He's highly motivated, she's a drifter. After 18 months the spark has gone - and he's been approached by another woman who he can see a future with. What should he do?
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My girlfriend and I have been together for 18 months and for the most part it has been great. Until recently I had been certain that this was a long-term relationship that was going somewhere. But lately there have been several aspects that I have started to question. I was unsure whether this was just a bit of relationship blues as the excitement of living together faded and we have settled into a comfortable phase or if it was a sign of an underlying problem.
We have great fun when we hang out together but our conversations are not mentally stimulating, I feel I am not able to discuss my work in a constructive way to the differences in our careers and her lack of understanding of the business world. I am a highly motivated person who strives to succeed, while at times I feel like she is happy to drift a little.
These issues were all brought to a head a month ago when a female in our circle of friends let me know that she could no longer keep quiet and that she really liked me and thought we would be perfect together.
This friend is someone that I have a great time with, we have great robust discussions about numerous topics and is a lot more engaging about my career and work than my girlfriend. This friend is also extremely motivated and strives to excel in her chosen profession.
I am unsure whether I am being unfair in thinking I am better suited to my friend than my girlfriend. Do I think this just because it is 'new' and exciting while my relationship has reached the comfortable stage?
You have already identified the key issue - is this about wanting to re-create the excitement of a new relationship, or is this about a relationship that has an uncertain future? It is true that after 18 months you are likely to be entering a more settled phase, but it is also true that at this time you may also be identifying some of the aspects of your relationship that need to change for it to survive.
To start with it may be useful for you to think back to the history of your current relationship. How did you feel in the beginning? Was it similar to what you are feeling now regarding this other friend? Did these doubts only arise when she told you she was attracted to you? Have you or your lifestyle changed significantly since you and your girlfriend got together? Is this the first longer term relationship for you? Do you have the energy and interest to make this current relationship work?
As you think through these questions they may assist you to clarify if this is a relationship you really want to commit to and build on, or if there have been doubts for some time. It is unrealistic for our partners to meet all our needs and it is fine to get some of them met elsewhere. I do however wonder if you are concerned that the level of conversation and issues you are looking for elsewhere is meeting a deeper emotional connection. Without a strong emotional and value connection it is hard for relationships to survive and that kind of connection is more than just shared interests and stimulating conversations. Is this the kind of connection you are willing to build with your current partner?
With many things in relationships, the answer will come from the way the issues are dealt with between you, rather than keeping them to yourself and those next steps will clarify your future choices.
We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.