In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:
He has made me the happiest that I ever remember being, but I don’t know if the reason I’m with him is simply because he’s “safe.” He is really a good guy and he understands me almost more than I do myself. Except on this issue. I haven’t told him about this particular issue that I have because I barely understand it myself. I don’t want to always feel like I need to check to make sure that I am on my best behavior. Also, I’ve been fantasizing about other guys. I did read either in your advice or in the comments that fantasizing itself isn’t bad, but it’s the first step to cheating. I refuse to cheat on my boyfriends because once a cheater, always a cheater. But I feel like I could really easily cheat. I love to flirt and that’s how I get along with so many different people. My boyfriend and I have talked about this and he is semi-okay with it as long as I don’t lead the guys on.
I’m just a mess. I don’t know whether I should somehow talk to him about it — but what would I even say? — or if I should try to break up with him. Maybe I just need to be single again. But I’m sure that if we broke up it would break his heart — his ex-girlfriend messed him up quite a bit when she sprung it on him after three years that she didn’t love him. — Dancing Queen
amy June 18, 2012, 9:04 am
I think your gut is telling you that you aren’t ready to settle down. It seems like you want to go out and flirt and have a good time but you feel guilty settling with this guy. You’re not happy, which isn’t fair to you, and it’s not fair to him.
The end of your letter says it all. You don’t want to break your heart because he’s been hurt in the past. This is not a reason to stay. I think a break might be in order. Breakups hurt, there’s nothing you can do about that, but if you talk to him open and honestly about everything you put in this letter, then his heart wouldn’t be breaking. You wouldn’t be lying to him.
It sounds like you want to experience your life. I suggest that you tell him that. It will hurt a lot more for him if this continues and you wind up going home with someone, or you leave him in the heat of the moment.
ReginaRey June 18, 2012, 9:13 am
All of this screams “You need to be single!” So listen to it. You said you were young, and your letter sounded fairly young, too. Not in a bad way, necessarily, just in a “I’m really young and still want to party and dance and flirt with boys and don’t really want to be tied down.” It sounds like your boyfriend is a nice guy, and you don’t want to hurt him by breaking up with him. But you’re not doing yourself or him any favors by staying in a relationship that isn’t right for either of you. If he’s more of a homebody who wants to settle down, and you’re more of a partier who doesn’t want to settle down (and who still seems to want to play the field)…then you guys just aren’t compatible at this point in your lives.
It’s not wrong to break up with him. Yeah, he may be heartbroken and upset. But 99% of the time, people who are broken up with (and who HASN’T been there?) ultimately see the point of the break up. In time, they see why the break up was a good thing. He may be hurt at first, but I think eventually you’ll BOTH be glad that you didn’t stay in a relationship that wasn’t compatible.
Go experience what you want to experience. Scratch all of your itches. Because what you don’t want (and what the world does not need any more of) is someone who DIDN’T get to scratch the itch…and who ends up married, and dying to scratch it when they’re 40 years old with a spouse and a family. Be young and free NOW, when you’re still young and have the luxury.
ScrambledMegss June 18, 2012, 10:00 am
artsygirl June 18, 2012, 9:13 am
LW – It sounds like you still want be to be viewed as attractive and desirable by the opposite sex. Perhaps you feel like your relationship is a little too comfortable and settled and so you are flirting with other men. No matter what, you need to make some decisions on where you want your future to go. You can decide to become a homebody like your BF and probably be miserable and perhaps even resentful because it is not ultimately how you like to spend your evenings. You can continue to go out and flirt and feel guilty and make your BF angry probably leading to a breakup down the road. Or finally, you could try to find an activity which you can engage you BF in which meets in the middle. Maybe convince him to take salsa or swing dance classes or do something outdoors like hiking. That way you are both out of your comfort zones. Good luck!
Desiree June 18, 2012, 9:19 am
There are so many lines in this letter that indicate the LW needs to leave the relationship. The one that stood out to me most is “I feel like I could really easily cheat.” I don’t think that is a healthy feeling to have one year into the relationship, particularly when the relationship isn’t undergoing any major upheavals. LW, if this relationship were right for you, you would feel a very strong, natural inclination to NOT cheat on your partner. I don’t want to say MOA, because we frequently use that phrase for people who are in really bad relationships or have terrible SOs, but…MOA. This isn’t working for you.
ReginaRey June 18, 2012, 9:29 am
“I don’t want to say MOA, because we frequently use that phrase for people who are in really bad relationships or have terrible SOs”…why not? Moving on and breaking up isn’t something we’re only allowed to tell people who are in obviously bad relationships. Sometimes things just don’t mesh. Even if there’s nothing outwardly wrong about the relationship…doesn’t mean it’s right.
Desiree June 18, 2012, 9:31 am
I get what you are saying, I just feel like I typically use that phrase more often when the person’s SO is the obvious reason the relationship isn’t working, not just when it’s a generalized incompatibility. That’s just me.
SweetPeaG June 18, 2012, 11:14 am
Sometimes I feel like I throw “MOA!” around too much.
But, when we all stop to think… most people don’t write in because everything in their relationship is healthy & happy. MOA does apply very often on Dear Wendy. It just goes with the territory.
Budj June 18, 2012, 9:20 am
Break up with him. This guy sounds reasonable enough, but like he is in a different place than you. Would be a shame to give him a complex because you couldn’t just break it off. Face it. You want to be single. Don’t drag this out so long you do something you regret.
diamore June 18, 2012, 10:12 am
Ugh, you make it sound so easy. Maybe you should break up with him for her… lol
Budj June 18, 2012, 10:14 am
Dear LW’s BF,
Your GF is upset you don’t like her dancing with other guys so she wants to break up. Unless you want an open relationship I don’t know what to tell you, bro. Sorry. Fret not…Dong City will welcome you with open arms.
Fabelle June 18, 2012, 9:28 am
LW, it’s totally fine to want to go out & dance while in a relationship. My boyfriend doesn’t like venues with dancing, loud music, etc. but I still go sometimes with my friends. Light flirty-ness might happen, but if a guy is overtly hitting on me (an approach I dislike, regardless of my relationship status) I shut him down. I also don’t dance with anybody– if someone tries to get up close on me, I back off.
Obviously, what works for my relationship may not be suitable to yours– but have you thought about setting similiar boundries? Or do you really want to just go buck wild whenever you’re out? If it’s the latter, I’d say maybe your heart is telling you that you DO want to be single. But if you can see yourself setting boundries (enough so that you don’t feel guilty after every outing), then that could be a good comprimose.
parton_doll June 18, 2012, 10:27 am
I was thinking this exact thing. I enjoy going out and dancing and my husband never has. We have very similar boundaries to what you’ve described, I generally don’t dance with other people and when I do or light flirting happens, there is a clear message that I am unavailable. I don’t feel like I am being “on my best behavior” as the LW describes.
Maybe the LW should talk to her BF to clarify better what makes him uncomfortable and also to express to him this pressure she feels about having to change herself to meet his needs . It seems to me that this situation may have blown up her mind into something that he may not have intended. I know that I do that sometimes and when I talk to my husband, I can see where I may have heard something that he didn’t necessarily say. Also, it can be scary to be a long term relationship and some people panic thinking that their life is over because they’ve committed to one person (hence the fantasies, etc).
I would just take a deep breath, take a step back and talk to him first. Then if it turns out that this relationship really isn’t something that is right for you right now, you can leave knowing that you did everything you could to make it work for you.
theattack June 18, 2012, 9:31 am
If the reason you don’t want to cheat is because “once a cheater, always a cheater,” it just screams to me that you’re not that concerned about it. Because you made cheating about you personally instead of about respecting your relationship and your boyfriend, you don’t need to be in this relationship.
The issue you’re having is not that hard to talk about if you use it as a jumping off point for communication skills. You just tell him that you like to go out, and because he doesn’t want to go with you, that leaves you dancing alone. Ask him to meet you half way. You’ll stop dancing with other guys if he starts making an effort to go out and dance with you more. But LW, if this option doesn’t sound like it would fix all of your problems, and I’m guessing it won’t, you should leave. Your boyfriend doesn’t deserve to have a girlfriend who has to flirt with other guys whenever she’s not getting a constant stream of attention from him. You’re young. Get out and flirt if you want, but don’t keep a back-up boyfriend waiting at home, wondering what you’re out doing.
Desiree June 18, 2012, 9:35 am
“You made cheating about you personally instead of about respecting your relationship and your boyfriend.” That is such a good point. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t like about the way she discussed cheating, but you nailed it.
theattack June 18, 2012, 9:41 am
Oh, and one more thing. People do get their hearts broken, and it might be hard to do something knowing that it will hurt someone, but ultimately that’s what dating is. People have the exciting stage, then the blissfully happy stage, and the comfy stage. But there’s always an enormous risk of heart break, and people learn that pretty early on in dating. If he’s had his heart broken before, then I’m sure he was well aware of the risk he was taking in dating again. You shouldn’t casually run around breaking hearts left and right, but you should know that heart break is going to be a reality for almost everyone, so don’t avoid it so much that you waste your youth drawing out a relationship that’s not working.
Random Friends reference: This is the corollary to the pretend conversation between Rachel and Ross on Monica’s balcony where she questions if a relationship is worth it because they always end in a breakup, and Ross reminds her that it only has to work out once. Hopefully you’re only looking for it to work out once, and you have to go through a lot of broken hearts to get there.
diamore June 18, 2012, 10:10 am
I agree, but there’s always some underlying fear of leaving a relationship that’s working, even if it lacks some passion or whatever, because ‘maybe you’ve already found the best there is’. As well, I think it’s more true if relationship have never really gone well, or it’s a ‘first romance’. I guess the LW is stuck between a rock and a hard place – she doesn’t want to break up, but she wants to flirt without feeling like a shitty GF. What’s a girl to do?!
katie June 18, 2012, 10:17 am
whats a girl to do?
a girl is to act as a respectable woman, admit to her true feelings about her own life, and communicate effectively with a man she thinks she might be marrying.
thats what a girl is supposed to do.
diamore June 18, 2012, 10:34 am
I was being sarcastic, and apologies for not explicitly stating it.
But, yeah, I agree.
katie June 18, 2012, 10:38 am
ha, i kind of was to…
sorry, i didnt mean to come off as mean.
ktfran June 18, 2012, 9:32 am
I’ve been exactly where you are. Seriously. Exactly.
I was in my mid twenties and dating a great guy. He had a good job, was funny, would do anything for me. I loved him and his family. But, like you, I liked flirting with other people. I always just chalked it up to being friendly and yeah, I kind of liked the attention. What I didn’t know at the time is that it was a symptom of a bigger problem. Even though I was with this great guy, there was something missing and we weren’t going to make it forever.
It took getting engaged, moving in together and then me freaking out and going to therapy to finally realize that I needed to call it off. I’m so happy that I did because I know that if we would have gone through with it, it would have ended badly.
But you know what, we were able to remain friendly. And now, he is fixing up a house with a new girlfriend and he is happy. I am happy for him.
It’s so easy to stay in a relationship that you might think is good enough. But it’s the reason so many people are unhappy.
katie June 18, 2012, 9:40 am
re-read your own letter again, LW, and think about if that is the letter a woman would write about a man who she is considering to be her husband… i would say its not. those are not the things that you say about a man you want to marry.
going out, dancing, and meeting new people, and yes even flirting, dont mean that you want out of your relationship and that you are unhappy in it… and actually, if your next boyfriend doesnt like to go out and dance either (why is it that guys never like to dance??) you need to find a way to have a relationship where you can go out and dance -even with other men- and thats ok. being in a relationship shouldnt mean that you have to stop doing the things that you love to do… i go out and dance, not as much as i would like to or as much as i used to, but i know that at the end of the night i cuddle up to my boyfriend, and thats exactly how i want it to be…. it doesnt seem that you like that reality.
GatorGirl June 18, 2012, 9:41 am
I’ve got a little bit of a different take. I think you both need to meet in the middle if you’re really committed to this relationship. He needs to suck it up and go out dancing sometimes and you need to suck it up and stay home sometimes. Tell him how you’re feeling and ask him to work on this with you if you want to continue in this relationship. Great relationships are built on trust, communication, and compromise.
Also, don’t stay with someone because you’re afraid of hurting them. That is worse in the end then just breaking it off now.
Desiree June 18, 2012, 9:52 am
I think the problem is that she doesn’t care enough to make the effort to make this relationship works. To me, it sounds like she thinks she should want to make it work (because her boyfriend is a nice guy, etc.), but she just doesn’t. I’ve definitely had relationships that looked good “on paper,” but were missing some essential spark in life.
theattack June 18, 2012, 9:57 am
I totally agree. Like I said above, the dancing dilemma is not hard to fix at all if she actually wants to. Couples work through those sorts of issues seamlessly every single day. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to put forth that effort. The LW just needs to take a few steps back and realize that she wants her freedom more than her boyfriend, and that’s okay.
GatorGirl June 18, 2012, 1:00 pm
I guess part of my thought is that if she took the effort to write into DW maybe she still cares enough to try to make this work. If she does then the both need to compromise. If she doesn’t- she should walk now. No sense in dragging on a relationship- it will only hurt this guy more in the end.
dandywarhol June 18, 2012, 5:41 pm
I agree with you. I had a relationship that, on paper, looked like a great one. However, there was something missing in “real life” that made me rethink it. Ultimately I ended it. Just because he is a nice guy, does things for you, etc doesn’t mean you won’t find it again, you just have to be ready for it.
diamore June 18, 2012, 10:04 am
LW, if you were comfortable being in a relationship, going out would be a non-issue because you probably wouldn’t have the desire to flirt, cheat,or whatever. Plus, you feel you can’t even talk to your boyfriend about this, which is a huge red-flag for the relationship since you feel as though you’re being “untrue” to him. Discuss it with him. Tell him how you feel. Chances are you both will come to either an agreement where he goes dancing with you once a week if you do some activity that he enjoys once a week, or you’ll decide that this is a sticky point that can’t be resolved.
As well, if you feel like you can cheat, then this particular relationship, at this stage in your life, is not for you. I think that your idea of cheating, “once a cheater; always a cheater”, is pushing you to flirt with other men – I know, it sounds strange, but the desire to seek attention from other places is caused from dissatisfaction somewhere in your life – possible this relationship. I wonder if, like theattack said, you are being careless with the relationship by making cheating about you. If that stigma is the reason keeping you from cheating, you’ll still end up cheating because the dissatisfaction of your relationship will override the fear of your ‘reputation’.
Honestly, you should end the relationship. I know it’s hard and it sucks, but you don’t want to marry him with the mind set of ‘Once I’m married that feeling will disappear’ because it doesn’t, and you will be unhappy.
katie June 18, 2012, 10:13 am
“Once I’m married that feeling will disappear, because it doesn’t, and you will be unhappy.”
YES!! LW, whatever you do, dont marry this guy until you have worked through this. marriage is never a good bandaid.
diamore June 18, 2012, 10:36 am
Yeah, band-aids always fall off after they get wet… :/ lol
Suzanne June 18, 2012, 10:36 am
One of the worst reasons for staying with someone is that you don’t want to hurt them. You will hurt your bf more by leading him on more months or years – and then breaking up with him. Let’s face it, your heart isn’t in this relationship.
The tone of your letter shows that you are itching for your freedom. Give yourself that freedom while you are young. Dance, hook up, live! This is the time in your life to do those things – before you have kids, a husband or a mortgage.
Violet June 18, 2012, 10:47 am
One thing that stood out to me about your letter, LW, is that it seemed to be missing any sort of empathy for what your partner’s needs might be. You expressly mention more than once that your main concern is that you want to be able to go out and dance with other guys, flirt openly, have fun, maybe even hook up occasionally. This is perfectly okay, but you are going to need to be single to do those things because your BF has made it clear that he is not comfortable with opening up the relationship to other parties. Lastly, the phrasing about cheating coming easy to you or only staying with your BF because you feel guilty are really all you need to consider. Your BF’s ex stayed with him too long, it seems, and it really hurt him. But you would be doing the same thing, and it is better to cut him loose now before you find yourself resentful and cheating to get out of the relationship. You clearly need your freedom right now, LW. When you’re ready to settle in with someone, you will know it.
I think it would be unnecessarily hurtful to tell your boyfriend you feel the need to get this validation from other men and that is why you need to break up. It would be more mature to tell him that you just feel that you have some personal issues you would like to explore and resolve, and you need the time and space by yourself to do so, so breaking up is the best option for both of you. Best of luck to you, LW.
landygirl June 18, 2012, 11:00 am
LW, you aren’t ready for something serious. Break up with this boy and go out and have fun and flirt.
CatsMeow June 18, 2012, 11:01 am
I was in your situation once, LW. I was with a very nice, yet kind of boring guy. We were young. I started to get the “itch” like you. . . but I was afraid to break up with him because I didn’t know if I could ever find someone else who loved me as much as he did. I thought it was a mature and selfish reason to break up with someone. I’ve told this story on DW before, but during my wishy-washy should-I-shouldn’t-I break up with him phase, I ended up kissing another guy. It took THAT for me to realize that I obviously didn’t have respect for him or for our relationship. So I broke it off, and because I had betrayed him, it made the breakup THAT much more messy.
While I regret my actions, I do not regret breaking up with him. I needed my freedom and I needed to go out and experience life on my own for a while. (Plus, we’re really not right for each other. It’s way easier to see that now). LW, I’m not saying our situations are exactly the same, but I do think you should probably just break up with your boyfriend. Be young, be single, have fun. He’ll be OK. And do it before you do something you regret (like cheat).
CatsMeow June 18, 2012, 12:22 pm
*immature, not mature.
Jubietta June 18, 2012, 11:24 am
I wish it were possible to give people the emotional experience of a healthy relationship in pill form – not to replace the healthy relationship, but to provide an in-my-gut comparison between what’s going to be good and last and where they are at the moment. (BTW, I believe that monogamy isn’t for everyone the same way heterosexuality isn’t for everyone. Healthy is not defined by the outside, but from inside.)
New love and flirting are so visceral, so chemical – flooding the brain with so many nice things. Attention from the opposite sex is an amazing ego boost. Proving yourself to be the “prettiest” girl in the room who the guys all want to get close to can be a winning rush. The unknown drives us to want to see what might come next. Unpredictable kisses are hot. A stranger’s touch can be on the edge of dangerous.
But would I trade what I have to go back there. No way!
My stable, growing, healthy relationship provides things you can’t get until you work through all this stuff. My relationship is a platform from which I launch myself to try things I want to do, but are out of my comfort zone. It’s where I come back to celebrate success; ponder and reformulate my plan of attack when I only get partial success; and lick my wounds when I crash-and-burn. It’s also a source of true intimacy, loving touch, and (believe it or not) wild abandon when the time is right. It’s the place where I am truly myself without apology or hiding.
Nope, I wouldn’t trade all that for all the dance halls in all the cities in all the world. I should be here and I should be monogamous. But LW, if you don’t see this kind of thing as where you need to be, then listen to the other advice and find a graceful exit and keep looking until you find your healthy relationship.
theattack June 18, 2012, 2:19 pm
What a wonderful description of a loving, healthy relationship. I feel like you should save your comment in a Word document and paste it in for every young LW who feels the need for some freedom.
Bossy Italian Wife June 18, 2012, 11:54 am
The one thing I have learned from my own relationship of nearly nine years is that you have to want it. I barely ever think of other men, and my friends (even my mom) will say that when I am out other men are looking at ME, and I just never notice. The point? I am so into my husband that I don’t see other men, even if they are clearly coming onto me!
If you think you could easily cheat, then the sticking power doesn’t sound like it’s there for this particular relationship. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t ready to settle down, it just means you haven’t met the guy for you yet. When you know, you KNOW… so if you are questioning it already after only a year, you might want to get out while the getting is good.
Because if you really care about this guy, you will let him loose to find someone who jives more with his personal style of staying home. Don’t you want a guy who loves to go out and let you grind him on the dance floor? I thought so. 🙂
Lindsay June 18, 2012, 12:13 pm
Echoing everyone else, it sounds like you’re not ready for a relationship. Also, your boyfriend’s heart was broken because his ex stopped loving him, not because she broke up with him. There’s a difference. He’s going to be disappointed to lose you, but it’s not a reason to stay with him. I’m sure he’s not completely happy with the relationship either, if you’re running off flirting with other men all the time.
Besides that, though, I do think that it’s important to take responsibility for your actions. You seem to blame your flirtation with other men on being young and personality traits beyond your control, and in the end, it is completely in your control. Flirting with other men a lot, especially to the point where your boyfriend is uncomfortable, is not appropriate while you’re in a relationship. Additionally, it IS possible to still go out and have fun while in a relationship, but you just have to find other fun things to do, like enjoying the company of your friends, instead of being on the hunt for guys. Just food for thought for your next relationship.
TaraMonster June 18, 2012, 11:16 am
I have several thoughts on this letter, but I’m going to lead with your “Once a cheater, always a cheater” line.
No. It’s not true. And I particularly don’t think so in your case because you sound frighteningly like I did when I was a freshman in college and thought there was something wrong with me because I had a great boyfriend, but I loved going out, getting attention from other guys, and the temptation to take the flirting and dancing to another level felt overwhelming. I was young, needed to experience the world, and wasn’t ready to be with one person long term. And I really thought this made me a BAD person. How could I not see what was in front of me?! How could I possibly break the heart of this wonderful guy?! My thinking was very black and white, when in reality I was just a normal, horny 18-year-old who wanted to dance with and kiss and fuck a bunch of people.
But I did not break up with him, and I did wind up cheating on him, and then his heart was REALLY broken. All because I didn’t listen to my gut, figure out my needs, and woman up about the situation. Your letter is screaming that you need to be on your own, and there is nothing wrong with that.
When he and I finally broke up, I thoroughly enjoyed my freedom. And then I met my current boyfriend, whom I’ve been with for 7 years, have never cheated on or even had the slightest urge to cheat on. He’s a great guy, but more importantly, he’s the right guy for me. I think for some people, cheating is an itch, and they will always do it, but you don’t sound like that kind of person. You sound like you’re having trouble making a decision that you know will hurt someone and feels like a big risk to take; someone who is feeling guilty about her feelings, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. Those are your feelings. If you were truly committed to this guy, and you two were truly right for each other, you wouldn’t have those feelings. I’m not saying when you find the right guy that suddenly the desire to go out dancing, get attention from guys, and flirting with disappear, but it won’t feel like guilt. It only feels like guilt if somewhere deep down you wish you were free to do whatever you want. Wanting to be free and happy is not something to feel guilty about.
My advice is break up with your boyfriend, as tough as that might be to hear. By not hurting him now, you’re only compounding the hurt he will feel later, and sacrificing your happiness and identity by staying in a relationship that you know deep down isn’t right. I also think you should be single for a while. Really enjoy it so that when the right guy comes along, you’re capable of being the kind of partner that you want to be.
katie June 18, 2012, 11:24 am
when you are in the right relationship, first off, your boyfriend wouldnt care that you go out dancing and maybe dance with other men. and secondly, you wont feel guilty, and thirdly, you wont want to cheat!! wanting to cheat is not a normal feeling in a relationship! not at all.
Lindsay June 18, 2012, 12:22 pm
I think that’s true to an extent. But if my boyfriend’s favorite Saturday night activity was to go out to dance and flirt at a bar, I’d be pretty wary.
katie June 18, 2012, 12:31 pm
i think that for this particular LW, the right relationship will be one where the guy is confident enough that she can go out and dance and that wont matter to him. those do exist, but maybe that wouldnt be a good relationship for you…
and also, i think there is a huge difference between going out and dancing with other guys, meeting new people, ect, just because its fun to do, and going out, dancing, and meeting new men with the intention of romantic flirtations that may or may not lead to other romantic or sexual things.. when i meet new people, in any setting, im not just going to ignore all the the men because im in a relationship, you know? not every interaction between men and women has sexual implications to it- even if they are friendly and “flirting” with each other.
Lindsay June 18, 2012, 12:56 pm
Yeah, that makes sense. I wasn’t saying she should ignore all men, and I certainly don’t, but I just sort of assumed that because of all the hubbub, she meant more romantically inclined flirting.
katie June 18, 2012, 1:00 pm
i definitely agree with you, and i do think she goes out with the purpose of flirting and talking with men specifically.. which is bad. when your in a good relationship, like cats and tara pointed out, you dont have those kinds of specific feelings of wanting newness and fantasy…
CatsMeow June 18, 2012, 11:33 am
Whoa! Your story sounds a lot like mine.
TaraMonster June 18, 2012, 11:49 am
I read yours right after I posted this and though “Well that’s basically ME, but she was a lot more succinct about it!” Lol.
It just furthers the point that LW is experiencing something pretty normal. Listen to us, LW! We’ve been there, and can tell you that once infidelity is involved the situation gets so much worse than you can imagine.
CatsMeow June 18, 2012, 12:23 pm
Yep. We lived and learned. Maybe now the LW can learn from us.
Kristina June 18, 2012, 1:19 pm
Not only are you hurting your boyfriend by staying with him, but you’re hurting yourself. You both deserve to be with someone who is a right fit for you. If you’re not completely happy with being with him right now and feel like he is a ‘safe’ choice, then by all means, end it.
And while of course you can meet half way with someone who might like partying/dancing more or less than you, I would suggest finding someone who does want a similar balance with those things.
Lucy June 18, 2012, 2:58 pm
This is the most important part of your letter: “if we broke up it would break his heart.” If breaking up with him wouldn’t break YOUR heart, then you don’t belong together.
FWIW, I have been in the exact same situation as you, and I married the guy. Biggest mistake of my life. It won’t break his heart any less if you do it 1, 2, or 10 years from now.
Budj June 18, 2012, 3:05 pm
Arguably it breaks it more.
Interestingly that line of thought is someone telling themselves they are being selfless…when in fact they are trying to prevent their own feelings of guilt.
katie June 18, 2012, 4:05 pm
i love how different people will have different parts of the letter stand out to them…
i didnt even notice this… lol
great, great point.
theattack June 18, 2012, 4:32 pm
I was just thinking the same thing, katie. This letter seems to have more facets to focus on than others. None of us are commenting on exactly the same thing here.
Tracey June 18, 2012, 3:08 pm
LW, you are thiiiisss close to being physically unfaithful to your boyfriend with the flirting. If you keep going down that road, you will find that one guy, give in to that one weak moment when your hormones override your head. And it will hurt, because you don’t want to be that sort of person. You don’t want to be the one who cheats.
But guess what? In a way, you already are. Fantasizing about others, flirting openly, sticking with your boyfriend because he’s “safe” rather than truly loving him and wanting to work things out. Emotionally, you are not there. You’ve checked out and have begun to gain intimacy and needs your boyfriend can’t (or won’t) meet from others…without letting him know. If this relationship were more stable, more secure, if you two could truly communicate with each other, then you wouldn’t be fantasizing and flirting so much. He wouldn’t be restricting you so much. You’d be talking about how much you care for him, not just how he only feels “safe” to you. On an emotional level, you’re both kind of cheating each other out of a truly working relationship with each other. That’s what makes cheating so bad, you know. Not the physical expressions with another person (or other persons) outside of the partner to whom you’ve committed yourself. It’s the betrayal of trust and breaking of that commitment in order to get your needs met AND preserve your status quo.
You’re thiiiisss close to cheating in the traditional sense, LW. Don’t cross the line. It’s time to sit down with your boyfriend and have a good long talk. If you want to salvage the relationship, then you need to talk about ways you can go out, dance, and have fun without him feeling insecure and without you feeling deprived. If you feel like the only reason you’re with him is because it feels “safe,” he needs to hear that and the two of you need to find a way to work through that – especially since his expressions of jealousy and his denying you the ability to go out on your own is his way of letting you know he doesn’t feel “safe” with you right now. If you don’t want to work this out, or if you two can’t find a way for the two of you to not only feel “safe” with each other be really discussing what your relationship can, can’t, should, and shouldn’t contain in order for you both to be yourselves and still love each other, then it’s time to MOA.
DMR June 25, 2012, 5:04 am
ah yes, the “too safe” complaint about men again.
Girls, it’s like this. Life partners are “safe”. That’s part of the job description. If they’re not safe, then break up.
Boyfriends or girlfriends who are actually serious about their current relationship, aren’t interested in having an exciting party life. This doesn’t make him safe. It just means he’s committed.
Much of the advice given above, in my humble opinion, is bad advice. You’ have found what you want and have a plan for the future (ie marry him) but you’re stuck in bad habits. Young habits. Single, party habits. This is your chance to grow up. Stop the partying.
And btw, here’s a little equation that might help you in the future.
fun = boy.
Ri-Ri July 2, 2014, 10:33 am
LW, its 2 years later…
did you ever break up with your bf, and how is life treating you now?
reason being, i can totally relate to your letter you wrote in 2012. im so confused and could really use some advice……