My boyfriend and I have been together for seven years. He’s my second boyfriend and I’m his… well, let’s just say I lost count. But I am falling in love with someone else. The weird part is, I don’t even feel guilty about it.
I love my boyfriend and I know that I can’t live without him. I’m pretty sure that at some point in our relationship, he has been with other girls before, same as every guy out there. And now I’m giving myself that privilege. We have been through A LOT together. Too much actually, to let each other go.
Being in this new “fling” makes me realize everything I miss about being in a relationship. All the date planning, the spontaneous out of town trips, the thrill of doing things for the first time. Everything. I admit that my boyfriend got really lazy in our relationship already. So lazy in fact, that he doesn’t even bother to fix things between us and holds it against me and snaps when I want to talk to sort out our issues. This fling has definitely turned into something more. He told me that he loves me, and I’m falling in love him.
I don’t know why I’m not even so bothered about keeping this secret. I’m pretty sure shit will hit the fan soon. I’m in love with this fling, but I won’t let go of my boyfriend. Maybe this is what they call the “seven year itch,” I’ll get over it soon right? You think I should come clean, Izzy? When do you think I should bring it up?
It took me a while to sift through your words to figure out what this letter was really about. I got lost by the time I made it to the end. 90% of this letter is a juxtaposition of explanations and excuses. When I finally read your letter out loud, I was able to figure out what the explanations and excuses were for.
You’re not saying it so I will: You’re cheating on your boyfriend.
Let’s do it one more time, with feelings! YOU’RE CHEATING ON YOUR BOYFRIEND!
Now that we’ve made that clear, it’s making it a lot easier for me to get things off my chest. The fact that you don’t feel guilty shows me that your relationship is over. The seven years you had together and everything that went down in that span of time doesn’t mean anything if you still found it in you to lie and betray your boyfriend.
Don’t you dare put all the blame on him. Him being a piss poor partner and you feeling like you’ve missed out on other guys doesn’t excuse your cheating.
There were options that didn’t have to involve dishonesty. If you really loved your boyfriend the way you say you do, you would’ve found a way to work your issues out together. Then for whatever reason it didn’t work out (boyfriend refused to invest in the relationship, you can’t give up the FOMO you feel for other boys), you break up. If the pull to have fun with other guys proved to be too much, again, break up!
You didn’t do that because in your world, you’ve rationalized it enough that only YOU get to have a say. You’re hoping that your boyfriend waits and sticks around just in case it doesn’t work out with boylet #2. Maybe you’re hoping your boyfriend is the one who breaks up with you so don’t have to deal with that emotional burden. Either way, it’s pretty clear you don’t give a rat’s ass about your boyfriend’s feelings or his trust.
It would’ve been far more honorable for you to suggest polyamory in order to keep both relationships and no matter how that discussion pans out, at least your boyfriend knew what was going on.
He may be an awful guy for all I know, but that doesn’t justify awful behavior from you. Don’t hide behind idiot clichés like the seven year itch or sowing your wild oats.
You ask me when to tell him? Tell him now.
I just clocked in 7 years with my husband this year. There have been times when we’ve wanted to give up but those instances happened whenever we stopped being honest with each other or whenever insisted on doing our own way and leaving the other behind. I didn’t have to wait until year 7 to see that. We’re still here.
We know each other’s fears, pains, and hang-ups. We talk about them and we sit with them. We fight, we stew in anger, we forgive. It takes so much work so be honest and fair, but what you get in return is what humanity lives for. These things are real. I feel the most freedom in what I have with my husband. At our best, the world seems brighter and bigger. Beneath all the displays of romance, there lies a calm weary hearts can rest on. A healthy, committed relationship doesn’t feel like having walls closing in on you.
I don’t blame you for wanting to get out or wanting something more. It’s just that there are better ways of going about it – ways that could prepare you for good relational habits.
Honor those seven years by letting your boyfriend go. You’ve left a long time ago.
Got life problems? Email Izzy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustrations by Madel Crudo
MORE ADVICE FROM IZZY:
- Dear Izzy: Am I meant to be alone?
- Dear Izzy: What’s the difference between trying your best and trying too hard?
- Dear Izzy: My friends’ idea of a meet-up is sucking my wallet dry
- Dear Izzy: I need my gay friends to stop touching me
- Dear Izzy: How do I erase this feeling of guilt after being sexually harrased?