My boyfriend says that he's confused because sometimes he wants me and only me but then his mood changes and he wants other people. He says he loves me and I know I love him. We've broken up before but it's like we're lost without each other. Can you help?
Of course I can help. Whether you’ll like my help once you hear it is another question.
People think that the hardest part of a relationship is finding a person to be in a relationship with.
Specifically, the right person.
I don’t think there are right and wrong partners (outside of abusive partners).
Just partners who:
a) Haven’t done the work to determine whether or not their values are compatible, and/or, partners who:
b) Haven’t learned the relationship skills needed to figure out the answer to “a.”
People think that the only thing needed for a successful relationship is LOVE.
Your situation underscores exactly how naive that belief is.
Here’s the deal: Most people want to be with other people at some point during a committed relationship.
God knows I find other people attractive. And I just asked my wife, Steph, if she finds other women attractive, to which she responded, “Yes. Is that OK?”
Of course it’s OK. I’d find it weird (or more likely, bullshit) if she told me she never finds other people attractive. The thing that makes You, Steph, and me different from your boyfriend is that we’re not going to act on that attraction – because we’ve decided that being in a monogamous, committed relationship is more important than any momentary attraction that we might feel for another person.
The bottom line is that your boyfriend isn’t in the same place you’re in.
He doesn’t value the relationship over his desire to be with other people.
And you see his desire to be with other people as a conflict of interest.
So, one of you needs to consider adjusting your values. Otherwise, the relationship is over.
Either he decides to prioritize a monogamous relationship over his desire to be with other people (as honorable adults do when they’re in a committed monogamous relationship), or (get ready for it)…
You decide that you value your boyfriend over your desire to be in a committed monogamous relationship – and have an open relationship.
The choice is yours.
Gender and Orientation: Female, Straight