First, some practical info: Iím in Los Angeles with various Goldsteins. Because of family stuff, I wonít be available for chat tomorrow at 1 p.m. The chat will go on without me. Taking my place will be the Milhouse to my Bart Simpson, the Gayle to my Oprah, the Robin to my Batman Ö Glenn Yoder. He wonít be dispensing advice, but heíll monitor the chat as you help one another with love problems. Be good. Donít go all ďLord of the FliesĒ on him.
Today is about Temptation Island, which turns out to be Jamaica Plain.
Q: Dear Meredith,
Iíve been debating going to you for advice for awhile because I was hoping I could work this whole thing out on my own, but Iím throwing in the towel. My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years and it is great. Weíve been living together for 2 years in a happy, blissful state. I truly love him. We never fight, our personalities are completely inline, and in general we just ďclick.Ē But he had to move back home (only 45 minutes away) for financial reasons and has since been acting really lazy and doesnít put much interest in seeing me or making it a priority. Iíve begun to question whether or not he really cares about me the way I care about him, and as of late have felt our relationship has been shaky.
This is really only a small, minute part of my love problem, however. The big problem is me. I have this uncontrollable urge to cheat that gets harder and harder to silence -- I have had this in ALL of my relationships. It is the thrill of it all and I know I shouldnít want it, but I do. When our relationship was fresh and undefined I grazed in many pastures but once I realized I loved him, I wanted to be committed and silenced these carnal urges, rather successfully.
However, this past week a mutual friend of my bf and me, not to mention a past roommate of both of us, made a move that was extremely out of character for him and tried to ďput the movesĒ on me. At first I brushed him off right away and had this moment of relief thinking I had conquered my demons. Then he tried again later on and I brushed him off, but let it go on a little longer. After that evening I was convinced I had succeeded in ending my treacherous ways, but the more I think about it the more I am filled with Ďbutterflyí thoughts about the mutual friend.
Admittedly, we perhaps have more in common than the bf and I and our life goals are more in tune with one another, plus there has been a building sexual tension I think we had both been trying to ignore for a long time, and he is pretty cute ÖYah, those are the thoughts Iím desperately trying to silence and as you can see, they keep creeping in to my mind.
Right now Iím confused and shaken. I feel guilty and lustful but at the same time I have been more successful at controlling my urges than ever before. I know Iím no good and rotten, but I do love my boyfriend. I just donít know if my actions are indicating I should move on or rather that Iíve been frustrated with the relationship but still do want it to continue. Oh, and... I donít really want to tell the bf because this is one of our best friends and I worry this could get more awkward than necessary -- I say this because other mutual friends have tried similar things before and it has gotten unnecessarily awkward. I know you canít solve my problems, but this has left me teetering between the devil and the angel on my shoulder for a week and is becoming an obsessive thought I canít silence. I know I could never be with the mutual friend, but these thoughts make me question whether or not I can be with my boyfriend.
– Trying to Silence Temptation, JP
A: Well, TTST, this is nice and juicy for a Tuesday in L.A.
ďOther mutual friends have tried similar things?Ē What do you mean by that? My head is spinning. Who are these friends? They donít seem to have much respect for your relationship.
I'm sure you care for your boyfriend, but it doesnít sound like you want to be in a committed relationship right now. That doesnít make you a bad person. It just makes you not ready.
If you want to see other people, fine. Just tell your boyfriend so he can plan accordingly. I know three years is a lot to turn your back on, but you sound like youíre asking for permission to walk away. The tone of your letter suggests that your gut is telling you to be a free bird. Iím going with your gut here, assuming Iím reading it right.
I know youíre worried that this is about your own bad wiring -- that youíll want to cheat after a few years no matter what relationship youíre in. But Iím not convinced thatís the case. I think youíre just not ready for a big commitment. You thought you were, but youíre not. And frankly, you're surrounded by people who arenít ready for much. Your boyfriend isn't 100 percent in now that he's living at home, and your friends seem to ignore all boundaries.
My advice is to make yourself single so that you can do whatever you want without feeling like a jerk. Maybe your boyfriend would be open to a more casual relationship. Maybe heíd be open to taking a break while youíre living apart. It's worth a discussion.
But really, if youíre constantly fighting the urge to cheat ... if it takes constant discipline to be good ... then itís time to make a change.
Readers? How can she silence that little devil? Does she want to be in a relationship? Should she let go after three years? Is this about her bad wiring? Share.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.