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“Does He Love His Ex More Than Me?”

My live-in boyfriend and I have been together for two years. Our relationship is the longest he has been in, and we have a five-month-old daughter.

Last night, our conversation was quite dull so I looked up “21 questions to ask your boyfriend” on the internet. One of the questions was: “Have you ever loved anyone more than me?” He said, “Yes,” and continued with something along the lines of “…but we have potential to grow and become real” (whatever that means).

I was kind of shocked by his response, so I didn’t say anything and continued with the other questions. I don’t know for sure who he is talking about because he didn’t tell me, but I’m almost positive it was this girl he was “in love” with for 10 years before they finally dated. After two months of dating, she broke up with him because she wasn’t ready for a relationship yet though she got a new boyfriend shortly after the break up. This girl also openly had a fling with my boyfriend’s brother about a year ago and ultimately broke his heart.

I am so upset by this.

I was hoping that he was going to propose soon, and I know (or thought) he was “the one.” Now, there is no way I would marry him and I’m not even sure if I want to be in a relationship with him. After two years of a solid, great relationship, shouldn’t he know if I’m the one by now? I have never crossed him, I have supported him, I have helped him get his life in order, and I have given him nothing but love and honesty. How could he love another girl more than me whom he was only with for two months? How could he love another girl more than me who wronged him? Since we have been together for two years and his longest relationship before we got together was nine months (and the girl cheated on him with his friend), shouldn’t it be be a given that he would love me the most because we have been together the longest? I have done nothing wrong to him, and I am the mother of his child!

I don’t know if I’m just acting petty and immature or if this is a legitimate concern. Please help! — Wrong Answer

Yeah, it was a dumb thing for your boyfriend to say, but have you honestly never ever said anything you didn’t mean or later regretted? I mean, sure, maybe your boyfriend meant it — maybe he loved some other woman more than he loves you. Or! Maybe, in that particular moment, he wasn’t feeling the full weight of his love for you, and so, when you asked, he wasn’t inspired to tell you that you’re the love of his life. Maybe, after an evening of “dull conversation,” as you put it — an evening during which you looked on the internet for conversation starters — he just felt kind of “ho-hum” about everything and didn’t put a whole lot of thought into his answer. Maybe, if you asked him again and asked him to really think about it and to be honest and to consider your feelings and the future of your relationship, he might say something totally different.

I don’t think you are petty to be hurt by his response, but I do think it would be incredibly immature to throw away a two-year relationship with the father of your child — to say there is “no way” you’d marry him now — because of some dumb response he made to some dumb question you found on the internet. Of all the reasons to leave someone, that’s a super lame one, sorry.

Here you are comparing yourself and your relationship to every woman he’s been with before you and you don’t even know what he meant when he said he’s loved someone more than you. Maybe he meant his mother or father. Maybe he meant the child you have together! Maybe he was just trying to get under your skin — to wake you up from your dull night together and inspire something in you or something between you that might re-ignite a spark.

Here’s an idea — and I think it’s a good one: talk to him about how you feel. Tell him that your evening of “21 Questions” left you feeling confused and sad. Tell him that you love him and want to spend your life with him and you assumed he felt the same. And then do this: get a babysitter and go out, just the two of you. Life with a new baby is overwhelming. It turns everything upside down for a while. It’s easy to let a relationship take a backseat. But when the relationship stays in the backseat for too long, misunderstandings occur. Distance happens. People start feeling restless and grow apart.

The easiest and fastest way to fight those things is to reconnect. Make your relationship a priority again. So, get a sitter and go out. If you can’t afford one on the regular, ask a friend or family member, or find another couple with a kid you can do a babysitting swap with. Drew and I do a combination of those things — we ask Jackson’s daytime sitter to watch him at night maybe once every month or two, and we have a friend who volunteers to babysit about once a month, and then we do a swap with other couples with kids once every month or two. It’s not always easy and it’s not always free, but it’s necessary. The time we have together, away from the responsibilities and demands and tedium of our home life, helps us reconnect and reminds us that, before we are parents, we are spouses/partners.

You say you and your boyfriend have had two years of a “solid, great relationship.” You also have a five-month-old baby together. These are two good reasons not to walk away too quickly.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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{ 109 comments… add one }

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 8, 2014, 9:09 am

I was sympathetic until you listed all the reasons he should love you more than anyone else. Seriously? You can’t create this much drama if you haven’t even asked him who he’s referring to or to better explain what he meant.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 9:21 am

Yeah, nothing about connection or compatibility, everything about service. Made her sound too much like a Nice Girl (TM). Then again, the dude loved a woman he didn’t even date for 10 years, and there’s no way you can do that without NiceGuying it up majorly. They strike me as pretty similar.

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 8, 2014, 9:23 am

“I have never crossed him, I have supported him, I have helped him get his life in order, and I have given him nothing but love and honesty.” – Yeah, she sounds like his mother, not his romantic partner.

avatar Breezy AM May 8, 2014, 7:14 pm

I came here specifically to say “Boys don’t wanna fuck Mommy.” Seriously, you help a man fix his fucking life? Good luck with him thinking you are a sex/life partner.

katie katie May 8, 2014, 9:33 am

Oh yea, just like the NiceGuy vending machine analogy “you don’t get to put in nice comments and out comes sex” – for the NiceGirl ” you don’t get to put in self sacrifice and out comes a marriage proposal”

Jess Jess May 8, 2014, 9:17 am

It could also be a case of different kind of loves. If the BF really was thinking of the girl who broke his heart, that kind of “love” has a unique place in a person’s heart. But it is not the same and not as GOOD as a long-term mutually satisfying relationship built on trust.

Unrequited love, especially the kind that you pine over for 10 years, get a tiny taste of, and lose —well that leaves a mark. And somewhere in the human brain, we still want that wrong to be made right. We want the former object of our desire to recognize their mistake and try to get us back. That doesn’t mean we actually want them back. We just want the power to choose. I think it’s quite normal for people to have one or more of these unrequited loves in their past. It’s based on fantasy since it was never fully realized, only imagined. That kind of “love” feels exciting, passionate, and intense but it’s ultimately hollow. A good, deep, long-term, partnership feels different —more comfortable, more stable. The latter is where you WANT to be but the BF might mistake this lower intensity for a different degree of love. My bet is that he will ultimately realize that his love with you is more mature and more desirable in the long run.

Lyra Lyra May 8, 2014, 2:52 pm

I love this.

avatar joanna May 8, 2014, 9:20 am

You seem to be looking for drama when there isn’t any.

fast eddie fast eddie May 9, 2014, 8:56 am

To borrow a quote: Don’t ask a question that you don’t want the answer to.

avatar thatgirl May 8, 2014, 9:24 am

For the future….don’t ever ask a loaded question unless you want a loaded answer. You were not prepared for his honesty. I do feel for you, and would never recommend you give up on a relationship with the father of your child, but it it time for you to analyze what kind of relationship you really have. And it could be this is the reason he hasn’t proposed yet…

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 9:50 am

Yes! This is like “do I look fat?” or other stereotypically female questions. They’re so cliché it hurts. Or anyone who asks a question and even if they get the answer they want, the other person paused too long before answering. If you don’t want a truth bomb, don’t set them up for it.
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I mean people also shouldn’t be hiding behind the “but I was only being honest” response (the boyfriend had some thoughtfulness behind his elaboration), but perhaps the LW should have thought about the weight of a negative answer before asking.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 10:10 am

Sometimes I ask my husband loaded questions just watch him freeze. It’s hilarious.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 10:51 am

2 people don’t approve of your sense of humor.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 10:56 am

Luckily my husband isn’t one of them!

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 10:58 am

Are you sure? I would ask him. Since you’re at it, ask him if he ever loved anybody’s sense of humor better than he loves yours. Tell him it’s an internet thing.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 11:07 am

Done and done. He loves my humour best.

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 10:53 am

Lol that’s awesome. Bassanio likes to say things occasionally just to get a funny reaction out of them like this. I mean, he’s not gonna say something assholeish, but just something silly. I love that about him, nothing’s ever boring with him around.

avatar thatgirl May 8, 2014, 10:55 am

I have done this!! It is funny to watch him try to decide if he wants to answer or not!!

Nookie Nookie May 8, 2014, 11:15 am

Yeah, I thought that – what kind of question is that to ask someone??

There’s only one right answer, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.

theattack theattack May 8, 2014, 9:26 am

Don’t ask questions if you’re not prepared for the answer.

findingtheearth findingtheearth May 8, 2014, 10:06 am

yes. this.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 10:40 am

I don’t really understand this. (I mean that seriously, not snarky). Why shouldn’t you ask questions? I mean, I’ve asked questions that I didn’t want the answer I’ve heard. Should we just live in the dark out of fear of hearing things you don’t want to hear? If the “bad” answer was going to sway me to make a smart decision, then shouldn’t I have that answer?

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 10:45 am

I think you’re right in the vast majority of cases, LBH, and I don’t think TA meant “never ask questions.” I think she meant that if you ARE going to ask a hard question, be prepared to hear the worst possible answer — don’t fly off the handle and then blame the answerer for being honest. In the context of my recent relationship (because everything is about me, hah), when we talked about marriage I knew I might not like the answers my boyfriend gave me. But I tried really hard not to take it out on him when he gave me an honest answer I didn’t like. That’s what it means to me when someone says “Don’t ask a question if you’re not prepared to hear the answer.”

theattack theattack May 8, 2014, 6:34 pm

^^^ Yes. This is exactly what I meant. Sometimes you need to ask hard questions. Just don’t go into something like that without being prepared for an honest answer. There’s a big difference between being upset at the facts of the answer (i.e.: being upset that your boyfriend doesn’t love you as much as his ex) and being upset that you didn’t get the answer you wanted to a question you asked.

I feel like this LW was either fishing for an affirmation, or he/she was prodding around to see if there was an argument to be had. These serious questions aren’t things to just tag on to the conversation in between Netflix episodes. If there’s a serious concern, you need to take it seriously, and you need to be prepared for reality. I should know because I am super guilty of doing this exact same thing, and it hurts like hell every time I do it. I just have to accept that I can’t be mad at the answer to a question when I forced P into answering something awkward and pushy. I’ve always tried to not do this anymore, but it seems to happen when I drink.

That said, I understand why the LW is upset with what she learned from her boyfriend’s answer. I would be upset about it too. Her options at this point are limited, and I think she should deal with this new information and try to carry on with their relationship.

theattack theattack May 8, 2014, 6:35 pm

*also tried, not always tried.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 10:47 am

Also, I think in this specific case, that truly IS a question that just doesn’t need to be asked. Period. I mean, I can’t think of a single constructive thing that could come from asking that question. And the urge to ask it doesn’t really come from a genuine desire to build the relationship or get to know each other better — it’s based on humoring an insecurity that won’t be soothed by ANY answer, because the asker needs to get over that insecurity within herself, not through external means.

katie katie May 8, 2014, 10:55 am

This, so much.
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Asking a question to soothe an insecurity is never going to help, and is a self fulfilling prophecy anyway, it just feeds a cycle. The better way to tackle those things isn’t through trying to get an affirmation (do you love me more then others/do I look pretty?) but through admitting the negative (I don’t feel loved/I don’t feel pretty). That can facilitate growth at least.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 10:58 am

Absolutely agree. Which makes me think she could use solid advice on how a relationship should work, which it seems she’s gotten.

theattack theattack May 8, 2014, 6:37 pm

For the record, I would have taken the time to give actual solid advice on this today if I hadn’t been sneaking around to comment on DW during a boring meeting. haha I actually have a pathetic amount of experience with this topic, and I think I could have given some good advice on this letter besides my one snarky comment. I’m sure everyone’s covered it by this point though.

avatar thatgirl May 8, 2014, 10:58 am

Absolutely…Because even if he says “you are the person I love most ever” that doesn’t mean she is then secure. Then she is questioning if he really means it, or did he say it to make her happy, etc, etc, blah, blah

Nookie Nookie May 8, 2014, 11:22 am

You’re on fire Banana.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 11:44 am

Aw shucks.

katie katie May 8, 2014, 9:28 am

This is ridiculous.
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Yes, LW, he might have loved that other girl “more” then he loves you. But it’s all relative- I assume, because of the 10 year comment, that he was young? Well when you are young, everything feels “more”. Everything! So yea, sure, maybe he did. Maybe it wasn’t even because he was young, maybe it was because of something else, but it doesn’t even matter, because they aren’t together. He might always look to that other girl in his mind as the “love of his life”. But why is that bad? Why do you have to fulfill some sort of fairy tale of being the everything to a man, doing all those things you listed? That’s not real life. In real life, you might not get to spend your life with the person you loved the most. Sometimes (ahem, always…) love isn’t enough, and so no matter how much love there is there can’t be a relationship. The people we spend our lives with don’t have to be the “love of your life”, which is such a ridiculous phrase anyway. It’s like lamenting that you aren’t soul mates. So what? So what if you aren’t soul mates or the love of their life or whatever? Those are the wrong questions. The questions you should be asking is, am I happy? Is he happy? Do we have fun together? How often do we laugh? How often do we have meaningful conversations? Is he a good father? Ect. Those questions matter. Soul mates and loves of our lives are manufactured phrases in fiction writing.

avatar Liquid Luck May 8, 2014, 11:34 am

I agree with all of this. If I just look at the amount of love and not any other relationship factors, I would honestly say I “loved” my first boyfriend more than I love my husband. But falling in love at 15 is so much different than being in a loving, healthy relationship as an adult. As a teenager, for me everything was so dramatic and felt a thousand times better or worse, because it was the first time having those types of feelings. So the love was more intense, but so was the heartbreak and the happiness and the anger. Every emotion, positive or negative, was just more.
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That said, I would never, ever trade the way I love my husband to have that first-love-feeling back. What we have is much better. It’s less intense, and I don’t feel like I would die if I lost him. We have love, trust, and passion in our relationship, but it’s not all-consuming. Which is the reason we can be together for our whole lives. I could never continue the cycle of endless feeling I had with my high school boyfriend and be a functioning adult. And as it turned out, all of that “love” was hiding some major incompatibilities that would have made both of us really unhappy in the long run.

avatar simonthegrey May 9, 2014, 9:22 am

This.
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As I have mentioned before on this blog, my husband was the first guy I dated seriously (and I was old, too!). We have been married a year now, but together for four and a half years total. My best friend is just now getting serious in a relationship with a guy she really likes. Sometimes I look at them and I feel sad, because I will never feel that way about my husband again. The newness, the suddenness, the butterflies. I lament that a little inside.
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However, I would never trade what I have with Mr. TheGrey for a new relationship. I can be so comfortable with him. I never have to worry about what I say, or whether he will “approve” of some choice I make. I don’t have to worry (within bounds) about offending him, or about him leaving me. Losing the “in love” jitters is hard, but what that turns into is so much more worth-it.

avatar Laura Hope May 8, 2014, 9:29 am

“But we have potential to grow and become real”– I take this to mean that he is not head over heels the way he was with someone else but this relationship could become a permanent commitment, unlike the other one. That may not be enough for you, but frankly the time to have determined that was before you took on the very permanent commitment of having a child together.

avatar SasLinna May 8, 2014, 9:36 am

To me the fact that you get so upset by this one statement shows that there is an underlying problem. Either you generally don’t have a lot of faith in this relationship so that, on some level, his answer confirmed your suspicions. Or you simply don’t have much self-esteem, so you over-interpreted it. What matters is not his exact words in answering this question – maybe he phrased it badly – but how you generally feel with him. It worries me that you’re not convinced he’s really serious & that you so quickly feel like you don’t want to marry him. Did you make a longterm commitment before having a kid? If so, have some faith and work on your relationship. If not, then yeah, maybe there’s reason for concern because it is NOT an automatic development that just because you had a child together, you’ll get married.

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 9:39 am

There’s a lot of misguided ideas in this letter, but this stuck out to me the most: “shouldn’t it be be a given that he would love me the most because we have been together the longest?” No, it doesn’t work like that because love is not some mathematical equation. If it was, all those people who were great on paper would end up being “the one.” Love is far more complicated than that. Otherwise all those dating sites would have a much higher success rate and courtships would probably look more like those for arranged marriages.

Kate B. Kate B. May 8, 2014, 10:11 am

Yes! This is what I was going to say! Nothing is a given when it come to love. Longevity is no guarantee of anything. There are people who have been together for decades who realize that they have been with the wrong person all that time. Or that maybe they once were the right person, but aren’t any longer. This is why love can be hard. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good sign that you looked to the internet for a conversation starter. That seems weird to me. I’d be put off by it, too. Next time you’re bored, do not ask a loaded question you got from the internet. Turn on the TV, call a friend, read, do something else.

avatar Essie May 8, 2014, 9:45 am

LW:

Love is complicated. People are complicated. You seem to have a romance-novel view of the way relationships should work, that once you meet ‘The One’ , all other loves are instantly forgotten and you may never love anyone or anything more than The One. Um, no. Life is never that simplistic.

There are the loves we want, and the ones we can have. He loved this girl. She didn’t want him. He’ll never have her, and he knows it. He’s with you now, and he loves you. I think that’s what he meant by saying that yours was the relationship with potential. His relationship with her turned out to be a fantasy. His relationship with you is real.

Discuss this with him. Ask him to explain what he meant. Without the extreme level of drama that was in this letter, if possible. Just listen.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 9:46 am

I can’t even, today. I don’t think I can give advice on this one without getting petty and mean.

Kate Kate May 8, 2014, 9:54 am

And where would you even start? I mean, I’d start with the douche balloon who published a list of “21 questions to ask your boyfriend” that included “have you ever loved anyone more than me,” but that stewpid betch didn’t write in for advice.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 9:59 am

They’re busy with the hand rubbing and the maniacal laughter.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 10:26 am

I know. Today I learned about a new form of trolling: creating stupid lists on the internet just to spark arguments between couples. That question is up there with “Rate my sexual performance on a scale of 1 to 10,” and “What do you like least about my mother” in the pantheon of disastrous conversation starters.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 10:38 am

“What part of my body would you change if you had to pick one, and why?”
“Which one of my friends would you do if I didn’t exist?”

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 10:54 am

“On average, how many times during sex would you say you think about your exes?”

othy othy May 8, 2014, 10:59 am

“Which one of my friends do you fantasize about when we are getting it on?”

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 11:08 am

“How many ways have you planned my murder?”

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 2:19 pm

Next DW listicle?

avatar peachy May 8, 2014, 9:54 am

Oh for crying out loud! LW, you’ve learned two things: One, never ask a man if you are the love of his life AFTER you have a baby with him and two, your boyfriend is a clunch because every man knows the answer to questions like these is: Yes (you are the love of my life; you look great in those jeans; i love the purple frilly bedspread, etc.)
Sheesh.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 9:56 am

The next time a conversation is super dull go read a book or something.

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 8, 2014, 10:55 am

No way! The next time Llama Guy have a lull in conversation I’m going to ask him the questions you listed above. 1) What part of my body would you change, and why? 2) Which of my friends would you do if I didn’t exist? 3) Am I the prettiest woman in the world? Which supermodels are prettier than me? 4) What are the top 100 things you love most about me?

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 10:06 am

Please fucking quit getting your ideas of what a relationship should be like from rom-coms. Seriously? I did XYZ so I MUST be his soulmate! That is not real life. Real life is messy, it hurts, people grow and change and you don’t earn love the way you do money. Yes, be a good person, mother and partner but don’t think that just because you fixed some guy up that it means you are “the one.” PS there is no “one.” People are complicated and can have different loves throughout their lives and one love does not negate the other. I seriously hope you grow up a bit and take your relationship with the father of your child more seriously (not necessarily in a marriage way but in a ‘takes more than a question on the internet to break up’ way) for your kid’s sake.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 10:09 am

Yikes guys. I agree that there are more important questions to ask and all, I really do, but really? Hearing that your boyfriend doesn’t love you as much as some other girl wouldn’t sting a bit? I’d be really sad to hear that.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 10:11 am

Anyway, LW, you can’t make someone love you. You can’t do X, Y and Z to ensure that you become the love of their life. All these things everyone is saying are true. Hopefully you will realize that soon and mature enough to work on a healthy relationship with your bf/baby’s father.

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 10:15 am

Sure it might hurt, but contemplating ending a relationship over it? I think most commenters are just trying to tell chicken little that the sky isn’t falling.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 10:20 am

I do agree that its ridiculous to end it over this. Its that’s honestly the ONLY reason and there aren’t other things that added to that, then she needs to take everyone’s advice. It sounds like they don’t have the healthiest relationship to begin with though, so maybe this is the last thing she needed to hear. I could be totally off though.

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 11:09 am

Eh I agree that their relationship isn’t probably the strongest ever, but the only other slightly negative thing she said about their relationship was that they had a dull conversation (him having had another relationship in the past is not a negative). It’s not like she wrote in and was like, our relationship’s been kind of in the dumps for a while, or that there were these other signs that he’s just not into it or I’ve been looking for an out. Maybe she didn’t want to include it for whatever reason? But I’m not getting that from this letter.
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It may be true that if she wants the fairytale love story, she probably shouldn’t be in this relationship. But then she’s probably not going to really find that elsewhere…

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 11:11 am

The part where she said she’d been hoping for a proposal made me think its not super healthy. Like, you live together, have a kid together, why are you just “hoping” for that? Have you actually talked about that?

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 12:20 pm

It depends on the reason. Is she not talking about marriage because she’s afraid of what he will say? Unhealthy. Is she not talking about marriage because she thinks it will scare him off and he will leave? Uhhealthy. Is she not talking about marriage because she wants a surprise proposal? Or because it’s her script for how love should go? To me, that’s probably more about her than about the health of their relationship. And from the sound of the letter, in my opinion, it’s more likely in the last category. She should be talking about it, absolutely, especially if it’s what she expects to come of this relationship, but it’s not the sign of an unhealthy relationship because they haven’t talked about it.

avatar bethany May 8, 2014, 11:43 am

Really? I think contemplating ending a relationship over it is totally justifiable. I don’t think I could handle knowing that my husband loved someone more than me (A romantic “someone”, not a family member or something).

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 11:47 am

Yea, I don’t totally disagree with this. If my boyfriend told me now that he still loved his ex more than me, I’d seriously reconsider our relationship. However, I would talk to him more about what he meant and what we mean first.

avatar bethany May 8, 2014, 11:58 am

For sure, hence the word “contemplate”. I wouldn’t walk out and never look back, but I’d have some serious thinking to do.

avatar Lindsay May 8, 2014, 11:47 am

I think it is entirely dependent on what it means that he doesn’t love her as much as someone else. Less isn’t a big deal in itself, but I think that if it shows somewhat unequal feelings between her and him, it might be worth knowing what that means. I only say that because she seems somewhat unsure as to whether he actually plans to marry her (her uncertainty about the proposal makes me think they may not have actually talked but it).

I think that you also have to consider why he chose not to give the expected answer. Just because he wanted to be honest or because he wanted to send a message?

I’m not saying the LW’s response is right (or asking), but I think when a couple has a misunderstanding or disagreement over their feelings about each other, it is probably a good time to clarify.

avatar No Pants May 8, 2014, 10:17 am

I agree with you. I think the way she went about getting to that response and how she is reacting now is silly, but it must have been awful to hear that.

Kate B. Kate B. May 8, 2014, 10:18 am

I’d be very sad to hear that. I would also be worried about his answer that the relationship “has the potential to grow and become real”. What the hell does that mean? Is this not real now? What is it, then? But, I think the LW’s bf sort of felt ambushed. If you’re going to ask such a serious question, don’t present it in such an off-hand manner. (“Hey, look what I found on the internet. Here’s something we can talk about.”) And, prepare yourself for an answer you didn’t expect, and may not like.

LlamaPajamas LlamaPajamas May 8, 2014, 10:58 am

I liked his response (at least the way I interpreted it) and took it to mean that he was invested in making the relationship work and grow since they had a child together.

katie katie May 8, 2014, 10:51 am

I dunno, I think it’s interesting to hear about past relationships like that. Like how intense they were, how much of the cliche soul mates against all odds went into it, ect. For instance, jake was still with his girlfriend when he graduated high school. He wrote her a letter and put it in her senior yearbook, “to be opened after college graduation”, and he proposed to her in it. He had lots of plans, haha. So then we were together and this one day he was like oh shit, She just graduated, I gotta tell you this story and he told me all about it. But it’s like, no matter how much he would tell me those stories, he’s here with me right now. So the totally subjective and ever changing “amount of love” doesn’t really hold a ton of water for me. Not to mention you remember the past with really rose colored glasses.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 11:01 am

I like hearing about past relationships too, and I don’t believe in The One or anything like that.
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Its one thing to be secure and not mind hearing about exes, its another thing to understand being hurt by hearing your current boyfriend of 2 years, who you live with and have a child with doesn’t love you that much compared to some other girl.
I feel like these are two different things. I guess I find it hard to believe any of us would not be sad to hear that our partners love their ex more than us.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 11:09 am

Compared to some other girl he had to chase like a puppy for 10 years in order to get 2 months of half-assed loving. I hope the LW doesn’t take it as a sign that there’s something wrong with her, because the one this red flag is about is definitely him.
(Sadly I don’t think they’re so different in that aspect, with the way she believes sacrifice equals true love).

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 11:11 am

Good point!

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 11:09 am

Yes it would suck to hear that. It really doesn’t change most of our advice though.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 11:06 am

That must have been awkward.
The town where I grew up did this 100 years time capsule thing and asked residents to write a letter to their descendants. I was 15 at the time and wrote 44 baroque-psychotic pages full of of Alanis Morissette quotes and instructed them to find out if me and the mean dork I had a crush on at the time ever got together. Now I can’t ever become famous for anything or it will go public lol.

katie katie May 8, 2014, 11:27 am

Not awkward at all! It was cute and funny to hear.
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She actually found it, not then but later, and opened it and read it and sent him an email thanking him for the “trip down memory lane” or something. I thought that was nice.

avatar lets_be_honest May 8, 2014, 11:09 am

What I’m saying is what if he ended that story by saying “and I still love her way more than I love you?”

katie katie May 8, 2014, 11:22 am

Eh, I mean, I don’t think that it happened that way in the letter, though. It was a yes or no question, and he said yes, and then said how their relationship basically is still growing. That’s not a bad thing, I guess?
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The answer “yea, I did, I loved her for 10 years and then when I finally got together with her she didn’t really want to be with me and we broke up two months later and she broke my heart. I’ll probably never love someone as much as I did her in those years before we got together” I don’t think is bad. “As much” is super subjective, and isn’t even a positive thing anyway. Loving someone isn’t automatically positive and good. I’d even argue, as rainbow mentioned above, that him pining over some woman for 10 years is horrid, and probably very unhealthy, no matter the “amount ” of love there is.

findingtheearth findingtheearth May 8, 2014, 10:10 am

I will always love another person more than anyone I am in a romantic relationship with: my daughter.

Also, I dated a guy in college who I loved a lot. But immaturity and different life expectations made it unreasonable for us to continue. Will I love someone as much as my 22 year old self loved him, maybe. Do I idealize it because I was young, yes. I could adequately explain myself to another partner if need be, if they really asked this kind of question.

And your relationship does have a new baby in the picture. Kids are tough and can easily whittle down any romance you thought you should have in your life. Relationships take work and with kids added, there is a lot more work. Have an honest conversation with your partner and realize he might say something you don’t like. Use it as a chance for growth.

kare kare May 8, 2014, 12:39 pm

You bring up an excellent point. Now I’m kind of upset he didn’t mean his daughter. What is she third on his list?

cmary cmary May 8, 2014, 10:22 am

You sound very young. So I won’t unleash on you the way I want to, but come on. Like others have said, don’t ask questions if you’re not sure you can handle the answer.

Also, I’d say shit got pretty real right about the time you had that baby, no? What’s he waiting for?

And another also, you’ve only known each other 2 years – I sure as shit hope he’s loved someone more than you.

(Somebody’s cranky today)

Amanda Amanda May 8, 2014, 10:35 am

Okey-dokey. So I tried to find this asinine list. I can’t find. Part of this is because I don’t know exactly what the LW typed in. But I suspect a bigger part of this is because the LW wanted to shake things up. Hey – bonus points for realizing things are dull and wanting to change that. Perhaps this wasn’t the way to go about it. Look, both sides are to blame here. LW, you asked the question (c’mon, on some level you had to have known this could blow up). He gave a stupid answer – and sounds like he tried to backpedal with that lame explanation. Now that the truth grenade has detonated, you guys have to clean up the fall out. So, talk about it. Figure out *exactly* what he meant. And, for chrissakes, don’t end a relationship over something stupid on the internet.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 10:35 am

Okay, here’s my non-mean advice. I just broke up last week with the boyfriend I’d been with for two years, whom I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life with. Even before that event, I had believed that many people experience more than one “great love” in their lives, and that finding the person you’re going to spend most of your life with is a process of not just growing that great love, but working out a ton of other factors (life goals and plans and other practical matters of compatibility). That means that you can have a “great love” in your life that wasn’t your final love. That doesn’t diminish the greatness, or importance, of the loves that follow — even the love you DO wind up spending your life with. No matter where my life goes or who else I wind up finding — and perhaps spending my life with — I know that this past relationship will always be one of my great loves, and I’m simply accepting that this wasn’t meant to be the one that lasted. No man will come along and replace what that boyfriend was to me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find someone who will also grow into a unique and important great love of a different kind.
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Love takes time to grow, to deepen; and it also has many forms, some passionate, some comfortable, some fiery and brief and intense, some gentle but long-burning like glowing embers. When you look at it like that, it’s possible (probable, actually) that this ex your boyfriend was thinking of was one of his past great loves. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you to be his current and future great love. Stop comparing yourself to figures in his past who are no longer a part of his life, and focus on what you have together now. You can’t go back in time and change the fact that he had a “great love” before you. But you can continue to kindle the great love you’re growing together.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 10:38 am

Ugh, shorter version: your boyfriend may have had a “great love” with that ex, yeah. But he has a great love with you that ALSO comes with the other long-term incompatibilities he was looking for. I bet that’s what he meant with what he said. The intensity of your love may still be growing — and may never reach the same intensity of what he felt for that other girl — but it doesn’t have to be the SAME, it has to be what works for you. The intensity of your love is still growing, deepening, becoming more complex and textured than what he could have experienced with a non-reciprocated passion. So even if he loved that other “great love” more, in some ways, the love you two share may be more IMPORTANT to him now, even if it feels different. That’s what I was trying to get at above, and I got distracted by breakup brain.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 10:50 am

You have a really healthy way of looking at things!

Diablo Diablo May 8, 2014, 11:15 am

Think you mean compatibilities.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 11:38 am

LOL. That was a great typo. Thanks!

avatar Lucy May 8, 2014, 10:56 am

So, just so we’re clear, you: asked him an extremely loaded question because you were bored; didn’t ask him who he meant when he didn’t give you the answer you wanted; are now considering blowing up the relationship with the father of your child because of the above. Did I get it all?

LW, you manufactured this entire situation. I feel sorry for this guy, being put on the spot and forced to perform, and being found wanting by a girlfriend who obviously believes he owes her his eternal love. If you’re old enough to have a child, you’re old enough to be past these Jr high school dramatics.

Diablo Diablo May 8, 2014, 11:11 am

Yeah, I agree with Wendy. It was a stupid answer to a stupid question. It falls into the category of “rookie mistake.” Guys are so dumb sometimes. Once a former guy friend defended to his fiance the fact that there was a stripper at his stag with the comment “But she wasn’t as pretty as you.” You could hear the rest of the guys facepalming like the sound of applause. (The marriage lasted about two years.) But LW, why didn’t you just ask him, “Did you ever enjoy having sex with a woman besides me?” The answer to that question is always yes (for non-virgins), but you could have totally wallowed in self-pity after hearing it. I’d also like to add that i think you get a lot further in life judging people by what they do, rather than by what they say. most people aren’t that good with words, and even those that are mess up often enough. but if he’s DOING right by you, then he’s doing right by you. Stop borrowing trouble.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 11:17 am

I thought the “But she wasn’t as pretty as you.” comment was sweet.

Diablo Diablo May 8, 2014, 11:36 am

The sweetness was somewhat undercut by the fact that he had promised not to let his buddies get the stripper, and by the fact that he probably engaged in shenanigans with said stripper. I had gone to this event, telling myself, hey, it was just a stag, I could be morally above this, participate without being tainted by it. However, once things got going, with 40 or so drunk men in a basement rec room and this poor young girl and her handlers, it was just too icky, so i bailed before things really got cooking. I’m very sex positive, but this was just gross, and primarily about power, not sex. Tactically, it was brilliant to bolt, because when i got home and told M I could not view this, I was amply rewarded for my virtue.

rainbow rainbow May 8, 2014, 12:57 pm

UGH that sounds terrible. I’d like my BF to draw the line between sexy and icky where you did, and would probably be turned on by it too.

avatar thatgirl May 8, 2014, 2:45 pm

“amply rewarded” … that’s awesome!

bittergaymark Bittergaymark May 8, 2014, 11:27 am

Never ask a fucking question ——– if you can’t handle the answer.
Ssssheeeeeshhh. And women wonder why men sometimes just lie…

avatar rieux May 8, 2014, 11:38 am

yeah. men only lie for good reasons. it’s science.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 11:51 am

Haha no shit. “No dear, I was just taking pictures of her shoes, not up her skirt.” Bitch, that’s your fault he lied.

bittergaymark bittergaymark May 8, 2014, 11:51 am

Oh, for God’s sake. It was a tongue in cheek comment. This place is so humorless lately… Which is hilarious as the problems people write in with are increasingly laugh out loud funny.

All this angst over a fucking wannabe online Cosmo quiz? Grow the fuck up already.

avatar Banana May 8, 2014, 11:59 am

I’m actually with Mark on this one! Even Wendy pointed out that the boyfriend’s reply was tactless — even if it were the truth, a little white lie or some tactful mumbling would probably have been better. That question is basically screaming, “PLEASE LIE TO ME! I’M THE ONLY WOMAN YOU’VE EVER LOVED, RIGHT?”

avatar rieux May 8, 2014, 12:08 pm

Hey, humorless? I think my comment was funnier than yours! :P

avatar Portia May 8, 2014, 2:11 pm

I think you were both funny. But, rieux, yours was funnier, because science.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 1:49 pm

Was it tongue in cheek though? Basically every comment you make condemns women in some way.

lemongrass lemongrass May 8, 2014, 1:50 pm

Followed up by “OMG you guys are so boring/humourless/crazy/insert-insult-here lately. I’m so bored by your ridiculous behaviour I don’t know whyyyyyyy I even come here.”

avatar tbrucemom May 8, 2014, 5:43 pm

I searched for your comment first because I knew you’d say the same thing I would, lol. NEVER ASK A QUESTION TO WHICH YOU’RE NOT PREPARED FOR THE ANSWER! And wouldn’t your next question be who? All of this could have been alleviated by that one. I would also think they would have had a talk regarding marriage by now. It’s been 2 years and they have a child. Given the fact she had to search the internet for conversation starters it sounds like these two are terrible at communicating.

avatar rieux May 8, 2014, 11:36 am

Really, LW, you have “never crossed him”? What is he, the king? I think it’s hard to really feel deeply in love with someone if they give you your own way all the time anyway. It’s not because people like a chase or something stupid and pop-psychological like that. But because if someone just gives you your own way all the time, they are not being fully themselves with you. They are tamping down their own needs in service of yours. That is a lovely thing to do for someone you love, but only when you have strong enough boundaries that you know when to speak up. And it just sounds like you are trying to “win” him still. You’re hoping he’ll propose–but haven’t asked him if he will. You never cross him. It just sounds like you aren’t quite being an equal partner in this relationship, like you’re letting him hold all the power.

I vote that you use this moment for radical honesty. Ask him what he meant. Don’t punish him for it. If he really meant it, figure out what was happening in your relationship that you thought he was about to propose and he still isn’t sure if the love between you is real. Did he ever lie to you? Did he lie by omission? If so, why? If not, why did you hear what you wanted to hear? There’s just so many possibilities, and one possibility is that you two really could be “the one” for each other but you really haven’t been together long enough, or gotten to know each other deeply enough, to be “the one” for each other YET. Some people take more time to open up than others, and it sounds like you two aren’t communicating quite clearly enough to be ready for marriage anyhow. So this could be an opportunity to learn each other better.

avatar Liquid Luck May 8, 2014, 11:51 am

LW, even if your boyfriend DID mean he loved his ex (which may not be who he meant) more than you, it doesn’t mean he loved her better or would choose her over you now. It doesn’t mean that he would choose that relationship over the one you’ve built. All it would mean is that at one point in his life, he loved someone very much.
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If you’re really, truly having doubts about your relationship–based on the way he treats you overall, not that one answer to one question that one time–then talk to him about those. Find ways to make your relationship better together, not by trying to be more selfless or more supporting, because he doesn’t owe you love simply because you do those things. Maybe he doesn’t feel loved by you because you spend all your time trying not to cross him, and he takes that to mean you don’t care enough about the relationship to have opinions about it. Stop guessing what he wants and ask him. And stop hoping you’ll get the emotional reassurance you need by asking loaded questions and tell him what you need from him too.
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Your relationship has gotten so boring that you are creating drama just to have something to do. So just do something else. Your conversations are boring because you have nothing to say to each other, so find new ways to connect. Go out on dates that require you to actually do things together–take a class, pick up a new hobby, go somewhere new. And spend time apart doing new things too. Do you have interests he doesn’t share? Take turns staying home with the baby so the other person can get some alone time or time with friends, then come home and talk about all the cool things you did. I know it can be hard with a baby, but plenty of new parents manage to find that balance, so I’m sure you can too.

avatar cdobbs May 8, 2014, 12:36 pm

eek, this letter reminds me of a guy i was seeing while in university….out of the blue one day he said something like “i don’t think you can ever love someone as much as your first love, especially after getting your heart broken”….we were no where near the point of saying i love you to each other, but from that moment on all i could think was “why would i waste my time with this guy if he will never love me as much as he loved his ex…..do i want that hanging over my head when we are married….what if she shows up one day….will he leave me for her”….it just sort of cheapened the relationship and made me feel that it would never be anything great because the guy had closed himself off to the possibility that there could be someone even better out there…..as for the letter writer why your boyfriend would say that to you after two years together shows he is a cold Mother F()@k3r!

avatar Shanon May 8, 2014, 1:39 pm

Wow I think everyone here, even Wendy, is way off the mark. Especially with the snarky comments, that just makes no sense. The LW is obviously a bit heartbroken, she doesnt need people telling her how pathetic she is for feeling that way.

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Guys are very literal. Was the question “DO you love someone more than me?” Or “DID you etc.” If he’s still in love with Ms. Unrequited love, then perhaps it’s HIM living in the fairy tale & not the LW like you all keep harping on. He has a make-believe “love” with someone he was never even with for 10 yrs? Seriously? It’s like a bad rom-com. & if what he has, for 2 yrs, doesn’t measure up to what he had with the other girl for 2mos, I don’t think it will. Because it’s a fantasy in his head. I think the girl could see that & bailed bc he was weird-ing her out.
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If he doesn’t love the other girl anymore, but what he has with LW doesn’t “measure up” to that, it’s bc he won’t let it. Bc he won’t let go of “wanting what he doesn’t have”, more than it’s about a specific girl. So maybe he needs to reevaluate his definition of love, NOT the LW. I mean it’s been 2yrs + a baby already, LET yourself love her & see what happens.
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Unfortunately he wasn’t the one writing in however, so LW- you need to have a discussion with him & get real answers first. We don’t even know who he was referring to in his answer. & it doesn’t mean he currently loves this other person more than you, but that in the past he has loved someone more than he loves you now. But that leaves room for you both to get there, as long as he lets it & doesn’t expect love with you to mirror how it was with the other person.

Lyra Lyra May 8, 2014, 2:58 pm

I haven’t read the comments, but I think often we confuse passionate lust with love. That kind of “love” isn’t *actually* love. I had a LOT of passion for both of my exes, but that doesn’t mean they were healthy relationships. In fact, in a lot of ways my first relationship was really unhealthy. I think the relationship I’m currently in is pretty good overall, but I don’t feel that crazy passion towards him. I feel something deeper, and it’s hard to explain, but it’s more of a slow burning flame than a wildfire if that makes sense.
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I do understand why you’re upset, but I agree that you’re kind of making a mountain out of a molehill. It can also be really dangerous to start comparing yourself to your significant other’s past relationships. Don’t go down that rabbit hole.

iwannatalktosampson iwannatalktosampson May 8, 2014, 3:15 pm

I ask Colin all the time if he loves me best. I’m super obnoxious. But he plays along and tells me it’s true.

I would be totally squicked out if someone didn’t love me at least enough to lie to me about loving me most. That’s the bare minimum amount of love that’s necessary.

theattack theattack May 8, 2014, 6:42 pm

For real. Humoring your girlfriend is so easy it’s a problem if you fail at that.

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