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You Asked: Should I Stray?

Dear Sugar--

This is really hard for me to admit, but since I haven't been able to say it out loud, maybe I can admit it here and get some advice. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years. I moved to a new state after I graduated from college to be with him and things had been going pretty well. We have the standard problems and fights, but nothing unusual.

Well, the past 2 months, he has been gone a lot due to school. (He is
finishing his 4th year of medical school and has to work at hospitals out of the state sometimes.) I haven't seen him much and while he was away, I was having some problems at work, which were hard to deal with having him so far away and not around for support. Instead, I turned to a male friend and co-worker, who really helped me get through a tough time for me in my life and career. The only problem is, I have started to have feelings for this co-worker and I know that he feels the same way. We have discussed our feelings for each other, but he knows that I have a boyfriend who I care deeply for. I'm just not sure what to do. I still love my boyfriend, but lately, things haven't been the same. He isn't the most emotional person, and though I know he cares about me, sometimes I just need to hear it so I can feel the connection that we used to have.

My co-worker is definitely more open and emotional, and maybe that is part of the reason that I have been finding myself so drawn to him. He is never afraid to say what is on his mind or how he feels and I like that openness. Lately, I have found myself thinking about my co-worker more and more often and I feel so guilty about it. I don't know if I should continue to re-discover my feelings for my boyfriend and work things out, or if the feelings I have for my co-worker are serious enough to end my current relationship. I am really so confused, so any guidance would help! -- Mixed Up Madeline

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Mixed Up Madeline --

There is a lot going on here, so I don't doubt that you are incredibly confused. When your feelings are neglected at home, it's not shocking that you find a lot of comfort in getting attention and affection from someone else, especially a co-worker that you probably see more than your loved one, but that isn't to say you should necessarily throw away what you have with your current boyfriend. It sounds like his travels are out of his control, but have you expressed how you miss him and need a little more support and reassurance from him when he is home? Even though he is gone a lot, you can make the time you are together extra special with a little planning and effort on both ends.

On the flip side, if you simply feel more of a connection with your co-worker, you shouldn't feel guilty if you are in fact falling out of love with your boyfriend. Relationships are hard, they take a lot of work and sometimes they don't end happily ever after - but before you make any split decisions, think everything through and perhaps take some time to be alone. When your head is overwhelmed with emotions, it's sometimes better to just remove yourself from the situation so you can really hear yourself think.

Ultimately, you're going to have to listen to your gut instincts on this one. Whatever your decision, you need to make sure you're happy. Feeling guilty in a relationship isn't good for either one of you, so be honest with your boyfriend and most importantly, yourself. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
acyl acyl 7 years
Totally going thru this situation. Even though this is an older post, I appreciate it's still up!
charlesmaris charlesmaris 10 years
not worth a lifetime of regret...clear things up with your BF first. And then, if you have to, move on without the regret.
haribobear haribobear 10 years
I totally agree with Pinups... I was in the same situation, then everytime I thought of how lonely he must have felt, I just thought that I needed to tough it out for a little bit longer, for my and his sake. And yes I did find support from a male friend too, and my feeling for my bf was shaking a little bit, but I realized that I just needed attention and affection, which was lacking in our relationship at the time. So what I did was sitting down by myself and clear my head, try to think of all the positive things about him and about our relationship. This list was a really big help because it made me think positive and realize what I got. I also told myself that this wouldn't last forever and that we would be together again before we knew it. I turned to my girlfriends and did girlie things together. That was a lot of fun. So when my bf and I got to see each other, I had stories to tell him and enjoyed every moment we were together. Hope this helps!
oklahoma oklahoma 10 years
I think it is easy for that outside guy to look in and say his opinions, and seem wise and tell you what you want to hear, be the hero, etc. Any guy, who is not your guy will seem that way. You are taken. That really makes you 'wanted'. I believe this. It is amazing how men act. I know he is being your friend, and cares for you. But realize your true feelings for your real boyfriend. I would not let your boyfriend know the time you've spent w/ this guy, he will get the wrong idea (even though he should), it might mess everything up for you. I know you don't want to hurt him. :) ok? I think it was a good idea to come here for support. Best wishes. Good luck..
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
I agree with DearSugar. You may be having feelings towards your co-worker because he is giving you the support you lack from your boyfriend. However, you guy is going through one of the toughest course of education on the planet. He is going to be a doctor. You must have known how hard it would be for him towards the end and how little time you would be able to spare for you. It is a little selfish of you to think about yourself. What about him? He must feel the same pain and loss for not seeing you as much as you used to. I am sure he feel guilty and wishes he could give you more attention, but right now, there is NOTHING he can do. He has to finish. If I were him, I would be heartbroken to find out my girl 'fell out of love' with me just because I was finishing school, which she was clearly aware of. My advice is giving it some more time. Be patient.Your guy is not going to be in school forever. I think you might want to cool it with the male co-worker and find a girl friend to seek support in instead.
mollymoo mollymoo 10 years
You poor thing , thats'a really crap situation to be in. Be careful and look out for yourself, it's all too easy to cast off someone that you truly did (and maybe still do?) love because you're feeling a little neglected. Maybe you've grown apart and maybe you will break up but give it chance first. I know this other guy seems to be offering you the things that your boyfriend lacks, but can he also provide you with all the things you love about your boyfriend? It's hard when you want to spend time with someone that isn't there for you , however he's not neglecting you for friends or for another girl-I'm sure he misses you as much as you miss him but maybe he sees it as something he has to do for your future togther? Being supportive is hard to do when it impacts negatively on us. I know you feel neglected but he probably feels overworked , exhausted and misses you as well. The more you support him the more he'll open up and want to be with you , I know that when I'm going through a hard time the people I want to be with are those that love me unremmitingly and don't give up x
fiestygirl fiestygirl 10 years
Hi. I feel the same way almost every day. My boyfriend is currently in his last year of residency and is interviewing for fellowships. I hate to say this but his worst years are yet to come. His intern year, he literally is a slave to everyone in the hospital. The bottom of the totem pole. He will be on call often, and since he is at the bottom...he is the one who is staying up the whole night doing the bulk of the work. SO you can count out the whole next day when he is sleeping. Right there is two days gone. It is a very difficult life and it constantly feels that I do not have a boyfriend or that he is not accessible when I need him the most. Although it can be done, but it takes hard work and real effort from him. You need to be strong, it isn't good to be too reliant on another person for your feelings anyway. If this lifestyle turns out not to be the one for you. I still think you need to think long and hard before getting involved with a coworker, his accessibility and proximity may exactly be the things that you hate about him if things go south.
elramos elramos 10 years
This is pretty tough. I think you should have a talk with your boyfriend and tell him how his absense is affecting you. You should definitely not stray without talking to him. Maybe he can try harder to be there for you.
gooniette gooniette 10 years
if you think your boyfriend isn't around enough now, wait until he is a doctor and is on call 24-7. some women need men in their life more often and more permanently and it sounds like you are one of them. if you are thinking about another man, it's best to figure out what exactly it is that you want out of a relationship and go from there with your current guy. if he can't fulfill your needs, you need to decide how much you are willing to sacrifice for him. cheating is never a good idea though. good luck.
Pink81406 Pink81406 10 years
I don’t think you should stray. If you truly love your boyfriend then you should try working it out first. Talk to him and tell him how you feel and what you need. Maybe he is feeling something like that, too. If you’re not convinced or if you try and it doesn’t work then break things off with him and regroup. Once you are sure that you want to pursue the co-worker, then do it. I think that you are just feeling neglected and taking comfort in the nearest warm body. If you stray and decide that it wasn’t all you thought it was, that you were just lonely and needed some comfort, your relationship with your boyfriend can never be the same. People do fall out of love but make sure your falling out before you break his heart.
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