First off, a little background. I've been with my current boyfriend for a little over 2 years. It's a fabulous relationship and I love him more than anything. He loves and supports me fully and vice versa. Around September of last year, I fell into a fairly deep depression due to a series of unfortunate events following the loss of a fantastic opportunity, and the subsequent struggle to find employment. Over the course of the following 6 months, I lost all concepts of self worth and any ounce of self esteem I once had. I gained a lot of weight, which was particularly devastating as I had previously been very fit and active, and ended up with a horrible body image as a result. My SO has loved and supported me through all of it but as much as he would tell me that I would always be beautiful to him, or that I could do anything I wanted, it was still something I needed to truly believe, and I didn't yet.
Fast forward to May. I stumbled into a new even more incredible opportunity and jumped at it. When I was offered the job, which involves travelling for a year, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to change my life. And change I have. Since May, I've dropped 7 pants sizes and almost 40 pounds. And a I feel fabulous. I have my body back, my confidence, my drive. Yes, I'm confident in my appearance again, but I'm also confident in myself in general. I really couldn't be happier with the way it's all worked out.
The problems I've been having lately stem from a desire to BE desired. I don't want to cheat on my boyfriend. AT ALL. I know in my heart and in my mind that it's something that would never happen. I just find myself craving affection and the validation that yes, my confidence is deserved. I want to be looked at, sought after, desired. And when I do receive affection from men, especially men that I respect, I find myself struggling very hard to NOT reciprocate and nurture that affection towards me. One man in particular has been very affectionate towards me, and while he knows that I'm not available, I still find myself drawn towards him when I know I should be distancing myself from him. And instead of rebuffing him, embracing his advances towards me, even though I'm NOT sexually attracted to him. What I'm attracted to is the fact that HE'S attracted to me. And I'm having a very hard time reconciling the part of me that craves affection and validation with the bigger part of me that knows I would be very hurt if my boyfriend were to do the same thing. It definitely doesn't help the situation that I'm so far from home. I don't get to go home to my boyfriend every night, or at all until May, and I think because I'm missing that closeness in my life I'm seeking it out elsehwere which is not healthy for me.
I guess what I'm looking for is adivce on how to handle these feelings. Like I said, I am extremely happy with my relationship and the last thing I want to do is screw it up. I don't know if I should find a middle ground, or what. It's all very confusing for me at the moment, and any mantras, words of wisdom, advice would be extremely appreciated. I'm still getting used to the new me and the attention and any words on how to deal with that in an apporpriate and healthy way are what I guess I need.
Sorry if this is disjointed or confusing, it's hard to put down in writing. So if any clarification is needed I'm happy to oblige. Thanks a lot!