Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Will I Ever Be Loved Like This Again?”

I’m 23 and have been off and on with my 24-year-old boyfriend for five years (we don’t live together). I feel true love from him. I feel like no one will ever love me like he does. And I love him but he is irresponsible and unstable. Some background information: he purposely failed a drug test to come home from the navy because he didn’t want to be there anymore and he missed me. He’s a financial disaster. He owes me a substantial amount of money. I’ve helped him pay bills and buy two cars. He does work and works hard, but his debt from being in the navy is a lot.

Recently, he has been getting it together and slowly paying me back, but he stopped paying car insurance which I had no idea of. He got pulled over and the cop found past unpaid speeding tickets and obviously no insurance. So his license got suspended for three months. So, I paid his tickets since he never has money and I’m driving him to and from work. With all of this crap though, he’s always made me feel loved and wanted and tells me that eventually it will be OK. It’s been three months and soon he will be driving again and finished paying off one of his loans.

Now here’s the question: my cousin lives next to a 33-year-old who teaches physics. I’m taking my MCAT soon and needed a tutor. Perfect, right? Well, this guy is good looking, tall, races kayaks, has his own place, was in the army reserves for eight years, and asked me out. I have no idea what to do. My boyfriend is starting to get it together and I know he deeply loves me, but he still worries me about stability. This other guy has it all, but I’m afraid to leave my boyfriend and not be loved the same way again. My heart is so torn. Please help. — Five-Year Itch


Good lord, your whole letter is all about how much your boyfriend loves you and how you’re so afraid to lose that and not be loved the same way again. What about how you feel about your boyfriend? Love has to be a two-way street in order for a relationship to work. It can’t be all about receiving … even if you are helping your boyfriend financially. I mean, basically, what you have described is a scenario in which you are literally buying someone’s love. You are so desperate to feel cared for and adored or whatever, that you have helped pay your boyfriend’s bills, bought him two cars, paid for his insurance, and driven him around when he lost his license — all so you don’t lose his “love.” Come on, that’s not love; that’s pitiful.

Get some self-respect and MOA. You aren’t in love with this man. You’re just afraid that you’re so unlovable that he’s the best you can do. What kind of relationship is that? You’re too young to settle! Set yourself free. See what else is out there. Imagine feeling actual love for someone else. Imagine a two-way love affair — with someone you actually like and respect! — and how rewarding that would feel. Don’t you think you deserve the chance to find that? You do. But you have to take a risk in order to get there. You have to risk feeling alone for a while. And you have to learn to love yourself while you wait for someone else to love you. You have to find companionship and support in your friends and family and nurture those relationships while you search for a new boyfriend. You have to take your time finding a real match — someone with whom you mesh on many levels — to feel truly fulfilled and happy in a relationship, and not just waste time with any ol’ guy who gives you a little attention.

You’ve been on and off with your boyfriend for five years because you aren’t feelin’ it. Most likely, you probably feel frustrated and empty, wishing you could just mold this guy who loves you into your perfect match. But that’s gonna happen. You gotta let him go — for your sake and his. Let him go and take a risk of being alone for a while. It won’t be the end of the world, and once you find someone who fulfills all your needs — and not just the one to be loved — you’re going to be so, so, so happy your gave yourself the chance to find him. He may be the 33-year-old physics teacher, or he may be someone else whose path you cross years from now. You may have to kiss a lot more frogs before you find him, but that’s just the way it works sometimes. It’s a great unknown out there — who’s right for you and when you’ll find him — but the one thing we do know is that the guy you’re with right now isn’t him. So, MOA, sister. Time’s a tickin’.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

73 comments… add one
  • avatar

    emjay August 10, 2011, 7:44 am

    LW I know your situation all too well. Honey, I’m not being mean but you are your BF’s cash cow. MOA from him, take the date with the teacher. Or you will find yourself broke, and when your can no long financially help ur current BF, he will leave you and find someone who can. MOA and look at this as an oppertunity to find a more mature love with some one better. And some might say something about your age difference with the teacher, but who cares! My fiance is 9 1/2 yrs older than me, and it is the best, most fullfilling relationship I’ve ever had! Sometimes you have to take that big leap before you can find something better.
    Goodluck LW! Happiness and love will be knocking at your door, open that door and let it in! 🙂

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    • avatar

      Riefer August 10, 2011, 10:50 am

      Agree with you that she should take the date with the teacher – but I’d also recommend finding another teacher in that case. If you and the teacher break up, you’ll be stuck looking for another one anyway. If things work out with the teacher, it may be hard to focus on the actual teaching, when you’re in your honeymoon period. 🙂 Better just to have him as someone you’re dating, and a separate teacher so you make sure you get the focus on your MCAT.

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    • landygirl

      Landygirl August 10, 2011, 1:15 pm

      Agreed, though I don’t think the solution for the LW is to jump from one man to another. She should be single and build her self esteem because she obviously has some issues and will be taken advantage of again if she doesn’t gain some self confidence.

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    • avatar

      sohara August 10, 2011, 5:01 pm

      Agree totally with the MOA, but the physics teacher (as far as we know) doesn’t even know the LW exists. He lives next door to her cousin and LW is apparently going to ask him to tutor her. Maybe he’ll be smitten and maybe not, but the LW never said he wanted to date her. She just seems to be daydreaming about an apparently dreamily perfect (especially compared to her current boyfriend) guy.

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      • avatar

        sohara August 10, 2011, 5:02 pm

        Oops. I just saw that he did ask her out. My mistake.

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  • avatar

    parrt August 10, 2011, 8:21 am

    there’s a sucker born every minute.

    where can i find people like this? buy me two cars, pay my bills, support me for being a dumbass…sweet deal.

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    • avatar

      Anonymous August 10, 2011, 10:54 pm

      Maybe Craigslist?….

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR August 10, 2011, 8:24 am

    While we can’t really say that you don’t love him, love does not conquer all. In an adult relationship, you _both_ need to be adults, and he’s not at a maturity or responsibility level of that. You worry that no one will love you as much as your current boyfriend, but your expectations of love appear to be very low. There needs to be more than words.  

    You obviously have your doubts about him – your letter is full of the reasons. He’s been a presence in your life since you’ve been 18, and while the idea of him not being part of your life is obviously unsettling to you, you don’t have a healthy relationship with him under these circumstances. You’re clearly not happy with him nor are you getting what you need out of the relationship – you sound more like his mother than his equal.

    Before spending more time, you need to make a complete break. This will be good for both of you. Ideally, this will force him to become more mature and self-sufficient. This will also allow you to date others, and the distance will not only give you some perspective on your current boyfriend, but it’ll allow you to see that others will care for you, as well. 

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    • avatar

      spanishdoll August 10, 2011, 2:45 pm

      Now I have Xtreme “More than Words” stuck in my head!! ;P

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  • avatar

    Kate August 10, 2011, 8:37 am

    I agree with Wendy and both commenters, but I would also add – make sure you don’t fall into the same trap I have in the past: You’re in an unfulfilling relationship but feel scared to leave… until you meet someone else who seems to offer everything your boyfriend doesn’t. With the new guy in the picture, seeming to hold so much promise, it now feels a lot easier to leave the bad situation. Which is fine, but then you put way too much expectation on the new guy. He may or may not be the one, but if he’s not, two things may happen, neither of them good. First, you may latch on to this new guy and try to make it work even if it’s not really the right thing, and be setting yourself up for a new cycle of frustration. Second, if it just doesn’t work out, you’ll go back to your boyfriend because he seems to offer something safe and comfortable. Wendy is telling you to move on from that and not go back, and she’s saying you need to be able to do that without using this new guy as a crutch. You’re not moving on because you met your ideal guy, you’re moving on because being alone is better than being in this dead-end relationship. Hope that makes sense!

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    • katie

      katie August 10, 2011, 8:42 pm

      oh thank you for pointing this out!

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  • avatar

    Quakergirl August 10, 2011, 8:39 am

    LW, it sounds like what you’re really afraid of isn’t not being loved the same way, but not being needed. Your boyfriend completely depends on you, and that may feel like love, but it isn’t. Or at least, not in the adult, equal-partnership relationship sense.

    Your boyfriend isn’t capable of the kind of real partnership you deserve. He needs a mother, not a girlfriend, right now and it sounds like you’ve been playing a little bit of both roles. The sooner you leave, the sooner you can find someone who’s ready to be a partner to you. Trust me, if you leave, you’ll find a person who needs you because you make him a better version of himself and your love and support gives him a sense of safety and security, not because he needs someone to pay his tickets and his car insurance. And honestly, that person probably won’t love you like your boyfriend does. They’ll love you much more, with the maturity and mutual respect that comes with an equal relationship. You deserve that, so go find it!

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    • avatar

      Rachel August 10, 2011, 12:21 pm

      This. Very much this.

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    • avatar

      Samantha August 10, 2011, 12:47 pm

      Very well-said.

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  • avatar

    MsMisery August 10, 2011, 8:57 am

    No wonder he loves you. He has a sugar mama!! If you don’t take the blinders off soon you’ll be in as much debt as Sailor Boy.

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    • avatar

      Princess Bananahammock August 10, 2011, 2:01 pm

      Word. And, what kind of debt does one incur from being in the Navy? If you’re paying the Navy for your service, you’re doing it wrong.

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      • avatar

        AKchic August 10, 2011, 3:24 pm

        Most military members end up getting really good lines of credit because companies assume that they will be able to pay their debts for the next X number of years. Plus, almost all of they qualify for the AAFES credit card (AAFES is like a Wal-Mart/K-Mart/Target for military families only).

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  • avatar

    MissDre August 10, 2011, 9:04 am

    I was like this with my first boyfriend. I bought him clothes, I paid his phone bill, I bought him his favourite booze, I cooked and baked, I was constantly trying to top myself when it came to doing nice things for him. Guess what I got in return? I got told that he didn’t want his family to know that he had a girlfriend, I got stood up on Valentine’s day cuz he was way too hung over, I was never invited out with him and his friends, he drank himself stupid even though he was pre-diabetic and the list goes on.

    And I felt the same way as you. LW. “I can’t lose him because nobody else will ever love me again!!” I’m just lucky that he broke up with me, otherwise I would have hung on and probably married the guy and had a few babies and been miserable.

    Anyway, guess what. I did find somebody to love me again…. in fact I found somebody to love me even better. Somebody who considers me at every turn and somebody who makes me feel respected.

    As worthless as I felt, as insecure as I was about my looks, and more… if I can find a kind, caring, considerate, thoughtful man (one with his head on his shoulders!) to love me, so can you, LW. But I advise you to spend some time on your own getting to know what you love about yourself first.

    You ARE worthy of being loved. I promise. You do deserve it and the right love will find you when the time is right. Get to know yourself first, though.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG August 10, 2011, 9:17 am

    Some background information: he purposely failed a drug test to come home from the navy because he didn’t want to be there anymore and he missed me.

    THIS alone makes me angry and would cause me to MOA. What he did, although in the spirit of “loving” and missing you, dishonors himself. It shows no respect for commitments and country. He failed a drug test (who knows how else he’s chemically harming his body?) to rescind the obligation of service he signed up for. Yet there are people who also miss their loved ones (and children!) and still bravely continue on because they honor their country by keeping their commitments. I know that there are some patriotic feelings supporting my anger, but think about it: If the guy can’t honor and respect himself with commitments he made to his country – how can he honor and respect you? MOA please!

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl August 10, 2011, 9:36 am

      “If the guy can’t honor and respect himself with commitments he made to his country – how can he honor and respect you?”

      Agreed. The guy is clearly a manchild who doesn’t understand what it means to make a commitment– to the Navy, to making payments, to a girlfriend, etc. Just because it’s tough doesn’t mean you get to bail.

      Also, a dishonorable discharge (which I’m assuming he received if he failed a drug test) from the Navy doesn’t exactly bode well for his future employment possibilities. She says he works now, but any sort of promising career isn’t going to look too fondly on that kind of behavior.

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    • avatar

      TheGirl August 10, 2011, 9:44 am

      For real. Personally, I’m not as outraged that he took drugs as you are (it would depend on the drug – pot, meh; crystal meth, not so meh), but I am pissed that he used it as a cheap and dirty way to get out of the navy. Not only is that disrespectful to everyone who serves, but isn’t that also a dishonorable discharge? That comes with a lifetime of baggage when in comes to employment.

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      • avatar

        SGMcG August 10, 2011, 5:02 pm

        If he had a dishonrable discharge, that’s akin to a felony conviction in most states. He wouldn’t be allowed to own firearms, he would have difficulty obtaining a mortgage, he may not even be allowed to vote. All this on top of not collecting VA benefits. I don’t know how the LW’s boyfriend failed the drug test, but it doesn’t look good for her if she wants to consider medical school.

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    • avatar

      Maracuya August 10, 2011, 9:49 am

      This, exactly, SGMcG. I was reading this and wondering what he was doing! LW, you wrote, “He does work and works hard, but his debt from being in the navy is a lot.”
      No offense, but he shouldn’t HAVE any debt because the last time I checked you don’t pay to be a part of the military. In fact, they pay your cost of living. It should read, ‘His debt from being irresponsible with his money is a lot.”

      It sounds like he’s not thinking through a lot of things (including the fact that purposely getting a dishonorable discharge means he’s going to have a fine time getting a job in this economy–and now he can never go back to the military even if he wanted to.)

      But you know this anyway. Heck, leave the tutor out of it: just looking at your relationship with your boyfriend, you’re totally supporting him when he should be able to support himself. You’re not responsible for making sure his life works out because only he can get himself together. (How are you going to support him when you’re in med school and you have to move away? When you take your residency?)

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      • avatar

        Libby August 10, 2011, 10:27 am

        Yes, this. He has debt from the Navy? Ummm, no. He’s a young, single (not married, no kids) man who had his housing paid for & a payinig job, any debt he has is from poor financial decision making.

        Also, he failed a drug test “on purpose” cause he wanted to come home? Are you sure? Seems that he hasn’t made very many smart decisions, the “on purpose” part could just be something he said to save face and make it seem like his decision was for you. That’s not love, that’s manipulation.

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      • avatar

        SweetChild August 10, 2011, 11:10 am

        Totally agree. How do you get in debt from having a steady job which pays for accommodation and food (or part thereof)? You don’t, you’re kidding yourself LW if you think it’s anything other than reckless irresponsible spending. There’s no excuse for that, especially these days. And the failing a drug test because he missed you, such an easy lie to get away with to stay with you. Even if he’s not lying in my eyes that basically makes him a total wimp. I would feel extremely ashamed of myself if I bailed like that. I’m not sure that jumping straight into a new relationship is the best idea either though. Lose the freeloader (as much as you love him, I’ve been there, you’ll probably always feel something for him but that doesn’t by any means mean that this is the right guy for you) and maybe take your time before getting to know the teacher guy. Just don’t make it a rebound because it sounds like it has potential to be much better than that. Good luck, difficult decision for you to make, easy for us to say but difficult for you since it’s your heart. I hope you find better happiness. 🙂

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      • avatar

        Natasia Rose August 10, 2011, 10:44 am

        I totally agree with this comment. I was like…he failed it on purpose? Maybe he just got caught. It is also in line with the fact that he is young, single and childless. His money is going somewhere and probably nowhere good. This guy sounds awful.

        The LW should MOA and learn more about herself before jumping into dating someone else.

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      • avatar

        Princess Bananahammock August 10, 2011, 2:06 pm

        Yeah, I also got a strong manipulation vibe from her concern that no one will love her as much as her BF. Has he told her so? Cuz that is a classic manipulation line.

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    • avatar

      silver_dragon_girl August 10, 2011, 10:21 am

      That’s the part that got to me, too. Not only because it’s such a cop-out to a commitment that he took on, but because it shows absolutely ZERO consideration for his (and her!) long-term future. A dishonorable discharge (or anything less than an honorable discharge, really) will follow him for the rest of his life, and not in a good way.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary August 10, 2011, 10:29 am

      Yeh this really makes me angry. My boyfriend is in the military, as is my sister, and sometimes their obligations suck and can be annoying. They can ruin plans and put us apart for long periods of time. But guess what, it’s their job. They get paid for it. They made the decision. And they stick with it. Did anyone else catch how he’s in “so much debt from the navy”. UM??? The military pays for your housing, usually gives you a food stipend, plus a salary (which isn’t huge for enlisted men I know. But if you don’t have kids and a wife its enough for spending money). So how exactly is this guy “in so much debt from the Navy?

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    • avatar

      Kate August 10, 2011, 11:19 am

      Agree, and you also mentioned “the debt that he has from the navy.” Having been married in the past to an enlisted guy in the armed forces – I can tell you, you do not have to accrue debt in that position! My ex-husband was not a fiscally responsible guy by most standards but he lived easily within his means while he was enlisted before we got married. After we were married, we had to live on a budget, but he was certainly making enough that we didn’t rack up debt. The fact that your boyfriend did so is a bad sign. Also, it is highly unlikely that he’ll ever change and become a responsible guy with no debt and a good savings account. You can’t stay with a guy who not only can’t take care of himself, but relies on you to take care of him. Moving on is an absolute must, whether or not you have another guy on the back burner. It hurts, but not as much as you think it will. It feels great to put all that behind you and be free of it.

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  • avatar

    Morgan August 10, 2011, 9:24 am

    Leave the boyfriend. Don’t date the physics teacher though; 1) you need time to move on and love yourself and 2)sleeping with your tutor isn’t a good idea, usually.

    You say you feel true love for your boyfriend, but then everything else in your letter screams “He’s the only guy who ever loved me, what if this is the best I can do?” It’s not. I think there is such a focus on finding “the one” that the first time we find someone who’s in love with us, there is a tendency to hold on so hard, because what if we accidentally let “the one” go? Most people will love multiple people in over the course of life. His loving you isn’t enough–you deserve a guy who loves you, who you’re in love with. You deserve a partnership of two compatible people, two people who can grow and build a life together and support one another. You deserve someone who will support your goals, and be your equal in a stable, secure partnership. You and your boyfriend have been on and off, and while I’m sure part of that may have to do with his having been in the navy and that being hard, love doesn’t have to be a roller coaster. It doesn’t have to be on and off and up and down. It can be consistently on. Not to say relationships aren’t hard or there aren’t challenges, but it is possible to face them as two people secure in their love and ready to face those challenges together.

    Seriously, you are about to take the MCATs, which suggests you are preparing to apply for med school, and you’re letting this guy be a major financial drain on you? Not okay, and I would hope you realize just how not okay that is. Leaving him will hurt; you’ll feel sad,lonely, and sometimes just kind of empty. But eventually you’ll realize how amazing you are, and how you deserve someone who will complement your amazing-ness.

    You’ve been together since you were 18 and he was 19. You’ve probably both changed since then, and you’ll probably both continue to change. It’s okay if you’ve grown into two different people, but its time to let go.

    So yeah, tell the physics teacher that you’ve just left a relationship and need some time off from dating.

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    • avatar

      TheGirl August 10, 2011, 9:49 am

      Agreed! Serial dating is not going to help you right now. It sounds to me like you need to take some time to learn to love yourself before you jump back into the dating pool – especially with someone 10 years your senior who most likely is looking to settle down with someone (I don’t know for sure, but most 33 year olds are).

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    • avatar

      Maracuya August 10, 2011, 9:50 am

      Yeah, I agree with this. It’s a bad idea to rebound, and if he’s a really cute guy, it might work out later anyway. 🙂

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph August 10, 2011, 10:06 am

      Agree so much with you, Morgan.
      But I also want to add to your advice… Don’t date your tutor!
      In addition to being just out of a long relationship and needing some time to get over it, don’t mix business with pleasure by dating a guy who is tutoring you. It won’t be good for your test scores or your heart.

      Find a new tutor (preferrably someone you don’t find attractive), tell your bf to take a hike, tell the physics teacher that you need some time alone… and just take care of yourself and your MCATs for awhile. Then in a few months, when you have cleared out the memory of your old flame, maybe the physics teacher can be something more than a rebound.

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    • avatar

      Painted_lady August 10, 2011, 6:56 pm

      This is a general exasperation toward people, but I just don’t get the general philosophy behind “Should I stay with my boyfriend or should I leave him for this other guy?” How ’bout you just leave him? End of story. Not for anyone else, not because someone else might make you happy. Just. Leave. Single is not some sort of contagious, terminal VD that means you’re suddenly “damaged goods.” (Not that an actual VD does, just the stigma behind it). Millions of people go through being single EVERY DAY and live to tell the tale. You, too, can be single, LW!

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  • avatar

    LTC039 August 10, 2011, 9:26 am

    If you feel ok continuing to basically support your boyfriend for as long as possible, then by all means, stay! However, from the sounds of your letter, it is just as Wendy is saying. You are over it. You’ve been over it & you just need to realize that this ISN’T the only guy that will ever love you. It doesn’t sound like he really cares for you all that much because if he did, he would not allow you to be spending all the money you have. It’s one thing to help him here & there for small things, but this guy is repeatedly fucking up… MOA. Stop allowing yourseld to be manipulated by him & understand that’s its OK to be alone & its OK to leave him. I guarrantee that once you take that big step, only positive things will come out of it. Five years on & off is not a healthy relationship. Stand up for yourself.

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  • leilani

    leilani August 10, 2011, 9:45 am

    You seem unsatisfied, so you should leave. But I really don’t think this random guy who wants to go on a date with you should factor into the situation at all. Most dates don’t lead to anything long-term, and I wouldn’t throw away 5 years with someone just cause this new guy seems good on paper.

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      PinkPanther August 10, 2011, 10:53 am

      Sorry about the thumb, but I just couldn’t agree with the “wouldn’t throw away five years” part. Random guy or not, I really feel that this is a five year investment that she best move on from asap.

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      • leilani

        leilani August 10, 2011, 11:01 am

        What I’m saying is she shouldn’t leave a guy she’s been with for 5 years just because she has a potential date. They should be two separate decisions. I already said I thought she should leave that guy, but I think that’s a decision she needs to make based on whether or not she wants to be in that relationship, not whether or not she’d rather be with physics dude. If she just tosses her boyfriend to the side before she truly weighs it out and realizes that its better to be single than to be with him, she’ll probably just run back to him whenever things don’t work out with her tutor.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't August 10, 2011, 9:46 am

    You’re not a girlfriend, you’re a mother/sugar momma! But, at the same time, you are using this physics tutor as a crutch- he asked you to go out on a date, not to be his girlfriend. I wouldn’t place too many expectations on the new guy. You need to leave your current boyfriend, and you SHOULD go out with mr. sexy physics tutor, but don’t necessarily expect that you’ll have a long term relationship with him (although you totally might), because there is an excellent chance that it won’t work out and you’ll feel like leaving your boyfriend was a mistake. And that will totally suck and make it harder. So leave the boyfriend independently of the other offers you have on the table.

    Oh and good luck on the MCAT- it sucks. Especially the physical sciences section.

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  • avatar

    Painted_lady August 10, 2011, 9:53 am

    Know what, LW? You haven’t been single long enough to realize that being single is so totally NOT the end of the world. Physics teacher or not, you need to get the hell out of this relationship. If no one ever loves you like this again, GOOD. You deserve better than a man who shows his love by failing drug tests to be with you and asking you to pick up the tab on his mistakes. Don’t convince yourself that he’s the best you can do and that he’s the only one who’s ever gonna get that you’re awesome. If he’s told you that, it’s because he’s a manipulative jerk who would rather you feel terrible about yourself than risk losing you because you can so obviously do better. If you’ve convinced yourself of it, that’s just crazy, because “better” than this guy could be anything including and up to a bag of hammers.

    I was with a guy at a really low point in my life. He wasn’t deliberately cruel, he just behaved with such disregard for my feelings it was really obvious where I took priority in his life. I got ditched for better offers, and almost anything was a better offer. He’d make decisions about things that affected both of us – going on vacation with his family on our anniversary, for example, and not inviting me – and would be really confused when I lost my temper that he’d never considered me. He would hear about jobs that I was qualified for when I was unemployed and forget to mention them to me. His blatant disregard held less financial destruction, but I know the kind of marks someone who’s so totally oblivious to your existence can leave on your self-esteem. The really embarrassing thing about this guy, though, is that he dumped me. He dumped me because I required too much of him. I was convinced that he worshipped me because of the things he said, and I was convinced that he was working on incorporating me into his life because it was something he’d agreed to work on, and yet if I looked at the things he *did* instead, I would have gotten a far clearer picture about how he felt about me. Your current guy is similar. Look at what he’s done in your life; he’s not made it any better, has it? Is he acting with you in mind? Your best interest? Your happiness? He keeps making messes and allowing you to clean up after him. THAT is how he feels about you, and what he says is simply the easy part where he spouts off words so you won’t be angry anymore. I know I’m being harsh, but your situation will be far worse than mine if you’re not careful – not just humiliated and dumped, but also broke.

    That man you know he can become, LW? That guy’s already out there somewhere, fully formed, while your boyfriend has had a million chances to become that man. He’s not going to become another person; he’s who he is. In the meantime, someone else will not only love you as much, but actually, truly love you and not need you.

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      Christina August 10, 2011, 10:33 am

      “That man you know he can become, LW? That guy’s already out there somewhere, fully formed, while your boyfriend has had a million chances to become that man. He’s not going to become another person; he’s who he is.” —exactly!

      You’ll also be very surprised how quickly your boyfriend gets up on his own two feet once you stop helping him pay for things. I’ve had this happen with boyfriends and 2 close friends who fell on hard times at a point. They all work it out as soon as I say I’m not able to keep helping them with money. One of the friends got mad at me for a few months and your boyfriend might also but it’s worth it to stop the outflow of money on your side. Get a promissory note while you are at it.

      It sounds like you are getting some perspective on the situation and thinking about life without him. From your description of things, it sounds like you are headed in the right direction. It looks like time to break up with the boyfriend and move forward. Every time I’ve ever ended a relationship, the next one is even better so don’t worry about finding love again. Accept a date with the new guy and have fun.

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        SpaceySteph August 10, 2011, 12:20 pm

        Oh so true. I mean I’m not saying that you should never date a guy that needs to do some growing up or getting his life in order… but its often fruitless and always difficult to love a guy mainly for who he CAN be someday.

        LW you deserve a guy who is on a similar level to you, in terms of drive, determination, and maturity. Out there are tons of guys who have already achieved that level. Go look for one. And if your (soon to be ex) boyfriend does clean up his act and become one of those guys, maybe you can date him then. Or maybe you will already be loved just as well (or, probably better) by a guy who has already been there for years.

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    Jena August 10, 2011, 10:05 am

    Your boyfriend is using you for your money. Failing a drug test on purpose is so damn immature I can’t even wrap my mind around it. Did he get dishonorably discharged? If so, good luck with him ever finding a job.

    You’ve already made up your mind — you want out. You know you deserve better, so go on and get it.

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      LTC039 August 10, 2011, 1:12 pm

      My thoughts exactly. Who would purposely screw up their future because they “didn’t feel like doing it”?? Sounds so childish. That’s crazy!

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        Christina August 10, 2011, 10:13 pm

        I keep wondering if he really did it on purpose or if he just got caught, got discharged, and gave her a story about how he did it because he missed her so much.

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        LTC039 August 10, 2011, 10:21 pm

        That is very likely. Both scenarios scream loser though…

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    TMSC August 10, 2011, 10:14 am

    LW, you say you are afraid you won’t find someone that will love you the way this current BF does, but I promise you the way he treats you is not LOVE. If he loved you, truly loved you, he would be looking out for your best interests, not putting you through this crapfest.

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      moonflowers August 10, 2011, 5:13 pm

      LW, don’t mistake being needed and depended on for being loved! It’s an easy mistake when your self esteem is low – hence saying things like “I don’t think I’ll ever find someone to love/need me.” Clearly that last bit isn’t true since Mr. Physics Man is interested in you, so it’s time to question the rest of the assumptions that you’ve made about your own romantic future.

      I don’t think you should date Mr. Physics Man now simply because you need to show yourself some love first. When these self-disparaging thoughts come to your head, don’t just accept them – challenge them!

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  • Budj

    Budjer August 10, 2011, 9:27 am

    LW, I hope you won’t be loved like this again? Go find yourself a mutual / even-footed relationship where the love isn’t contingent on you financially supporting him.

    Date the physics dude, but don’t fall in love right away. You have been on and off with your current bf for 5 years – you’ll be surprised how unsure you are of what you want until you date a few dudes.

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    • Budj

      Budjer August 10, 2011, 9:29 am

      And as Morgan said getting into another committed relationship so soon may not be the best idea….so if you’re dating think about keeping it casual.

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    beans629 August 10, 2011, 10:58 am

    I’m just going to say this without the sugar coating…
    Dump him and fast.

    If for no other reason that you are planning a profession in the medical field (a doctor I presume). Seriously, Medical School takes a LOT to get in and get through and they don’t give second chances if you screw up during your courses. Do you really want to take care of this ‘grown’ ass man (and I use the term grown loosely) while you are trying to keep your head above water in Med School?

    Secondly, undertaking a medical career is an expensive endeavor. Why set yourself up for financial failure by incurring a lot of debt before you even get to Med School.

    Next, ask yourself if you stay with this guy (and possibly marry him) and you become a doctor how will this affect your professional image and growth.

    Here’s the thing, future employers are super tech savvy now. Not only are they googling you and checking your friends on Facebook but they are running credit reports on you and your spouse before they hire you.

    Yes, this applies even to Docs because guess what you have access to controlled substances and the ability to write illegal Rx for cash/drugs. I’m guessing that his dishonorable discharge from the Navy for drugs ain’t going to be looked upon to favorably by hospital admin.

    Even if you try to go into private practice, you still may not be able to get a loan due to your high debt from this jerk and Med School bills.

    SO take a really deep breath and clear your head.

    Now, ask yourself would you be proud to have him around your medical colleagues when the time comes? If the answer is a resounding NO then MOA because he won’t get better over time.

    If you can’t seem to dump him because your emotions and heart are too involved then dump him for your career.

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      Princess Bananahammock August 10, 2011, 2:14 pm

      So agreed! I’d add that when you break it off, he’ll probably accuse you of thinking you are superior to him because you are going to med school. Don’t buy into the guilt trip. I make about twice as much money as my fiance, and that’s totally cool. He is responsible, successful at what he does, following his passion, and never looking for a hand-out. You don’t need to be with someone on a similar career path, but your current BF is just plain irresponsible and immature.

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      Painted_lady August 10, 2011, 7:48 pm

      “Would you be proud to have him around your medical colleagues when the time comes?”

      YES. This is something that never would have occurred to me when I was applying to grad school. It’s different in high school and even undergrad when it’s easier for people to attend school more out of obligation or to figure out what they want to be. Postgraduate programs tend to have a much higher concentration of really motivated people. My inconsiderate ex who planned the vacation with his family on our anniversary wasn’t a loser precisely, but he took a rather antagonistic attitude toward formal education, and any evening function that we attended with a lot of my grad school friends in attendance he refused to dress appropriately (smelly running shoes, pit-stained t-shirts, and ancient jeans where I would wear a dress and heels). He thought it made him edgy and rebellious, but what it really did was embarrass me and make my friends uncomfortable. Nothing’s wrong even with his attitude toward life, but it meant we were incompatible. And the thing is, if you’re constantly making excuses for your SO, things are not okay.

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  • rubyroo

    Ruby August 10, 2011, 11:08 am

    If you want to feel truly loved…do yourself a favour and love yourself first and foremost!
    The first step in loving yourself is removing people from your life who do not serve you. Ditch the deadbeat boyfriend and move on with your life!

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      moonflowers August 10, 2011, 5:14 pm

      Seconded! 🙂

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    David Jay August 10, 2011, 12:23 pm

    NEVER… and I mean NEVER EVER… pass up the opportunity to date a Physics teacher! I assure you, they are well-grounded in reality. Plus, there is never a lack of stimulating conversation… unless of course you’re just not into Grand Unified Theory 🙂

    PS – Your current boyfriend’s bad behavior is BECAUSE he does not respect you. If he wanted a future with you he would have cleaned up his act as soon as you started dating and he would now be providing FOR you. Now that he knows you’ll tolerate it, he will likely never change. And OF COURSE he loves you! You’re his meal ticket! It’s great to be loved, you just need to ask yourself how much $$ you’re willing to pay for it over your lifetime with him.

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      PFG-SCR August 10, 2011, 2:50 pm

      “Your current boyfriend’s bad behavior is BECAUSE he does not respect you.”

      He can’t respect her if he doesn’t respect himself.

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      moonflowers August 10, 2011, 5:17 pm

      Well, there are a few caveats to that never – if he’s not single, if he’s YOUR physics teacher (conflicting ethics especially if he’s grading you), or you’re a school superintendent or something (potential sexual harrassment situation). But other than that, yeah, go for it. 😀

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        David Jay August 10, 2011, 5:30 pm

        You’re absolutely right moonflowers. Not long ago I could assume that people would make those caveats for theamselves. I forgot what decade I was in. 🙂

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    AndreaMarie August 10, 2011, 1:19 pm

    Girlfriend, I don’t even know where to begin with this, there are so many issues to address here.

    1. You’ve been dating off’on for 5 years, so you were 19 when you started dating? You do alot of growing and changing in your 20s. I’m 27 and I can tell you I am nowhere close to the person I was at 19, even at 24! You are so blind to just how awful he is as a partner because you know nothing else. You need to be single and discover who you are as a woman. Who you are as an individual not patr of a couple. You need to learn what makes your grown up self happy. How can you know what to look for in a mate when you don’t even know what you’re looking for? You need to date other people. Some will work out, many won’t. But with each guy you meet you’ll discover the things you like/dislike from men and relationships. You have no way to gauge this man’s behavior because you haven’t been treated any other way.

    2. Now onto you holding onto this great “love” you have with him. Um, honey, one of the key components of love is respect. This guy does not respect you. Debt is a huge burden, sometimes a lifetime burden. You are just starting out and probably don’t understand the magnitude of what covering this guy’s debt will do to you. It may effect you getting a loan for a car, home, etc. Plus you’re planning on Grad school, you have your own debt to worry about. He clearly doesn’t respect you enough to put you in such a serious situation. And ontop of all that, he has no respect for himself. To fail a drug test to get out of the military??!!(which is a story i’m a little if-y on). What does that say about him? It certainly doesn’t say much about his ability to seriously commit to your relationship. If he can back out of a very serious commitment he made to the Navy and the country, what’s going to hold him to his commitment to you? He’s 24 years old getting his license suspended? Get it together, he clearly has no respect for himself. Which leads me to another thing…

    3. What is he doing with his life? Clearly the military didn’t work out for him. He’s 24 years old. Does he have a career goal? Is he even working? If so, where is his money going because it’s clearly not going to paying his bills, a la car insurance. You are taking your MCATs, obviously you are working on starting your life and a promising career. You and him are on different wave lengths and your paths will only get further apart. Again, you’re not the 19 year old that started dating this guy.

    4. Back to the whole “i’ll never have this love” issue. Girl, there is a lot more to a fulfilling longterm loving relationship than getting a text saying “I miss you” or and extra hug each day. Ask couples who have been married 10 years. It’s abotu a partnership, an equal give and take. Each person putting things into it and getting things out of it….equally. What is he really going to contribute when it comes time to buying a house or supporting children?

    5. Last but not least..go out with the Physics teacher. Explore the other possibilities out there. But do not jump into anything. You need time to be single and not latch onto something (even when its bad) because you need to feel love. YOU need to love yourself first!! If you can’t give yourself the love you deserve than you can’t expect anyone else to.

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    AKchic August 10, 2011, 1:22 pm

    Some days, I wish I could smack some sense into some of these poor LWs.

    Honey – you aren’t a girlfriend to your “boyfriend”. You are his personal financial crutch. You are a replacement mother.

    He washed out of the Navy not because he missed you, but because HE COULDN’T HANDLE IT. Plain and simple. Because he purposely failed a drug test, he probably got an “other than honorable” discharge. That doesn’t exactly help his employment prospects. He will never get his financial act together because YOU keep covering his ass for him when he doesn’t pay for things. And he will continue to not pay for things.

    He treats you so well and “loves” you so much because you pay for him. He doesn’t want to lose that “perk” of the relationship. Leave. Get yourself a backbone and some self-respect.
    You need a tutor. How the hell are you going to afford your own life if you are paying for a manchild?

    You can see where things go with the tutor. Of course, I would let him know that you just got out of a co-dependent relationship. You needed a manchild to NEED you. Yes, you were together since high school (seniors, right?), but still – five years of unhealthy relationship is hard to bounce back from on a rebound. Easy to try to slip back into old patterns, or find a new form of unhealthy. You will want to go very slow and want to explain that you want to take it slow.

    Get away from the manchild and good luck.

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    oldie August 10, 2011, 3:24 pm

    Pray that you are never loved like this again. Your bf is a total loser and user. I think he fed you a line about deliberately failing a drug test so that he could get out of military to be with you. Likely he failed a drug test and this was a great romantic-sounding excuse to get you to take him back with open arms.

    If he got into serious debt in the military, then he may well have been doing quite a bit of drugs. The money most likely went to drugs, gambling, or women, none a great deal from your perspective.

    Why would you buy a guy two cars in 5 years?

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      Maracuya August 10, 2011, 3:51 pm

      He probably crashed the first one. But, you know, if he WANTED to be financially frugal… he could have. Since he was a newly enlisted guy, he probably lived on base. He didn’t NEED a car. Certainly not two.

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        Painted_lady August 10, 2011, 5:34 pm

        You know what? My boyfriend doesn’t have a car, and we live in Texas, where public transportation goes to die. He realized with what he makes, he could have a car OR go to school and save up to move in with me, but he couldn’t have all three and he chose school and me. And he almost never drives mine – I work an hour away where the city buses don’t go – because he feels like he’s sponging off me. A man – or woman – with any sense of pride won’t allow their SO to be their piggy bank.

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        AKchic August 10, 2011, 6:12 pm

        *giggle* I thought ALASKA was where public transportation goes to die. Maybe it’s just in a coma here?

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        Painted_lady August 10, 2011, 6:58 pm

        I guess it could die in several places 🙂

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    Dennis Hong August 10, 2011, 2:25 pm

    He’s pissing his life away. Don’t let him piss away yours, too….

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    liza August 10, 2011, 6:23 pm

    Oh my goodness! I went EXACTLY though the same thing. MCAT, leech boyfriend, promising potential boyfriend – the whole lot.

    Your letter resonated so much with me. My relationship problems with my ex were a bit different on the surface, but at the foundation of it all, it was the same: I was his crutch, just as you are his. He was my first boyfriend, I adored him, and since we were close friends for 4 years before dating, I felt like I couldn’t “give up” on him after another 3.5 years of dating. But slowly, it took its toll on my mental health and my grades and I can see that it is doing the same to you.

    Get out. Now.

    Studying for the MCAT was the most challenging thing I did in undergrad. I came to my make-it-or-break-it point with my ex while I was prepping for the exam. He was constantly needed attention, ego-stroking, etc., etc. It was a huge stress to add to class, MCAT prep, and med school apps. Then, it hit me: I’m the one who should be getting the attention and ego-stroking! For f*$k’s sake, he was taking a semester off from his undetermined major and I was studying for the hardest test I had ever taken. If anyone needed a bit of coddling, it wasn’t him. After all that you have done for your bf, it’s selfish for him to to ask/expect for a ride to work – that’s his problem and he is taking away your precious study time. He can take the bus.

    Another revelation hit me: med school was going to be way harder. There was no way I could handle the stress of school/residency AND carry the responsibility in the relationship. Do you want to? Other commenters have made the same, very important, point – med school isn’t the time to make a gamble on this.

    No matter your career or profession, everyone deserves to be in an equal partnership (you aren’t in one). In a healthy relationship, partners sometimes have to switch off on “carrying the weight” depending on what’s going on in life. But especially because you are entering a incredibly demanding field, you need to be with someone who will support and take care of YOU when things are tough. He can’t. And you can’t take the attention away from school to mother him. And after school’s over, you need to take care of your patients, not him. He is sucking away energy and time that you HAVE to be selfish of for the next 7-10 years.

    Third revelation: You think Physics Guy is hot? Wait until you are surrounded by intelligent, hard-working, fiscally responsible dudes on a medical campus. They will also be hot! See Physics Guy as a representation of what you could have in a guy if you free yourself from this emotionally draining relationship. I don’t know that I would jump in to a new relationship – why don’t you try enjoying single-hood and focusing on your first few years of school? You don’t even know where you will get in, so don’t set yourself up for a LDR.

    You can do it. Gather the strength. Leave him. Commit to school and your career. Focus and study hard. Then, find a guy who will support you and your career. Good luck.

    (If it helps, after I went to school, I met an amazing post-doc from a nearby university who shares in my passions and is truly supportive of my career choice and the time commitment it takes. I am so much happier, because I never feel guilty that I am “neglecting” the relationship for my career. Somehow I have both and I promise you can too!)

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  • katie

    katie August 10, 2011, 8:48 pm

    i think the most telling part of about this letter is the general question- do i stay with my boyfriend or do I take the date with the new guy? if you were truly in love with your boyfriend, fully happy in every way, in a healthy, caring relationship, you wouldn’t have even wrote this letter. i think that is reason enough to tell you that this relationship is not making you happy and so you should change something to better your own life. you obviously know, deep down in your heart, that your not happy0 thats why you wrote it. you are probably looking for some kind of validation of these feelings, someone telling you its ok to leave someone who treats you well. well, it is. it is ok for you to leave him. so do it! get your life back and enjoy it!

    also, its telling how you said you feel true love FROM him, not that you have true love together…

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    Theenemyofmyenemyisagrilledcheesesandwich August 10, 2011, 10:26 pm

    You should definitely DTMFA, to borrow a line from Mr. Savage. No one who loves you will be that much of a financial drain on you. No on. Especially considering that you want to be a doctor, which will require a HUGE, upfront financial investment on your part. If you stay with this guy, hell, marry him, and take on his debt (and guaranteed bad credit) do you really think that you will be able to navigate Medical school? Not just financially, but emotionally?? I doubt it. No one can. Go into that experience whole and ready.

    As for the physics teacher, if you really want it to work give yourself some time between relationships. I would tell him nicely that you would like to go out, but you are just getting out of a long relationship that you will need some time to process. Then take a couple months just to work on yourself, and remember what it’s like to be self-sufficient, and only responsible for you. Then, and only then, see if you can revisit it with the P. teacher. You will be more likely to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship if you don’t remind yourself how to be whole all by yourself.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 11, 2011, 12:20 am

    A much better question would be: “Will I ever be USED like this again?”

    I hope not. Seriously. As everybody else has said, you can do better. You aren’t doing anybody any favors by staying in a relationship that you have no faith in. I get it, he loves you…or, well, at least he says he loves you… But actions speak louder than words. Move along, sister. Move along.

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  • avatar

    ape_escape August 11, 2011, 3:54 am

    this seriously cannot be real.

    if it is I am seriously concerned for the mental stability (and ability) of this LW – and what I fear is a great amount of people like her. Good. God.

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