Dear Dr. Love,Please give me insight. My boyfriend of almost 1 1/2 years treats me like a queen. No one’s ever loved me so deeply. However, I’ve been attracted to other men and lately I’ve been dreamy about one particular man… I’m at a point where I fantacize about him. I’m never going to cheat on my boyfriend, but I don’t know what I feel for him.My boyfriend has noticed that I’m a little spacey these days and has confronted me about it. So, I explained that although I love him, I feel bothered that I’m attracted to other men. I don’t know if it was insensitive of me to tell him that… I even told him who it was I’ve felt drawn to. I’ve broken up with him twice before, but in both occassions, we’ve somehow stayed together. He makes conscious efforts to change what bothers me… I’m kind of baffled as to why I try to break up, but don’t ever follow through. By the end of the conversation, we’re still together.During the last’break-up’ conversation, which was about 3 months ago, he started begging that I stay. Eventually, I gave in only if we were more candid with each other, instead of censoring our feelings all the time (an example would be not telling the other person what you want, just in case that person wanted it, so that the other person could have it). It was wonderful again–but only for awhile.I don’t know when it’s time to let go of the relationship. I don’t think I’ll ever meet someone as loving as he. He makes me feel so good, and I think I make him feel good too.Perhaps what bothers me is his physical appearance (he almost looks dwarfed with short arms and legs), and sometimes he really annoys me. In many occasions he would make jokes that I wouldn’t find funny at all. I also feel that we spend too much time together.I don’t know if this has bearing on the circumstance, but we have a nine year age difference, I’mand he’s 29; he is my first long-term relationship; and I lost my virginity to him. Also, he just broke up with an alcoholic fiance (they dated for 7 years) prior to meeting me. He and his ex had only been apart for 3 months before our first date. Also, he asked me to marry him after only 4 months of dating. It scared the heck out of me. (We eventually decided not to bring it up again until I’m out of college.)I truly would appreciate your expertise. I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. Please, please respond.Sincerely,XXX
You asked for insight into why you want to break up. I think you often feel out of touch with your thoughts and feelings. You frequently feel annoyed with your partner, which is normal, but I think you don’t become aware that you are miffed until you are totally fed up. Then, you air your annoyances, feel better and decide to stay together. But, since you aren’t speaking on a daily basis, you feel neglected once again, become resentful and want to break up again.In order to break this cycle, you need to ask yourself every day, what am I thinking and feeling toward my partner and what do I need from him today.When you become aware of your needs, the next step is to communicate them. Beware of falling into a common female trap: to not communicate your needs and then blow an emotional gasket because your needs haven’t been met.When you break this pattern and simply state what you need and want, he will probably respond to you, and you won’t feel so frustrated and drawn to other men any longer (usually we are drawn to others when we aren’t receiving what we need). Of course you will always feel sexually attracted to other men. This is normal. But, the pull to actually be with other men and break-off the relationship should subside when you are seeing to it that your needs are being met in the relationship.Another area that you must explore is your need for space. You spoke about being scared to death that he proposed so soon. You spoke about not having enough private time. You may feel annoyed with him for clinging to you, which could explain your wish to run away from him. You may also be feeling frightened by too much closeness, which could explain your urge to bolt. You may be afraid of attachment and dependency, another possible reason why you might want to break-off the relationship. All these feelings are normal and only you can say what fits.So, your job is to get in touch with how you feel and think and what you need from moment to moment. Then, once you know, you will be more able to see to it that you state your needs and get them met. Remember to state your needs as they arise in the moment. Don’t wait until you are ready to erupt and break-up and you will be fine.