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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I (30 F) have been in a 5-year relationship with my boyfriend (31 M). Since the start of the relationship, there have been many times we haven’t seen eye to eye on things—which I think is fine and healthy to a certain degree; however, it’s been 5 years now and I still have this feeling of uncertainty, but I just cannot pinpoint what it is that’s holding me back.

For the most part, he’s everything I want. He’s a sweet, smart, ambitious guy, with a good job, comes from a good family, and wants to have a family together. He always call/texts me, genuinely wants what’s best for me, and loves me. In terms of communication and intimacy, we’re definitely in a solid place.

During our 5-year run, we’ve broken up twice. The second time was at the start of this year (Feb 2020). The following month I met someone new and fell absolutely head over heels. We had a fantastic start, but due to COVID, he had to move out of the country (he’s not a US citizen), but that’s beside the point. The point is that soon thereafter my bf and I decided to try and mend things, but a part of me wants to keep dating to see what else is out there (since I’d just had such great success in dating scene). However, I don’t know why…why would I want to do that, when I have someone right in front of me who checks off most of my boxes and who I know would be a great partner in many ways? What am I missing? Is it natural to want to explore other options when you already have a fantastic one right in front of you? Even with the turbulence in our history, I think we do have a good relationship overall and could work well in the long run. As much as I believe that we go well together, I still want to try dating again, but I don’t want to risk losing him either.

We’ve gotten to the point in our relationship (and lives) where we need to decide whether we move forward with a long-term plan or call it quits for good, and I’m really struggling with what do it. Why does it feel like there’s something missing in this relationship?

I’d love to hear advice, suggestions, or perspective on the situation.
Appreciate any insight!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read!
 

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It seems to me that you feel that your “settling” for your boyfriend because you lack the courage to finish with him and enter the dating world.
Don’t settle, it’s not fair on you and it’s certainly not fair on him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thank you so much for your input, @Andy1001 !
Now that you mention it, that does seem to be a very plausible case. 😞
Is there any way to get to a place where I don't feel like I'm settling with him? Would it help to evaluate our compromises or see a therapist? Or is this simply something I don't really have much control over, like a subconscious feeling? Because I'd really like to make it work, but also don't want to end up feeling sad or trapped in the future or end up with a broken relationship in the long-run.
Is the only solution here to end it? If there are alternatives to this, I'd be happy to hear your suggestions!

Thank you!!
 

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Don’t settle, it’s not fair on you and it’s certainly not fair on him.
I'll tell you what's going to happen.
Your BF is going to figure it out, that he is "plan B". It doesn't matter that you haven't met "plan A" yet. It is the worst thing you could ever do to him. What you are doing now is using him, because he "checks boxes". Please stop.

Would it help to evaluate our compromises or see a therapist?
Let me ask you a question (rather two). When you met Mr. "head over heels", how many "boxes" did you "check"? Or how much "evaluation of compromises" was done ?

Ok, three.... if Mr. "head over heels" didn't move away, would you still be with your BF ?

In these three questions are the answer to your dilemma. You don't have to tell us, only be honest with yourself.
 

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If you're not sure, you're not sure.

There's no magic advice that can guide you.

Be kind to yourself and your bf whom you confess to love - if you're not sure you're choosing him and ready for M then tell him and make a conscious decision and stick to it.

If you feel you can't make such a decision THAT'S YOUR ANSWER.

Remember you and you alone are responsible for making this choice.

If you proceed with M but let second thoughts rule your mind you're just doing everyone a huge disservice and they will be right to condemn you for it.

It's good you're being thoughtful.

Pick well.....
 

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You say that there are many things that you two don't see eye to eye on? You have broken up twice during your 5 year relationship.

That doesn't bode well for any relationship.

Do you have differing views on any of the big future decisions like children?

Why did you break up?
How long for?
Why did you get back together each time?
Did your partner also date others?
Does he know that you have?

If something feels like it's missing, it could be the feeling of security and permanence.
 

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Don’t get married just for the sake of being married, nor should you go to reset every time you break up.

EveningThoughts has come up with some good questions as to where you should begin. I might add another, does your boyfriend know about headoverheels? If not, you can be sure he will in time.

You should also at thirty, know the old adage that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side comes from tried and true situations.

You talk about the other fella, headoverheels ( for want of a better name), as being besides the point. I personally think that the situation you placed yourself in with him is exactly the point. You seem to feel a need to explore options out there.

You may think I’m full of it, but my perspective and you asked for that, is let him go. Then you can check out whomever you want.

Honestly, I don’t know how far things got with the other fella, but I do know that it will come back and bite you in the ass every time you get into a fight with boyfriend if you stay together. Unfortunately, many of us males will be jealous in that situation even if there was a breakup.

I truly hope you can get your thoughts together enough to make a viable decision.
 

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Women get a lot of messages about how they're supposed to pick a mate, but what we want varies a lot from person to person. It sounds like you feel a conflict there, and if IC sounds appealing, give it a try. If what you hear resonates and makes you more comfortable w/ your choices, you're on the right track. If not, consider a different counselor.

As others here have said, don't marry BF unless/until you know he's right for YOU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all so much-- I really appreciate all of your perspectives!
I agree that there's much self-reflection that needs to take place, and that consulting with a professional could help me gain more clarity on what I want. My friend is referring me to her therapist.

In the meantime, I've given thought to some of the questions posed here, and I think I was able to boil it down to this....
They say opposites attract and I believe that’s pretty much what brought us (BF and I) together. Opposites might attract, but does it create a sustainable long-term relationship? I'm wondering if this is why I feel conflicted.

BF and I are quite different, but seems like it's a healthy balance. We compliment each other really well...most of the time...sometimes this has lead to problems (clearly). While we have differences, I don't want to disregard the things we do share in common.
Mr. 'head over heels' and I did have more in common...and perhaps that was the appeal?

Hoping to get to the crux of the problem -- for both my and BF's sake.
 

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Have you discussed the people you both had relations with during your break up?

Do you know if he had anyone else?

You are focused on your feelings but do you know his?

A successful relationship takes empathy, consideration and respect for your partners emotions.

I haven't seen those qualities from you in your posts about your boyfriend.

I have seen a list of boxes checked for what he does for you and I believe it would probably be a disaster for you two to continue if there isn't a lot more.

If your relationship with the foreign guy didn't cause your heart to break for how it would make your current boyfriend feel, I don't see anything here.

It would devastate me to possibly hurt my wife.

We had one, one day break up, early in our relationship and we were both devastated.

I was so messed up that I got blind drunk and scooped up by a co-worker, (I was working at a casino) and taken to her place for the night.

When I sobered up a few hours after midnight, I felt even worse, like icy death in my heart and I knew I had done something terrible to myself and my then girlfriend even though we were broken off.

I went back to the apartment we shared and looked at my little love and knew I had betrayed myself and her and it would never happen again. I committed myself to grow past my problems and work through hers because we were that important.

I eventually told her about my drunken fling many years into our marriage but that is another tale.

My point is that you should have more emotions about all of this.

I can't fathom checking off a list to see if I wanted to stay with my mate.

If you can't feel at least some of what I described in my own life, I can't see the point.

Mrs. Conan and I are almost at the 29th anniversary of our first date and 25 years married.

If you can't give that man more of your heart, so much so that breaking off with him and being with someone else hurts and makes you ill to remember, don't give him the pale imitation of love that it sounds like you are feeling.

You deserve the same from him.
 

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Warning: I might be projecting my own situation on to yours so take this with a grain of salt.

Coincidentally, my ex wife married a checklist (me) and not a person. She said some of the exact same things about me before we were married (smart and ambitious, we complement each other, has a good job, etc). We even similarly had a couple short term breakups and I'm fairly certain she "tested the waters" of dating during those times.

If you get married, you aren't going to be living with a checklist but a person. Those things that you don't meet eye-to-eye on aren't going away. The fact that you know that you don't love your BF like you did Mr. Headoverheels isn't going away. I tried to be a good husband, father, and provider but it was never going to be enough because my ex didn't really love me for who I was. She liked and appreciated my qualities but not my personality and the things that made me me. Please, don't do that to your BF.

Breaking up now is 100X easier than when you're married and have a house and a couple kids. If you do get married, don't ever be in a position where you "have to stay" because you aren't independent or can't support yourself. Years spent in preparation to leave are lost years living with someone you don't want to be with (or from your BF's perspective years spent trying to make things work where his SO isn't invested in the relationship).
 

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Hoping to get to the crux of the problem -- for both my and BF's sake.
I think you know the crux of the problem. And, it is going to be an insurmountable problem. Through time, your BF will come to understand that you don't feel attraction to him, he only "checks boxes". He will grow to highly resent being used like this.... like :

years spent trying to make things work where his SO isn't invested in the relationship
You are invested in your relationship with Mr. HoH. Not with your boyfriend. No amount of "being a good husband" is going to cause you to feel differently. No amount of counseling or therapy is going to do it, either.

BTDT. I mean, from the BF perspective. Thank God, I didn't marry her. It was heartbreaking at the time, I really loved her and wanted to make my life with her. But, I "checked boxes" for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you all for sharing your experiences and feelings. While it will be heartbreaking to end things for good, I think it's the fair thing to do...especially given the experiences many of you have described.
I love, care, and respect my BF very much which is why I don't understand my interest in anyone else. I'm so confused, but hope that counseling can help me better come to terms with what I truly want.
 
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