I know the kind of advice I would give a friend if they were in my position, and I have a feeling I know what you're going to say. But I need to hear it from someone else.
I'm in my first year of college. I met my current boyfriend, Z, a week and a half after we all moved onto campus. I'll be honest, what first caught my eye was his appearance and (at that point) his mysterious personality. I did the pursuing in this relationship (and in all my previous ones. I'm a confident and assertive person). I could also sense he was a good and kind soul. That's proven to be true.
We moved sort of fast because we only had three months on campus before we all had to go home, but it was organic, healthy, and loving. But around that time, I also met someone else, A. I'd seen him around campus two or three times before then, was friendly, and exchanged numbers. I was also instantly attracted to him, but, unlike Z who is more reserved, A was much more open about his reciprocity. We clicked. Conversation flowed for hours (I spent something like 14 hours with him that first day we met, it just flew by). There was one strange night where we just silently looked into each other's eyes for what felt like hours. Needless to say, I was in a very uncomfortable triangle situation. It was early on enough in my relationship with Z that it could've gone either way; I was torn and upset. It's surprising how hard it is to be in such a "desirable" situation.
I let Z know about things, tried to distance myself from A. A and I didn't do well with distancing, so I broke it off in a way I regret (with respect and care, but over text and that offended him), but we've since patched things up.
A is much more like myself in his extroversion, openness, passion, and humor. He's mature, intelligent, introspective, considerate, kind, and driven. Sometimes I've felt like he's judged me, held grudges, or was self-righteous, but I wonder how much of that was me projecting. Z is less similar. He's reserved, it takes time for him to open up. He is also very mature, intelligent, thoughtful, and hard-working. His faithfulness and honesty stand out, but it's his kindness that is most remarkable. As a couple, we're very strong together (My own quick take: I do not think I would've grown as much with A as I have with Z.)
You know what’s coming, though – sometimes, STILL, I wonder what might’ve happened had I dated A instead. I know, I know. But, a real part of me doesn't know or doesn't want to listen, and so I'm here asking you for your thoughts. Or maybe to (lovingly) slap a little sense into that part of my brain.
It's OK to wonder about other people and second-guess big romantic decisions ... sometimes. Periodically. When you're staring out the window and you're bored.
In your case, you had two great dating options and you got to the point where you had to choose one person. That meant giving someone up. Of course you're going to fantasize about the path you didn't take. You're human and you have imagination. I mean, you spent an entire night staring into A's eyes, which has big romantic "Twilight" vibes. I'm sure that inspires many daydreams. All of this sounds pretty normal to me.
Of course, sometimes shouldn't be always. If you spend countless days wondering what life would be like if you were committed to someone else, you're not where you want to be. Or maybe you're not ready to choose anyone at all. Pay attention to how much this comes up for you. Remember that it might be about all other paths – meaning, at some point there might be a C, Q, or an F. Other random people who will have you questioning the seriousness of your feelings for Z. It's possible you'll want to be single.
At your age and place in life, there's a lot of change and putting yourself first. It's OK if you feel something works for now. It's also OK if you change your mind.
Readers? How often should anyone be wishing they were with someone else? Or wondering what if?