With Jack … but thinking about Emily

I'm just starting to go through your comments from Friday. I wasn't quite emotionally ready over the weekend, but I started looking through them last night. All I can say is that I'm stunned, touched, and doing a lot of the good kind of crying.

I can't begin to explain how important your responses have been, and just how closely I have been reading every story, listening to every song, and considering all of your thoughtful advice.
Now please can go back to sending me lots of letters. Like this one.

Long-time reader, first-time writer. My situation is kind of a mental mess. My boyfriend of almost three years, "Jack," is my best friend. We spend almost every weekend together going out in the city. He loves me so much and treats me like gold. My situation is that I might not be intimately in love with Jack anymore. We never have sex. It's been almost, boy, three months now? I can hardly remember. I listen to all of my friends and they have much more experimental and regular intimacy with their partners. I, on the other hand, have to lie and say that we do just to save face.

I want more and I've spoken to Jack about this. We always say we'll try but it never happens. It's both of us, though, and I've come to the point where I don't even want to anymore. Jack is six years older than I am and we also work together, so breaking up would make work very hard, and we also share a lot of the same friends now. He's even come to my house for a few of the most recent holidays. I don't know what to do. Every time I try and talk about it with friends they pretty much dismiss me or tell me not to break up with him because I would regret it. Does going on a minor separation ever work?

Also, before dating Jack, there was my ex-girlfriend "Emily." We had a rocky relationship and she was my first love. I think and dream about her almost every day. I know I shouldn't contact her because I know the reason I think about her so much is because maybe I'm having inner deep urges from my soul telling me I'm actually a lesbian (Jack, for the record is my first real boyfriend, all other relationships have been with women).

I apologize for this being confusing. I just don't know where to go or what to do. I don't want to hurt anyone here. I've thought about going to therapy but I don't even know where to begin besides Googling "therapy."

Any advice would be appreciated. (Thank you Meredith and LL readers.)

– Confused About it All

First: You can ask your primary care physician or call your insurance company for a referral to a therapist.

Second: You have to end things with Jack. You can't stay with him because you work together. And you can't keep him around for friendship. All relationships have ups and downs with physical intimacy, but you don't want to have sex with him anymore. You're daydreaming about a woman, and your reasons for not wanting to break up are more about logistics than anything else.

You need to explain all of this to Jack. It will be difficult at work, but you're grownups. You'll miss Jack, but you won't be allowed to reach out to him to talk about your self-discovery. Lean on other people as you figure out whether you need to be with a woman and why all of this went down the way it did. And please, tell your friends the truth. It'll help them give you the right kind of support as you move forward.

For the record, minor separations can work -- but rarely. In your case, there's nothing minor about your needs. You need space for big questions.

Readers? Any reason to stay with Jack? Should they go to couples therapy? What should she do? Help.

– Meredith