At Relationship Crossroads

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am 23 years old and have been with my boyfriend since I was 16. We have a lot in common as far as morals, values, families, etc. However, we do not necessarily have common “interests” and not many mutual friends, but then again… my interests are very girly and his are very masculine. We fit well together and I know he is very trustworthy, loyal, and would be an amazing father and husband for the rest of my life. I love him very much and can’t bear the thought of hurting him and our families by breaking up with him… BUT!

I have had an emotional affair for a few months with a guy who is complete opposite of my boyfriend. He is adventurous, exciting, passionate, motivated, and has a really fun group of friends that I love hanging out with. I have had crushes on other men while in my relationship, but I believe I am in love with this person. We could talk forever and never run out of things to discuss. We do not have all the same opinions, but we challenge each other. He makes me want to live my life more and try new things. He excites me so much, and I know every day would be an adventure. He wants me to leave my boyfriend and be with him. We have tried to cut things off a couple of times when I said I couldn’t leave my boyfriend, but we always end up back in contact and at square 1. (We talk on the phone, text, email, facebook, in person alone and also with friends. We are very physically attracted to each other also)

One problem is: I don’t think he has a stable view of love. Although he is years older than me, he romanticizes a lot of things. He thinks that you should be “in love” with your partner, rather than just loving your partner. He thinks I am “the one” but what if one day he realizes I am not as perfect as he thinks? Will he leave me because I am not “the one”? Will his adventurous spirit not be a good thing for a husband? He travels a lot for fun and if I can’t go, he would still go I’m sure. My bf would do anything for me and is used to making compromises; I’m not sure if this guy is used to that. Also, does the fact that he tried to “steal” me from my bf mean that he is not a moral person??? Could I really trust him?

A. Make no mistake, having an emotional affair is a form of cheating. In many ways, having an emotional affair is more serious and more damaging than having a sexual affair. The emotional relationship that you have developed is quite strong. In fact, you are “in love” and on the verge of ending your current relationship. It’s evidence that emotional affairs are not harmless, not innocent, not benign.

I’m sure that you didn’t intend to fall in love with a different person. I’m sure that you never intended to hurt your current boyfriend. It is normal to get to know or to date a number of people before choosing one to marry. Perhaps, you are doing that right now — looking for the right one. That’s okay but you need to tell your current boyfriend and both of you can then decide what to do.

You may want to consider working through this dilemma with the assistance of a therapist. If you choose that route, consider examining the morality of continuing dual relationships. It’s okay and even healthy to be choosy about whom you want to marry but it’s not okay to carry on two love relationships. Continuing to engage in this emotional affair is unfair to your current boyfriend. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Feb 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). At Relationship Crossroads. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/02/16/at-relationship-crossroads/