Should She Dump Her Boyfriend For Her Crush?

October 7th, 2015

Break Ups, Cheating, Dating Realities, NEW!

woman-seduces-man

 

Alias (DO NOT USE A REAL NAME!!): Uncertain
:
Comment: Dear Moxie,

Apologies in advance for the length of this letter.

I have been with my boyfriend for 4 happy years. We share the same values and goals, such as stability, family, environmental stewardship, etc. We never wanted to cohabitate and as such are financially unentangled, with each person paying half of all dates, etc. He has supported me with utmost love through the first two years of my PhD, and I’ve been there for him during his serious health and career crises. (He is an actor and a teacher.) I find him physically and intellectually very attractive. He professes the same, and continues to be as funny and affectionate as ever. If you asked me two months ago about the state of our relationship, I would have said it was excellent, a beautiful and well-tested union that’s 1-2 years away from marriage. The only difficulties  we’ve dealt with are a difference of religion/culture (the details of which we’ve worked out ad nauseam) and long distance (we used to live in the same city but have been living 2 hours apart for the past 2 years, seeing each other every weekend).

6 weeks ago I met someone new, a grad student in my department whom I’ll call Jonathan. I was drawn to him immediately. He is similar to my boyfriend in the important ways—both are equally smart, kind, principled, and down-to-earth. Some differences: Jonathan swears and drinks a little (my boyfriend does not, I do), his hobbies and values don’t align with mine as well as my boyfriend’s do, he’s a couple years older (boyfriend is younger), he is a biologist like me.

None of this matters when I see Jonathan, whom I befriended by inviting to platonic group gatherings. I’ve become obsessed with him, his demeanor, his voice, his stories, his texts, his humor, his eyes … I spend every waking moment thinking about him.

He knows I have a boyfriend and has no reason to believe my relationship is unhappy (because it isn’t). He himself is single. I don’t think he’s pursuing me, but I know he enjoys my company, because he tells me so; he rarely turns down a chance to hang out and has invited me in turn to meet his friends, etc.

My question is a cliché: How does one know when to stay and when to leave? How can one tell if this is a frivolous crush to ignore or not?

On the one hand, I’m certain I can have a wonderful life with my boyfriend. Nothing is wrong (and much is right) with us. On the other hand, I am not giving my all to my boyfriend right now because I’m so smitten with Jonathan. I can easily imagine an amazing life with him too … I find myself impatient to find out whether he and I would be good life partners for each other.

Thanks,
– Uncertain

(PS I’ve written once before, ages ago. I don’t remember what email or device I used but I’m certainly not trying to hide the fact that I’m a regular reader and occasional letter-writer. :) )
Age: 28

I think this is as simple as you’ve out grown your boyfriend. It happens, especially when a person’s significant other isn’t around or available.

You met your boyfriend when you were 24. Now you’re 28 and you’ve done some living and developed an identity outside of your relationship. It makes sense that you’d be feeling restless in your new relationship. This is why I scoff at relationships where one person has already gone through the transitional period we all experience from ages 20-25 and the other is just beginning that phase. People’s tastes, interests, personality,etc change greatly between 20 and 30. Rarely are we ever the same person we were in college by the time we hit our late twenties.

There appears to be two factors playing in to this situation.  First, you’re maturing and figuring out what you like and don’t like. Second, your partner isn’t there 80% of the time, and so it’s easy to slip out of relationship mode thinking and into single mode thinking.

I have to say that two years of only seeing each other on weekends sounds pretty tedious. There’s something in the details surrounding that decision to move away that I think holds the key. If I’m reading this correctly, it sounds like you left to go to school, yes? If so, then I think maybe you’ve been keeping this relationship going out of habit and comfort.

Personally, if I thought my boyfriend and I were headed towards marriage and that’s what I wanted, I’m not sure I’d have up and moved 2 hours away. Combine that with the fact that you’re ga-ga for someone who isn’t your boyfriend and going so far as to hang out with this guy knowing you are attracted to him, and I think it’s safe to say you’re no longer in love with your boyfriend. People face these obstacles all the time and survive it without developing huge crushes on someone else.

Don’t hang on to your relationship because you think you should. Whether or not Jonathan is your soul mate or whatever is irrelevant. He’s just the outlier of what’s really troubling you, not the cause.  You’ve already checked out of your relationship, whether you realize it or not. Now you just have to do the hard part and tell your boyfriend.

Thoughts?

Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)

@ATWYSingle

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58 Responses to “Should She Dump Her Boyfriend For Her Crush?”

  1. Alexa Says:

    Seems like a tough situation to be in, but you are in your late 20s, and you certainly don’t want to settle down with the wrong man. You will still be tempted even after you’re married. Sounds like you value your boyfriend, but probably more as a best friend than as a future partner, at least for now. Even if this Jonathan is interested, it might not be a good idea to jump into another relationship, lest you wind up feeling the same way a few years from now.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 11

  2. fuzzilla Says:

    Hmm. It’s interesting that the OP never mentions a firm end date when school will be over and she can live in the same town as her boyfriend again. I don’t know if that’s how biology grad students talk, but she sounds a bit cold and clinical when she talks about the boyfriend (“we have a beautiful and well-tested union” and he has “many admirable qualities” or whatever).

    She does sound kinda checked out, although when things get routine in your relationship and the other person isn’t around much, it’s easy to idealize someone who’s both appealing and nearby and project everything missing from your relationship onto them. Who’s the first one you think to turn to with a funny story or rant, the one you talk to in your head when they’re not around?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 5

  3. Selena Says:

    You’ve known Jonathan 6 weeks, attraction turned into smitten. Once you realized this, did you ever think maybe you should try to limit your exposure to Jonathan? Not see him socially?

    I think it’s possible Moxie is right that you may have outgrown your boyfriend. Your story though sounds a lot like others I’ve read of married/partnered people who allow an attraction to turn into an emotional affair that may turn physical. It’s not unusual for happily coupled people to find someone else attractive. But people who don’t want to lose what they have understand “Okay, it’s there. I need to not be around this person so much – I don’t need this temptation.” Eventually the crush fades.

    Consider this: suppose you breakup with your boyfriend to be free to date Jonathan. If Jonathan were to break it off with you a month or two later how would you feel? Would you regret losing the man you loved for the last 4 years and planned to spend your life with? Over a crush?

    I don’t know what the answer is for you, but if you are having a hard time resisting the temptation of another man before you get married…maybe you are not ready to marry the man you planned.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

    • SS Says:

      “if you are having a hard time resisting the temptation of another man before you get married…maybe you are not ready to marry the man you planned”

      To me it means she doesn’t have the emotional maturity or integrity to be married to ANYONE.

      As you mentioned, what does she think marriage is, exactly? Does she expect that she won’t be attracted to other people after the ring is on her finger?
      That’s selfish and utterly juvenile thinking.

      And I hate when people conflate two separate scenarios. The primary issue is “do I want to be with my boyfriend.” Period.

      If she does, great. She needs to quit mooning over a *stranger*. If she doesn’t, she splits with him. THEN she can ponder “do I want to date Jonathan” assuming he’s even interested in her that way.

      I’m just stunned she’s willing to throw away four allegedly amazing years for some random guy who could well turn out to be the most hideous man on the planet.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 4

      • Selena Says:

        ” Does she expect that she won’t be attracted to other people after the ring is on her finger?”

        SS, after reading relationship forums for 15 years, I think there are A LOT of people who not only believe, but expect that neither they or their spouse will be attracted to someone else after the wedding.

        As humans we can all be attracted to someone else at any point. Maturity is knowing that even if we feel attraction, we don’t have to act on it.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 2

        • SS Says:

          Bingo. Very well said.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

        • Bill Says:

          This whole thread hits the nail on the head. If you think either of these two guys is the last man you will ever feel intense attraction towards you are very sadly mistaken.

          Assuming that being in the “right” relationship will somehow ward off ever being intensely attracted to anyone else is hogwash. That is not how the human animal functions. Meeting someone new who you are attracted to causes the same dopamine reactions as the drug cocaine. An intense high. The comfort of a good long term relationship produces the same dopamines as heroin. A warm, comfortable feeling of well being. That is why you feel conflicted, you’re under the power of two drugs, one of which is nearby and more readily accessible.

          The situation you describe, causes millions upon millions of affairs every year. A new attraction comes along, often when the relationship isn’t at it’s best. Very rarely does the new couple stay together, the crush doesn’t develop into a stable relationship.

          So who to chose and how? Take a week off and spend bookend weekends and the full week between with your boyfriend. Avoid Jonathan until you can do this. If the time with your BF overcomes your desire for Jonathan, you have your answer. Do this not for your boyfriend, but for yourself so that you can make your choice without later regrets or guilt.

          And, regardless of who you chose or eventually end up with, you will be attracted to others throughout your lifetime.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 4

        • Lucy Says:

          I like this phrase: “Maturity is knowing that even if we feel attraction, we don’t have to act on it.”. If people acknowledged this as possibility, there would be less freaking out and panicking when it does happen when you’re already with someone. I mean we are all animals. I think the main thing is understanding that it’s an illusion and that acting on it won’t necessarily get you a better relationship. Say if you went to a new person, you’d get used to them too eventually and are you going to keep moving from one thing to the next after the passion wears off every time? Nah you just have to accept that you’ve chosen your guy and as long as this guy makes you happy and you each work on the relationship, this is happier than endlessly looking for what else is out there.

          Also she says that her and her boyfriend have more in common regarding hobbies than her and Jonathan. So it seems like her and her boyfriend have much better potential. She could go for Jonathan but once the thrill wears off, it might feel like they don’t have much in common other than their shared career and close proximity to each other.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. bbdawg Says:

    Well, it sounds like the OP isn’t all that into the boyfriend. It’s best that she resolves whatever issues she might have with him.

    People in long term relationships, especially women I think, sometimes forget that male attention does not equal a relationship or commitment. Just because you flirt with someone it does not mean that is available or or that he will become your boyfriend.

    You can’t have guarantees, you just have to live it out and see what is going to happen. And ditch the BF you’re not all that into him.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 6

    • Selena Says:

      “People in long term relationships, especially women I think, sometimes forget that male attention does not equal a relationship or commitment.”

      Agree. And I will add, that for some of us, infatuation can make us read more into attention than was ever actually intended. (Raises hand as guilty on this).

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

    • Bill Says:

      bbdawg wrote: “Well, it sounds like the OP isn’t all that into the boyfriend. It’s best that she resolves whatever issues she might have with him.”

      What?!?! I read the whole letter exactly the opposite, below is just one quote about her relationship. It doesn’t get better than that at the 4 year mark!

      “If you asked me two months ago about the state of our relationship, I would have said it was excellent, a beautiful and well-tested union that’s 1-2 years away from marriage.”

      Rather than having issues (other than distance) with the boyfriend, I think she naively believed she was immune to falling for someone else because she was in such a strong relationship. And then she foolishly went out of her way to spend a lot of time around Jonathan causing her initial attraction to turn into an intense obsession.

      This is by-the-book how affairs you regret for the rest of your life are made.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 7

      • bbdawg Says:

        You make a good point. But you have to read between the lines with women. When we say ” well-tested union that’s 1-2 years away from marriage” we mean “he’s sort of boring but hey MARRIAGE is on the horizon”.

        My best friend is in the process of getting divorced. 36, married a great guy, one child. The poster reminds me of my friend. She was a stay at home mom who started hanging out at a local coffee shop where she met several ppl including a “really exciting” man who she a crush on just like the OP…I’m sorry but if you are in a serious relationship with ANYONE you don’t get too friendly with single attractive ppl of the opposite sex, you don’t randomly exchange numbers and you don’t text them. When you do that, you are consciously making an effort for romance to happen. “Attraction” isn’t the same as “making an effort to spend time together” which is what the OP is doing.

        My friend never cheated physically but all she was after, I think, was a man who showed her the way out. She was clearly (if unconsciously) looking for the exit and I think that’s what happened with the OP. I don’t buy the whole “you can’t control who you are attracted to” – I find that you have to be looking for a way out in order to even just notice other people.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 11

        • fuzzilla Says:

          **“Attraction” isn’t the same as “making an effort to spend time together” which is what the OP is doing.**

          Agreed. She says everything is great with the BF but it’s interesting that she mentions no concrete plans as to when living together and marriage are gonna happen. True, you don’t want to breathe down a guy’s neck about “putting a ring on it” but you think she’d be counting down the days to when they could at least, like, live in the same city if she was excited to be with him.

          I know Jenny got a lot of down votes, and I’m not gonna endorse cheating, but it seems like she’s *going* to actively make time for this Jonathan dude no matter what anyone says.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

        • Selena Says:

          “I don’t buy the whole “you can’t control who you are attracted to” – I find that you have to be looking for a way out in order to even just notice other people.”

          I disagree with this. I can be perfectly content in a relationship and still notice handsome men. :)

          Your story about your friend though reminded me of articles I’ve read about infidelity – it is often suggested that it’s more about attention than it is sex per se. My theory is that people who feel they are lacking something in their relationship (sex, attention, affection, companionship validation) may be more susceptible to being drawn into attractions, infatuations, affairs. Also true of people subconsciously “looking for a way out” as you described. The whole “The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence” thing. *Sometimes* the grass may well be greener.

          I also thought it odd the OP was vague about how she and her boyfriend were going to be long distance. After 4 years together, I’d think marriage plans would a bit more concrete that 1 or 2 years. As rock solid as she thought her relationship was pre-Jonathan, maybe there are things in the backround aren’t quite right? Not quite enough? Maybe new and exciting Jonathan is bringing those bubbles to the surface.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

          • bbdawg Says:

            @Selena
            “I disagree with this. I can be perfectly content in a relationship and still notice handsome men. ” This is different from the OP’s case:

            “None of this matters when I see Jonathan, whom I befriended by inviting to platonic group gatherings. I’ve become obsessed with him, his demeanor, his voice, his stories, his texts, his humor, his eyes … I spend every waking moment thinking about him.”

            There is a difference between “noticing” and “actively pursuing their company” which is what the OP is doing…
            she’s INVITED him to group gatherings, they text, are in constant contact…she is the pro-active pursuer here.

            In my friend’s case the bottom line is the man who she likes is more successful than her husband and she wants a way out of the “creative” lifestyle they had. Her husband was great, very attentive, but she is attractive and I think realizes 1. wants out of the current situation 2. thinks she can “pull” higher status partners.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7

            • Selena Says:

              bb,
              The contention of your post seemed to be ANY coupled person who was attracted to another, or even noticed someone else was subconsciously “looking for a way out”. You weren’t specific to the OP, you broadened it to include the populace. THAT’S what I was addressing with my light comment.

              Back to the OP: She admits she was drawn to him immediately. She invited (still invites?) him to platonic gatherings. She wrote he has in turn invited her to meet his friends. Nowhere in the letter does she mention texting, or being in constant contact. I’d also question whether inviting someone from your department to platonic group gatherings (presumably with colleagues?) makes her a pro-active pursuer – but that’s nitpicking. She’s obsessed with him, says so herself. I don’t know whether she became obsessed with him because she was subconsciously looking for a way out of her relationship or not. It’s certainly something for her to take a look at.

              Your friend: I don’t know what you mean by “creative” lifestyle so I’ll just go with she sounds to me like someone who upon entering middle age now yearns for a more upscale lifestyle? Hopefully she and the child’s father will learn to be good co-parents whatever paths they themselves follow.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

              • fuzzilla Says:

                **Nowhere in the letter does she mention texting, or being in constant contact.**

                From the OP:
                **I’ve become obsessed with him, his demeanor, his voice, his stories, his texts, his humor, his eyes**

                So we don’t know how *often* they text, but yes, we do know that they text. Yes, I suppose she could be reading too much into, “Hey, could you pick up some paper plates for the department lunch?” butttttt…could easily be a gateway drug to escalating intimacy, which kinda sounds like what she wants.

                Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

            • Bill Says:

              It is possible that she was looking for a way out, and Jonathan showed up at the right time to show her why. I don’t think that’s the case, her letter doesn’t read that way to me, and I doubt she would have even written if it were… there’d be no reason.

              My take is that it’s mostly the misguided notion that men and women can be “just really good friends” and it’s twin, that there is “the one” soulmate out there. Claptrap! If two people are attracted to each other physically and emotionally, and spend enough time together, the attraction will grow until it is irresistible and inevitable. That’s human biology folks.

              The only way to let the air out of the balloon is time and distance. It’s much more difficult to avoid taking a bite of the chocolate cake sitting right in front of you than making the effort to bake or go buy a cake. And, this isn’t necessarily about love, will power or character. If you stand in front of the bakery counter long enough, you WILL eventually obsess for a piece of Death by Chocolate (TM). Lol! It’s about having the wisdom and self-awareness to avoid the bakery.

              Regarding the wedding date? My read by connecting the dots she presented was that she is two years into her unfinished PhD and the wedding would be after the PhD is complete, hence the date is TDB.

              Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

              • fuzzilla Says:

                It seems like what bbdawg’s saying (and I tend to agree) is that the OP kind of is making the effort to “bake the cake” by going out of her way to see Jonathan outside of class in social situations. It’d be more like chocolate cake right in front of her if Jonathan made a pass at her.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

        • Bill Says:

          bbdawg, if she only said “well-tested union that’s 1-2 years away from marriage”, I would agree with you. She didn’t, she said a lot more very positive things about her BF and their relationship.

          Also, a lot of you are missing the timeline. He has been lovingly supporting her FIRST TWO YEARS of her PhD. They used to live in the same city TWO YEARS ago and are now 2 hours apart.

          IMO, that’s pretty convincing evidence that SHE moved, not HIM. Nothing wrong with that, just stop damning his “level of commitment” to marriage by assuming he moved away from her.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

          • Selena Says:

            I don’t know how long it takes to get a PhD. in biology. What makes me wonder about the level of commitment (on both parts) is something Moxie wrote:

            “Personally, if I thought my boyfriend and I were headed towards marriage and that’s what I wanted, I’m not sure I’d have up and moved 2 hours away. ”

            For 3 or 4 years? If you want to marry each other why not just get married and live in the same city until she finishes her program?

            A 4 hour round trip drive every/every other weekend is not something I would want to do for years, but that’s just me.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

            • Bill Says:

              Selena, good catch, Moxie had that number all along.

              The OP would have to answer to be sure, but I’ll put some facts out there. She STARTED the PhD program two years ago, when the relationship was nearing the 2 year mark. She was applying for PhD programs long before she started, so the stay with him, pursue the PhD and where decision was made while the relationship was in the 1-2 year stage. At 25-26. That’s not wise marriage timing.

              And, we don’t know if she is close to completion, wants to live together for awhile, settle into a career and plan a big wedding, BUT not all of those at once! Yikes!

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

              • SS Says:

                This made me cringe, because in my mind it hits on all the worst tropes about young women and marriage.

                “That’s not wise marriage timing.”

                At a time where one might most need support and a dedicated partner? Perhaps it might be the *best* time for someone to have a loving and committed champion in their corner.

                “and plan a big wedding, BUT not all of those at once!”

                I would respectfully suggest that any woman focusing on a “big wedding” to the detriment of, or even vaguely affecting, her ability to live her life, is barking up the wrong tree. Marriage is about the marriage, NOT the wedding. As many find out the hard way after the fact.

                Similarly, if she wants to live together for a while… after 5-6 years?!

                I would personally advocate that if one is not absolutely *certain* after that period that marriage is the only option, one might be sure it’s NOT a wise option at all.

                Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

                • Bill Says:

                  SS, her 5-6 year mark (a year or two from now) was MARRIED, not just starting to live together. I’m pretty sure that the arrangement they have now was based on her Doctorate program applications and acceptances made around the 1 1/2 year relationship mark and she was 25 at the time.

                  “Let’s get married” at that point would be rash and unwise, at the very least, rushed, IMO. And why do it? Because at the time they both had fears that the distance might break the relationship apart? Absolutely a reason NOT to get married, IMO.

                  While I’m no fan of humongous weddings, I recognize that many 26-28 year old women are, and might want to have one. And, be wise enough to not want to plan one while simultaneously attempting to finish/defend her doctoral thesis.

                  None of that says it was all going down the tubes anyway, before the new guy showed up.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

              • Selena Says:

                Bill,

                From the OP’s letter:

                “We never wanted to cohabitate and as such are financially unentangled, with each person paying half of all dates, etc. “

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            • SS Says:

              Exactly this. Too many comfortable ambivalent people “settling” because of the sunk costs – I swear that’s a huge reason for high divorce stats.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  5. Kyra Says:

    What she needs to do is take Johnathon out of the equation. Focus entirely on her feelings about the relationship and how she will feel it she ends it. If she ends the relationship can she be content as a single girl? There is no guarantee that Johnathon would like a relationship with her, and there is no guarantee if they get together that it will last.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

    • fuzzilla Says:

      I agree. Jonathan just seems like the gasoline she didn’t know she wanted to pour all over her relationship, or at least a symptom of something lacking. It’s normal for partnered people to find other people attractive, yes, but if they care about their relationships they do something to manage those feelings other than follow them like cartoon dogs to fresh-baked pies.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

  6. Nicki Says:

    I have to agree with what everyone else has said about separating the issues. The boyfriend and Jonathan are two totally different things.

    Regardless of relationship status we are all human. I believe that even the most happy of the happily married will see someone and find them attractive. It’s what you do at that point that matters. To continue to be around that person, become smitten with them, and feel conflicted enough to write a letter to Moxie? To me that says that the relationship is basically over. So whether the OP wants to pursue Jonathan or not, I think she needs to let go of her boyfriend so he can find someone who is smitten with him.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  7. Jenny Says:

    The OP and her boyfriend have been together for 4 years and have not taken the step of living together. That’s interesting. Maintaining a long distance relationship is difficult under the best of circumstances, and we have no idea what the boyfriend thinks or is doing with his ‘free’ time.

    While I totally agree with the insightful comments by Moxie and others here, I will throw myself under the bus and say that there is another alternative. The OP can have her cake and eat it, too, if she can handle it. She can ‘cheat’ with Jonathan during the week (assuming, of course, that he’s even interested in that way), and enjoy her boyfriend on the weekends. OR, she can discuss an open relationship with her boyfriend and see what he says. It’s a crapshoot, either way. It may be that a little ‘fling’ with Jonathan will make her see how much she values her boyfriend. Jonathan may just be a flirty guy who likes her company but doesn’t want a physical relationship with her. If her boyfriend agrees to the ‘open’ relationship, he could find someone he likes better than the OP.

    To use an old football analogy, when you throw a pass, several things can happen, and only one of them is good.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 25

    • Selena Says:

      Or she could stop hanging around Jonathan, start giving her all back to her boyfriend, meanwhile doing some deep soul searching to determine if her boyfriend is the person she wants to be with.

      Her question was:”How can one tell if this is a frivolous crush to ignore or not?”

      Backing off from Jonathan for awhile while she sorts out her feelings is a more honest way of figuring that out than cheating with Jonathan, or potentially blowing up her relationship with her boyfriend by asking him to “open” it.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

    • SS Says:

      I’ve seen too many people suffering the long term mental, emotional and financial ramifications (if not decimation) caused by a cheating partner, so I’m struggling to comprehend why that’s a viable proposal.

      That being said – if she’s willing to even countenance violating the “happy” relationship she purports to enjoy, then she should leave. Stat. Before/without committing such a betrayal and demonstrating such an incredible lack of character or decency.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

    • Sandra Says:

      The OP mentioned religious/cultural differences, which indicates a more traditional culture, making co-habiting or open relationships not an option. Seems like Jonathan is her bad boy crush, but she may want to consider the cultural ramifications if she does not marry in the next couple years.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  8. Fyodor Says:

    Let him go. You don’t seem that into him and you don’t have the maturity to be married to someone yet. Let him get on with his life and go chase your crushes as a single person.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 5

  9. fuzzilla Says:

    **a beautiful and well-tested union that’s 1-2 years away from marriage.**

    Also, does this mean they’re actually engaged? Or she just assumes things are headed toward marriage?

    Given the stereotype of the marriage-obsessed woman, that’s an odd thing to be vague about. Of course not every woman fits that stereotype, but it’s like – either you’re dating or you’re engaged. You can say you’ve got an eye toward marriage, but how do you know it’s precisely 1-2 years away unless you’ve made specific plans (i.e., gotten engaged)? If she’s engaged why isn’t talking up that fact, if only for bragging rights? Weird.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • KK Says:

      I can totally see it. “Let’s get married in a year or twp,” but he hasn’t asked her to marry him yet, or her him.

      To me, this whole thing seems weird as hell. As someone who is in a long distance relationship, I totally get the rush one gets from flirting with a guy – in some ways, you feel weirdly single and unsingle at the same time. To me, it sounds like she should spend some time with her boyfriend and see how she feels. Hell, she should spend some time on her own and see how she feels.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

      • fuzzilla Says:

        Since she’s on the young side and obviously ambitious, I’m thinking it’s kinda like, “I see myself married and trying to have kids in the next 1-2 years,” whether or not it’s with the current boyfriend.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

      • Selena Says:

        Since they agreed they don’t want to cohabit, I presume they have both discussed marriage. The 1-2 yr timeline seems tied to her finishing her degree. As in they will get married once she’s finished with school and they can live in the same city. Perhaps they don’t see the point of getting formally engaged until they are in a place where they can set a date for the wedding?

        She also mentioned cultural differences with her boyfriend. That could influence engagement/wedding planning.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • fuzzilla Says:

          **Perhaps they don’t see the point of getting formally engaged until they are in a place where they can set a date for the wedding?**

          People get engaged all the time without setting a date. Maybe they say they wanna wait ’til “everything settles down” which means Ph.D. on the surface, but acknowledges that time and distance could throw monkey wrenches like Jonathan into the works.

          It seems like people are assuming working things out with the boyfriend is the “right” thing to do. I’m not saying it’s the wrong thing to do, it just seems like her heart isn’t in it any more. She definitely does not sound ready to get married. How would she feel if her boyfriend were obsessing over some chick the way she is over Jonathan?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

          • Selena Says:

            I’ve read of people getting engaged knowing they don’t plan to marry for 2 or more years – often because they want to accomplish some goal first. I don’t think that’s unusual. I don’t think it’s unusual for couples to put off getting formally engaged until a particular goal is accomplished either.

            I think sorting out her feelings about her boyfriend is the ‘right’ thing to do because Jonathan could be either a passing fancy OR a crossroad for her that her boyfriend is not really the person she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

            ” How would she feel if her boyfriend were obsessing over some chick the way she is over Jonathan?”

            VERY GOOD QUESTION! I hope she’s reading and asks herself that.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

            • fuzzilla Says:

              Well, sorting out her feelings (preferably with minimal collateral damage) is the right thing to do. My point was that *choosing* the boyfriend isn’t necessarily the right thing to do if she’s truly outgrown him. People seem to be jumping to the conclusion that Jonathan is just some minor hiccup in an otherwise perfect relationship. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Don’t just take her words at face value.

              If I knew my boyfriend was into someone else, not just thinking random women are attractive or looking at porn occasionally, but obsessing over a specific woman’s text messages, I’d be a neurotic mess. I’d rather just end the relationship than be with someone ambivalent who made me feel insecure and paranoid.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

              • SS Says:

                “People seem to be jumping to the conclusion that Jonathan is just some minor hiccup in an otherwise perfect relationship”

                She uses the terms happy, excellent, beautiful, wonderful. It’s hard not to take someone on face value when that’s what they express.

                Aside from that, I don’t base my opinion on “well it can’t *really* be all that… but to repeat that in my experience, you learn that the grass is NOT greener – and adult relationships (particularly marriage) require one to accept that other attractions will occur and deal with them appropriately.

                She is acting inappropriately, regardless of the situation with the boyfriend.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

                • fuzzilla Says:

                  I assume she wrote in because she’s considering leaving the boyfriend for Jonathan.

                  “On the one hand, I’m certain I can have a wonderful life with my boyfriend. Nothing is wrong (and much is right) with us. On the other hand, I am not giving my all to my boyfriend right now because I’m so smitten with Jonathan. I can easily imagine an amazing life with him too … I find myself impatient to find out whether he and I would be good life partners for each other.”

                  It’s not clear which “he” she is referring to when she says she’s “impatient to find out” if they’d be good life partners. Anyway, if it’s just some harmless crush and there’s nothing on the line, then why write to Moxie about it? Just to humble-brag about all her amazing options?

                  Since she has no clue if Jonathan returns her feelings, maybe she just wants out of her relationship and he’s a convenient excuse? If she met Jonathan as a single woman, would she be “impatient to find out” how they work as “life partners” or would she be a lot more chill about it since there’d be nothing to prove?

                  Sounds like she’s all over the place and she should hit the pause button on any romantic entanglements. DO NOT get married under these circumstances.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

                  • SS Says:

                    “Sounds like she’s all over the place and she should hit the pause button on any romantic entanglements.”

                    Exactly. I find her attitude lacking in the maturity that’s required to have any sort of (successful) long term relationship.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

                  • Selena Says:

                    Jonathan could get a girlfriend. Would anyone be suggesting she dump her boyfriend over a crush on a guy who has a girlfriend?

                    Just because Jonathan is currently single doesn’t mean he is romantically interested in her, or would be as a life partner.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                    • SS Says:

                      “Would anyone be suggesting she dump her boyfriend over a crush on a guy who has a girlfriend?”

                      People are suggesting she cheat lol

                      “Just because Jonathan is currently single doesn’t mean he is romantically interested in her, or would be as a life partner”

                      EXACTLY!!!!

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

                • Selena Says:

                  “She uses the terms happy, excellent, beautiful, wonderful. It’s hard not to take someone on face value when that’s what they express.”

                  Also the fact she has been with her boyfriend for 4 yrs. and only developed an infatuation with someone else in the last 6 weeks. Dumping the guy she’s loved for 4 years over a crush that may not go anywhere seems foolish to me.

                  So again, examining her true feelings about THE BOYFRIEND is better than arbitrarily dumping him, or worse, cheating on him.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                  • fuzzilla Says:

                    **Dumping the guy she’s loved for 4 years over a crush that may not go anywhere seems foolish to me.**

                    Seems foolish to me, too, but it seems like what she’s considering, based on her letter.

                    **So again, examining her true feelings about THE BOYFRIEND is better than arbitrarily dumping him, or worse, cheating on him.**

                    If she examines her feelings and concludes the boyfriend isn’t what she wants, then it isn’t arbitrary.

                    She just sounds like a kid in a candy store. Makes me glad I don’t date women, particularly women in their 20s.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

                    • BostonRobin Says:

                      I date women (NOT in their 20s, omg no) and I have gotten so much better at it from reading this blog. Just seeing this foolish sort of thinking that is so common, laid out in plain view, it really gives me an almost god’s-eye view.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

                  • SS Says:

                    ^THIS!!!!!

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

              • Selena Says:

                If I knew my boyfriend was obsessing over someone else I wouldn’t be able to handle it non-chantly either. Which is why I would hope he would do some soul searching about how he felt about me and if I was really the one he wanted to be with. If I wasn’t, then I would hope he would break up with me for that reason.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. freddy Says:

    I would hope after you explain to your boyfriend that youre actively dating others, (thats what you call it when you spend time with others youre interested in/trying on for size), that he gives you the space you need and deserve to make up your mind…you poor thing. ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  11. Mark Says:

    LW:

    My response to this letter is in two parts.

    The first is based on what you should consider doing given my narrow advice to you. The second is what I’m inclined to think based on the broader scheme of things.

    With respect to the first prong: You should do one of two things. The first is to tell Jonathan that you are in a committed relationship (if in fact that is how you see things). The second possibility is to make a clean break with the man you have been seeing and continue to see Jonathan and let the chips fall where they may. That’s the skinny of it.

    The second prong of my answer is a bit broader.

    One of the fundamental issues here this is trust. Specifically, whom do you trust? Similarly, who trust you? The same question holds true for loyalty.

    You said in the opening paragraph that the man you are currently with has similar values, has helped you out etc. I’m assuming you have done the same for him.

    Well?? Is he engaging in the same thing you are currently considering?

    If your current status with the guy you have been with is not along the lines of a committed relationship, then that really doesn’t matter what you do or who you see. If, however, the relationship has been more of a significant other, then the issue of loyalty comes into play.

    Big time.

    I don’t make plays for women who are in a committed relationship. Be they married, someone with a significant other, etc. Reason: Trust. If someone is “taken” in whatever fashion, then to my mind’s eye they are off limits. I need someone I cant trust. Just as the woman I am with can reasonably trust me. It boils down to a simple concept – loyalty. If I can’t trust someone, then what’s the point?

    Jonathan knows of your status. You said so. Yet he still made a play. You did not out and out discourage him.

    Consequently, he knows that you are open to the possibility of ditching someone. So be open to the possibility that he may ditch you at some future date. The reasons are not important. The simple fact is that you seem willing to bail on someone who by your own words:

    “… share the same values and goals, such as stability, family, environmental stewardship, etc. We never wanted to cohabitate and as such are financially unentangled, with each person paying half of all dates, etc. He has supported me with utmost love through the first two years of my PhD, and I’ve been there for him during his serious health and career crises.”

    Think of it this way. How many times have you heard/read of someone who receives the bolt out of the blue that the person that hey have been with for some times ups and leaves. Or simply says “I’ve found someone else.” What was your response to such information? You very likely railed on the person doing the ditching.

    So if you are going to bail on your current guy. Do so now and make a clean break. Don’t trade up, see someone on the sly, or whatever.

    Best of luck and may each party to this get what they deserve.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

    • Lisa Says:

      It can often come down to “the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t.” Partners, jobs, cities to live in, etc.” Is she a gambling woman?

      (Since she has mentioned religion, I’ll also add that if she is a person of faith, she should definitely pray and/or seek the counsel of a spiritual leader.)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. Lucy Says:

    OP sounds very aware that it is very likely just a crush and also makes loving statements about her boyfriend. It seems like they have passed the infatuation phase (which typically lasts 18-24 months) and have gone through some ups and downs together. She is now thinking about the long-term and what it means to her.

    The initial attraction to her boyfriend has worn off so Jonathan is tempting. She knows it could only be a short-term attraction so she says “I find myself impatient to find out whether he and I would be good life partners for each other.”. Basically she already knows her current boyfriend would be a great life partner but the passion has decreased. She wants enough certainty to know what to do as she is at a crossroads in her current relationship.

    Is her desire for Jonathan strong enough to take a risk on what she already has? I don’t know but I think not because we don’t know what Jonathan is like and she hasn’t known him long. I think it is too big a risk and she should stay put. As people have said here, crushes don’t disappear when you’re in a relationship. But she should have a discussion with her boyfriend about future plans and assess where they are.

    I’m curious to know what cultural/religious differences the couple have that she mentions? I wonder if this is any reason for her mixed feelings about him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  13. Sarah Says:

    “Apologies in advance for the length of this letter.”

    Oh, Christ. Here we go.

    “I have been with my boyfriend for 4 happy years.”

    You don’t say?

    Oh, you didn’t actually say. What you said was that you were “obsessed” with Jonathan. Do the right thing: Break up with your boyfriend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  14. Shadowcat Says:

    I think all the “wonderful” statements she made about her boyfriend are out of guilt. He may be wonderful, so she has no concrete reason to bail from the relationship, he didn’t “do anything wrong”. The more infatuated you are with someone else, the more critical you are of the partner you are actually with. But if she’s not there mentally, she’s not there, and she owes it to her boyfriend to be honest. Also, the longer she indulges in this crush, the more her boyfriend will pale by comparison, and she will do things in spite of herself to sabotage the relationship. Also, I doubt her relationship is necessarily two or three years away from marriage. I think this is in her own head, and they would have had concrete discussions about the subject if that were really the case, and she would have mentioned them in her post.

    By the way, do we even know if this guy Jonathan is even interested?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

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