Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’m Torn Between Two Lovers”

I’m a gay man and I’m torn between two lovers. What do I do? Which one should I choose? Why do we have to choose? Can’t we love two people at the same time? As much as we want to love two people at the same time, society doesn’t look at it in a positive light. It’s been tagged as having an “affair.”

On one side I have “S,” who tells me he loves me and would never leave me, who brings out the best in me, who encourages me to take risks in life and to move out of my comfort zone. He is a great guy. He is super talented. He sings well, paints well and aspires to be a doctor and do research in oncology. He has a kind soul, with an attitude of a hero and a leader. He has given me a lot of things — emotional support and material gifts of love — and I’m really thankful for that. We talk almost everyday over text. Yet, I feel as if he is not putting much effort into our relationship. I feel like I’m always at his beck and call and say most of the sweet, cute and romantic things first before he reciprocates and follows along. I guess I want to see his “emotional and caring side” a little more.

The other man is “A.” I’m in love with his emotional side, with his brain, with the way he thinks and does things. I guess you can call me a sapiosexual, eh? Now, with S, I know I have no future. He is going to get married to a girl one day and I would be left alone. I can’t imagine something like that. Through the years, my love for him would grow and, if suddenly one day he is gone, I would be completely devastated. I just couldn’t take it. On the other hand, A has told me that he won’t marry a girl. So, it’s possible for me to try to see a future with him. But unfortunately, I haven’t spent enough time with A to understand how compatible we are with each other.

I feel like A is suffering. He wants to be with me, but the fact that I’m in a relationship is making him sad and hurt. And I’m hurt to see him get hurt. He is such a sweet guy. I’m torn between two amazing guys and I don’t want to choose. I want them both in my life. I love them both but in two different ways. It’s taking a toll on me. My heart aches. I need some clarity! — Between Two Luvahs

Oy, you’ve got so much emo going on, you should bottle it up and serve it with some pancakes. In fact, that might be a good idea — host a pancake brunch for the two lovers and see if the three of you can hash things out. Who knows? Maybe you DON’T have to choose. You talk about how society looks at you wrong if you don’t choose someone, but I don’t buy that. I think what you’re really concerned about is how S would react if he knew you were seeing A on the side. Or does he already know about A? Either way, it’s clear you aren’t getting enough from him, which is why you sought out A. And the only issue you have with A is that you don’t know him well enough to know if you’re compatible? Um… that’s what dating is for. You date to figure out whether you’re a match (and you should probably figure out that part before you start declaring your love!). So, quit making the guy “suffer” and break up with S — the guy who doesn’t put enough effort into your relationship and has already told you he plans to marry a woman one day — and give A a chance. See where things lead with him. And if things don’t work out, you can always see if S will take you back. Unless he’s already married a woman, in which case, bullet dodged, right?


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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.

41 comments… add one
  • eljay April 9, 2014, 9:02 am

    Aaawww crap, now I’ve got that song stuck in my head! Off to read the letter now….

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  • Morgan April 9, 2014, 9:16 am

    On the one hand, if the choice is between two men the answer is blah blah blah.

    In this case? You kind of sound like you aren’t super sold on monogamy anyway, which is fine, but it means you’ll need to be seeking out like minded people if you do decide you are more interested in open or polyamorous relationships. I don’t know if S and A are, so that’s a conversation you might want to have with them.

    Alternatively, S sounds like he’s not a long term prospect anyway, so if you do want a committed monogamous relationship, dump him and see where things go with A. No need to go from zero to super serious; like Wendy said, that casually dating someone phase is the part where you do figure out long term compatibility.

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  • ktfran April 9, 2014, 9:25 am

    Ok, please don’t hate me for asking this, because it’s truly coming out of my own ignorance, but….

    I don’t understand “S”. Is he gay? Bisexual? Are there more men than I realize who are gay for a while then decide to settle down with a woman?

    I”m not saying that there is anything wrong with this scenario what so ever. I say let people live however they want to live. I’m really just curious if this situation between the LW and S happens often?

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    • Banana April 9, 2014, 9:57 am

      My guess (when I was first reading it) is that S is in the closet, and perhaps comes from/lives in a very sexually conservative community, and has chosen to go with the flow and marry a woman to keep up appearances. But obviously I have no idea if that’s the case in this instance.

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    • Cassie April 9, 2014, 12:54 pm

      It seems to happen pretty often on Dear Prudence, when the wife finds her husband browsing Craigslist casual encounters for men.

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      • ktfran April 9, 2014, 2:59 pm

        Yeah, but I was referring to the reverse. A guy who is already openly gay, but wants to settle down with a woman. Does this happen often?

  • rainbow April 9, 2014, 9:35 am

    “It’s been tagged as having an “affair.”
    WTF dude, who are you, Hester Prynne? It’s not a matter of tags. disclose beforehand and get permission and it’s an open relationship, lie and it’s an affair. Your choice. It’s really that simple.

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  • sarolabelle April 9, 2014, 9:42 am

    this is way to poetic for me…..

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  • No Pants April 9, 2014, 9:49 am

    LW, are things really as dramatic as you are making them out to be? Maybe they are, but I agree with Wendy that there’s a whole lotta emo going on in your letter. I say this because I definitely used to make things out to be 10000x more dramatic in my head when I was younger. In reality, I’m getting the feeling that it’s just a case of you dating a few people who aren’t going to turn into long-term relationships. And that’s it. It completely sucks if you have strong feelings for them, but give yourself a break. If you showed them this letter (I know you won’t, I’m just presenting a scenerio here), would either S or A think you are overreacting? I just think you may be creating unnecessary heartache for yourself. If not, just talk to them and see where they stand. That may resolve this whole thing for you.

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    • rainbow April 9, 2014, 9:57 am

      “In reality, I’m getting the feeling that it’s just a case of you dating a few people who aren’t going to turn into long-term relationships. And that’s it.”

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    • bethany April 9, 2014, 10:00 am


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  • Banana April 9, 2014, 10:02 am

    Often when you’re crazy in love, you feel like the person (or people!) you love are the ONLY people you could ever, ever feel this way about in the entire world. It creates a sense of urgency and desperation — “I can’t possibly let either one go, or I may end up heartbroken and alone for the rest of my life!” This whole situation might feel a lot less scary if you realize that if NEITHER guy works out for you, you’ll probably still find someone else, if you look hard, get out there and make yourself available, and keep an open mind. So, what if you dump S and go out with A and then you find out you and A aren’t actually compatible? Then you and A break up and you go out with X, Y, and Z, and maybe a W, and a few Rs sprinkled in there, until you find someone else who not only makes you fall in love, but loves you the same way back and is interested in making it work long term. (Or…until you realize that maybe you really enjoy being unattached and dating a bunch of guys!)

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    • No Pants April 9, 2014, 10:18 am

      I completely agree with this. It’s crazy how your brain convinces itself that the person you are with is the only one out there for you.

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    • Diablo April 9, 2014, 12:10 pm

      No, No, No, never an R, and especially not a C. Those guys are jerks.

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  • Roxy_84 April 9, 2014, 10:20 am

    Wait so which one do you think will end up marrying a girl? It’s “A” right? Your potential guy on the side? So the reason you’re not leaving your relationship with S is because you don’t know if you’re compatible with A and you don’t know if there’s long term potential with him? Sounds like the dating world to me.

    If your relationship isn’t working you don’t have to wait until you can jump into another that you think will to leave it. Be brave. If, on the other hand you want to be with both guys…maybe you can be. Have that conversation with S. As mentioned it sounds like you’re not sold on monogamy, and also it doesn’t sound like the relationship is working well for you as is. So opening things up could be good.

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    • Miel April 9, 2014, 10:29 am

      S says he’s going to marry a girl.
      A says he won’t marry a girl.

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      • Roxy_84 April 9, 2014, 10:36 am

        Ah I read it wrong. Then my advice is dump S regardless of whatever else you do. You’re not happy, and you think he’ll eventually dump you. No point in sticking around, no matter what happens with A.

  • Banana April 9, 2014, 10:27 am

    Another thing to consider: if monogamy gets you down, consider just dating freely for a while — not getting enmeshed in ANY relationship at all, and just dating casually and non-exclusively with a bunch of people. Maybe you’re polyamorous…or maybe you just need to sow your oats, and once you get that out of your system you’ll be ready to love one man. If you haven’t dated casually a lot before/between serious relationships, maybe your restlessness being tied to one man is a sign you just need to experience casual dating for a while.

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  • LlamaPajamas April 9, 2014, 10:40 am

    Sapiosexual? Just, no. You’re into two guys at the same time, there’s nothing special or exceptionally dramatic about that. And while “will never marry a girl” is an important trait to look for in a partner, it doesn’t mean that A is necessarily right for you. And “society” as a whole might be prudish, but there are plenty of people who wouldn’t care if you had open relationships. And I’ll make this easy for you: “S” doesn’t put a lot of effort into the relationship and you know he’ll eventually marry a woman, so pull the bandaid off and end it with him now before you become even more attached. Give “A” a real chance, but also keep your options open because you don’t know “A” that well.

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    • Miel April 9, 2014, 10:57 am

      You made me Google sapiosexual. I think the only people I would qualify of sapiosexual are Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. Or Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine. You know, famous people.

      I’m smart and my boyfriend is smart and we enjoy each others cleverness, but that doesn’t change our sexuality. We’re still two boring heterosexuals.

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      • LlamaPajamas April 9, 2014, 12:07 pm

        True story – I’m obsessed with MacArthur awardees and a few years ago one of the Fellows taught at a university about 30 minutes from me. I was SO EXCITED. I don’t even want to say how much time I spent figuring out a way I could accidentally bump into him and make him fall in love with me and marry me so he could wow me with his brain every single day. But not even that makes me sapiosexual. I’m just a genius groupie.

      • MsMisery April 9, 2014, 12:54 pm

        I am glad I googled sapiosexual last week (ironically, someone posted something about it on my FB). Saved me having to look it up at work >_>

  • lets_be_honest April 9, 2014, 10:50 am

    I feel sorry for S, who you are cheating on.
    If you don’t want it to be labeled as an affair, its pretty fucking easy to stop the use of that factual label by breaking up with S or telling S you have no intention of being monogamous.

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    • lets_be_honest April 9, 2014, 10:57 am

      I’d also like to add that from your description of S, he sounds like a pretty good boyfriend, but not exactly 100% perfect. No one is. If you keep looking for a 100% perfect person, you won’t find them.

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      • veracityb April 9, 2014, 11:09 am

        You know this is going to set him into a tailspin…

  • zanderbomb April 9, 2014, 11:11 am

    With S, if he tells you he’s going to marry a girl, then he’s either not clear on his own sexuality or he’s telling you he’s not serious about you. [On a side note- how old are all you people? From talk about “one day marrying” far off in the future, and talking about S wanting to one day go into oncology, maybe you’re all just a little young to be worrying about the drama drama drama.]

    But, if the only issue with S is you feel like you’re missing an emotional response from him, I would suggest having both of you take the 5 Languages of Love quiz (just google it). It might just be that he shows love through material gifts and encouragement while you expect words.

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    • lets_be_honest April 9, 2014, 11:14 am

      What is youth without dramZ? 🙂

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  • Amanda April 9, 2014, 11:15 am

    I get the impression LW, that you like drama. That’s cool. Just know, that no matter what you do there will always be something that causes you to feel torn (be it a guy, work, chocolate cake, etc.).
    Assuming you really want to shake this drama storm, dump S (you said yourself he isn’t long term) and try things with A. Although, personally, I’d go with the “torn between two guys means no guys” option…but that’s just me.

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    • ktfran April 9, 2014, 11:38 am

      Oh my gosh, just yesterday I was totally torn about picking up some chocolate munchkins from Dunkin Donuts. I did. Then I went for a run after work so I wouldn’t feel bad.

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    • veracityb April 9, 2014, 11:39 am

      I regularly have a chocolate cake/chocolate chip cookie meltdown.. don’t you..?

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      • Cassie April 9, 2014, 1:09 pm

        “When you are torn between 2 desserts, the answer is usually both desserts.” New DW rule?

      • veracityb April 9, 2014, 1:23 pm

        Don’t go killing the dramz, Cassie, honestly.

  • Fabelle April 9, 2014, 11:39 am

    Aw, this LW just sounds young & maybe also not altogether serious in tone? (I read the sapiosexual thing as kind of tongue-in-cheek). But yeah, LW—break things off with S, if it’s not going anywhere (OR, if he’s cool with opening the relationship or turning it into something less serious, do that).

    As a side note, I think you have a bit of “wanting what you can’t have” here with S? He’s more aloof, less openly crazy about you than A, which is probably helping to feed your obsession. Realize that, & let it draw your focus elsewhere.

    ALSO, yes, you CAN love two people at the same time. As long as you’re either 1.) not actually romantically involved with either of them, or 2.) romantically involved with both, with the other’s permission. Otherwise, like everyone else said, it’s dramz.

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  • Bittergaymark April 9, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Too much pointless drama.

    Word of warning via experience. If somebody tells you that one day they will marry a woman — odds are that they one day will. If course odds are they will STILL want to sleep with you… more that ever probably… but it’s all a huge waste of your time…

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  • MsMisery April 9, 2014, 12:49 pm

    This letter is like what the woman on the cover of every bodice-ripper romance novel is thinking, spelled out. “My white knight is always off painting and curing cancer, but my pirate is a big sexy puzzle! WHAT DO I DO??” I can’t even.

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    • Cassie April 9, 2014, 1:06 pm

      Go with the lusty former monk. Duh.

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  • Cassie April 9, 2014, 1:04 pm

    To sum it up:
    You love S because of points 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. But, he eventually wants to marry a woman. You love that A has a brain, and the fact that he is not going to marry a woman (unlike S). And, oh yeah, you can’t imagine living without S.

    Isn’t our typical DW advice, “If you can’t decide between 2 people, the answer is usually no people,”?

    It seems you’re quite wrapped up with S, but there’s no future there. I’d say break off things with S and get over him first before you start looking for someone else. Otherwise, we might get a letter from A later on about how it’s been 4 years but somehow you still have S’s key.

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    • LlamaPajamas April 9, 2014, 1:23 pm

      And don’t make EITHER guy buy their own birthday cupcake.

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      • Cassie April 9, 2014, 7:17 pm

        Or give them a mug for any special occasion!

  • Skyblossom April 9, 2014, 1:26 pm

    You have many emotional needs and one of these guys is meeting part of them and the other guy is meeting different ones and so between the two you feel more complete or happy or content. You need to find a guy that meets all of your most important emotional needs and then you won’t be torn between two guys or you find multiple guys who meet your needs and who don’t mind that you see multiple guys.

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  • sarita_f April 9, 2014, 7:55 pm

    I cannot be the only one who has STRONG suspicions that this dude has never even met these guys in person?

    Of course, I haven’t looked up the definition of “sapiosexual” maybe that includes something along the lines of “people who have met in person” but I doubt it.

    Anyhoo – tip to this 19yo – it’s only cheating if you’re lying about it. If you haven’t had the DTR talk yet, and haven’t given either of these guys any other indicatiom that a normal, reasonable adult would interpret as a sign that y’all are in an exclusive relationship, then you are in the clear.

    Oh! Pet peeve, but an adult male marrying the opposie sex is marrying a WOMAN, not a girl.

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