It looks to me like your boyfriend’s relationship with his best friend is at least on the same level of importance, and maybe even more so, than his relationship with you. I can think of at least a few possible explanations but you would need to talk with him (if he even would) to really understand what is truly going on.
Of course, it is possible that the two are lovers. It’s also possible that your boyfriend can’t manage the intensity of a single committed relationship with one person so he dilutes it by being in relationships with two different people. I suppose it’s also possible that the “best friend” has something on your boyfriend and has blackmailed him into this arrangement. Your boyfriend may feel obligated to this arrangement. That particular option seems unlikely given the way they end their messages with xxx and “I love yous”.
Whatever the reason – Your boyfriend is showing you by his behavior that he’s a two-fer. If you are willing to accept the terms, he is willing to talk about marriage and kids. If you put your foot down and try to set clearer boundaries, I think your boyfriend will find a way to say goodbye to you. (I could be wrong. You will only find out if you take the risk and ask.)
You probably have a hard decision to make: Do you agree to buy into a life of sharing your partner with someone else. And committing to a life with a person who doesn’t take into account your thoughts and feelings? Or do you make the tough decision to part company and go through the time and effort it takes to find someone who can be committed to you alone? In situations like this, it’s important to look ahead to the next 40 years and see which of thee options feels better. Only you can decide.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 5, 2007.