Dear Juliet: Please help! I am going through a major internal conflict and, as a result, am seeking out your advice. I have been in a wonderful relationship for almost two years, but this past month I’ve been beginning to feel those same feelings for another person. Lately my boyfriend has just been acting really different. It’s not the same as it was when we first started dating. I tried talking to him about the problems he might be dealing with, but he just blows me off and says it’s nothing I should worry about. We used to tell each other everything. Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping my feelings a secret for a while. I guess both of us are to blame. I want to be open and honest with him about our relationship and the direction I think it’s going in, but I don’t want to hurt him. I still love him, but as more of a friend and less of a significant other. I don’t know what to do. -V
Love is intense, quick, full-force, no filter and wild. It has the ability to sway the most stubborn minds and bring the toughest person to his knees. Love is unstoppable. When you love a person but find yourself having intense feelings for another, you need to be open about it. First, I’d explain the way I’m feeling to the person I’m in an intimate relationship with; how I am grateful for him, and I care about him, just not in the way that he wants me to.
I believe that there are different kinds of love. By that, I mean you don’t love your dog the same way you love your boyfriend or girlfriend. The way you love your friend contrasts with the way you love your parents. It’s different. You don’t get butterflies when your mom calls you cute or texts you the heart eyes emoji. In fact, you may not even be falling out of love; maybe it’s simply turning into a different kind of love. It’s still possible to love the person with whom you’re in a relationship, but those feelings may not be as strong or as intense as they once were. You may only see them as a friend, and that’s okay.
Then break up with him. If you’re not happy, he probably isn’t either. Give yourself time to heal and acknowledge the fact that you are your independent self again. Sometimes life can begin to feel incomplete when you’ve let go of someone you have spent a majority of your time with. Once you feel ready to move past this break up, you can become more open to new possibilities.
When you’ve discovered that you have feelings for someone other than your significant other, don’t run from those emotions. Face them head on and do what must be done. If you don’t, you might regret it. Remember: be tasteful and respectful about telling your current boo how you feel. Don’t just go up to your partner and say, “Bye-bye, I found someone new!” That’s rude. Chances are he still has feelings for you, so be honest with him and with yourself. I may say this over and over again, but I can’t stress this enough. In the conversation, the points you make should be clear and stated firmly; know what you want to say. Don’t sway from it in the heat of the moment.
Also, bring it to his attention that your feelings have changed, and if you think your love would be better shown in a friendship, offer that option. Who knows, he could potentially be feeling the same way as you are. So, ask him for his side, his perspective. Then, if you are certain that this is what you want, tell him that your romantic relationship is over. Don’t leave any gaps where it could be misconstrued. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Leave no room to assume a certain type of relationship is present when it isn’t.
Once you have jumped over that hurdle, pat yourself on the back! What you did was probably very nerve-wracking, but now you can live life not having to pretend to be in love with someone when you’re not. It’ll be confusing, messy and disheartening—that’s what life is, and it shouldn’t sway your judgement. Remember that you are doing this for you.
Then, I’d tell the other person how I feel about him. Honesty is the most effective way to become introspective. We need to be open about our feelings that involve others. When others influence our feelings, we should keep in mind that the decisions we make impact everyone around us.
When you’re ready, tell the person you’ve developed feelings for how you really feel about him. Again, be 100 percent honest! Look at what you went through to get to this point. Tell him everything. Let it spill out like word vomit. Let your feelings come out like the definition of love! Be intense, full-force and have no filter. Say what you’ve been keeping inside for so long. Actually say it, don’t text it! You could also write it in a handwritten letter with pretty stationary and a wax seal.
Who knows, you may be pleasantly—or maybe not so pleasantly—surprised by the outcome, but love is about taking chances. You don’t have to settle. It should feel like your toes are constantly grazing the edge of a cliff. You should feel twitterpated at the sight of his smile.
Love should be a constant balance between living to make yourself happy and making the one you love happy. It shouldn’t ever seem selfish. We don’t live long enough to wallow around with someone who doesn’t make us giddy. So be giddy, love endlessly and do everything in your power to make sure that pretty smile stays upon your sprightly face.