Dear Dr. NerdLove:
I just recently celebrated a three year anniversary. We’ve always gotten along really well, we have a good sex life, we have fun, we live together, and my partner is kind and attentive to my six year old daughter that lives with us part time. There’s not a lot of intensity and depth but we’re kind to each other and there for one another. There shouldn’t be anything wrong, but yet… I find my mind straying.
I have a really good friend. We’ve been friends for years, nothing romantic, we just get along really well and understand one another. I can’t stop fantasizing about him lately. There’s no real reason or trigger, nothing has changed, and yet he’s frequently on my mind. It’s almost compulsive. I feel guilty about this, even though I’m not flirting with him or participating in any uncouth behavior.
I’m just having trouble, I guess. Is my fantasizing about my friend the result of a root unhappiness in my relationship or the realization of something deeper? Do I just want to end things and am using this friend as a mental excuse for the detachment building in my mind? Am I a bad person?
I think about it a lot: if this is what I want forever. We’re engaged, and we have been since October 2020, but we’ve never really planned anything. I’ve never really tried or wanted to but I can’t explain why. Now that I look back on all of this, I just feel so confused. Am I staying because I want to or because I feel obligated because the break-up would upset my daughter and derail the relative comfort of my life? Is it guilt because why would you end something with someone who is kind and funny and good when you have no real reason to other than this nagging in the back of your mind? Is it normal to have these doubts and insecurities and challenges? Am I going mad?
I’m sorry, upon rereading I feel that I’m not being super clear here at all and totally understand if there’s not much you can help me with, advice-wise. If there is, though, I’d appreciate it.
Moonstruck in the Midwest