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Post by IntelligentDice on Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:18 pm

Greetings Nerd Loungers! I've spent the past weekend at Disney World; but the biggest rollercoaster I went on wasn't in the theme park. I want to put this story out there because I have such conflicting thoughts and feelings about the situation. Maybe folks who are removed will see it more clearly than I.

The past two years I've gone on this vacation with my brother in law, his family, and a number of my sister's friends. Her best friend, let's call her Sarah to protect the innocent, lives far away. This is the only time we get to see her.

Sarah lives with her boyfriend, who I'll call Will. Will is by all accounts a manipulative, controlling asshole. He had Sarah in tears for most of the trip last year. He doesn't join us on the trip though. He just called her phone and verbally abused her.

This year that didn't happen. Sarah days they're doing better. What did happen though is we got really close. It started last year but this year it was palpable. Holding hands, staying up late together, all benign stuff. Only it's not. I'm positive it could've been more.

But the problem is she has a (shitty) boyfriend. And as much as I want to do more, go further, I couldn't put her in a situation where she'd feel guilty about her actions while away from him.

So I abstained. Much to my own disappointment. I've been divorced for almost 30 months and this is the first serious endeavor (if I can call 3 days an endeavor) I've had in that time. It was a trial to restrain myself. But I still think it was the right thing to do.

Even removing the ethical dilemma of cheating on her toxic boyfriend, we live too far apart to make anything work. I didn't want to trade what we had for at best one night together. I'm sure she'd regret her actions later and I don't want, can't be responsible for her feeling that way. It still leaves me with that nagging feeling of "What could've been".

So what do you think? Did I do the right thing? Did I make the best choice? If I did then why do I feel like this amazing opportunity has passed me by?

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The Boyfriend Problem Empty Re: The Boyfriend Problem

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:40 pm

IntelligentDice wrote:
So what do you think?  Did I do the right thing?  Did I make the best choice?  If I did then why do I feel like this amazing opportunity has passed me by?  

I can't answer that question for you, Intellingent Dice, but I was in a similar situation and a lot of the same questions came up for me.

I wrote about it at length here: http://thegatewayboyfriend.blogspot.ca/2013/10/on-being-other-manalmost.html

There were also a lot of comments from readers, enough that I posted a lot of them. Maybe something one of them said may also prove helpful: http://thegatewayboyfriend.blogspot.ca/2013/10/reader-responses-to-last-column.html

I think the thing that surprised me is that I thought I'd made the right decision, so I was caught off guard when I felt awful. I think it's also tough because you have no way of knowing what would happen if we'd made the other choice. Our brains have all that uncertainty to chew things over and there's this desire to want to know we did the right thing.

You mentioned wanting to do the right thing by her. In my situation, I was trying to do the right thing by her boyfriend. I think part of my brain was angry at me for taht. I was thinking about what was good for everyone else but didn't do what I wanted to do and my brain felt like I'd made a sacrifice and got nothing for it: "I did the RIGHT thing even though it was against what I wanted. Where's my reward?" It was also mad like, "You always think about what was best for other people. But you didn't put any thought in what might have been best for us." I think I felt I'd betrayed myself a little bit, hiding behind what I thought was best for others instead of making the decision because it was right for myself.

What has been going on for you since all this went down?

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun Oct 12, 2014 10:37 pm

>yearly tradition
>offered an emotional recharge in a sea of abusive shit

Dunno, see how it has developed next year while still keep a passive ear out for her situation and dating other people in the meantime? Getting out of an abusive relationship takes time and realization, and you're too emotionally compromised to endure the quiet supporter act long distance.

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Post by IntelligentDice on Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:19 pm

Wow yeah that hits the bulls eye Dan. This all just happened to me yesterday/this morning so I haven't gotten to the level of acceptance you did with points 4 and 5 yet. Who knows if I ever will.

The biggest regret I have about the whole thing is not talking more openly about what we were doing. What it meant then, now, and in the future. I don't know where any of us stand and we owe it to ourselves to try and figure it out. Even if that conversation is unpleasant. I avoided it and just tried to live in the moment. But now that I'm past it I wish I had stepped outside and found these answers.

I'm flabbergasted by some of those comments! I'm sorry you had to deal with them. Ones that stuck with me:

"And when it does end, she‘ll remember you as the guy who didn't take advantage, a guy she can trust. Trust me, those feelings don‘t go away." Wow I hope so.

"Bro, women aren't like men when it comes to faithfulness." What in the actual shit?!

"I was engaged to this guy and it was going nowhere, but I wouldn't leave because it was comfortable. And then I met this other guy and there were sparks and chemistry…it made me realize what things could be and it helped me realize I needed to get out of that relationship." This is what our group of friends is hoping will happen.

"The guy I was seeing actually told me, “I’m so grateful to you. In a weird way, you saved our marriage.” And this is the polar opposite. Strange that we see both outcomes here.

"Shouldn’t SHE be the one who makes those choices about what to do in her relationship?" As they say it takes two to tango. Both parties get to give consent not just one. Sheesh.

"But because I could have them without leaving my marriage, I didn't leave. And I ended up staying in a miserable situation longer than I should have." And this is perhaps what I suspect will happen. People do what's easy not what's best.

Time will tell what happens to me. But thanks for sharing that was a really great read.

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Post by IntelligentDice on Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:31 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:
Dunno, see how it has developed next year while still keep a passive ear out for her situation

The problem with that is I don't think I can wait that long for closure. I don't think any of us deserves to deal with that kind of uncertainty for so long.

BasedBuzzed wrote:...and dating other people in the meantime? Getting out of an abusive relationship takes time and realization,

This is happening for sure. As far as things stand right now, it'd be too long distance for me. And I'm not coming down with a case of oneitis over this.

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Post by eselle28 on Sun Oct 12, 2014 11:53 pm

IntelligentDice wrote:
BasedBuzzed wrote:
Dunno, see how it has developed next year while still keep a passive ear out for her situation

The problem with that is I don't think I can wait that long for closure.  I don't think any of us deserves to deal with that kind of uncertainty for so long.

This solution may come across as being a bit too simplifying, but is there a compelling reason that you must go on vacation with your sister and brother-in-law next year? Maybe it's time to take a break from that pattern and do something different? I don't actually think that you guys owe it to yourselves to figure out what's going on between the two of you unless you both agree it's important. Has she sought you out now that vacation is over? If not, that might be a sign it's time to consider things over.

It's normal and understandable to get very attached to someone when you're spending such intense amounts of time together. Travel does odd things to people, and often makes them either bond like old friends or lovers or fight like cats and dogs. To me, it sounds like you made the right decision. You don't actually want to be in a relationship with this woman when you think about all the variables involved, even if there wasn't a boyfriend. Hooking up with her might not have just been unethical and complicated her relationship with her boyfriend. It might have also gotten your feelings even more mixed up with her than they already are and led to some blurring of your very sensible decision. But, of course, being sensible and moral doesn't always feel good.
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The Boyfriend Problem Empty Re: The Boyfriend Problem

Post by IntelligentDice on Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:59 am

UPDATE: since we last left our intrepid heroes here's what's happened.

Sarah has continued to reach out to me. We've continued corresponding but we haven't talked about what happened on vacation. Just your everyday friendly conversation.

My sister (bless her) is under no such restriction. They had a long talk last night. This morning Sarah emails me to tell me she's left Will. "the feeling of sheer relief this morning is a pretty definite indication I’m making the right choice"

I'm trying to keep my hopes in check. Expectation is the root of disappointment after all. But, I figure I just keep doing what I'm doing and it'll all work out in the end.

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