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 email@example.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.