General Question

eyemadreamer's avatar

I can't stop thinking about someone who is not my boyfriend. How can I resolve this?

Asked by eyemadreamer (252points) May 20th, 2011

I’ve been in a relationship for over two years. It has had its ups and downs. He is a wonderful person, kind, caring, but intellectually we are very different. He is just not capable of providing me with the mental stimulation I have grown to enjoy in my friends. When we first started dating, we were both quite the partying type, now he is more into health and athletics and I am interested in academia and seeing the world.

I feel like such a moron because I know a better, more decent guy will be hard to come by. I wish I didn’t feel like the relationship has become stagnant. I have found we barely have any meaningful conversations, and I am very bored when I am with him. As silly as this sounds, it is very painful because I “love” him – I just feel as though the flame has officially burned out. I know it sounds rather ironic that I feel pained by this, when essentially I am the source! He is my best friend, and is one of the only people who has always been there for me. However recently I feel as though he has been departing a bit as well, being much less attentive – it has been quite a two way street in this regard.

We broke up not too long ago, because we had been living together and were not compatible. Moving apart helped keep the relationship going, but I feel back in the same place again. I feel as though I would miss him tremendously if we split, but I have been feeling constant guilt because deep down I know how I actually feel.

I have been under huge stresses in my life currently, and I am worried that my recent “feelings” have simply become an outlet to relieve that pressure. I don’t want to do anything I will regret, but I also know this is totally unfair on my significant other. I’ve been spending time with a friend, and we both have begun to like eachother. Nothing at all has happened, but I feel as though mentally I am cheating on my boyfriend and that is just as bad. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.

Is it bad to spend time with someone that I do have some feelings for? I know that I need to decide on my relationship now without being influenced by this, and I can’t help but consider the “forbidden fruit” syndrome going on here.

I’m afraid of taking the plunge and straying away from my comfort zone. It is rather funny because in all other aspects of my life I am very adventurous and independent – here I seem to stumble.

All in all, how in the world do I sort out my feelings? Do I need to “man up” so to speak and just get on with my life? Nothing ventured nothing gained? Have any of you been in this situation before? Is it wrong to continue socializing with this other friend, while I am with my boyfriend, as long as nothing across the line happens?

Apologies for the wall of text – I just wanted to provide enough context to paint some kind of picture.

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20 Answers

jaiyan's avatar

It can be difficult but talk to your other, tell him how you feel and about your fears. The best thing might be for you to go your own ways, you never know perhaps a break is just what you need. No matter what keep a calm head, even if the situation gets difficult.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I think you have to break it off. You might just be staying in your relationship because of a comfort thing. It’s what you know and you don’t want to venture outside of it. I know it can be scary for you to be alone after a long time of being with someone.

You have to take the risk, if this person isn’t stimulating you intellectually then you have to find someone who is. I love being challenged mentally and always go for a guy smarter than me, and if I’m with someone who isn’t smarter than me I can’t stay with them.

You might need this time apart, you never know, you might discover more about yourself than you thought possible.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A couple of thoughts:
1.) It sounds as if you love your boyfriend and have discovered that you are not in love with him.
2.) If you are in a relationship where monogamy is essentially agreed upon between the two of you, then yes, spending time with someone else you are interested may not technically cheating, but it isn’t fair to the boyfriend.

If you have lost that lovin’ feeling, it is time to break it off. Two years is a long time, but I don’t think you will regret it. I was on the receiving end of a break-up after two years and can honestly say that he did me a favor. Nice guy, but we would have been miserable if we had married.

tranquilsea's avatar

If your interests are diverging then, from what you’ve written, I would say that the best thing would be for you to break it off with your boyfriend before you get any closer with this other guy. That will be hard to do but you owe it to him.

If you are not ready to do that then you need to stop seeing this other guy. That can only lead to dangerous things that will really complicate your relationship.

eyemadreamer's avatar

I appreciate the replies. As much as it pains me I think that all of you are right. I am just going to have to try to swallow the inevitable. The toughest part is losing your friend as well. I just can’t believe being on the initiating end of a break up is so painful. (I don’t actually think I have ever broken up with anyone). I would like to point out that I’ve felt this way to an extent much longer before the third party entered the picture. I suppose this has just sort of hit it home. I didn’t go out looking for it, it just kind of occurred.

Is it selfish to say this really sucks?

The other huge part of this picture is that I have a multitude of important exams coming up and I really am having a hard time to find the energy to weigh up this situation the way it should be considered. Is it selfish to put it off a few weeks until I can have a clear mind?


Thank you. I do completely agree with you, and especially on your last point. I can’t help but think that he would make someone else very happy. I think he deserves someone that can appreciate him. I can’t help but think I would be happier having my freedom. You’re right, I do owe him that much. I am sure if I am feeling this way he must have some inclination. I’m sure he can’t be much happier, no one can be that oblivious.

tranquilsea's avatar

@eyemadreamer it’s not selfish at all. It does suck. Clearly you don’t want to hurt your boyfriend and that is really understandable.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

You are very welcome. As for the thought of losing a dear friend, that is completely understandable. I won’t sugarcoat it…it can be very difficult at first. The good news is that it may not be the end of your friendship, just that rebuilding it down the road will be reliant on his willingness to do so.

Bellatrix's avatar

@eyemadreamer I actually think it would be more selfish to keep the relationship going when you know it isn’t the right thing for you. Let him go and find the right woman for him. I know it is hard to do and yes he will be hurt, but he will be hurt in the future when it happens too. It sounds as though this relationship has run its course.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Without bringing up the subject of your daydreams, talk to your partner and ask him what he’s been thinking of the relationship since you two got back together. Ask him if it feels okay that you two are very different and if the time you spend together is important enough to call it a relationship? Maybe he’s feeling differently too, maybe he thinks the stuff you guys enjoy as a couple aren’t enough to remain.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve been there. Exactly there. Except I was married and I left him. Difference in intellect, stagnation and lack of caring all that much about it are all deal breakers for me. Don’t waste your time, move on.

kheredia's avatar

I think you have to decide what you want. If you don’t feel happy in your current relationship and you don’t think it will get any better then you already know what to do. If you think that whatever it is that you are going through is something that is going to pass and you want to work things out with your current boyfriend, then you need to stop talking to this other guy, or at least maintain a distance from him.

At one point, I started becoming interested in someone else, but I soon realized that I was mostly interested in his intellect and nothing more. My true love was at home, and that’s where I stayed and haven’t left since.

Luiveton's avatar

Move on. Break up with the guy. ‘There are plenty of fish in the sea.’

devilsmare's avatar

Despite the differences, you are obviously involved. Hold onto him until it’s too late.

eyemadreamer's avatar

The other thing is that he refuses to talk about anything if he knows it is going to be a ‘serious’ talk. For example I tried talking to him last night but he was “too tired” and said he would email, of course no email, now I have tried calling this morning and he isn’t answering. I’m at my wits end. Fuck it! If he can’t find the interest or will to hear about what is wrong or try to fix it, then I suppose there is no point fretting about his feelings.

BeckyKytty's avatar

Hi Eye…

When we came to this silly planet, why didn’t they give us a map and manual?

None of us can or “should” say you “should” do this or that. That would be judgement, besides, we are not in either of your shoes.

I find it it fascinating I am in a similar situation, only my “break up” is after 15 years, living together in a studio. And isn’t it amazing we didn’t kill each other by now?!

Four years ago we parted domains and sexual intimacy.
We are still very close, and for some unknown reason, jealous of each others dealings with others.

If I get close to another person I feel as guilty as if we hadn’t (broken up). You did say you broke up didn’t you? If so, aren’t you free to be with whomever, however you want?

My significant whatever and I still do things together, but when too much judgement and control by either of us starts, I can just go home. Whew, lucky for the both of us.

The other persons in our lives have made groves in our minds and hearts. That will always be there, but we are now in a separate reality, getting older, so don’t we need to “Woman Up” and follow our Bliss?

I am studying a course of psychology called DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Training) which I have found invaluable to helping me mold my life into a much more satisfying one.
It is basically about finding and living in a balance between our Emotional Mind and our Rational Mind (this balance being called Wise Mind).

Under the Category of Interpersonal Relationships, we have an acronym called
“D.E.A.R. M.A.N.”
When we communicate with others our thoughts and desires, this is useful:

D= Describe the current situation. Tell the person exactly what you are reacting to. Stick to the facts.

E= Express your feelings and opinions about the situation. Assume that others cannot read your mind. Don’t expect others to know how hard it is for you to ask directly for what you want.

A= Assert yourself by asking for what you want or saying no clearly. Assume that others cannot read your mind. Don’t expect others to know how hard it is for you to ask directly for what you want.

R= Reinforce the reward to the person ahead of time. Tell the person the positive effects of getting what you want or need. Help the person feel good ahead of time for doing what you want.

M= Mindfully keep your focus on your objectives. Maintain your position. Don’t be distracted.

A= Appear Confidant Use a confidant voice tone and physical manner; make good eye contact. No stammering, whispering, staring at the floor, retreating, saying “I’m not sure,” etc.

N= Negotiate by being willing to give to get. Offer and ask for alternative solutions to the problem. What am I willing to “settle for” or “give up” in order to gain what I want in the situation?

(D.E.A.R.M.A.N. – Marsha Linehan, MD published the DEARMAN in 1993 as part of her DBT training manual.)

Do I always use this, no. Does it always work, no. Am I getting any good results from it, yes.

We would do well to live in just this moment, the only one we have.
“The Critic” in our heads will always want to regurgitate the past and be anxious about the future, while the present we are in slips by.

I am trying to live in the present, give myself credit and just love myself (very challenging for me) and be my own individual self.

I heard someone once say something to the effect of “When I get old, I will probably regret what I didn’t do, not what I did.”

I am trying to live so my regrets of what I didn’t do are few.

Peace Out!!!


eyemadreamer's avatar

Well…. I got up my courage and did the right thing. I feel sad about it, but also a large degree of relief. I think both of us will be happier even if it stings right now.

Bellatrix's avatar

Sending you a huge hug @eyemadreamer. I am quite sure you will both feel better with a little distance from this situation. Keep in mind, he may want to maintain contact and you are probably going to have to be the one who manages how often this contact will take place or it may just prolong his pain. You both need time to heal (and quite possibly especially him).

eyemadreamer's avatar

@Bellatrix: Thank you. He didn’t actually even reply to me breaking up with him. He figured out how I was feeling the night before I believe, and then refused to return my calls or emails. I got so anxious I just had to do it in a voicemail (I know, bad), but what else can I do if he is avoiding what I am going to say?

I am actually feeling relieved myself that he didn’t put up a fight about it, because the longer he stays away the more I am feeling that I made the best decision. I actually think he isn’t going to talk to me, which it is really supremely weird not talking to someone you’ve seen nearly every day for a couple of years….. but I guess it really does make the process easier! I actually feel a bit offended that he couldn’t even acknowledge the situation, I mean, we were together a long time. Perhaps it is his own way of dealing with it. I did hear from a friend that he changed his “status” on facebook (I don’t have one) so he definitely received my message at least….

Bellatrix's avatar

I am sure some of the men here can talk more about the way guys respond to things, but it sounds to me like he has buried his head in the sand about it to a degree. He is probably protecting his emotions as much as he can. It was probably too painful to face hearing you say you didn’t want to see him and I imagine, if my assumption is correct, contacting you to respond to your voice message would have been just too painful. He may contact you in the future when his pain subsides a little or he may not.

I have to say, I think I would have gone out of my way to avoid breaking up with him by voicemail. Two years is a long time and surely you could have gone round to see him or found some way to contact him personally. I hear that you recognise this was not the best response. Perhaps that was your own way of taking the easy way out? Not judging you. I have dumped someone by phone because I didn’t have the guts to sit down with them and do it in a face-to-face way, but I was copping out.

suzanna28's avatar

Break up with your boyfriend.

You don’t love him

When it is over it is over.

Stop being in Denial.

Remember life is short.

As long as you are not married you have a right to make decisions for your personal life. i.e end relationships if they are not working out.

It take a lot of strength to end a long term relationship but you will be glad you did in the long run.

Don’t stay in a relationship that is not healthy because you are too timid to end it.

Get your confidence levels back up.

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