I’m in a stable and loving relationship that is approaching the deadline for commitment. I’ve had strong feelings for someone else for a long time, which I’ve managed to control, but have recently resurfaced with a vengeance, and are making me seriously question whether to commit. Help!
posted by ashkenazy to Human Relations (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I’ve been with my girlfriend for nearly two years, and things are good, and reliable, and we’ve talked a lot about marriage. She’s very keen to settle down, and has imposed a time limit to decide where we go. In the face of the imminent arrival of that limit, a lot of doubts come up. Although I believe I feel very positive about marriage and commitment in general, I’m definitely on the fence at the moment. Something isn’t quite right.
To complicate matters, there’s this friend who I’ve known for around six years, and for more or less all that time, I think I’ve been in love with her. We have a lot in common, and I’m always excited to see her, and feel amazing afterwards. Even seeing her name makes my heart jump a little bit. But she and I have always been in different relationships.
Over that time it became a real problem for me, especially being in a relationship myself - I dreamed about her, thought about her, possibly obsessing, to the point where it got unhealthy. So I made a conscious effort to block her out of my mind, and actively avoid her, as it wasn’t good for me, or my relationship. We were friends, but I didn’t see her that much, and didn’t know that much about her. I knew that I was amplifying her good sides, that she was a fantasy and not a reality, and an immature reaction to the problems I was facing in my relationship at the time. I wanted to draw a line under it, and for a while I succeeded.
Trouble is, I’ve seen this friend around again a few times recently, and those feelings have come flooding back. She split up with her boyfriend at the end of last year, and I remember hearing and feeling pretty excited. The times we do hang out, there’s definite chemistry, and I get the feeling she’s reciprocating. I had been avoiding opportunities to see her, as I understand that this isn’t helpful or respectful when I’m in a relationship, but also I really WANT to see her, and it’s difficult to switch that off fully. But I know she's not available because I'm not available. I'm not a cheater and I don't want to cross boundaries.
I have a real desire to understand what ‘true love’ is, and I get the feeling this might be it. However I also think there’s a good possibility it isn’t, and that it’s a fantasy that’s built up over a long period of time that, despite my best efforts to kill it, isn’t going away. I don’t really know the reality of her.
I’m of the opinion that you can make a relationship work with anyone, as long as both of you are willing to put the work in. So maybe I’m being selfish / lazy / immature, and not focusing on the good things that I have in the moment with my current partner, but looking elsewhere as the realities of commitment present themselves. And I could definitely put more work and appreciation in with my girlfriend. I feel like I might be compelled and inspired to, though, and that isn’t the case - it definitely has to be a conscious effort. Is that bad? I feel like this friend could compel and inspire me. I think about marrying her and get excited. But again, these thoughts probably aren’t based in reality.
I understand that my girlfriend will be hurt if we break up, and that’s unavoidable. But I understand she’ll be even more hurt in the long term if I commit to something that I’m not 100% convinced by. That’s life-ruining shit right there. Do I need to grow up and recognise what I have?
TL;DR - having thoughts about jumping ship, feeling pretty shitty about it, need advice to avoid stupidity and too much hurt.