Auntie SparkNotes: I'm So Bored with My Long-Distance Boyfriend
I feel very stuck right now. You see, my long-term boyfriend (we'll call him Dean) and I are in a long-distance relationship because we're going to different schools. I won't go into too much detail, but our conversations have become so predictable and boring. We don't seem to have anything interesting to talk about anymore. I still love him, but it feels like all the romance and sparks are gone.
I also met someone at my school (let's call him Logan). He's not the type of guy I would normally go for, but I know he's been interested in me since we first met. When he first found out I had a boyfriend he backed off, though.
The problem started when I went to a bar with a group of friends, and I noticed that Logan was paying a lot of attention to me. He was intentionally making a lot of physical contact with me all night, and even my friends started to notice. He didn't try to kiss me or anything, but it was a lot of consistent little things like touching my arm, putting his hand on the wall behind me, putting his hand on my back etc. I get kind of flirty when I've have a few drinks, so at the time I didn't think much of it and was having fun.
Now I'm confused though because I can't stop thinking about Logan. I don't want to lead him on, so I've tried to act normal around him, but I'm obsessing over him. When I'm with Dean, I can't help thinking about Logan either (Dean and I see each other in person occasionally).
The worst part is that I've been having some really selfish thoughts lately. I really wish Dean and I could take a break, so I could date around for a while and then get back with Dean in a year or so once I've had fun. He would be so hurt if I ever even joked about something like that though. I also know it's not realistic or fair for me to want, but I feel like i'm going crazy.
I love Dean and I know he's what I want in the long term, but I haven't been single for more than a few months of the last 6 years, so I feel like I missed out on that experience. I feel guilty for thinking these things, but I also really don't want to stop thinking about Logan since it's the first excitement I've felt in a really long time.
How do I stop thinking about hooking up with Logan when I really want to, and when I really don't want to stop thinking about it either? Should I just suck it up and try to get over it? Could it just be me looking for an escape from the stress of school?
Oh, we'll get to all that, Sparkler. But before we do anything else, I'd like you to back up a paragraph or so, to the part where you write, "I love Dean and know he's what I want in the long term"—and then, I'd like you to imagine Auntie SparkNotes crashing through the wall like the Kool-Aid man, only instead of yelling "OH YEAH," I'm going, "BUT ACTUALLY NO!"
Because not to be contrary, but you don't actually know that Dean is what you want in the long term. For one thing, you're not psychic. (I mean, unless you are, in which case you should write back and tell me who's going to win the next several Super Bowls and by how many points so that I can make some lucrative bets.) You don't know what you might want from life and love as you get older, and you don't know if Future Dean will be the guy to give it to you, either. A lot can (and will!) change between now and then, for both of you.
But beyond that, you also have one solid indicator right here, right now, that Dean isn't what you want in the long term at all—because in case you haven't noticed, you don't even want him right now. You're bored, unfulfilled, fantasizing at length about all the fun you could be having as a single girl, and obsessively crushing on someone else even when you're in the same room as your boyfriend. Even if you could press "pause", guilt-free, and date around for a year, why would you ever go back? How would taking a break fix all the broken parts of your relationship? Do you really imagine that a hot second of freedom is all it'll take to make you satisfied with stilted conversations and zero sparks, forever?
And look: this doesn't mean that you should dump your boyfriend to hook up with your crush (although if you were looking for permission to do that, then you've got it! Have fun!) But developing feelings like this for someone else when you're already coupled-up is definitely a symptom of a bigger problem—not school stress, but something essential that's missing from your life and that this new person somehow fulfills. Even if your relationship with Dean hasn't run its course (and just for the record, it certainly sounds like it has), this other guy is giving you something you weren't getting, something you need. Think about that.
But also, think about this: your current boyfriend probably deserves better than a girl who's only staying with him because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings by ending it—or who sees him as the safe, dull choice she wants to keep on reserve for after she's finished having fun. And while breakups are certainly painful, so are relationships that keep dragging on, miserably, long after one person isn't feeling the love anymore. So if it's over, do have the decency to realize that, and to let it be over quickly.
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