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I found greener grass

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 11, 2010 09:31 AM

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I hope you're all working. I mean, not that I want you to be miserable at work on a holiday ... I just want this letter to get some attention.

(And despite the headline on this letter, it's not about drugs.)


Q: I am 26 and have been living with my long-term boyfriend (on and off) for almost a year now. We have been "on" again for about 2 ½ years and we are finally at a point where our relationship has become mature and the best it has ever been. Meeting during our college years (he went to school with a close friend), we (more so I) definitely went through our share of immature times over the years and have broken up more than once.
But these past years we have really grown as a couple and have frequently discussed marriage and our future, although the thought of actually taking the plunge scares me half to death.

Since I was 15, I have pretty much always been in long-term relationships and have been lucky enough to be with some amazing guys. But for some reason (which I have come to despise) the grass has always been greener for me. I had gone back to school a few years ago and soon after became friends with one of my classmates who was also living with his long-term girlfriend. For a while we were just friends and really only talked when we saw each other in class or were working on school related projects. However, beginning early this May (and I don't even know how it happened) I found myself talking to him more and more and it got to the point where we were talking every day, all day. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, yet I couldn't help it and kept at it. We really got to know each other on a personal level and eventually he shared with me that he had felt a "connection" from the moment we met. Mind you, this is almost two years later and he was still with his girlfriend.

He was finishing up school early this summer with plans to move back to his hometown. I had known this all along and the original plan was that both he and his girlfriend would move there together, but in June he told me that he broke things off with her. She ended up moving out of Boston and he was now living by himself. We began hanging out here and there and he told me he was going to stay around Boston to see where things were going to go with us. I hadn't really given him any indication that I was planning on leaving my boyfriend, but I was quite flattered that he was going to stay for me, as I knew his entire life was back at home.

Finally late in the summer, with no real moves being made on my end and without warning, he told me that he was lonely here and was leaving and going back to New York. Not in a month, not in a week, but basically right at that moment. I went to his place to say our "goodbyes" (as he put it) and to my surprise, found myself filled with uncontrollable emotion. I cried and cried and told him not to go, but ultimately his mind was made up and we parted ways.

Shortly after, he ended up writing me a letter. It was the most touching and heartfelt thing I had ever received from anyone. In it, he said that he had to leave and be with those closest to him during this transitional time in his life and that he truly believed we would meet again and hopefully our lives would permit us to continue where we left off that night. We do not speak anymore.

Ever since that day, everything has changed for me. I didn't want to and wish it hadn't happened, but I honestly think I fell in love with him, though I fought very hard not to let him know or admit it to myself until it was too late. Obviously this has made me seriously question my current relationship. Why would this happen if I was 100% committed to my boyfriend?

Overcome with what occurred, I recently told my boyfriend I needed a break and he has given it to me. Although he had already moved away, I told my new "friend" that I had done this and made it clear that I wanted to explore what happened between us, but without coming out and directly saying it, he has made it apparent that isn’t happening.

I know I am a good person and I definitely do NOT condone any type of cheating whether it is physical or emotional --never have and never will -- but this unexpectedly happened to me and though people may say I am responsible for my actions, I feel as if it was somewhat out of my control.

I am now left to wonder if my feelings for this kid were real. Or is it me and my grass-is-always-greener problem? If that's true, should I work things out with my boyfriend and forget about this short-lived "affair"?

– Lost in Greener Pastures

A: I don't think you should run back to the boyfriend. You haven't said anything about missing him or feeling as though you made a gigantic mistake. At your age it's possible that shiny new grass is actually greener.

If you had your choice, you wouldn't be back with your boyfriend. You'd be rolling around in greener grass. Don't go back to the old grass simply because the new grass has decided to go off on its own.

I think that if you follow your heart and stay single if the new grass isn't an option, you'll probably be more likely to know what to do with pretty green grass the next time you see it. It's amazing how much smarter we get when we allow ourselves to be lonely.

Readers? What should she do? Is the greener grass really gone? Anything I'm missing about the boyfriend? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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