Torn Between Lovers

Torn between boyfriend and new crush…

Q. I’m only 18. I have been seeing my boyfriend for about a year and  five months now. We have had sex and have had a great relationship, but lately I  have been talking to another guy and I really like him. I don’t want to leave my  boyfriend, but I also want to be with this guy. What does that mean?

A. It is natural to be attracted to other people even when you’re in a  relationship with someone else. Not only is it normal, it is going to be a reoccurring inclination, probably throughout your entire dating career. However,  there’s a big difference between fancying someone while you’re taken (but not  crossing the line), and treating guys like they’re on some sort of rotation – a  new one for every time you’re bored, distracted, or annoyed with them.

Ask yourself this question: if everything is going so well, why do you feel  like ditching your man? Perhaps it’s because you’re newer to relationships and  dating, and you don’t yet understand that you needn’t jump into a romance just  because you see an opportunity that momentarily catches your interest. Ideally,  you want to be with a guy not just for the sake of being with him, but because  he is capable of attracting and keeping your interest.

Maybe you want to jump ship because this new love interest intrigues you and  sparks something in you that you’re current boyfriend doesn’t. If this is the case, you’re well within your rights to break it off with the current one, but as gung-ho as you are about new guy, do not just dive into another relationship! You’ve just spent a year and a half of your teen life being committed, and as used to being in a relationship as you are, girl, it might just be time to take a break.

At eighteen, you really start coming into your own. You’re growing as a person and developing an identity. Part of this comes from gaining independence from parents, but a lot of learning about who you are can be attributed to interacting with others. Why narrow your scope with one new guy when you can experience life as a single gal, getting to know the vast slough of guys – and there is a lot of variety to choose from – then choosing one to bestow your presence upon. Otherwise, you’ll be doomed to suffer from boyfriend A.D.D., hopping from one to another, or even possibly cheating.

Staying faithful to a boyfriend or girlfriend means that you respect them, but it also requires self-control. Avoiding temptation and turning the volume down on dirty thoughts about other cute guys isn’t as easy as it seems, and one of the only ways to cope with the seemingly endless supply of eligible men is to summon the will to refrain from acting on every impulse you experience. Learning how to manage your impulses not only helps you stay grounded in your relationships, it keeps you grounded as an individual so that you can focus on what’s important, rather than living life ruled by moods that are as fleeting as they are superficial.

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