Be safe tonight. I'll post a list of the year's most popular Love Letters tomorrow.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I love my boyfriend. Here's my problem: A few months into our relationship, I met someone else. We spent one weekend together (my boyfriend was away). Nothing physical happened, but there was emotional cheating. I felt as if I could tell him my whole life story. After a week of seeing him almost every day and texting throughout the day, I felt horrible. I was crying hysterically over being this person who would essentially date someone else while having a boyfriend. The idea of breaking up with my boyfriend physically made me sick. I asked the other guy to get together so that I could tell him in person that I couldn’t be friends with him since I clearly wanted more than that. I didn't want to give up my boyfriend for him. The other guy was mad and hurt and stopped all contact with me. At first I was upset, but eventually, I was so relieved.
Fast forward: It's now seven months later, and my relationship with my boyfriend has only gotten better. We moved in almost two months ago, and it's fabulous. We talk about getting married, and I think he's making plans to propose. Last week, I saw the other guy for the first time in a long time. (We live in the same area and happened to run into one another.) He asked if we could get together and we did. It was awkward but perfectly appropriate. There was no flirting or emotional cheating or anything like that. He kept the meeting really short and was very nonchalant. He said something about getting together in the New Year, but I got the feeling he was just saying that. Anyway, instead of being relieved that he seems not interested, I was disappointed.
My boyfriend is my first real relationship, and because we are older, it's gotten serious quickly. Can you marry the first person you have a relationship with? I can't figure out how much I like the other guy versus how much I wish I had more dating experience.
The other guy is where I am from, and I'd never have to leave home for him. The truth is: I think I could be happy with either guy. I honestly think I could love them both deeply long-term. Part of my confusion has to do with the location stuff, but also, my boyfriend is really work-focused, and sometimes I wish he would spend more time with me and less time working. What do I do? Do I give up my relationship with my boyfriend and an opportunity to marry him (I know he'd never go back after a "break") just to try with the other guy? Should I ask the other guy if he’s even still interested? Leaving my boyfriend seems beyond stupid, but I'm wondering if the very fact that I'm even remotely considering this is a seriously bad sign. I feel like a crazy person. Please help!
– Crazy in Love, Boston
A: Stay with your boyfriend and forget the other guy, CIL. You love your relationship. Focus on what works.
Truth is, there are plenty of men out there who could make you happy. Had you not met your boyfriend, there would have been someone else. Maybe that person would spend less time at work, but there'd be different problems. It's always a tradeoff, and we just have to hope that we can find someone who makes us happy for a very long time.
You sound thrilled about you boyfriend, and you're only confused about this other guy when he's right in front of you. And even when he is right in front of you, you're capable of letting him go.
My real advice is to think about whether you're ready to get married. You mention being older, but that doesn't matter. Maybe you need a bit more time just living with your boyfriend before you make bigger commitments. Perhaps the rushing is what's making you crazy.
Readers? Is it a bad sign that she still has a crush on this other guy? Should she leave her boyfriend? Should she talk to him about the pace of the relationship? What’s happening here? Help.
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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.