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