Whit’s End: I’m Bored; Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend?

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Hi, Whit:

My boyfriend, “Riley”, and I are in our late 20s and have been together for more than two years. We get along well and don’t fight. We have discussed marriage and kids, and have fun together, but we don’t live together. Our sex life is active and healthy, and we love each other.  What we have is good, and I don’t want to lose it, but I do get bored sometimes.

Recently, I made a new, guy friend, “Cole”, who is sexy, smart, and handsome. He’s in a relationship too. Since I am definitely attracted to him, I’m trying not to flirt, but he has made comments and gestures that suggest he’s interested too.

In the beginning, I felt I was clear to Cole about just being friends. Then, when we started hanging out, I let him know again, and more explicitly, that I only wanted something platonic. I thought he felt the same way, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I was a little naïve, but I also thought a guy who was already “taken” would be a safer choice as a friend.

Maybe I’m just interested in this new guy because I’m bored with my boyfriend.  I’m not sure and would like to spice up my life. My question, I guess, is whether I should let something happen with this guy.

Interested and Bored

Dear Interested:

When you say your question is whether you “should let something happen” or not, I am assuming that you mean should you should make something happen, i.e., replace your platonic expectation with romantic exploration.

If I understand your question, my first question to you is: What were circumstances of your meeting Cole? Were you at a bar with friends? Did they know him? Were you at a party? Do your friends know him? Does Riley know him? The reason I ask these is to gauge how complicated your change in relationship status is going to be. If others in your social circle know him, I suspect that you are not going to be able to keep your exploration secret. The world, (at least your circumscribed one) will be watching.

Do you want to use the frisson of a prospective dalliance to “spice up” your life, or are you contemplating dumping your boyfriend if Cole reciprocates your curiosity about “let[ting] something happen”? Either way, you are cheating on Riley, so you have to ask yourself a couple of questions: How would I feel if Riley were doing this to me? How do I expect to be regarded by others (including Riley) when I do this to him?

So what I am saying to you is that the thrill of this relationship “high-wire act” has to happen without a net.  You can’t expect to inch your way out cautiously and then if you slip and fall, bounce harmlessly on the netting that will prevent a messy landing.  It’s a death-defying act.

But taking your chances with Cole isn’t going to be death-defying act; it’s going to be a death-insuring act because what you “don’t want to lose” with Riley will be over. Similarly, you don’t know what will happen with Cole. All you can control is what you do, and you have to decide whether your performance will make the crowd stand up and cheer or turn away and wince.

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