It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Moth-to-the-flame” (LW1) who was torn between Peter, the man she dated for six years and lived with before breaking up, and Paul, a single colleague/manager with whom she developed a “friendship that is quite intimate but ambiguous.” She wrote: “Peter is doing therapy, and he says he loves me and wants us back together. I love him, but I’m afraid I’m not in love with him anymore. However, he would be the perfect partner for starting a family. On the other hand, I’m pining away for Paul, and I could throw all concerns away if he were to suggest anything were possible between us.” Find out whom she picked and how it’s going:
Paul warned me several times in November/December that he wasn’t ready for a new relationship, due to unresolved issues from a past one. I ignored the warning (maybe I wasn’t ready either) and we kept having dates/sex/sleep-overs – but Paul wouldn’t make it public. I’m a “friend,” in the eyes of his friends and family. At some point in late February/early March, things got tenser as I was getting tired of feeling like a secret mistress in Paul’s life. Before we could find a solution or a “break-up” for our “non-relationship”, COVID-19 happened. I asked Paul to quarantine together and he agreed. Turns out we are excellent quarantine partners! We get on very well, have amazing chemistry, and have lots of common interests. Of course, it’s a bit like fast forwarding into an old marriage, but I’m positive the companionship has been amazing in such times (we are both working from home). I’m still only the “friend he is quarantining with” to his family and friends; I guess we’ll need to have the “DTR” talk and maybe I’ll need to make a difficult decision when the lockdown is over.
I have also recognized that I may have a pattern of getting attached to unavailable “broken” (eg still hurting from past relationships) men and want to “heal” them. However, I’m taking the opportunity of the present situation to work on things that were difficult for me in past relationships:
-expressing sexual desire
-disagreeing openly and in a non-confrontational way (as I did not dare do it before)
-allowing myself to be vulnerable and make mistakes
-not feeling responsible for the other’s mood and well-being.
I hope you are doing well and your health and your family’s are great.
Love from France – Moth-to-the-flame
Oh, gosh, I am glad you have a companion to quarantine with during this really challenging time and I hope it continues to be a positive experience for you. But I always worry when someone says he or she isn’t ready for a relationship – especially because of “unresolved issues from a past one.” This could very well be just another flame you’re attracted to. Please be careful and keep in mind that this is a man who continues not to validate your relationship as an actual relationship – to his friends and family OR to himself. Proceed with caution!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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