thought and visualization of either of you being with someone else, feels wrong and uncomfortable.

Cheating isn't the answer. It's still cheating even if you avoid having sex. Eventually you will. It's inevitable. You're getting a thrill out of the secrecy, the intrigue, and the adrenaline-surge mixed with dopamine that makes you high; when you're sneaking around knowing you could get caught at any moment! Your secret little playmate he doesn't know about!

All hell will break-loose the minute your boyfriend or the other guy's girlfriend finds out.

Getting in the habit of going outside of a relationship to find someone else to compensate for deficiencies is a bad habit to develop. You'll make excuses for it and rationalize to make yourself feel better. The crocodile tears and dramatics only make it worse. You know it's wrong, yet you continue to do it.

You need to undo the emotionally co-dependent relationship you're in with both guys. You're feeding on the attention one guy gives; while clinging to the other one to make you feel safe and protected from loneliness. In both cases it's a bad way to conduct an adult-relationship.

Your relationship with your BF is so ingrained, it's on auto-pilot. It's like being conjoined twins. Cut one away, and the other may not survive. But you will!

You can't make anything work when you are with a guy who is becoming angry and irritable. Somethings is going on or going wrong inside his head. I think you've been together far too long for people your age. I think he loves you, but the sexual-connection you once had is wearing-off; because the relationship is becoming threadbare.

Now the expiration and sell-by dates on the relationship have come. You're cheating. He's seeming grumpy and less attentive sexually; and doesn't offer spontaneous affection.

This all spells the relationship is done. So now you need to talk and decide what to do about that. You're too young to be renewing vows like married-people. It's puttered-out and you're beating a dead-horse. It's gasping its last breath!

You killed the horse when you started seeing someone else and having feelings for him. His getting mean is a good reason to dump him. Promises to stop isn't good enough. It never should have started.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (26 January 2018):

Honeypie agony auntI think you need to sit down and identify what it IS you are NOT getting from your BF and actively seek from this other guy.

Are those things that your BF would START to do for you? Or not. If not, then you have to decide if you can STICK with a guy who obviously isn't fulfilling YOUR needs.

Being tempted is nothing new. But knowing WHEN to stop, HOW to stick to boundaries and WHEN to cut someone lose when you are no longer upholding your OWN standards of behavior.

YOU wouldn't like it ONE bit of your BF was doing what YOU are doing with another girl. So YOU have to figure out why it's OK for you to do this. My guess? You know it's not but it's giving you something - like an ice-cube on a hot summer's day - it feels GREAT in the moment but it's NOT lasting, it's not totally fulfilling either.

The guy you are flirting with has a GF - do you not CARE how this might affect her? I know you don't REALLY care how it affects YOUR BF, but what about her?

He isn't interested in you. He is interested in getting HIS ego rub (just like you) he might even hope for a shag or two. YOU are JUST a game to him (as he is to you). You are a bag full of hot air with him and he is that with you. INSTANT GRATIFICATION. And you both USE the same excuses, my partner isn't giving me what I NEED/WANT so... it's sorta OK to do this. I can't help it... I'm a addicted.. blah blah blah.

No, it's NOT OK. you wouldn't want your BF to do this.

You know WHAT to do and that is SHIT or get off the pot. Either you BLOCK this other guy or you end it with your BF. If you become single you can flirt away (though you might still want to grow a bit of a conscience and realize that this is NOT harmless to his GF).

You are basically CHEATING right now. Emotionally. Is that OK in your book?

I get that you have been with your BF for 7 years and that is a LONG time, you are used to him, he is used to you, it's familiar, it's sort of stable, but you are NOT fulfilled. Which means your BF is probably not fulfilled either.

You are BOTH scared to face the facts, and the facts are the relationship is past it's expiration date. How do I know that? Because you have spend that last 4 months!! giving attention to and getting attention from another man. A man you KNOW isn't a good guy, you KNOW isn't a good BF to his GF, who is so full of empty words- you know he isn't HALF the man your BF is. YET you continue. WITH BOTH men.

You have to decide what you want.

You know you can't HAVE the other guy (as he has a GF and he is a player) he is NOT going to be faithful to you. Of he can't be that with his GF? He isn't going to be it with you.

You know your BF isn't fulfilling your needs. DOES he even know that? Have you expressed to him in CLEAR language that you feel neglected? Just going through the routine because you have been together for 7 years is not really a good reason to BE with him.

To need to ACT like a grown up and take responsibility for your actions.

If you WANT to "talk" to other men, then BE single! And talk to OTHER single men.

If you want to work on your relationship with your BF - TALK to him. See what he needs from you and express what you need from him. WORK ON IT. Flirting with another man is NOT going to fix your relationship.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (26 January 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntYou were very young when you started dating your current boyfriend, so it's highly likely it's just reached its end naturally. That said, talking to the other guy is trouble because he isn't single, regardless of how his relationship is.

You also know he just can't commit to anyone, so he's not worth the heartache that will come along with him. Just cut all contact with him before it goes too far. Seeing him will be difficult, but you have to take him off the pedestal you've put him on and take off the rose-tinted glasses. Right now, he's your escape, but you *know* he's playing you. Remind yourself of that every time you think of him and distract yourself. It will take time, but you need to do it.

As for your boyfriend, you've grown apart. You're familiar and love each other, but you aren't *in* love any more. If you *want* to give it one more shot, get couples' therapy. If not, and you'll continue daydreaming about others, you need to let him go. It's perfectly okay to break up, albeit sad - it's just not working any more.

That said, be prepared that the spark will *always* dim to a glow and become a comfortable routine. People can *always* be grumpy, at times. People sometimes have a temper too. As long as they are a well-rounded, non-abusive person, it's all normal and you'll need to be accepting of that from any future relationship.

If you aren't happy, either leave or go to couples' counselling; just agreeing to "make it work" won't change anything.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 January 2018):

Hey. I know what you are going through. I was in a relationship for seven years before I ended it to date another guy. I also felt the same, I started to talk the other guy who wasn't my boyfriend 24/7. I am now currently dating the other guy and we've gone through so much because I jumped into the relationship, that could have been prevented had I waited. I can say looking back at it, that I feel as though I wish I could have given my seven year relationship another shot. I loved my ex and he is a great person. I feel as though once you are out of the relationship you'll begin to see how much that person truly meant to you.

Try to reflect on why you feel the way you do. All that you listed can be changed, have you told your boyfriend all your needs/wants. Sometimes we forget that people are n't mind readers. You have to be vocal on what you want, just like anything a relationship takes a whole lot of work. In the beginning its easy, but as you keep going it gets much more difficult, its up to both people to keep it from dwindling. All relationships have difficulties but if you truly loved him than what you felt is still there, its just buried deep. Spend time with your boyfriend, communicate with him everything and be honest on your feelings. If he truly wants it to work than he will consider what you are saying and put more effort in keeping you and making sure you feel cherished. But you also have to put an effort and avoid talking to the other guy so you can make yourself work and see if the feelings you had are there.

Do things with your boyfriend together! Plan a trip, whatever it may be, its easy to give up because a new relationship is exciting but the problems you have might just carry on to the other relationship. Fix what can be fixed and see if its worth it. If you can have no regrets and are 100% of your feelings than do what is best for you, what makes you happy.

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (26 January 2018):

Anonymous 123 agony aunt

When you say that your boyfriend has a bad temper, what exactly do you mean? Is he violent? Verbally abusive?

Anyway what I feel is that basically your relationship with your boyfriend has run it's course and the new guy is a distraction. I'm pretty sure you won't have anything to do with the new guy for too long. He's just a breath of fresh air after your stuffy relationship and it's not like you have to choose between either.

You need to be a big girl and break up with your boyfriend because let's face it, you know it's over. You are not in love with him; you feel obligated to him because of all the time spent together and the fact that you feel that he worships you. Almost like you love him but you're not IN love with him.

Even if you have mutual friends and will continue to see him, your still need to do what's right and that means breaking up because you're not doing justice to him.

You're a grown-up and you are accountable for your actions. No more self-pity, no more crying, no more whining. You had a good relationship while it lasted but you need to let go now. You are not obligated to him or to anyone else, for that matter. You don't need to be apologetic and you don't need to give any excuses.

As for the new guy, don't jump from the frying pan into the fire.

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