‘I feel pulled in both directions and resentful’ (Picture: Neil Webb/Metro.co.uk)
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for the Sex Column, our weekly series that sees experts give advice to people struggling in the world of love, sex, and dating.
This week we’re helping out someone whose head is a bit of a mess.
They got into a relationship with someone new quickly and intensely, but are now questioning what that means for their big dreams.
They long to travel abroad. Their boyfriend doesn’t have the same plans.
What should our dater do? Stay or go?
‘My relationship with my boyfriend happened very quickly. We went on a date as soon as we met and moved in together within months.
‘It has been beautiful and intense but we were in different places when we met. He had been single for a while but I had only been on my own for a short time and we have different ideas about the future.
‘I have dreams and plans abroad but when I bring this up, he brushes it aside.
‘If I was single, I’d have gone by now.
‘Some days I feel pulled in both directions and resentful.‘
What the experts say…
One of the unavoidable existential truths is that every choice is a loss.
‘Whichever path you take, you miss out on the other,’ says Rupert Smith. ‘Given you haven’t been single for long, it seems reasonable that you should need time to explore the possibilities life has to offer but you chose instead to commit to someone else immediately, presumably because you didn’t want to be alone.’
You suited his timing but he has not suited yours.
‘It’s likely that your urge to travel is growing in the face of his avoidance of it,’ says Angharad Rudkin. ‘So now it is necessary to weigh up what will bring you the most happiness: a committed relationship or exploration and travel.’
So what is bothering you most? Not going abroad? Or having your dreams brushed aside?
‘Being flexible is one thing and being squashed is another,’ says James McConnachie. ‘People don’t adapt to being squashed, they either stay squashed or erupt. Do him and yourself a favour and tell him how you feel. Give him a chance to show his quality.’
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It might take a few attempts but only then will you truly understand why he is reluctant to go — and only then will he understand how you feel.
‘Perhaps what you would like is a fantasy of a parallel life you never went for,’ says Smith. ‘Or perhaps your plans are more definite and your boyfriend is threatened by them.’
The speed of your relationship hasn’t given you time to consider the realities of being a couple.
‘Accepting you can love each other but still have different desires is a healthy next phase to get to,’ says Rudkin.
He may yet surprise you or there may be a compromise. Says Smith: ‘Listen to that growing voice of resentment and consider how loud it might be in five or ten years’ time.’
Rupert Smith is an author and counsellor
James McConnachie is the author of Sex (Rough Guides)
Dr Angharad Rudkin is a clinical psychologist
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