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Author Topic: Conflicted
pantokrator
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I've been with my boyfriend for almost two years. We're having kind of a tough time right now because I recently told him that I want to tone down the seriousness of our relationship because we're both only nineteen and I felt it was inappropriate to be discussing marriage and babies and all that. I love him, but I've just been having a lot of doubts lately about whether or not being in this relationship is the best thing for me and it's made me feel very guilty and depressed. My boyfriend has told me that he thinks I'm the only good thing he has going in his life and I don't want to hurt him by being conflicted about our relationship.

Anyway, over the past several weeks I've developed a bit of a crush on my lab partner. I've told him that I have a boyfriend and he has remarked that I don't seem very happy in my relationship and I just explained that we're going through a bit of a rough patch. I've realized that I have a crush on this guy because he makes me feel happy. But then I feel guilty beyond belief about him making me feel happy. I haven't done anything of a remotely sexual nature with this guy nor have I led him on in any way although, I hate to admit, the thought crosses my mind from time to time.

I don't know what to do.

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Ecofem
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[Hey pantokrator! I just answered your post here. It's fine that you posted these questions separately, but because they're quite related, we could talk about them in the same place or go back and forth.]

While it's totally up to you, if I were you, I'd break up with your boyfriend asap. I'd tell your lab partner that you were interested in him, that you broke up with your boyfriend, but that you needed some time for yourself and to figure out stuff before dating or starting another relationship... but that you're still interested in him and hope that he'd be interested in getting to know you over time, perhaps becoming friends and possibility dating one day in the (near or far) future. Because if he truly likes you, and it sounds like he does, he'll be ok with that and even appreciate your honesty and carefulness.

Your boyfriend's behavior is totally inappropriate, like you listed in the other post. While technically one can discuss stuff like marriage or having children whenever it feels right, this is not a guy I'd want to marry or have kids with, and I think you get that same feeling. And anyway, you're 19, have some great life/career goals and plans ahead of you... there's no need to rush marriage or kids!

quote:
My boyfriend has told me that he thinks I'm the only good thing he has going in his life and I don't want to hurt him by being conflicted about our relationship.
This is utter bullsh*t and it makes me so, so mad to hear!!! I *know* for a fact that you have a lot of good stuff in your life (but that this boyfriend, unfortunately, isn't one of them!) A "good" boyfriend would appreciate you for you, who you are and what you're doing, and never put you down like this. That's pretty heartbreaking stuff to hear. It's not true for anyone and especially awful coming from a partner who should really be a pillar of support and encouragement.

We can love people but love itself isn't really "enough" when the relationship isn't healthy, when there isn't mutual respect, caring, and support. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any of those here on his part. We can get crushes for various reasons at various times, but I'd say that this crush has multiple parts: You are realizing your relationship is not so great and you're seeing how someone better is out there; I'd be curious, too! Additionally, I'd guess that your lab partner is very supportive of your academic and career goals, likes you for your intelligence (yea!), and finds you attractive and fun to be around. His making you happy is a wonderful reason for being interested in someone or getting involved. Here's an article on how a good relationship makes you feel, if you want some other perspective.

If you're ok talking about it, may I ask what sex is like with your boyfriend? Do you enjoy it, feel respected and safe and like your pleasure has equal footing, or is it different?

(I myself was in an abusive relationship once where I had an opportunity to date my "dream guy" but didn't because I didn't know how to/didn't want to end that other relationship. I am in a wonderful relationship now that I wouldn't trade for the world but I always wish I could go back in time and have dated that other guy!)

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pantokrator
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Surprisingly, the sex is actually excellent with my boyfriend. I feel like there is a lot of mutual respect and good communication in that department but, as you can see, it is completely lacking in other parts of the relationship. I'm not really sure what this means, but there's a part of me that still thinks that the relationship is salvageable because of the sex.
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Ecofem
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Hey, we wrote some more here, as you've probably seen. [Smile]

I hear you about the sex being good. I was actually talking the other day to some people about this... like you'd (or at least I would!) think that the sex in abusive or dysfunctional relationships is automatically bad, but that's just not always true.

I say, have your cake and eat it, too! Go for a relationship where you have the respect and the good sex. If I were to tell you I was dating someone who was great in bed BUT regularly insulted me, called me stupid, kept me from having friendships, bit me (and more), what would you say to me? Would that sex make the other behaviors ok?

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