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You Asked: Is a Break Just Guilt-Free Cheating?

Dear Sugar,

I have been going out with the most perfect man for almost two years. I’m 21 and he’s 23. He tells me he loves me constantly, he compliments me nonstop, and whatever I need or want he does. We haven’t had a single fight until a few days ago when he accidentally read a message addressed to me from my best friend. In the note, my friend wondered if I had ever asked for a break like I wanted. Although there's nothing wrong with our relationship, I feel like I’m too young to be so serious, but I knew that asking for a break would be extremely painful for him. I feel conflicted because although I've never loved anyone more than him, I still get curious when other guys show interested in me, and on occasions I want to act on it. I feel this way very rarely and I wish I didn’t feel it at all, but I do.

When my boyfriend asked about the message he had found, I told him I wanted a break to get some things out of my system. He was really upset and I felt horrible for putting him through the pain that I did. I then thought that the sooner I got these feelings out of my system, the sooner we could get back together. When he called me the next night, he was upset to find out that the reason why I didn’t pick up the phone was because I was with some one else. He told me that he felt sick the entire day; he couldn’t eat or sleep. He also seemed convinced that I couldn’t really love him if I could so quickly be with another man. He considers my definition of a break to be “guilt-free cheating” and seemed unsure if he can trust me now. I guess I just need to know if taking a break was a good idea after all and if we'll be able to make it.
— Needing My Space Sally

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Dear Needing My Space Sally,

Being so young in such a committed relationship can be hard sometimes, but if you're having a wandering eye, and thinking about acting on it, I think taking a break was a good idea. The fact that your boyfriend found out the way he did is most definitely adding insult to injury — it sounds like this completely blindsided him. The sense you feel when other men look at you and find you attractive is unbeatable, sure, but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the confidence boost just because you're in a relationship with someone — it's all about how you react to other people's advances.

I'm glad you asked for alone time instead of cheating on him, but before you get back together, be sure you've gotten whatever it is out of your system. Make sure you're going to be 100 percent committed to your boyfriend since it's very clear that he loves you. As for his definition of taking a break, yes, you can look at it as guilt-free cheating, but that will only create more tension when and if you get back together. Breaks mean something different for every couple. Sometimes they make them, sometimes they break them, but at the end of the day, if you both love each other and make the effort to make the relationship work, a break can be irrelevant. I wish you luck.


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