Q: Dear Meredith,
Let me start by getting the facts out of the way. We are mid 30s/early 40s, both divorced years ago. We each have children who are mid-late teens. Kids are great and all get along really well. Have known each other for about 5 years, in a serious relationship for a few years. We both dated and had relationships after our divorces, so not a "rebound" by any means. We have taken our time getting to know each other. There is talk of moving in together and marriage, but neither of us is in any rush. We don't want any more kids.
I know how lucky I am to have found an amazing, wonderful man. We have a fantastic relationship. Communicate well. When he kisses me, I still get goose bumps. When he walks into the room, I am always mesmerized by him. As cheesy as it sounds, my heart still flutters when I am around him. It's perfect. Really.
So then why, at times, do I feel that I should just be alone? Let me clarify this. Maybe every six months or so, I wonder if I am just not meant to be in a relationship. I have always been kind of a free spirit, independent, spur-of-the-moment kind of woman. While my boyfriend has never tried to tame that side of me, once you are in a relationship, it just naturally changes because you have someone else to consider when making these last-minute decisions. (To clarify, I am a very responsible mother and these last-minute trips/things I do have been when the children were with their father.)
These feelings, I have noticed, tend to come up when I am driving up the coast alone with the top down.
I haven't really broached the subject with my boyfriend yet because I don't want him to think I want to break up with him and I certainly don't want to scare him off. But is what I am feeling normal? I just don't have anything to compare it to. My marriage was unhealthy and needed to end. So now that I have found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, I am scared by what these feelings mean. Do other people feel this way? Is there something I can do that will quell these feelings? Should I stop driving up the coast alone and/or change the music I am listening to?
– Is Love Enough?, Boston
A: Don't bring this up with your boyfriend, ILE. Please.
These feelings are totally, totally normal. Really. Most people want to be single when they're driving up the coast on a hot summer night. Similarly, most people want to be in a relationship when they're lounging on the couch watching television or taking a nice walk on a perfect fall evening.
The grass is supposed to look greener sometimes. It's part of being human. And you shouldn't rob yourself of these fantasies. Blast your single music on the coast, and when you get home, play the songs that make you happy to have a partner.
I know that you don't have any basis of comparison, but trust me, this is all good. And again, don't bring this up. This is the kind of thing you keep to yourself in a good relationship. You're not supposed to share everything.
Readers? Is it normal to fantasize about being single? Is this a red flag? Are these fantasies seasonal? Should she talk to him about the issue? Can you give her a coast and home soundtrack? (For the record, she did tell me what she listens to in the car, but I felt that naming the band made her too identifiable. I'd characterize it as -- rock. Maybe a little metal-ish.) Discuss.
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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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.