Q: Hi Meredith,
I'm in a bind. I think? I've been with my boyfriend for almost a decade (since we were teenagers, we are now in our 20s). We used to fight CONSTANTLY, but somehow, miraculously, we stopped. We get along better than ever and it just feels like the healthy relationship it once was. I see us having children, getting married, the whole nine yards. However, there is another gentleman. Let’s call him "B."
I've known him longer than my boyfriend. "B" and I have never dated and we never really hung out back in the day. We had crushes on each other but we were both too afraid to do anything about it. He comes in and out of my life periodically. (He had his own long-term relationship for years, not too sure what happened with that but it’s over.) We have hung out a few times recently and I notice that when he comes back into my life, I have doubts about my current relationship. When he leaves, I am content with my life, everything is great, and I couldn't be happier (because I'm not thinking about "B").
I'm confused. I like "B" but I'm also in love with my boyfriend. I feel like "B" knows when to come back into my life to mess it up. I feel like this is a game he enjoys playing. He told me recently that he could see me as his girlfriend, however he doesn't like introducing me to people he knows.
I need help.
– Confused Lover, Boston
A: B is nothing, CL. If you ever break up with your boyfriend, it won't be because of B.
You've known B longer than your boyfriend? That means you've known him since you were a very young teenager. There's a whole world of other guys out there, right? B just represents the unknown.
You say that every time B shows up, you begin to doubt your loving relationship. The solution? Stop seeing B. Remove the confusion. End the mind game.
Over the next few years, you'll have millions of reasons to doubt your relationship. B shouldn't be one of them. He's not your friend. He's not your more-than-friend. He's just a dangling, moldy carrot that you picked up in high school. Throw him out.
Readers. Does the fact that she sees B mean that she wants the temptation? What do you make of the fighting with her boyfriend? Is B a bad guy? What do you make of the last line of her letter? Can she keep B around as a fun distraction? What's going on here? 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 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.