Long time reader, first time writing in. My fiancé (22) and I (23) have been together for a lovely 5 years, have never had a single fight and have been fairly good at communicating. Our wedding is scheduled for mid next year and we have of course got into the intensive planning phase.
Hello Dr. NerdLove
I had been with my current girlfriend for almost 7 years and I feel happy and good with her. In February, I asked her to marry me and she said yes. We will get married at the end of this year. I consider everything is ok between us, but recently, a work partner (48, F) , suggested to me in a work chat that I should have a last romantic adventure. She told me I should enjoy my last chance to stay with another girl. I disregarded this and just dropped that idea but everything changed a couple days ago.
Some background … 6 years ago I took English lessons due to my job. I met there many people and I got along well with one girl in special. She was 14 and I was 24 years old. Nothing weird happened at the time, but now after 6 years, I discover I like her and she seems to like me. Everything started with a Facebook post that something like this “if you read this you should kiss me one time if you continue reading at this point, two times, and three times at this part of this text” …
Well, I consider that so funny and then I replied, “sorry but I read the full text” and that was the beginning. We have a kind of “date” last week and we spend a wonderful time. We went to watch a movie and after that, we went to a bar. There was where everything started. We had some drinks, we had some chat and then we confessed our attraction. After that, she suddenly kissed me. I have to admit, I enjoyed it and I like it too. We spend all night dancing and drinking. We had a lot of kisses too. After that weekend, we continued chatting about more intimal dates and both accepted to do “that”.
We will have our “romantic date” this weekend. She is very excited about that and me … I feel just “ok” with that. However I feel a little curious about stay with her one night. I am pretty sure I want to stay forever with my fiancée, I haven’t any doubt about it.
Of course, my fiancée doesn’t suspect anything but I feel a little bad about doing this, but I think too this would be my last chance to have a “romantic adventure” before getting married.
I don’t know if this is something I should try and I would like to know if this is really bad … please help me
Feet Getting Cold
Dear Dr. NerdLove:
My boyfriend and I have been together for over six years. We’ve lived together for most of that time with my three children from a prior marriage. Our goal had always been marriage, as we had discussed it many times early on in our relationship, however over the years, it seems his fears grow and/or change.
He hates talking about feelings (his or mine) so we don’t get far in understanding his fears or addressing my insecurities. He has stated that he has trust issues from prior relationships, fears of divorce since he’s seen it all around him, that since I have been married before he doesn’t know if he can trust my stated feelings because I’ve felt that way previously. Plus, it just makes him uncomfortable to think about marriage and he doesn’t know why.
Now, other than his trust issues from a prior relationship, these reasons have just been added over time. Each year it’s something different on top of the prior trust issue. I find his reasons to be cop outs, honestly, but I’m trying to give him the time he needs to work his crap out. In the interim, as time passes, I can’t help but feel incredibly insecure that we have been together for 6+ years and he’s still not ready to fully commit to me. I have been clear on our goal from the beginning and haven’t veered off course. I want to be with this man and I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
I let him know consistently how I feel, and I reassure him in every possible way when he exhibits any insecurities about my feelings or my past. I ask if there is anything he wants or needs from me or the relationship and he states he has no issues and is happy with our life and wants to keep growing and moving forward. That all sounds great, but we aren’t moving in any direction. Our relationship is no closer to marriage then it was in year two. He states there isn’t anything I need to do or can do to help with his lingering trust issues, that it has nothing to do with me, but he also isn’t facing them on his own either.
I’ve considered that he just doesn’t want to marry me. He swears that’s not the case – that it’s not me, it’s just marriage. That’s hard to believe, because he was one that asked if I was jaded about marriage on our first date, because that’s something he wanted for his life. He gets angry when I call him out and say things like, “Just be honest and say you don’t want marriage so at least I can make the decision on my own whether or not that is okay with me.” He says he does want to marry me, he’s just not ready yet. I don’t want to pressure him into marriage, because I’m already insecure enough and don’t want to feel like he married me out of obligation. I want him to actually want to marry me.
I don’t know how to stay true to my feelings and on the path to the goal, while battling the insecurities that come along with this and not really knowing if my partner in this actually has the same goal. His messages are mixed and unfair. I don’t know the proper way to handle it. Any advice?
Always The Bridesmaid
I’m really curious what advice you may have for me here, just because I think this may simply be an issue where I’ve made my bed and now I have to lie in it. Nevertheless, I think you’ll ‘get’ it and if nothing else I’m going to use this as an opportunity to get something off my chest.
So first things first. I’m 29, and I just got married. I completely adore my wife, what we have is as real as it gets, and our relationship just ‘works’ for so many reasons. We’re on the same page about not wanting children, and I’m just really happy and proud about the life we’re building together.
A bit of background…we were close friends throughout college. She had several boyfriends and I was obsessing over other girls and doing nothing about it, and we really just never thought of each other in that way until right before graduation when we fell in love and have been together ever since. Another piece of the puzzle here is I was completely celibate during college, not by choice haha. I had a girlfriend for the last 6 months of high school, so I wasn’t a virgin going into college but I just didn’t have my shit together…nerdy before I knew how to make nerdy work for me, massive crushes that I was too scared to act on because I was putting them on such a pedestal and just generally too focused on finding the magic fairytale love story when I should’ve been more go with the flow and open to fun experiences.
Hey, I get it. We all have to live with some regrets, obviously. I can’t change the past. But I have to say, it’s been challenging at times over the last decade seeing things like the rise of swiping dating apps that would’ve made things SO MUCH easier for shy guys like me in college to at least initiate contact, or even just the rise of nerd culture and nerdy things becoming way more socially acceptable. It is hard for my mind not to sometimes ponder how successful I’d be if I were single today. I feel like I’m infinitely more dateable at 30 than I was at 20. I have a stable career, I know how to dress, I think I’m reasonably attractive, I’m not terrified of women anymore and have more sexual confidence– simply put I just have more mileage, better self-worth and am way more comfortable in my own skin than I was in college.
I think it’s probably very normal for married guys to think about the good ol’ days of being single, but I guess my issue is I regret not doing anything with those good ol’ days and sometimes I get a bit freaked out that I will never experience another first kiss or see what my sexual chemistry with someone else might be, or experience the thrill of the chase– no matter how much I love my wife (and I do, and I believe our sex life is healthy). It’s just the curiosity that gnaws at me. I’m not saying I have any plans to do anything, because I really have it great now and definitely don’t want to fuck it all up for something I’d instantly regret. I don’t believe I could ever cheat. I just worry that if I’m feeling this now, will it ever get any better, years down the road? Or will it turn into more of an obsession that eats away at me? I really don’t want to feel resentment about my marriage. I try to stay focused on all the positives. I know for a fact that a lot of my married friends have similar regrets, and I wonder about how common of an issue this is overall.
I’ve done research into open relationships and “hall passes” and honestly…while I love the idea in theory of getting a small window of time try and sew a few wild oats and get that out of my system (I’d be be willing to reciprocate that)…at the same time, I know all those paths have significant risks and downfalls, and based on comments she’s made in the past I don’t think she’s open to that. So me even trying to broach that subject would probably just be hurtful and pointless. She’s not a jealous type, we have a lot of trust in our relationship, but I think her hearing that I’m even daydreaming in those terms may be a shock to her and I really don’t want to hurt her just because I’m having a quarter life crisis. And it’s not only about wanting some strange (although that certainly factors in). I’ve thought a lot about it, and honestly I think I just also just craving the validation that yes, I can be desirable to other women too and to see if I’d have any ‘game’ now, because I had 0 before…I’ve literally never asked a girl out on a date in my life. I’ve never been on a first date with someone who I wasn’t previously friends with. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, but I guess it just feels like there’s this whole side of myself and the dating world that I never got a chance to explore.
It’s quite possible there is nothing to be done here except for me to just suck it up, be grateful that I have something that most singles are looking for, and move on. But these thoughts have gotten frequent enough that I wanted to take the first step of acknowledging that there may be a problem here.
Fear of Missing Out
Dear Doctor Nerdlove,
I’m a 26 year old man in an open marriage that’s recently become long distance. This letter isn’t about my relationship with my wife; going long distance has been stressful and problematic but we’re finding ways to cope. There’s also a clear timetable for us to return to co-habitation.
Instead, this is about my former secondary partner, who I first met around the same time as my now-wife. She is a few years younger than me, and at the time that we met had only had one sexual or romantic relationship, while I was considerably more experienced. We quickly settled into a very close friendship with elements of casual sex and BDSM. She always knew about and was incredibly supportive of my relationship with my now wife.
This continued for around 18 months, until my elopement – which she was invited to, and initially planned to attend. She cancelled at the last minute, and we had to scramble quickly to find a replacement witness. A week or so later, she ended the sexual aspect of our relationship.
Fast forward eight months or so, and we rekindled that aspect of our relationship, but it didn’t last long; she started seeing someone new very shortly after, and chose to take a step back again, before starting to ghost me. After a few weeks of relative silence, I called her out on this behaviour, which she acknowledged she had been doing; when pressed as to why, she pointed to “asshole”-like behaviours of mine that I didn’t think were new aspects of our interaction.
At this point, I should point out that I have Asperger’s – which she knew about for a long time, and has experience with family members with the same diagnosis. I apologised without reservation for anything I had done to make her feel uncomfortable and asked for her help in mending any broken bridges. She refused and we haven’t spoken in the four months since; I chose to prioritise self-care as I was going through a difficult period between jobs, arranging my “official” wedding, moving country, and starting a new degree course.
Now that the transition period is over, I’m in a different country from my wife, and I’m finding not having the close friendship I had with my former partner to be very stressful. I miss the role she played in my life, but I also miss her just as a person. I don’t know if there’s any point in trying to talk to her again; when we last spoke, it felt like she made her decision to distance herself from me long before I challenged her over it.
Any ideas on how to fill this gap?