Should I take a break from my boyfriend?

I have been with my boyfriend for a little over 4 years (since i was 19) We have the greatest relationship. We get along great, we never fight and he is seriously the best guy i have been with. Ive always been very flirtatious but it never meant anything to me and never caused me to think about other guys. Lately, I have been wondering if maybe I should take a break from my boyfriend and have fun!

I find myself thinking about other guys who i have been attracted to before i got together with my boyfriend. I feel like I want to take a break but then when i keep thinking about it, im not sure. It confuses me because i wouldnt be taking a break from a bad relationship. I feel like i need to figure things out but I dont know if its just something in my head that doesnt mean anything. It literally drives me crazy and I dont know what to do.

This all became really serious when an old crush of mine came back into the picture and confessed his supposed "love" for me. He wanted me to be with him and come visit him and in a way, it felt like he was asking me to be his girlfriend. I took a break from my boyfriend and was planning on going up to see the old crush but then 4 days later, i couldnt do it and i told my boyfriend i wanted to end the break. the feelings went away for a little while but they pop up every now and then. I feel they shouldnt pop up at all. WHAT SHOULD I DO?????

Ben's Answer:

You were only 19 when you started this long term relationship. It's normal to want to explore other relationships at your age. If you don't, you might always question whether this is really the right relationship for you.

I once counseled a couple in their late 30's who had been together since their teens. They were the best of friends, but ended up divorcing. Neither of them had ever had any other relationships, and they were holding each other back. They loved each other deeply, but they still felt incomplete and unfulfilled, and had to move on from the relationship in order to grow.

Just because this is not a bad relationship, doesn't mean there's something wrong with you for thinking of other guys. It sounds like you are staying with your boyfriend out of guilt, and fear, rather than just out of love.

Even some of the best, long term relationships often grow stronger after a "break," It's always a risk, because once you let go, there's no guarantee that you will both want to come back together. But in my opinion - if it's meant to be, it will be. You just have to honor your own feelings and do what's right for you. There's no right or wrong way to do it.

The other way to go would be to take a serious look at what's missing in the relationship. Discuss it honestly with him. Ask why it's not as fun as you would like it to be, and see if you can find some ways to bring the relationship back to life. If you're both committed to making things better, you might find that the relationship is far better than it ever was before, and your desire to leave might vanish. All relationships take work. The first few years are easy because it's still new and exciting. If you get bored and end it, you may never get the chance to take it to an even deeper level.

I realize I've given you 2 opposing viewpoints - but that's the way life is. We go on growing no matter what we choose.

Best wishes,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist

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