My boyfriend or the unknown?

Let's do a Wednesday chat at 1 p.m. today.

I am in my late 20s and I am lucky to be dating an amazing man, also in his late 20s. We’ve been together for several years. He is generous, handsome, and successful, but I most appreciate our exceptional communication and how he supports me and my goals. I know we would live a beautiful life together.

We were long-distance for many months, and then we moved in together a few months ago. During my time away, I made a close group of new friends. I miss that life, but I especially miss one man, J. Before J knew I had a boyfriend, he made it clear he was interested. I told him I was taken, and he backed off. But we spent lots of time together alone (I know I shouldn't have), and it was clear to both of us that feelings of something (love, infatuation, lust?) were growing. To my surprise, I found myself questioning my choices. Although nothing physical ever happened, saying goodbye was agonizing for both of us. During our long goodbye, he told me that if I weren't in a relationship, he'd have no doubts about us.

We talked at first after I left, but after becoming more and more distant, J texted me one day, saying that he missed me and that he was in a café we frequented. I responded, but I never heard from him again. I have my doubts about J. He is not particularly emotionally mature, can be independent to the point of being selfish, and is not a particularly good communicator. But he is adventurous, lighthearted, and makes me laugh in a way my boyfriend does not. Overall, it may not have worked out long-term with J, but it would have been full of fun and passion.

I sometimes find myself thinking that I met the right person (my boyfriend) at almost but not quite the right time (a little too early). I often daydream about the alternate life I would have had if I had stayed. I can't shake the feeling that I may have made a big mistake, but on the other hand, I worry that I am idealizing J. Of course, I wish someone could tell me whether leaving everything for the unknown would make me happier than staying with my boyfriend. But what I really need to know is: How can you analyze a mature relationship in comparison to the exciting potential of a new one? Is my interest in J and my strange feelings of sadness a more worrisome sign? How can I get back to appreciating the life I have?

– Worried


You're bound to have crushes, even with a wonderful partner. Some of those crushes will leave you with a little bit of sadness, and some will have you up in the middle of the night wondering what it would be like to be single and making out with someone new.

I think it's important to note that you had many months to change your mind about your boyfriend – to bail on the long-distance relationship so that you could have an experience with J – but you never made it happen. You never faltered when it came to moving in with your partner. Your gut seemed to be keeping you on your path.

I can't tell you whether your feelings out doubt are worrisome, at least not yet. It's only been a few months; those feelings of sadness might have to do with your transition to a new home. Your best bet is to see how you feel after more time. Also pay attention to whether you're dreaming about a night of passion with J or whether the fantasy is more about being on your own. If it's all about J, I think you'll be able to let it go. Partly because the guy isn't texting back.

– Meredith

Readers? Is this about J or something bigger?