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Excessive PDA is Far From Okay

Dear Dating Doctor:

I'm 26 and have been dating a guy for 18 months who I was convinced was my futurehusband. By accident, I met another man who has captivated me. He is handsome, charming, romantic andattractive. My feelings are changing toward my boyfriend but I know he thinks we will get married soon.I feel ill. What should I do?

Tied up in knots

Dear Tied Up (I've always wanted to say that!):

When a person marries or commits to someone who theyfeel is "The One (Mr. Right)," they assume that they will never experience similar feelings toward anotherperson again in their life. Unfortunately, this is not always true. If it were, the divorce rate woulddecrease, less domestic violence would occur and fewer antacids would be sold.

The truth is that we are all human and when we allow ourselves to be, are quite vulnerable to developingsignificant feelings for others. The telling factor in defining our character is how we act upon what wefeel.

What you are experiencing is the WOW phenomenon. Someone new and exciting (Mr. Right Now) has shown aninterest in you and you are flattered. You (and your boyfriend) may have become so "comfortable" in yourrelationship that you have begun to take each other for granted and have stopped courting one another.Spontaneity has given way to standardization. Romance to routine. Yours may have become a relationshipof convenience and obligation, opening the door for this dilemma to materialize.

Currently, with Mr. Right Now, you are in the Infatuation Stage. He can do no wrong, and you can't stopthinking of him. You probably can't eat or sleep, and every song you hear or card you read reminds you ofhim. If you traded personal information, you are probably checking your E-mail and voice mail every 15minutes to see if has communicated with you.

As you (if you) spend more time with him, this phase will gradually wear off and his faults andimperfections will become more evident. You may even find that although he is different from yourboyfriend (past, at this point), you don't like the differences. This will leave you seeking Mr. Next.

Yours is a situation that cannot be hidden from your boyfriend as he will sense and observe changes in howyou are communicating with him. Thus, you must take an inventory of your feelings and desires. Ifsomeone else could so quickly and easily alter your feelings, then several aspects of your presentrelationship desperately need to be evaluated.

Eighteen months of commitment deserves as least "further review" before you make a final decision.Remember, the character of a person is not measured by how they react when things are going well, ratherhow they react in times of difficulty. Whatever your decision, make sure it is well thought out and oneyou can look yourself in the mirror and live with.

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