I Met Someone New & Can’t Deny The Reality Of My Relationship Any Longer!

I received this email the other day.

“I met my boyfriend John when I was 15. I’m 29 now and he is 31. His parents continued to support him until I forced him to start working, because he wasn’t doing a thing with his art. He is lovely. He’s good to me. We have great sex still. We have a lot in common. He’s an adult but not living like one. He has a savings account because I made him get one. He doesn’t have health insurance or a retirement account. I don’t know what would happen if he got really sick, or hurt, but it would probably involve me having to figure out how to get him treatment and pay for it.

The current conundrum: I met a guy named Zillah. Things were friendly at first, but over the past 4 months, we’ve gotten close… and maybe done some things that many people would take issue with, since we’re both in relationships.

I have always seen myself with John forever, and the thought of meeting someone else never even occurred to me. Even though I can’t picture what life will be like with him in the future. I feel like we haven’t discussed goals. All the aforementioned stuff is really stressful to me, but I do love him.

But since meeting Zillah… I’ve been thinking about what being in a relationship with him would be like. He’s in the same industry as me, he’s successful, motivated and driven (so important to me), we have a variety of things in common… I could go on.

My question is this: Is it wrong to partially fall in love with someone because they have their sh!t together in a way that my boyfriend of 14 years does not? Is it wrong that I think about life with Zillah being an easier life because I am not the only one who is actively planning the future? I feel like it’s not easy that I want, but equal. Equally excited about planning for the future.

I had sort of been in denial about what has been bothering me in my current relationship, and now I feel like I have seen that things can be different. I don’t want kids, but sometimes I feel like I have one. He knows that his parents raised him in a way that has really hindered his fending for himself, but it hasn’t led to him really doing anything about it.

I don’t know what to think, but this boy problem has made me realize that I am not completely happy with my current situation. If you have thoughts on this, or I have overlooked a question you answered or article you wrote, please refer me to them!”

I think the first & most important thing to address is that it is never wrong to fall in love — partially or fully — with someone. Our heart does what it wants, & often we’re really just along on the ride with little to no say in what goes on. Fact: You can’t help who you fall for.

The second thing to think about is that just because you have met this guy & you like him, that doesn’t mean you have to launch into a full-blown affair, or to break up with your boyfriend & jump into a new relationship. Not at all. I think the people we meet are markers along the road of our life, & they all have different things to teach us. Maybe this guy came into your life to show you what other options are out there, & to open your eyes to the reality of your current relationship — & nothing more.

Being in a long-term, intimate relationship with someone whose outlook on the world is clearly different to yours can be really difficult, especially when you feel like the person “in charge”. No one really wants to look after someone else in a relationship, unless they’re looking for some kind of pet project (which is another subject entirely!). That stuff gets old quickly. If you don’t feel that he’s pulling his weight, you’re probably going to start resenting him, & that will make the base of your relationship very rocky.

It sounds like you & John are in very different places. There’s nothing wrong with that, but at some point, it is going to start to cause problems. You sound like you are an adult: you are responsible, you are mature, you want to plan for the future & have some kind of certainty in your life. It sounds like he’s lagging in that department, & yet you’re trying to drag him along with you. Women do mature faster than men, but if he’s 31 & still floundering around, you might need to come to terms with the fact that he’s not going to change in a hurry. Maybe he’s always going to be like this. If he was, could you deal with that?

One of the great lessons of relationships — in my mind — revolves around learning to love an imperfect person. That is all that anyone is. No one is ideal, no one is going to tick all your boxes & be this immaculate creature. Ever. Once you’ve come to terms with that, it’s time to assess whether their imperfections are the sort of thing you can love… or leave. Some character traits are a total dealbreaker, while others you might decide are worth putting up with. After all, you probably don’t clean the shower as often as you should. Maybe you leave your underwear all over the house, or have extremely long, loud phone conversations at ridiculous times of the night, but your positive qualities probably outweigh these things — at least to John.

You & John have been together for 14 years. That’s an amazing run, & is to be commended. But I have to question whether you’re still right for one another. People change so much, especially from their teens into their early twenties, that it’s extremely rare for couples to stay together during that period. Maybe now that the two of you have gone through that, it just seems easier to stay with him. It’s comfortable & safe & easy. But it doesn’t light your fire any more — & that’s okay, & very natural.

I think this kind of thing happens all the time. We have these partners who we love, but we know things aren’t totally right… & then we meet someone else who makes us feel alive again. Sometimes we get involved with those people, & sometimes we don’t, but what these situations seem to have in common is that they jolt us awake, they incite us to take some kind of action, & give us the confidence to move into the next chapter of our life.

Call me an optimist, but I think we are always moving onwards & upwards to something better. Even if it doesn’t look like that at the time, & we feel confused & conflicted & unsure of ourselves. Know this much: life is always unfolding perfectly & exactly as it should.

What you decide to do next is up to you. Maybe it’s time for you & John to have some difficult conversations, but maybe you don’t want to disturb the status quo too much. What I do know is that it would be a shame for you to settle down with him permanently without having discussed these things, or while feeling that your life could have been much more exciting.

I’ll leave you with this, because I think it sums up your situation pretty nicely.

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains two descriptions: might have, & should have.” — Louis E. Boone

Good luck in whatever you decide to do, beautiful girl!