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Relationship Health Message Board


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Hi! I'm new here, but I was hoping to get some opinions on my situation. I really appreciate any and all responses, so thanks in advance for your time. I'll be as brief as I can, but my question is somewhat multi-faceted.

First, some important background:
I'm in my late 20s, and I have a good education and job.

Back in college, I met a guy while I was in a long distance relationship with someone else. We had a great friendship. Obviously the LD thing didn't work out, and then I decided to date this guy at college. This guy always made it clear that he wanted to be with me even when we were just friends - and unfortunately, my reluctance to be with him due to my prior LD relationship at the time caused some issues for us when we actually did start dating (surely, he felt like he was the second choice guy for me). But we had a fantastic emotional, intellectual connection. He really understood me, respected and supported my interests and was just generally a caring person. I ended up breaking up with him after a couple of years for some salient issues: he would get jealous of my male friends, he had major insecurities about his own future and would often put his self-worth on me and our relationship, plus I had my own growing to do at the time and felt I would best figure out my path on my own.

Years later, we're both living in the same city - but I'm about to move out of town for a job. We meet a few days before I'm moving just to catch up and say hello. Our wonderful connection hadn't vanished at all, it was like time and distance didn't matter at all. I should add that he overcame a lot of the hurdles he had faced in terms of his professional well-being and more, and really emerged as a better, stronger person. Our lasting connection was very unexpected. But I was moving. So I decided to come down and visit in the ensuing months, to see where things might go. Things were good, but in the end, I realized that in order to make a new life for myself in my new location, I needed to let go and not hold on to the city and the people there. So I never fully pursued it.

Then, at least a half year later, I met someone new in my new town. We started dating - and we're still dating. We've been together for 2.5 years. At first it was wonderful, we were so in love. After a while, I moved into his house (he bought a house before I knew him and has a good job and is very secure in his life; I should mention that I insist on paying "rent" to help with his mortgage and bills, so we still keep our finances separate), things were great. But then I brought up the idea of marriage (after a year of living together) -- and very unexpectedly, he hadn't really thought about it and was unsure about it. Basically, he didn't want to get married yet and when I pressed for a reason, he didn't have one - just that he didn't think that he or we were ready.

This caused me to have some doubts about us -- I really figured that the person I would marry someday would feel the same about me. And I've never been the type of girl to plan my wedding or really seek out marriage -- I really just thought about marriage because I thought he was great. Plus, we were starting to think/make plans for a possible move to a new city, etc., and he didn't think about making any kind of commitment before asking me to move to be with him, which seemed odd. It was out of character for him, especially since he's been pretty forthcoming about the fact that his life goals include marriage and children, etc. Plus, he's in a very stable place, and our relationship was a dream for both of us. Even his mother predicted to him that we would get married, and his good friends adored me - so I know I'm not the only person who felt like the relationship was moving in that direction.

Anyway, I started to pull away because I felt rejected. And things have very slowly and steadily declined between us since.

Then, months later and out of nowhere, I started having dreams about the guy from college who I reconnected with before moving to my current location. And I couldn't get him out of my mind. I just kept thinking that this guy from college really wanted to be with me -- he very openly made it clear to me that he wanted to marry me someday (though, that was in college, which was way to soon for me to think about marriage). Anyway, I had these thoughts that maybe we would have worked out if we had been older, more mature, more stable in our lives. Everything else was always there.

So I ended up breaking up with my current boyfriend months later and went to see this guy, thinking I would try to get him back. But then I started having all these doubts. What if all the problems I used to have with the college boyfriend hadn't actually been resolved with time? Maybe we'd have the same issues all over again. What if I end up missing my current boyfriend once I'm with this old flame? And maybe I was the reason for the decline of what was great relationship, since I pulled away after he wasn't sure about marriage. Maybe I should have had more patience with him about marriage and a future. But maybe not! Maybe the fact that my current boyfriend and I weren't on the same page was a major red flag. Not to mention that my current boyfriend -- while wonderful and supportive, etc. -- really never "got me" the way this other guy did. We just come from such different backgrounds and experiences that he often has a difficult time really understanding me.

Well, I ended up going back to the current boyfriend after about a week. Maybe out of fear, maybe because I wasn't strong enough to leave. Maybe because I hate thinking that I caused the break up with my pulling away and thought that I should at least give it a real shot instead of being distant. Plus, we talked during the time I broke up with him and he said things I wanted to hear: he wanted marriage eventually, and he even finally gave me a reason for his indecision, saying that the reason he didn't want marriage when we talked about it six months ago didn't have anything to do with me. He was just scared of marriage, for some reason. So, OK -- I went back to give it a second chance.

But now I don't want to marry him. Not at all. The idea of marriage makes me cringe now. And we're not in love anymore, like we used to. We're not intimate anymore, we've both pulled away from the relationship. And we've talked about it - and whenever we talk about it, we agree to be more affectionate and to try harder. But nothing really changes.

It may not have changed, in part, because I still think about this other guy. A lot. I keep it to myself, and I'm not in contact with him at all. There's nothing going on there, except some feeling about him that hasn't gone away after all these years.

I think I probably have to break up with my current boyfriend, one way or another. No matter how great the relationship was, we're just not in a good place anymore - and I'm not doing either of us favors by thinking of another person.

But every time I think about the old college boyfriend, I get really scared about that too. I know that there are issues there - I worry he'll always have some insecurities with himself and/or us, and that he may have some jealousy issues still. Maybe no one's perfect and that I can deal with those things to be with someone who really cares about me and understands me (who I understand as well). But maybe they'll just lead to us breaking up again. Things get very serious with us very quickly, from past experience with him, and there always feel like there's a lot at stake. I know if we were to break up again, it would hurt us both very badly. In which case, if there's still a good possibility that we might end up breaking up over time, I might want to think about forgetting about him and really giving my current boyfriend and me a fair shot at something real.

If anyone has any thoughts on this, I would really appreciate it. I feel a bit trapped right now, each possible path has similar and equal risks. Maybe there's a clear path here that I'm just not seeing being so emotionally involved. Thanks!





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