Should I Leave My Boyfriend for my Girl Friend?

Confused_girl
asks:
I have a boyfriend who I love and have been dating for nearly two years now. We plan on getting married after I finish high school. But I am starting to have feelings for my friend and she used to have feelings for me. I'm bisexual and one night while i was spending the night she kissed me and I kissed her back and we made out and fooled around but we both have feelings what should I do?.
Sam W replies:

It's not surprising that this situation has you confused. It feels straight out of a romantic comedy, and when you take the plot of a romantic comedy and plop it into the real world it tends to feel much less humorous and more like someone stuck your head and heart in a blender and hit the "on" button.

What you need to do before you take any more steps to resolve this situation is to have a nice, long think by yourself about relationships. What do you want from a partner? What do you want from relationship? Do either your boyfriend or your friend match closely with what you want? Do neither of them?

From there, I see no fewer than three courses of action. By the by, I'm assuming from the tone of your question that you're interested in a monogamous relationship, so my answer reflects that scenario.

The first course would be to tell both your friend and your boyfriend that you need time and space to decide how you want your relationships with them to be. That means not dating either of them, at least for awhile. Don't date anyone for a few months and give yourself a chance to enjoy being single. You can reevaluate dating your boyfriend or friend, but if neither of these people feel like they're the right partner for you? Then you don't have to date them! They are not the only two people out there who want to date you, I promise.

The second course is to try and stay with your boyfriend. I say "try" because you need to be honest with him about what happened between you and your friend. One of the reasons for this is that his reaction is going to affect the options you have. For instance, he may not want to stay with you after you reveal what happened. Which might suck a lot, but it is a choice he gets to make. He may be upset and angry (which are normal responses to this kind of news) but want to try and work things out so you two can stay a couple.

If you work the issue out and stay together, you need to set some boundaries with your friend. Make it clear that you and she will not be dating or fooling around anymore and that you still care about her as a friend. What happens next is mostly up to her. She may be quite comfortable staying your friend, or she may need a little space to get over whatever romantic feelings she has for you. And she may need to pull back from being your friend completely because her romantic feelings for you are going to interfere with her ability to be your friend. It's up to her to choose what type, if any, relationship she's comfortable having with you.

The third possible course of action is to break up with your boyfriend and date your friend. If you choose that, you and your friend should have a frank talk about what you're each expecting from the relationship. Are you wanting this to be fairly casual or more serious, or do you want to just see how the relationship progresses and adjust accordingly? If your needs and expectations for the relationship line up, hooray! If they don't, then you might find yourself returning to option one where you don't date her or anyone for awhile.

Regardless of which option you choose, I want to comment on you saying you want to marry your boyfriend when you graduate. You're in charge of your own life, but if you (or anyone) asks me if they should marry their high school sweetheart right after they graduate, I'm going to suggest they don't.

Story time! When I was sixteen I dated a boy who I was head over heels for. I still, to this day, remember the exact moment I realized I wanted to marry him. It was one of the single strongest emotions I'd ever felt.

Reader, I married him. Eight. years. later.

The reason I'm telling you this is because the person I was at sixteen was not even close to the person I was when I got married. And as much as a part of young me wanted to get married as soon as possible, current me is extremely glad I waited until I was older. You go through so much growth and change in your late teens and early twenties that marriage, even if it's happy and healthy, is constraining. Your life is so often in flux during those years, taking you to different schools or cities (or continents) in search of work, education, family, or something else entirely. You learn to live with yourself or with non-romantic friends as roommates. You figure out the habits and routines you can live with and the ones that drive you up the wall. You can makes choices based on your needs and your needs only.

The picture of what you want from life and from yourself becomes both more solid and more complex in your young adulthood. You developed a better sense of yourself and what matters to you. And as you're growing and changing your partner is as well. If you marry at 18, by 20 you'll likely be two different people. And there's a very good chance those two people will not be compatible any more. True, compromise and work  help sustain a relationship through those changes.  But if I'm totally honest, luck played a huge role in my partner and me staying compatible in that time of flux. Getting married at 18 is as big a gamble as betting your college fund on a roulette wheel in Las Vegas.

The choices you make with this are up to you: I can't tell you which path to follow. What I can promise is that making the choice you do will go a long way towards easing your stress and confusion.

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