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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.


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