I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing me.

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Tarantula
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I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing me.

Post by Tarantula » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:57 pm

Hi PP

As some of you know, I've been having a hard time of it lately, having cut ties with my mother over Xmas once and for all. I'm feeling pretty down in general, but I don't mean to make excuses for what I'm about to say. I've been wanting to say it, talk to somebody, but I feel like once I write it down, it's 'out there', it's official, I can't keep it to myself anymore. I wish so badly that I had somebody to talk to, but I tell my boyfriend all my problems so it goes without saying that I'm very much alone here. I can't even bear to tell my brother, because I'm ashamed.

I live with my boyfriend, who I've been with for 20 months, and I can't stop thinking about somebody else. It's like an inflammatory disease; the symptoms have been occurring for nearly 3 years (ever since I left Southampton for uni), but I can go months without thinking about him. Then one day, he'll show up in my dream or something will remind me of home and BAM, he's in my mind nonstop for, well, it's been 72 hours so far this time. Every time he comes back, it's more compelling than the time before - much like the progression of a disease if you ignore the symptoms and just hope it will go away.

Well, I haven't just hoped. I stopped going to the bar where he works - haven't seen him in nearly a year - I've even written letters and then burned them! I've tried everything to cathartically get him out of my mind. If I could wave a magic wand and forget all about him I really, honestly would. But he keeps coming back and it's making me feel really guilty and, most of all, pathetic. Even writing these words is going against who I thought I was.

If I was reading this from another person, I would tell them to break up with the boyfriend as their heart obviously isn't in it. But oh, how the boot feels on the other foot. My boyfriend has been there for me. He's been my rock, through all my horrible family politics. He doesn't even judge me for spending entire days doing nothing but playing computer games and eating chocolate. He has been nothing but 100% dedicated since day one. And he's really attractive too - when I say dedicated, I don't mean desperate. I mean dedicated. Boyfriend deserves me to NOT be thinking about other guys.

I care for him deeply; if I didn't, I would be contacting this other guy. I would be going to Southampton. I would be behaving like a class one cow (no offence HLC). But I don't know how to stop wondering 'what if' with barman. Not 'what if we could be together in future', more like 'what if we'd got together before.'

See I had the best time of my life just before coming to uni. To top it off, on one of my last nights out, it turned out that the barman I had been crushing on all summer liked me back. He liked me back! I couldn't believe how happy I was. He took my number so that we could meet up when I was home for Xmas. But he never called, and later told me (when I visited home for the first time since leaving for uni) that he'd met someone. I was annoyed, of course. I'd even texted him once during my first term to see if we were still on for Xmas, but he didn't reply. You know I didn't even LOOK at another guy (practically) until I went home and found out what the deal was with barman; let alone having all the Freshers shenanigans that is typical of first year uni students.

But, barman kept being unusually nice to me; giving the ocassional free drink and just being very approachable, without flirting or, y'know, crossing any lines. I visited the bar every time I was back in town - every few months or so - and I always wondered if he was single yet. I would never go for a taken guy and, no doubt, the ball would be in his court anyway. He did sort of mess me around. However, from his point of view: he only found out I liked him at the last minute, and then I farted off 200 miles away to uni; what was he supposed to do, try to manufacture a long distance relationship? Whatsmore, he didn't know how much I liked him. He didn't know I would hold a massive light and not bother with other guys for the whole of my first term. I imagine he just assumed I would go to uni and get with someone else. Which I did, eventually. I guess I've always wanted to tell him how much it really mattered to me. Maybe if he'd known that I wasn't just talking fluff when I told him I wouldn't forget about him... he would've waited? Nah. Probably not. It was just bad timing, bad circumstance. And I regretted that so much. I wished so badly that I'd stayed in Southampton; it wasn't just the opportunity to date this guy I really liked that I left behind. I had everything going for me then.

It's the spilt milk I can't seem to stop crying over. When this bout of reminiscing fades, it could well be a few months before it comes back; but I feel like a rotton person, even though I'd never two-time my boyfriend. Which of the following apply?

a) This is perfectly natural/normal; been with boyfriend for a while, 'these things happen', no big deal
b) It's possible to deeply care about/love someone, whilst still having feelings for someone else
c) These feelings I'm having for barman are a result of how upset I am with my life generally, and not intrinsically to do with barman at all (we never even went on a date)
d) It IS intrinsically to do with barman, he's my 'soul mate' (ha!), so I should break up with bf and pursue barman.
e) I should break up with boyfriend regardless because, just by writing this out and feeling the way I do, I've crossed the line.

Oh, I have to confess, if I was reading this from someone else... there would be judgement and no shortage of it. I'd consider her to be weak-minded if she did anything BUT break up with boyfriend. I'd feel sorry for the boyfriend. Of course, it would be much worse if she actually CHEATED or went down that route; but to my mind, the fact that she had even written this at all would be baaaaad juju. I wouldn't believe that she could honestly care for boyfriend, because having feelings for someone else would seem to disprove this automatically. I've always been so black-and-white and now I don't know what I am! A cliché, I suppose.

Clearly, I need to stop handing out as much judgement, because the one thing I'm asking for here is to not be judged. Pot, kettle... guilt.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tucco » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:43 pm

Hi there BC,

I would honestly say its no big deal, from your other posts you have a gem of a BF who is very suppotive etc etc, and as you can tell from some posts on here they are not that easy to come across.
Anyway, the bit that it missing from your post is how you feel about your boyfriend, until we know how you feel and if you have any long term plans it is hard to give advice.
If you love him and see a future, then crack on dont feel guilty (you have done nothing wrong) and enjoy life.

If you dont love him then its not fair to lead him on.

As for the barman, well this reminds me of some advice I got when I was a teenager (whats meant for you wont go past you).

Dont feel guilty about being attracted to someone other than your partner, we are all human.

I hope that helps.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tarantula » Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:18 am

Hi Tucco

Thanks for your reply. I guess the reason I didn't go into much detail about how I feel about bf is that I feel like a hypocrite, in this post, going on about how much I love him. So I've settled for 'care deeply about him'. It's just that when I think love, I think (or used to think) rainbows and butterflies and smiling faces; not one partner sneaking onto the internet to write a post about having feelings for someone else.

So I wouldn't want to say 'I love him' just to have someone else go 'well, no you don't, or you wouldn't be feeling like this.' But then, I suppose my ideas about love were never quite 'realistic'... although that's what people who settle say. So who knows?

I love him and we're solid; we live together, he graduated last year and stayed here to live with me for a year until I graduate (I'm the year below), then we're both moving into his old house in London together, which his mum has kept for him whilst she moved to Cyprus. I can't imagine life without him, let alone doing all those relationshippy things with someone else. It would just be weird. But at the same time, these feelings for barman keep coming back every so often to haunt me and I don't understand why; I haven't even seen him, I don't even know him really!

I guess maybe I just assume that the unknown is better for me, when I'm feeling low. I can make barman into whoever I want him to be in my mind, whereas I know who boyfriend is, and of course, we have our fair share of arguments. I sometimes find his way of arguing to be immature, and he can be a bit too intrverted around new people; whereas barman represents the polar opposite of that, with his inevitably social job and the fact that he's 6 years older than me, when boyfriend is two years older. I liked barman because he seemed to have the best balance of confidence and humility - from what I could tell, from observing him across the bar night after night. But the hard truth is, if he was so good, he would've at least let me know where I stood way back then; not waited for me to come in a few months later and ask him directly. It was one of those 'if you have to ask....' situations. Whereas I've NEVER had to ask with boyfriend, there's been no confusion whatsoever as to how he feels about me. He's never given up on me even in the craziest of times!

I actually feel a lot better for getting it off my chest, though.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tucco » Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:12 pm

Hi BC,

Everything in your reply seems perfectly "normal" to me, the reality of a steady relationship never lives up to the perception of a dream one.

Try not to over analyse the situation, and dont be too hard on yourself for finding someone else attractive, we are not made of wood!

Good luck.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by retrochav » Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:56 pm

The barman is a metaphor. He represents hope and possibility. He appears in your dreams as "the one that got away" and stays in your thoughts as a "what if....".

You must know that no-one will make everything perfect. He is the perfect fantasy because right now so much is dark and painful. He represents a period in your life when you were about to start uni, with all the opportunity that it brings and hope for better things. So I see him more as a metaphor than a person you would really want to trade your boyfriend for.

Don't worry about this, try and see it as I am describing it. You know you wouldn't cheat on your man, you are far too wise to throw what you have away on a man with a smooth talk and a poor track record of keeping in touch. Let the barman represent something, rather than someone and absolve yourself of unneccessary guilt.
whatever your problem someone else has been there and bears the scars.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by snail » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:19 pm

retrochav wrote:The barman is a metaphor. He represents hope and possibility. He appears in your dreams as "the one that got away" and stays in your thoughts as a "what if....".

You must know that no-one will make everything perfect. He is the perfect fantasy because right now so much is dark and painful. He represents a period in your life when you were about to start uni, with all the opportunity that it brings and hope for better things. So I see him more as a metaphor than a person you would really want to trade your boyfriend for.
That is exactly what I was thinking. It's a definite "c)" for me.
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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tarantula » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:19 pm

Thank you so much for your replies. I've been checking back constantly!

Retrochav, what you wrote (once again) struck a chord with me. It simply doesn't make sense that this guy I barely know is somehow better for me than my boyfriend, so he MUST be a representation of something I'm not feeling right now - happiness. He certainly does symbolise a time in my life when I really felt very happy.

If I traded in bf for this guy (assuming it'd at least be mutual), I'd no doubt quickly find out that he's NOT the fantasy my mind makes him out to be; how can he be? Whoever he is, he's human, and therefore falls short of the fantasy by default. I fantasise that maybe there was a good reason why he didn't get in touch when he said he would; maybe he thought I didn't like him enough, and nothing could've been further from the truth, so maybe I should tell him, three years on, that I was 'for real'. But then I remember that 3 years have passed and I've got a boyfriend who most women would surely love to have; one who's sincere, handsome, and will stick up for me. I would never have that kind of conversation when I'm taken. So barman can just go on not knowing. Truth is it probably wouldn't matter one bit anyway.

Last night I felt particularly low, and bf said I should use the next 10 days (whilst he's in Scotland) to decide if I really want to be with him. I haven't told him about this thread, but suffice to say, he's getting fed up of me being miserable all the time. :( He's only human. Nobody wants to be around a wet blanket for too long. For my part, I'm so upset about a multitude of things that I feel so exhausted and like I have nothing to give right now. So I'm going to take it easy and read my self help books and eat well and go to the gym and generally try to recover from the nightmare Christmas I had. Of course I want to be with boyfriend. But as I say, I feel so terribly guilty and I need to figure that out.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by highlandcow » Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:50 pm

I might be late to the party here, but I agree with Retro; it's a "c" for me as well.
I'm glad you're feeling a bit better about things now, but try not to beat yourself up too much about it. You've been through a lot in your 22 (I think...) years and you're only human. These things do happen.

I reckon over time, he will gradually fade from your thoughts. Use that time when your boyfriend is up here in the Frozen North wisely (as I'm sure you will) but don't be too hard on yourself, it happens to most people.
Broken_Chord wrote:I would be behaving like a class one cow (no offence HLC).
None taken. We all know I'm top-cow around here! :)
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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tarantula » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:35 pm

Hey HLC, thanks for your reply.

Well, he's back from Scotland tomorrow night. I have mixed feelings about it and I'm actually feeling quite anxious right now. On the one hand, I've missed him etc, on the other... I've had the best time in a long time, by myself. It's given me a wee bit of time to remember who I am, OUTSIDE of the relationship. I'm scared I'm gonna get sucked back into whatever rut I've been in for a while now. In fact there was no clear beginning; it just sorta crept up on me, and before I know it, we're living together, spending 24/7 together, and I just looked at his recent photo uploads from his adventures up north and for some reason felt this sort of RESENTMENT building up and I'm still trying to figure out where THAT came from.

Barman, by the way, has hardly entered my mind.

I guess I'm not sure whether me being so happy by myself = the relationship is not having a great effect on me, OR, it's my own doing for losing myself within it. Because man oh man, have I been lost. The only thing I've kept up with is the gym. Everything else - my friends, my studies, my penchant for spending far too long air guitaring - has bitten the dust during this relationship. I even lost my spirituality. Bf didn't make me drop any of those things. I've done it to myself. I've just been so lost lately, but since he's been gone, I've started to feel like my old self again. Yep, all that in 10 days.

So I don't know how I feel. I'm conscious that I've put in more effort with the messagings whilst he's been gone, with him keeping it all relatively 'hows u' small talkish, and me trying to inject a bit more - but that's just how he is I suppose. I'm also conscious that he's said he's gonna sort his belly out, um, about a year ago, and so far he's not really done anything about it except go along with the healthier diet that I've been cooking for him and us. Actually his overweightness is a real problem from my point of view; he's not huge, but his beer belly is unattractive to me and, more importantly, I genuinely worry a lot about HIS health and HIS likelihood of dying young and HIS digestive efficiency and the fact that HE'S had to have surgery for an unrelated problem, but where his weight can't possibly be helping.

Whilst he's been away I've had a breath of fresh air to not think about all that stuff, but since he's said, over and over, that he IS going to do something about it, I guess it's gotton to the point where it really, really bothers me that he hasn't done enough. I'm training to be a personal trainer and he doesn't really move; obviously my training course involves lots of reading about the many benefits of exercise, and the many risks of being overweight. I worry that in 10 years he WILL be a very big man, with all the health problems to boot, will die at 40 and I'll be alone for the remaining half of MY life. I seriously worry about this every day when he's here. You know as I write this I realise how true that is - every single day it crosses my mind! I've even envisioned the day when he gets told he's got a serious heart problem! It's exhausting! :(

But I'm tired of feeling like his mum, and feeling like HIS health is MY responsibility. He throws that at me too sometimes, in arguments. I wish he'd start cycling regularly like he said he would, and not drink so much sugary drinks. Or at least, be honest and say 'look, this is how it is, I'm NOT changing my lifestyle, I'm NOT going to lose the belly, take it or leave it.'

I guess it's the numerous pledges that he IS going to take action which leaves me hanging on in hope, and then I notice that he's ordering the Mega Artery Filler Laté at Costa and I feel resentment. Since we're supposed to be moving to London together in the summer, I guess all I can do is have the discipline to get on with MY things, and hope that he'll up his fitness game too in due course. I know I need to relinquish control, but I feel sheer terror at the thought of him getting (more) big and fat and dying young... and I feel I'm gonna have to make a choice in summer.

Wow what a tour this thread is turning out to be.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Bel Bel » Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:55 pm

I think that you have answered your own question without realising. You lost yourself in the earl stages of a realtionship and gave everything up.

You have to have a balanced relationship and that includes making time for you, your friends and your hobbies. This will refresh things because you will have more to talk about and will see less of each other. Meaning less time to take what you have for granted.

As for the belly I agree with your b/f that being his "mum " about it won't help. However if he does nothing about it in another x months you have to decide if his other good points outweigh this. You may at that point decide they don't. Left to his own devices he may do something about it but motivation by nagging never works.

However remember no one is perfect, whether that be physcially or in their personality. Is thre anything he would change about you and could you if nagged to do so? I.E worrying. Could you stop if he said that was his least favorite thing about you.
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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by RagDoll » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:19 pm

I agree with Bel Bel on this one.

I also have to admit that I think you're being a bit unfair about the whole tummy trouble. It sounds like you have more issue with it than him, which probably explains why he hasn't done much about it. I get that it's not healthy, but you admitted yourself that he's not exactly huge and it's up to him how he wants to treat his own body. I really don't think it sounds worth worrying about every day and if not losing a little bit of excess weight is the worst thing that he's doing, then you should count yourself lucky. Unless he has put a lot on since you first met him, you can't find it all that unattractive or presumably you wouldn't have been interested in him in the first place?

Also, as someone who probably enjoys going to the gym, staying trim, eating well etc. etc. please also bear in mind that other people don't see it the same. A lot of the time over-eating is not just down to pure greed, food and drink can be used as an emotional crutch, so please remember that for other people it might not be as simple as need to lose a few pounds = eat healthy+do more exercise. Of course everyone knows this, but a lot of people struggle with their weight, and I think the vast majority of those that do, see food as more than fuel.
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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tarantula » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:08 pm

Okay. Yeah, I know nagging doesn't help; it seems to be irrelevant how true what the 'nagging' person is saying - even if it makes perfect sense, even if it's mutually beneficial, even if it's a change which, all else being equal, the person being nagged would make for themselves, even if it can only result in positive things, even if there's every reason to do whatever the nagging person is asking, and every reason to NOT neglect to do it... even if it's all an around, beneficial, rewarding, forward-movement of a change....

.... perceive it as nagging, and the other person will switch off. Never quite understood that myself, but it seems to be how it is.

So. Given that, all I can do is carry on with my own life, friends and fitness plan, and IF over time I GENUINELY lose interest in him because I find myself taking far better care of me than he does of HIMself... and if this ultimately leads to a change in status between us... and if I drift as a result, then that is totally justified and, actually Ragdoll, fair too. Would it be fair for me to settle for something I wasn't happy with, or fair on him to be the one settled FOR? It is indeed up to him how he treats his own body, but it's up to me if I like it. I guess all you can do in a relationship is state your terms, then back off and hope that something gets done. And if it doesn't, then well, it may or may not contribute to a breakup much further down the line. My mistake so far has been the not backing off bit, but I'll admit that much and drop it now.

Bel Bel, if he told me to stop worrying and then just expected it to be done, no, it wouldn't be as easy as that because my worrying is not an objectively measurable, quantifiable thing. His weight is. I know that his weight is an external symptom of some internal issue or other (actually I know what they are, too); rarely (if ever) is it simply down to 'liking food too much'. But analysing it from that angle runs the risk of unneccessarily complicating a very simple formula. If you want to lose weight, eat less, move more. Why is it obliged to be any more complex than that.

Anyway I hope that by getting on with my things like I have been doing whilst he's away, my worrying will quieten down, so that solves that problem (and deep down I always knew it). I guess, in that sense, my overthinking/worrying DOES have a quantifiable solution, like with losing weight; except instead of fitness/eating well, I have to make myself be more social, and be engaged in my own life. So actually, on second thought, I CAN change what is most definitely his least favourite thing about me; and it's funny you say that Bel Bel 'cos we've already had that conversation.

So I will, I will get better. As soon as he left I suddenly felt CONNECTED to my life in a way that I hadn't in months; it's upto me if I wanna carry on with that or slip back into a rut of not really seeing anyone, getting up at midday and feeling frustrated about bf's weight.

PS - Oh, and also, thanks so much for your replies! Really hlepful to get it all out 'on paper'.

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Ticktock » Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:28 pm

Just one thing that occurs, as someone who has your history you are very likely to self sabotage relationships, you need something to tell you that you are a bad person.

Until recently your awful relationship with your mum filled that role, but cutting her off may have had the unfortunate effect of shifting focus onto your boyfriend.

That may also be the reason you lost yourself in the relationship a bit, you didn't actually believe he could like you for who you are, and so you changed to fit, and then resented him for that.

You boyfriends weight is a separate matter and is much about not doing what he says he will do, but as you say if you have cut yourself off from everything else small matters like that can assume massive proportions...

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Re: I have feelings for another guy and the guilt is killing

Post by Tarantula » Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:00 pm

Ticktock, that was an extremely helpful reply, thank you! I resonated a lot with bsically 100% of what you wrote. There's always gotta be some problem, SOMEthing, hasn't there.

Well, update:


he's been back a few days and everything's great! I've carried on seeing friends and doing what I was doing. I really think I'm onto something here.

Thanks everyone.

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