Should I Stay?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’ve been with my current boyfriend for almost 4 years; we had started the relationship as mostly sexual and then built a foundation afterwards. I really care about him and we have dropped the L bomb a couple years ago, but we cannot hold a meaningful conversation. We talk about food, sports etc. but the long conversations are one sided. He complains that I tell him the same stories over and over, but the thing is I’m just trying to hold a decent conversation. We are also in our second year of being in a long distance relationship. He does not like doing most things that I do, he thinks I’m silly, and sometimes I feel like he doesn’t take me seriously. But at the same time, he’s extremely handsome (way out of my league), he comes from old money, he really genuinely cares about me. His family is very important to me too. Recently, I’ve met this guy who I cannot get enough of hanging out with. He knows I have a boyfriend, but we just have to spend as much time together. We keep it innocent, but I am developing some feelings for him. He is not as good looking as my current boyfriend but the conversation is definitely my highlights of the day. We are also extremely honest with each other, we are aware of each other’s feelings toward each other but we both could not do anything to hurt my boyfriend. I continue to hang out with my new friend but I’m starting to get this feeling deep down that I need to make a decision between the safe route (with my current boyfriend) or take a risk and see what life has in store for me. I’m very confused, and have never thought I’d be put in this position. Even if I choose a path, what do I say to the other? How do I break it to them, while keeping a window of hope of remaining in good standing with them? I’m putting it in God’s hands, but I also need reassurance.

A: This is a particularly difficult situation since you can feel that you are on the cusp of a change.

Perhaps the best way to approach this is to recognize that fact: Something has to change. It is no longer viable to continue in the relationship you are in the way you are in it.

At this stage of the situation we know that you are not satisfied with in the relationship you are in, otherwise you would not need so much fulfillment. The man you are looking to spend more of your time with sounds much closer to someone who fills you up. Time with your boyfriend sounds depleting, demeaning and unfulfilling. The money and the looks are temptations, but how you feel when you are with him is better than a gorgeous bank account that leaves you emotionally bankrupt.

I would encourage you to be as honest with your boyfriend as you are with the new person. Tell your boyfriend that you feel less attracted to him because of how he treats you, and feel better when you are around other people. Let him deal with the fact that he is not in the relationship the way you would like. Honesty allows the truth to be used as a vehicle for change. Either he can make the shift toward improving the relationship with you, or you can make the decision that it is time to move on.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Sep 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Should I Stay?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/09/27/should-i-stay/