Sometimes the right guy comes knocking at the wrong time. I was faced with this exact dilemma when I was a sophomore in college. I was in a steady, comfortable relationship with someone when by chance, I happened to meet another guy I really liked. Suddenly, I was faced with a decision that I didn’t know how to make.
He came out of nowhere.
I went to a pretty small school, so meeting someone new rarely happened. I was enjoying a night out with my girlfriends when I met him. I stepped outside for a breath of fresh air and there he was. After a few hours of talking and dancing, we exchanged numbers and I felt pretty guilty about it.
I did things I shouldn’t have.
I knew giving a guy my number wasn’t inherently bad, but I definitely wasn’t doing it for the right reasons. I failed to mention at any point in the night that I was taken, and in fact, I may have even purposefully dodged the subject a few times. I told myself I just wanted to have a night of innocent fun, but deep down I knew I wanted something more.
I never let it get too far.
The morning after I met my crush, I felt elated and depressed at the same time. I was experiencing butterflies for the first time in a long time, but it wasn’t for the man I was supposed to love. There were a few flirty words exchanged but I never physically cheated on my boyfriend.
I realized my feelings had changed.
My boyfriend and I were in a comfortable relationship. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. Somewhere along the way, our silly adventures were replaced by a monotonous routine. I would bring my concerns up to my boyfriend every so often and he’d put in a little effort, but his heart wasn’t in it. My crush lit a fire in me that I hadn’t felt for a long time. I felt sexy and fun again, and I couldn’t get enough of the feeling.
The guilt made me stay.
About a week into my secret back and forth with my new crush, I cut off communication with him for a few days. I couldn’t take the guilt. My boyfriend knew me well enough to notice that I was being weird with my phone and giving him less information about my plans than usual. He could sense that I was pulling away, so he started to cling to me more and do little things to make me happy. It made me feel like a total garbage person to see the effort he was putting into our relationship, so I stayed with him longer than I should have.
He was everything my boyfriend wasn’t.
My crush was social and easy to talk to, whereas my boyfriend had become a bit reclusive and didn’t enjoy hanging out with my friends. After texting him for a few days, I started to realize my crush had a lot of the qualities that my boyfriend lacked. Every time my boyfriend would come up short in our relationship, I’d reach out to my crush. Both guys fulfilled me for different reasons.
I had to come clean.
Although I never got physical with my crush, I still felt like I was cheating through this new double life I was leading. My crush found out quickly enough that I was in a relationship after finding me on social media, but he wasn’t deterred. He was confident that I’d leave my boyfriend for him sooner or later. My boyfriend was understandably pissed, but not totally surprised when I opened up to him about what was going on. He knew I had been unhappy for some time and agreed we should break things off.
I realized I was looking for a reason to get out.
The guilt that had been weighing on me for weeks didn’t magically disappear. I realized I’d not only been dishonest with my boyfriend but myself as well. I didn’t leave my boyfriend for another man, I left because I was unhappy and I should’ve been strong enough to do it without an excuse.
I moved on.
I dated my crush for a little while but things just didn’t work out. He was fun, but the guilt from my past relationship haunted me. One evening, after one too many drinks, we both admitted that the secretive naughty factor had been a huge driving force for our mutual attraction at the beginning. We both agreed that wasn’t a solid foundation for a relationship and parted ways as friends.
I learned a valuable lesson.
I stayed single for a while after I broke things off with my crush. I had to seriously re-evaluate what I wanted out of a relationship. In the years since this situation went down, I’ve learned the importance of brutal honesty. I know now that if a man really cares about me, he’ll take the time to work with me on our relationship if I have concerns. Relationships won’t be fun and exciting 100% of the time, but I’m allowed to have standards as long as I make them known.
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