My boyfriend is chasing that spark

Visitor's Question from a 21-30 year old Female
Me and my boyfriend have been together for 3 1\2 years. He's soon to be 21 and I am soon to be 25. We fell in love very early in life and have been extremly happy since then. As a matter of fact we have gone through quite a bit together and we were still going strong.

We often spoke about our future together... as a matter of fact I know his exact dream home for us. We even discussed children and all of the other serious things that come up in a relationship.

We don't fight. Ever. When we have a problem we discuss is rationally, like adults and either come to an agreement or agree to disagree. I would never raise my voice to him as this immediatly hurts him and puts him on the defensive (I have seen it when others yell at him).

About three months ago he started working on a play (he is activly involved in theater) and he met another guy "K". He started to have feelings for K and K admitted that he had feelings for my boyfriend. Over the next couple of months they were together almost ever day (cause of the play). My boyfriend has even admitted to me that he and K kissed.

He says that he feels he HAS to pursue his relationship with K. He HAS to see if there is something there or not. I am only the second boy he's ever been with and he is my first boyfriend. So he wants to try things with K so that he can be sure there's not something else out there for him. Furthermore K and he both LOVE theater and I don't care for it much (allthough I do care for my boyfriend and have NEVER missed one of his shows). He feels as if they will have more common ground to build on.

He tells me that lately he feels as though I am more of a best friend then a lover. More of a really good pal then a partner... but that wasn't true three months ago. Three months ago we were perfectly in love. This new guy was introduced and he started to wonder.. now he wants to leave me to pursue this relationship.

I love him with all of my heart and soul and it's really hurting me to have this happen. I have explained to him that relationships go through phases and that he's not in love with this man, he's in love with the "honeymoon" phase of their friendship (relationship). However he REALLY feels as if this is something he HAS to do.

I have no idea what to do and really need help. I love him and don't want to lose him (I think that he'd be back with me once he realizes what he has again, but that time apart will hurt me so much). Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Advice
It really does sound like in general you guys were well matched, that you had a great relationship and the no fighting is of course key. And I do agree with you completely - he met a new guy, he feels that exciting "spark" that new relationships always bring and he's thinking that since you and he don't have that any more that the new one is "better". But ALL relationships go through phases and the fact that you guys are best friends even AFTER that initial spark has faded is an incredibly great sign. Many people have the spark and then the relationship collapses when it goes away. For you guys to be best friends is what every couple dreams of!

I do admit that one of the things that's really great with best friends is when they both enthusiastically love the same hobby. It's of course not necessary, and you sound like you are being supportive, but there is a difference between someone who applauds from the sidelines and someone who is really *enthusiastic* about the topic. I'm sure if you thought of something that you really, really care passionately about, you could see how having someone with you that truly loved it might be different than having someone that tolerated it could be.

So from that point of view, I understand your boyfriend's thoughts. But on the other hand, if you're going to start on the "I have to see if HE is better" pathway, then it never ends. There is ALWAYS going to be someone else who is more into theater, or even MORE into theater, or into your FAVORITE type of theather, or into theater and handsomer, or into theater and richer, or whatever. If you're going to play the "I have to try HIM out because he seems better" game, you are NEVER going to be happy because believe me, no matter what criteria you settle on, the bar can always be raised.

So one of the keys of ANY relationship is to focus and work on the one you have - without jumping ship anytime anything better seems to come along. The fact that he could kiss the other guy while dating you seems to indicate he has a problem with commitment to start with. Shouldn't he have refused? It was rather selfish of him to say "Well *I* want to have the fun of kissing this other guy even though I'm in a relationship already, so screw the relationship and the fact that I'm betraying someone who trusts me."

Maybe ask him if he'd go to therapy with you just for a few weeks to talk about the issue. Hopefully when he really starts talking about it, he'll realize how leaping out of a relationship that is really good just because "something else might be better" is a sure road to unhappiness.

-- from Jenn
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