Dear Dr. Love, I love your site, you give very good advice, which I am desperately in need of, so I hope my question gets picked! I have been in a relationship with a man for about three years. I am in my early twenties and he is about twenty years older than me. We have lived together for two years. The problem is I am no longer in love with him, (I have felt this way for a while) and I am not happy in our relationship. There is another guy in whom I am very interested in. But even though I am not in love with my boyfriend, he treats me very well and I still consider him my best friend, and I don’t want to lose his friendship. I have also come to consider a male friend of his as my other best friend. These two are the only close friends I have, and the only close friends I have ever had. I had kind of a messed up childhood, I was the parent in the house, and I never got to play with my friends as a child or date and socialize as a teenager. I am terrified of the thought of being alone again, with no friends and no one to talk to. I am a shy person(except around my two friends) and find it very difficult to relate to most people or open up to them, so the thought of willingly letting go of my two friends makes me shudder. On the other hand, I really want to pursue this relationship with this other guy. And it’s not fair to my boyfriend, he is starting to sense my feelings toward him, and I know that no matter what he does it won’t change my feelings for him, it’s just not there anymore. But I’m too scared to do anything. Any advice you can offer would be helpful. Thank you
You are so brave to face what you are feeling head on. You are exactly on schedule in terms of your own personal journey.Given the fact that you never had a parent when you were growing up, it makes sense that you fell for an older man. I think your unconscious mind chose this older guy because it hoped that he could be a parent to you.Of course you don’t want to lose your boyfriend’s friendship, especially since you feel that he’s your best friend. A best friend is a particular treasure to someone who had no friends growing up. I can imagine that your boyfriend will feel betrayed by your attachment to his friend.If your boyfriend is mature, he may be able to stay friends with you, despite his own hurt feelings. I hope so. I think that your best chance of keeping your boyfriend as a friend is to explain to him what you have come to understand about how your lack of a parent in childhood primed you to fall for an older man. You can tell him how much you care for him and that you don’t want to lose his friendship.Your chances of keeping the friendship will increase if you don’t start dating your boyfriend’s friend right away. Once your boyfriend has overcome the trauma of the breakup and your friendship is cruising along, then you can consider dating his friend. It’s in your own interest as well to make a clean break, give yourself some time to get over the loss of your boyfriend and then after six months or so you could consider dating his friend.Let me know how you make out.