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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » relationship problem (scarleteen experts most welcome, please)

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Author Topic: relationship problem (scarleteen experts most welcome, please)
belladonna
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I really need some objective, impartial advice about my current relationship problem, because it's been causing me way too must stress and I just want to do the right thing. I feel like such a terrible person.

Back story: I moved to a different country a little over 3 months ago to be with my long-distance boyfriend of 2 years. Before becoming long-distance, we had only known each other for 2 weeks but over time, through frequent visits and chatting online, we became close and everything was good. The problems started when I moved to see him though. He (understandably) wanted me to spend every free moment with him, whereas I was trying to adjust to my new job and make new friends. I asked for some space, and in the process ended up spending time with one of my new colleagues, an American guy who later admitted that he liked me. I felt really bad about it too, because I knew I was also beginning to be attracted to him. He and my boyfriend and very different, in terms of personality and interests. I feel like I have more in common with the new guy, we are both a bit more extroverted and he has a great sense of humor. We like spending time together, and we even kissed once.

I couldn't keep this from my boyfriend and one day admitted to him that the new guy and I sorta like each other. This led to a few tearful arguments, and I would get so afraid of losing him, I would appease my boyfriend. I feel really confused right now, because I would feel unhappy if I didnt have either person in my life. As selfish as it sounds, I wish I could see both of them. I guess that really isn't possible... even if both guys were okay with it. I just don't know anymore what would be the right thing to do... and some outside assessment of the situation might help.

I don't see anything long-term with the new guy, but right now I guess I'm not ready to think about marriage and things like that. Part of the reason I feel so guilty is because my boyfriend is already on that track, and part of the reason I felt so pressured in our relationship in the past (even in the long-distance phase) was because he would talk about wanting to marry me someday. He is a really great person and I feel so terrible because if I break his heart he will hate me so much. He says I'm the only person he can trust. [Frown]

Please please help me think this through.

Posts: 130 | From: hong kong | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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It sounds to me like it might help to do a sort of relationship triage right now. You came to where you are for the existing relationship, so I would say that's what you need to deal with first. The other guy will sit, and if he can't while you deal with an issue that came before him, then he's less great than he seemed, you know?

It sounds to me like you need to make clear to your boyfriend that above all else, while you understand his feelings, you are feeling pressured, rushed and claustrophobic. You also feel like marriage talk is just much too much too soon for you, especially since given that these last few months are the only real time you've spent together, it really is quick to go to that place. I hope that when he was talking this in the earlier parts of your relationship you spoke to feeling that pressure, but if not, it's certainly way past high time to do that now.

It also sounds to me like you might feel attached to this boyfriend, but that those feelings may be more about guilt and being in a new place than about earnest, deep feelings and concord with him. What do you think, there?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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belladonna
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I *have* told my boyfriend that the marriage talk put me under a lot of pressure. He has been better about not bringing that sort of thing up, but I know he still thinks about it. He says he the kind of person who thinks long-term in all his relationships, and I guess that is something that he can never change about himself. So I guess at times I end up still feeling pressured because I know deep down that is still how he feels?

The other guy is willing to see me casually, and thus far has not asked me to leave my boyfriend or "choose him." He has admitted that he would like to be more than friends, but I am also beginning to feel that the more time we spend together, the more we are developing feelings for one another.

I do feel still attached to my boyfriend, but I also admit that part of my feelings are from guilt too. He "waited for me for 2 years" (his words) and the first time I brought up this situation it seemed like he was going to have a heart attack. He seems emotionally fragile in that way and I hate hurting him so badly. I don't know if I could handle the guilt, and feel afraid of the consequences of breaking up with him, should I decide to do that.

Posts: 130 | From: hong kong | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Wow. Telling someone you've waited two years for them while IN an LD relationship with them actually strikes me as pretty manipulative, or just...I don't know, guilt-trippy. He wasn't waiting: he was with you, just not in person, and he could have moved to see you if he wanted to, no?

You're not responsible for his baggage. If he makes every relationship about a possible marriage, not only is that not realistic, it also is still his issue. It also would make it pretty tough for the other person to feel all that special, knowing he's seeing that with everyone, I'd think. Too, if he chooses to be in relationships, he chooses to be strong enough to do them. He's not a child you need to take care of, you know?

What are the "consequences" you're afraid of?

I think it sounds to me like you could stand to think about if you really want to stay with this guy because you WANT to, because you feel a strong accord with him, because he's someone you love being with.

If he's not, you're not doing him any favors: we all deserve partners who want to be with us because they adore us, not because they feel guilty or think we can't live through their parting, you know? I'm not dissing you with that, I get why you're feeling the way you do and many of us have probably been in a similar spot before (I have myself, more than once), but at some point, you have to remind yourself that he's not going to get what he wants with a person who is just settling, or with him because they'd feel too guilty choosing a life or other relationships that are more right for them. That also opens him up to relationships which are more in line with what he wants, too. All of the same goes for you. When people care about each other and are invested in each other's happiness, sometimes that means the tough choice of both choosing to let the other move on in order to really BE happy.

Plus, seems like you're probably never going to be on the same track with him, from the sounds of things and the dynamics of the relationship, so I'd say it looks like at some point you two will probably part ways.

Not saying that's what you should do: rather, that it's time to think about that -- and put feelings about anyone else aside for now; this isn't about choosing this person or that one, but about choosing to be in this relationship or not, even if it means there is no other relationship in the wings -- and only that, first. This other guy isn't part of this relationship. He's a whole separate issue and one, unless you have an open relationship with the boyfriend now, that needs to be shelved until you deal with this one first.

I also think it would be a good idea to take time away from that other guy until you've really resolved this. It's tougher to evaluate a relationship if you're making comparisons, especially comparing something long-term with something shiny and new, which is almost always going to look better in some ways, no matter what it is.

I hope that all came off in the spirit in which it was intended. I can tell that you're in a rough spot, and I feel for you. I just want to make sure that in relationship choices, it's love and compassion -- for yourself and this guy -- not guilt or fear, that's driving the bus.

[ 06-13-2008, 11:05 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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belladonna
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What confuses me right now is that I still feel like seeing my boyfriend, but I'm not sure if I want to be in such a serious relationship. And it also means that I want to explore what it could be like with other people (such as the new guy) but not necessarily have something so serious with him as well.

I've broached the topic of a more open relationship with my boyfriend, and he as agreed, but when he talks about it he sounds like he's still sweeping the issue about me wanting to date the other guy under the rug. Is an open relationship even possible in this situation? I am willing to set boundaries, but he hasn't suggested any, and I don't know how to approach that either. What would you suggest?

It's just that it is difficult to avoid the new guy, as we work together and live very close to each other.

I guess the consequences I am thinking about are the guilt that might come from hurting him, and also the loss of his friendship (which I do value very much). I really care about my boyfriend but sometimes I feel like I have more in common (and more fun) with the other guy right now.

Sighh... [Frown]

Posts: 130 | From: hong kong | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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You can ask the new guy for some space while you work this out. Friends do that for each other.

In terms of possibly opening your relationship, I'd just be as honest with your current about it as you can and make clear you need him to be honest as well. For instance, open in your current situation very much sounds like more than one romance -- like more of a poly situation -- than like something more casual. While this other guy seems more your pace, it also sounds like you're pretty fixated on/interested in him (to the point that in every reply of yours, in suggesting we don't talk about him, he still keeps getting brought up: that indicates to me a pretty strong feeling). Would your current be okay negotiating all of this together with this other guy if you all needed to? Would your current be okay if you fell in love with someone else? What if you wound up wanting the things with the someone else you didn't want with him (as that can happen)? Do you think you two have the dynamic and communication skills to do the kinds of negotiation and honesty required for that kind of sitch? From what you've said so far, doesn't sound that way to me, but you'll know better than I could.

Have you looked at this for some kind of basic blueprint: Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
belladonna
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Hmmm.... you are right. I don't think my boyfriend would want to have anything to do with the new guy at all, let alone discuss these things with him. In that case I guess my choices are really simply to stay or go...

Thank you so so much for your time and your insightful replies.

Posts: 130 | From: hong kong | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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