‘I am thinking about the other guy when we are intimate’

Hi Meredith,

I am in a panic lately because I am having continuous thoughts about another guy – and dreams. A little back story here: I've been in a relationship for more than four years with the most amazing guy. We started dating fresh out of high school when we were 18 and he is my first real relationship and love. I am almost done with college now.

I have always developed little crushes on guys in my classes. They pass very fast, and my boyfriend knows all about them. More recently, though, there has been one that's lingering. This crush shows up in my dreams, and I wake up sad that it was only a dream. He gives me attention when we are in class together, and every part of me just wants to explore that. I know the grass is always greener, but it is beginning to take away from my current relationship. I am thinking about the other guy when we are intimate. I feel so terrible and guilty about this because I know my current partner, "Jack," is the one.

I have straight up asked Jack if he would be open to, like, one night away, or a break, but he isn't. I hate that I even asked, but I feel like this obsession is not going to go away until I explore the other guy. It isn't as simple as a break, though, because Jack and I live together, have a cat together, and share a lot of financial commitments. I feel like I am stuck in the relationship, but I know that actually isn't the case because he is so important to me and I want to marry him one day.

It's getting to the point where I don't even tell Jack about the thoughts anymore because they have started making him jealous and hurt. I wish I could just get rid of the fantasies about this other guy. Have 're seen a situation like this before? What was your advice? I know I have two options, but I think I need a little bit of advice.

Sorry for the novel.

– Tempted


My first thought is that you do not have to tell Jack about these fantasies. You say you've stopped doing that – and I want you to know that's for the best. Sometimes it makes sense to talk to a partner about your dream life. It can make things very sexy. But it's also OK to have private thoughts. In your case, you need them.

You asked if I've seen a situation like this before, and ... of course I have. The details are always different, but we've had many letters from people who are trying to decide whether to stay with a wonderful partner or move on to possibly greener grass. Our advice varies based on details.

After I read your letter a few times, my gut was to tell you to give yourself some time with these feelings before making a decision. Crushes do pass, especially when a temptation goes away. In a few months, you'll be done with college. Everything will change.

In the meantime, you can think about what your fantasies are really telling you. When you imagine your world after college, is it always with Jack? Do you consider what it might be like to be single? Are all of your fantasies tied to one or two nights with this other man – or are they ever about a different kind of life?

Sometimes when people say they're having trouble understanding a feeling, it just means they need more time to sit with it.

– Meredith

Readers? Does this crush represent something bigger?