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Hi all,

I've been with my boyfriend for about a year and a half, on and off.
The first six months were great, but then the second six months were
VERY rocky. We would break up, get back together, then break up, get
back together, etc. Probably 3 or four times. The last time we broke
up, he dumped me, I tossed a wine glass on the floor--it was ugly.

We've since gotten back together. I feel weird saying this, but on
this latest go-round, my boyfriend has CHANGED, and in a very positive
way. I say that it's weird because I have always believed that people
do not change.

Some background on our breakup: Our last break was by far the
cleanest and the longest--we did not see each other or speak for an
entire month, and then did not broach the subject of getting back
together for an entire month after that. So for two months, we were
not romantically involved, and both of us casually dated others. up to this point, the longest we had been broken up was two weeks.

Anyway, after two months he approached me about getting back together.
He had usually initiated the "getting back together" in the past
(although I must admit I never really turned him away), so I was
understandably suspicious and upset. TO make a long story short, he
said that he had given a it a lot of thought during the time we were
apart, and had finally come to a realization--that he saw the importance of fighting to hold onto what we had, that he was willing to work to keep us together, and that he wanted to build a relationship for the future.

More background--he's always had a difficult time with our
relationship. He's ten years older than I am (35 and 25), and feels
that in the next couple of years he wants to settle down. He owns his own home, will be starting his second career (we're both graduating
from graduate school this spring), and knows that he will not leave
the city we're in (all his family is here). He's always been afraid
that we weren't in the same place--my family is from another state, I
don't really see marriage or children in the immediate future (at least a couple of years), and I've never even had a salaried job! These were always huge issues for him, because he felt like i needed to explore the world a lot more before settling down.

Anyway, he says that he's realized that everything worth having is also worth fighting for. I feel like this is what i've been telling him all
along. I always said that if we loved each other enough, differences
between us wouldn't tear us apart. We've never even battled that much--we get along very well on the whole, with minor spats like all couples. He just always seemed unwilling to resolve things, or to work at it much, which always confused and hurt me because I felt that it was worth working at.

But now, he's ABSOLUTELY willing to discuss
"relationship stuff." Used to be that when something bothered him, he
would keep it inside, not discuss it, and just sort of ignore me. We
used to have a vicious cycle--he would be upset and withdraw, then I
would get upset and call him on it, then we would fight, then he would
get more upset and withdraw further--inevitably it would turn
hideously ugly and often we would break up over it because we saw no
way to resolve it.

BUT, he's doing EVERYTHING RIGHT now. He never used to tell me he loved
me; now he says it 5x per day. He never used to call me for little
chats during the day--now we speak every day, even if it's for only 5
minutes during pauses in our very busy schedules. These were always things that I would fuss about--it seems to me that if you love someone, you want to say hi to them during the day, and you want to tell and be told that you love and are loved.

He even talks about things that i do that BOTHER him! he never used to do that--he would just ignore problems until they went away (which, of course, they never did). he had a HUGE problem with something I did last week, and we had a reasonable, rational conversation about it, and I apologized profusely, and he forgave me. All without screaming, and we even felt really close after resolving it. and he admitted that, although it damn near killed him to bring it up, he felt fantastic after we resolved it.

this is FANTASTIC PROGRESS, as far as I'm concerned!

He's even talking about the future--he openly discusses me moving in when my lease is up in June, and even having children (what they would look like, how smart they would be, etc.) he said he has NEVER done that with ANY other girlfriend before.

He's behaving exactly like I always wanted him to. And we've been back together for about two months, and it shows no sign of stopping. and i'm HAPPY! I'm starting to see a life for us together.

Except, in the past couple of weeks I've developed this little crush on my coworker. I don't think it's serious--I'm a little bit attracted to him, and i like seeing him at work, and I think he's a great guy. We don't talk much at work, but I sometimes go see what he's doing and I think he does the same. He and I even went out for drinks one night after work (w/other co-workers) and although I flirted with the idea of kissing him while he was talking to me, I think it was more in an Ally McBeal fantasy-type way then seriously. I don't want to ruin what I have with my BF, esp. since we've been working very hard. And there's nothing to make me think that I should pursue anything with this guy. in fact, i've been wracking my brain for girlfriends that i can set him up with--he doesn't know anyone in town.

I think he's an interesting person and a stand-up guy. he just moved to this city all by himself to help his mother, who is getting over a breakdown after the sudden and totally unexpected death of his father. He left his friends, career, etc. in another state just to help his mother get on--that really impresses me.

It's kind of like when you meet someone you really get along with, plus you're somewhat attracted to them. I think maybe guys encounter this more often than women? Maybe not. Even though I think about him every day, and I'm a little sweet on him, I know enough not to let it get out of control, or seek more interaction with him than is appropriate. I'd introduce my BF to him in a second, and have even mentioned him to my BF several times.

However, I know that I would feel bad if my BF felt that way that I do towards another girl, even a co-worker. I've heard, though, that's it's natural for people in long-term relationships to develop periodic crushes on others, and as long as you don't act on it or let it get out of control, it usually goes away on its own.

So i have two questions:

1) what do you guys think about a person changing so completely in the middle of a relationship? one of my girlfriends is telling me to BEWARE--she says she's done the same thing and he's just telling me what I want to hear to keep me around. I don't know, though. He seems to be working at it.
Can people really change overnight???

2) does it mean I don't love him if I have this weird little crush on this guy at my work? I had a dream about him last night!! Not a sex dream, just a hanging out and chatting dream, but for some reason i felt really guilty about it when I woke up (maybe because I woke up with my bf's arms around me?)


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