Q: “I’ve been dating the same guy for two years and we care about each other but the relationship can be so boring at times. Lately, my co-worker and I have been exchanging flirtatious text messages and emails, and they make me smile. I haven’t gone out with him, but I’m starting to look forward to our correspondence more than I do going home to my man. My friends keep saying I’m already cheating but I honestly don’t feel like I am. Am I a cheater?” – KiKi
A: KiKi, I am sure you are smiling and already know the answer to the question: Are you cheating? If your co-worker is making you smile and you are looking forward to exchanging the next flirtatious text message and/or email with him, the answer is yes. Cheating does not necessarily have to be physical; it is also mental. Don’t get me wrong, just because you mentally think about and/or fantasize about someone does not necessarily mean that you are cheating on your loved one. But in your case, you are already mentally down the road in your relationship with him to the point of dreading going home to your boyfriend.
You have positioned yourself for some after-work, late night projects with your co-worker. I have the feeling that the work will not be “paperwork!” There is no doubt that it sounds as if your boyfriend of two years represents safety and stability. Sometimes, safety and stability equates to “boring” for some women in some relationships. Remember as you play around with the possibilities of what could be with your co-worker you may lose your boyfriend with that sense of safety and stability. Ask yourself, is it worth the risk? Also, ask yourself, is it worth risking your job having a relationship with a co-worker? Have you tried to “spice up” your relationship with your boyfriend or to do things to make it less boring? Are you using your co-worker to get out of a relationship that you are not happy with? It is likely that flirting with your co-worker has made you realize that you are not satisfied in your relationship. A relationship takes two people. So, understand your role in making your relationship with your boyfriend work. While your co-worker may sound “cute” and be funny, is he willing to do what your boyfriend is doing for you? Remember the grass is always greener on the other side. So tread lightly! — Dr. Sherry
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If you’re attending the ESSENCE Music Festival this weekend, you’ll be able to ask her in person. Dr. Sherry will be on hand to help out with your burning dating and relationship dilemmas during the festival, so if you’re here in New Orleans, be sure to stop by the ESSENCE.com live stage to say hello.