I fantasize about others

I'm on an emotional roller coaster about my boyfriend. There are days when the thought of marrying him makes me well up with tears because of how much I love him. There are also days when I find myself thinking about ... other possibilities.

Overall, I believe he is a wonderful guy. He's a good listener and is always thinking about my best interests. We do have our fair share of financial tension at the moment because we're both fresh out of college. I sometimes find myself dreaming of strangers and various people from my past. I'm sure everyone does, but the problem is that once I wake up, I can't seem to get my mind OFF of it. I freely think about being with someone else, but then eventually let it go once I remember that I could never have a long-term commitment with these people.

Am I simply under stress during these moments? Is it healthy to desire a fresh start sometimes? After all, I've never acted on these fantasies. And I do see a potential future with my significant other.

– Stressed

After a college experience, you can wind up having to make a bunch of decisions that feel monumental – and sometimes they are. You might have to figure out where to live, what kind of job you want to pursue, and what friends you'll work to keep. It can be exhausting.

The decisions are important, but they don't have to be permanent. You're allowed to stay with your boyfriend without knowing that you want to be his partner for the rest of your life. You can just enjoy him and see how it goes – no wedding planning necessary.

You should be able to do all of this while paying attention to the fantasies over time. If they continue to take up more space in your brain, you can think about what they really mean.

Many people here might tell you to break up with your boyfriend because there's no reason to commit when you have major doubts. That's fair advice. But again, it's also OK to table the decision. Not knowing what you want from someone doesn't always mean that you have to let them go.

– Meredith

Readers? How does stress affect fantasies?