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In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:
He’s a great guy, and we are very compatible. Only, somewhere around the three-year mark we started arguing more and communicating less. It got to the point where we were fighting all the time and I felt completely detached from him and thought that he didn’t even love me anymore. At this time, I began having feelings for a mutual friend of ours. I also work with this friend, so slowly but surely my feelings began to deepen for him as we started hanging out and talking more.
As the weeks passed I started to realize how serious this was and decided to keep my distance. What I thought was just a harmless crush was taking me away from my relationship and I thought I was cheating emotionally. But the more I tried to stay away, the deeper my desire to be close to him got, and the guilt was driving me crazy. Still, I thought the feelings would pass…
A few months went by and one night the friend took me aside and told me I was “everything he wanted in a girl” and asked me what I wanted. I burst out crying in the middle of the street. I told him I found myself thinking about him all the time and I wanted to be able to kiss him and hold him…but I loved my boyfriend and would never cheat.
Overnight the whole situation was different for me. I could no longer hide behind the self-denial and about a week later I broke up with my boyfriend. I moved out and pursued a relationship with the other guy.
I knew I couldn’t stay with my boyfriend while feeling in love with someone else. This new guy and I have an amazing time together. He’s completely emotionally available, and I believe he truly loves me. We have an amazing physical chemistry and we get along great.
The problem is that I miss my ex terribly. I wonder if I made a mistake by ending our relationship prematurely. It’s been about a year now, and in this time I have ended things with the new guy on three separate occasions to sort out my feelings, yet I only seem to return to the new guy each time.
My ex is still madly in love with me and would do anything to get me back. He wants to go to couples therapy and work through this with me. He’s apologized for our lack of communication and vows to fix it. I question if I abandoned our relationship too quickly without really trying to give it a fighting chance. However, I dont feel sexual chemistry between us anymore. Actually, I feel no desire to be intimate with him whatsoever, but I love him more than I can even express and I never wanted to hurt him as deeply as I have. He was my best friend, my family. And to be honest, I feel like we complete each other as far as compatibility goes.
The current man is sensitive and romantic. Outgoing and charismatic. More different from me, but exciting and enticing in every way. I don’t know what I would do without him, and our love is passionate.
This has simply gone on for too long with me having these mixed feelings. I want an answer so I can stop feeling the pain from being torn. I have cried for months only to watch myself break the hearts of people I love. I don’t know what to do but I need to figure it out ASAP.
Both men know that I have feelings for the other and both are waiting for me to make a choice. I love them both, and I hate that choosing one means I will have to lose the other. They are both my best friends. Any advice is greatly appreciated. — For Love or Lust
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 9:11 am
“When the question is ‘which man’ then answer is ‘no man'”
MMcG February 6, 2013, 3:24 pm
Amen. And it might also be “grow up, this is real life not a RomCom that you are starring in”
And how sad for her ex that a year later he hasn’t moved on either!?!
bethany February 6, 2013, 9:11 am
Haven’t read it yet, but isn’t the saying, if you have to choose between 2 men, the answer is NO men?
bethany February 6, 2013, 9:26 am
After reading the letter I stand by my initial thoughts. LW, you need some time to yourself to really figure out what you want out of a partner.
MissDre February 6, 2013, 9:12 am
I was just about to say what both commentors before me said.
katie February 6, 2013, 9:13 am
NEITHER OF THEM. the answer is always neither.
you need to break things off with both of them -but for real, like an actual break where you dont speak to them- and do some serious soul searching. one- why did you think someone was the “one for you” when you two were having serious issues? two- why would you allow yourself to check out of a relationship that was supposedly “the one”? three- why do you keep giving into your emotions very suddenly, without thinking? four- why would you consider being with someone you have no desire to be with intimately just because of emotion?
there are lots of issues here, and the common denominator is you…
Desiree February 6, 2013, 9:17 am
Neither. Go be single for awhile. THAT is the only valid answer after crying for a year and dragging two people’s hearts through the mud. Had you completely broken contact with your ex and consistently stayed with your new guy, that would have been fine. But instead you have been living this drama for a year, perhaps because despite your tears it feels good to have two men following you around like puppies. But their hearts are more valuable than your ego, so please let them go. If you REALLY wanted either of these men, you wouldn’t have written to an advice column to figure it out. Being single can be powerful and peaceful-go explore it!
GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 9:20 am
When the question is “which man”, the answer is always “no man.”
But seriouslym if you were constantly fighting with your ex, you were not “very compatible”.
Also, your life isn’t a Taylor Swift song or a Nicholas Sparks book.
katie February 6, 2013, 9:22 am
nor is it twilight or 50 shades of grey. drama aint cute.
kerrycontrary February 6, 2013, 9:23 am
“Also, your life isn’t a Taylor Swift song or a Nicholas Sparks book.” TRUTH. Why do people think that crying + drama + romance + breaking up + fighting + sensitive man = everlasting love. It doesn’t. But you know what does? stability, someone you can count on, someone who makes the mundane things fun, maintaining attraction over years of being together.
GatorGirl February 6, 2013, 9:28 am
I saw this on Pinterest the other day and think it’s awesome. “Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. To love somebody isn’t just a strong feeling. It’s a decision, a judgement, a promise.”
Skyblossom February 6, 2013, 9:55 am
“someone who makes the mundane things fun”
I think that is the key to a long lasting relationship. When you can have fun grocery shopping or doing the dishes things will be okay.
lemongrass February 6, 2013, 11:11 am
There isn’t one key to a successful relationship, there are many locks and many keys!
Sunshine Brite February 6, 2013, 9:21 am
The answer is neither like the other comments have already pointed out. Something needs to be worked out in yourself first. I don’t know what that is, but you haven’t given yourself the chance to find out. You’ve unsuccessfully attempted to be single 3 times now, which pretty much means you haven’t been trying too hard to stay single for the past year. Just do it, delete numbers and get off Facebook. Just take some time for you.
Sunshine Brite February 6, 2013, 10:46 am
Also, saw an episode of The Shield like this… things didn’t end so well for any of the three of them.
Oldie February 6, 2013, 9:21 am
If you no longer feel any sexual interest in your first boyfriend, then that relationship is not going to work as a romantic relationship. Also, it sounds like there were serious non-sexual relationship problems after the third year, which never went away. So from two perspectives, that was a troubled relationship, which was unlikely to make it long term, even without the new bf.
You’ve said nothing that suggests the new bf can’t work out long-term, apart from your inability to make a final break from bf #1. You say you can’t stand that you hurt him, but that is overly dramatic. You owe him a clean break. Almost every guy on earth has had a gf break up with him and has survived. Your bf will join that fraternity and find a new gf who is eager to have passionate sex with him, so mething you are unable to supply.
Couples counseling with bf #1 is pointless and just picking at old partially healed scabs. You might find out how to communicate better, but it won’t rekindle passion. What you need is individual counseling to learn why you are unable to let go of a relationship that has run its course and to aid you in that final separation. You also can explore the dynamics of relationship #2 and if there is a reason, apart from your inability to let go of bf #1,that you’ve felt the need for three breakups, already. It’s possible the best thing for you at the moment is no relationship and get your own act together. That’s often the DW advice and its often correct: if you find yourself in a position of not being able to choose between two men, then neither may be right for you and you have simply repeatedly fallen in love with the idea of love, and of course, sex.
Red_Lady February 8, 2013, 10:57 pm
“Almost every guy on earth has had a gf break up with him and has survived.”
YES! You’re just hurting him more by leading him on and thinking he can have a relationship with you when you’re not even sexually attracted to him. That’s just straight up rude. There’s nothing wrong with a relationship not working out. You’re not married, you were just dating. Dating is how you find out if you want to make that final commitment, and you found out that you didn’t. So do him a favor and get out of his life.
lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 9:24 am
I’d keep it going with both, but stop telling them about each other. Like Miley Cyrus says, best of both worlds.
(sorry, everyone was agreeing so I thought I’d bring something else to the table)
Desiree February 6, 2013, 9:35 am
Lol. Well, deceptive as it is, that would honestly make more sense than what she is doing now.
bagge72 February 6, 2013, 9:25 am
Dump them both, and all three of you move on with your lives. You are playing games with them, and that sucks, and what you really need to do is be single for a while to sort your feelings out.
theattack February 6, 2013, 9:31 am
LW, clearly neither of these men is the complete package for you, or you wouldn’t be questioning this so heavily. And neither of these relationships will work because there’s too much negative baggage in both of them. You need a good deal of time as a single lady before you try to enter another serious relationship, and I think you need to leave both of these men entirely. You will find other friends who don’t come with so much baggage, and you will find other men you will love. Don’t continue to drag this out for these guys. They clearly care about you, and you’re just being rotten to them.
Fabelle February 6, 2013, 9:46 am
Like everyone else said…if you feel the need to choose between two men, the answer is NONE.
Honestly LW, this sounds so exhausting that I can’t imagine how you haven’t come to this^ conclusion on your own already. Stop with the whole “I love both of them & they’re both my ~best friends~” thing, & take some time to actually assess—objectively— what you’re really doing to these two guys (as well as yourself).
First, I have to assume their friendship is destroyed? And second: “Both men know that I have feelings for the other and both are waiting for me to make a choice.” You realize that’s a terrible position to put your fellow human beings in, right? Please, even if you don’t listen to the majority of the advice to BE SINGLE, make some kind of decision soon. Because hanging in limbo is terrible. I’m sure one of them would rather just be rejected outright than continue twiddlling his thumbs hoping you’ll choose him.
Anyway. I think you’re so completely emotionally entangled in this mess that you can’t see how ridiculous you sound. Look, your ex—who you fought “constantly” with, aren’t attracted to anymore, & have “no desire to be intimate with”—doesn’t “complete” you. You two are NOT compatible. You need to let this relationship die, & let the poor guy move on with his life. (Besides, do you really think that after what you did, that your relationship would work out?)
Maybe things with the new guy had potential at first…but it doesn’t anymore. You say you’ve already ended things with him multiple times, & have been giving him confusing signals for nearly the entire time you’ve been together. Guess what? It’s time to let that relationship die, also. I seriously hope you abandon the idea that one of these dudes is the right one for you.
Sorry to be harsh, but I have no patience with this drama-filled narrative you created. It’s not cute, it’s not exciting or “enticing”. It’s not a star-crossed tragedy in which you emerge the heroine. It’s a fucking clusterfuck. Accept that, own it, & leave these two men alone.
CatsMeow February 6, 2013, 10:09 am
“It’s not cute, it’s not exciting or “enticing”. It’s not a star-crossed tragedy in which you emerge the heroine. It’s a fucking clusterfuck.”
Copa February 6, 2013, 10:31 am
WFS. This sums it up pretty perfectly for me.
rightasrain919 February 7, 2013, 9:39 pm
I have to question how old you are, LW, after reading this. You talk about going to therapy with your ex, but treat your interactions with these two men as though you were still in high school. You are jerking them around because YOU don’t know what YOU want. Before you can be happy loving someone else, you have to be able to love yourself and I highly doubt you’re there. So, let go. Spend some time alone growing up, learning what you do and don’t want out of YOUR life. Only then will you be ready to start looking at who else you want in your life.
TheTruth February 6, 2013, 9:47 am
Stay with the second dude. Ignore the advice about “neither man” from above. Cut ties with the ex… you want to friend zone him, which is unfair to him.
Older and (hopefully) wiser February 6, 2013, 9:49 am
So when the going got tough after 3 years together, you both essentially checked out of the relationship. I don’t know what the issues were but they were either significant enough for you to want out, or you don’t realize that attraction temporarily fades when the emotional connection is not being nurtured. I do agree, however, that when you find the right person, you tend not to think about being with anyone else.
the_optimist February 6, 2013, 9:54 am
I don’t really believe that the answer is always “no man.” But the answer is totally “no man” in this case.
LW, you can’t Frankenstein these two guys together to create your perfect mate. Give yourself time away from both of these men. Give yourself some time to think about other things. Think about what you want, and not just from a relationship: from your professional life, from your friends, from the grocery store, etc. Just come back to ALL of the parts of your life that you’d like to improve on and tend to. Remember that you *have* these other parts of your life. I think if you’d like to stop “crying for months,” it would help to remind yourself that you’d be a complete person regardless of whom you end up with.
lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 10:22 am
you can’t Frankenstein these two guys together to create your perfect mate
Oh man, that would be awesome.
the_optimist February 6, 2013, 10:29 am
Especially if you like a man with scars 😉
j2 February 6, 2013, 11:26 am
Thanks a lot, the_optimist!
Now I have to dry out my keyboard.
csp February 6, 2013, 9:59 am
LW, There is something here that might help you. Most of the time, your feelings for an ex don’t completely go away. So I have been married for a decade and haven’t “dated” in longer than that but i still get fond, warm feelings from past loves. It isn’t worth ruining my relationship, it is simply the road not taken.
If you aren’t attracted to your ex, then leave that alone. Just keep your memories and move on. I think you are feeling guilty for hurting him and keeping him around to punish yourself. You don’t want to be mean but sometimes you have to be.
Look at your current boyfriend and see why you are breaking up with him. What is holding you back? If it is something major, then just let him go too. Otherwise, I think your guilt is poisoning your current relationship.
Skyblossom February 6, 2013, 9:59 am
“He’s a great guy, and we are very compatible. Only, somewhere around the three-year mark we started arguing more and communicating less. It got to the point where we were fighting all the time and I felt completely detached from him and thought that he didn’t even love me anymore.”
What are your standards for very compatible? How can you consider yourself very compatible with someone that you fight with all the time and from whom you are completely detached? I consider being able to communicate and settle differences and be thoughtful and loving as part of the bedrock for compatible. Compatible is being able to work out differences and still feel in love and attached.
SuzyQ February 6, 2013, 10:09 am
Without sexual chemistry and passionte desire, you are not in love with the ex. I think you may be feeling buyer’s remorse and guilt but those are not the same as love. I dont know if new bf is the one or not, and I’m guessing you don’t either. Its possible that the bf is the one but until you forgive yourself dor hurting the ex and truly open your heart, you can’t know. I think you need to completely let go of the ex – no communication at all – for several months. Only then will your mind clear and will you be able to assess the current situation.
MISS MJ February 6, 2013, 10:10 am
Like everyone else said, the answer is NO MEN. You’re only hanging on to BF#1 because you don’t really want to be with BF#2 and you only went with BF#2 because you didn’t want to be alone after the inevitable end of your relationship with BF#1. This isn’t TV or the movies. True love does not conquer all, there is going to be no blinding moment of clarity where one guy is revealed as a cad and the other the white knight, and kissing in the rain is cold and wet after a bit. Life isn’t a rom com and neither of these relationships will work out. It’s way too late with #1, and #2 is enticing only because of the drama; without it, that relationship will fail due to sheer lack of foundation. The trust issues alone will kill it.
Break up with both of them. Then spend at least 6 months analyzing what you liked about the idea of being with each of them – stability, familiarity, excitement, newness, lifestyle, hobbies, habits, commonalities – and didn’t like – trapped, suffocating, unpredictable, uncertainty, smelly, bad breath – whatever it is. When you’re done, find someone who has as many of the traits you liked about both of them and as few as the traits you didn’t like about either of them. The problem isn’t really that you’re stuck in between two men; these men simply represent two different things in your life. The problem is that you don’t know what YOU want. Figure that out, and the “who do you want” question becomes a lot clearer.
Sasa February 6, 2013, 10:11 am
I assume that the commentariat will not be gentle with you… I can sort of empathize because I went through a similar episode in my life. I know how confusing this can be. I think it’s actually an incredibly common pattern: You become unhappy in an existing relationship and, in the process of that, instead of sorting out the problem, you fall for somebody else, which complicates things enormously. The new relationship then becomes haunted by the unsolved problems from the past. It can become hard not to frame everything in terms of “guy 1” versus “guy 2”, but it’s actually not at all helpful or logical to do this.
Well, it certainly sounds like a big mess right now. But it’s never too late to get a grip. Regarding your ex-bf, I would say that even though you might not have fought as much for it as you think you should have, there must have been a reason for the end of that relationship. There always is. You said yourself that severe problems had appeared before you fell for the new guy. And you state that you’re not attracted to your ex anymore. So really, would there be a realistic chance for that relationship to work out? The fact that you love him doesn’t that your relationship is meant to be.
Regarding the new guy: You’ve already broken up with him several times. So how much do you really want this relationship? It doesn’t have to be one of those two guys, you know.
The most important focus should be for you to become emotionally stable again. It doesn’t make sense to have so much drama in one’s life. Frankly, I don’t understand how the guys involved still want to participate in all of this either. Everyone might be better off on their own. If you want the pain to stop, you have to make a conscious choice to stop it.
Jess February 6, 2013, 10:54 am
This is great advice and I fully agree with it being a common scenario as you described in paragraph one.
ktfran February 6, 2013, 11:16 am
I, too, have been exactly where this LW is. However, it took an engagement for me to call things off with guy #1. Did I love him? Absolutely! Was he a great friend? Check! Did I get along wonderfully with his family and vice versa? Yep! But, there wasn’t any chemistry and the thought of kissing him or having sex with him just bugged me. Hugs were ok. It took several months of therapy to figure this out.
While this was going on, I became friends with someone I was super attracted to. Did I emotionally cheat? Yes. Did we get together and have fun and amazing “sleep time” immediately after I called off the wedding? Yes. Am I proud of what transpired? Not really, but I also know that if it didn’t, I probably would have married guy #1 and it would have ended badly.
I’m no longer with guy #2. Shocking (not really).
I guess what I really wnat to say to the LW is cut the ex loose. Let him find someone who truly loves him in all ways. You do the same. It might be guy #2 and that’s great. But I have a feeling it’s not.
And therapy always helps. Always.
Sophronisba February 6, 2013, 10:14 am
Your choices have already been clearly made: you’ve broken up with both of these great, compatible guys because neither one is really right for you. Now stop torturing them and yourself with this one-foot-in/one-foot-out shilly-shallying behavior that is not the hallmark of someone who truly loves and respects another. Be kind enough to let them both go cleanly and with dignity and spend some time being okay on your own and learning from what went wrong with your long term relationship.
Sue Jones February 6, 2013, 10:21 am
So, how about this…. an open polyamorous relationship with BOTH men! (Just had to throw that one in there!)
WatersEdge February 6, 2013, 4:29 pm
That’s practically what she’s already doing…
Lindsay February 6, 2013, 10:21 am
If you really wanted to be with one of the men, you’d know. Just because you miss your ex doesn’t mean you guys belong together. You’d miss ANYONE that you were with for three years, especially if your new relationship was having so many issues. And I don’t see how you can say you are compatible if you fought all the time and you aren’t attracted to him. Not to mention that ending a relationship with someone you stopped getting along with and have no feelings for is not ending a relationship “prematurely.”
The problem with breaking up with someone FOR someone else is that you don’t have time to process your feelings about the breakup or deal with your own issues. Breaking up with someone multiple times does not bode well, either. Maybe you guys are good together, but you’re clearly not ready to be in the relationship.
Honestly, it just sounds like you don’t like to be alone. But making choices just to avoid pain is not healthy, and it’s still going to find you — in the form of all this drama you’re causing for yourself and these guys (imagine how it would feel to be waiting for someone to choose between you and someone else?).
Kate February 6, 2013, 10:36 am
I agree with everyone who says neither of these guys is right for you and you need to extricate yourself from both relationships and figure stuff out.
I’ve been in this situation before, twice actually. Guy #1 isn’t meeting your needs, and you find guy #2 who fills in the gaps and gives you what guy #1 doesn’t… And then you waffle back and forth between them for months or years, and in the end neither of them was the right guy for you and the whole thing sucks up all your time and energy and you feel bad about yourself.
Trust us, the answer is you need to stop with both of these unfulfilling relationships, stop tormenting them and yourself, and move on, establish your own life, take care of yourself, be healthy, and do a lot of reading / thinking to figure out what you want and why you got yourself into this situation. I know now that you’ve invested all your emotional energy for so long with these two guys you have to believe one of them is your ideal guy who you’ll be with forever, but that’s an illusion, unfortunately. You’ll see that once you have time to think and get some clarity. And that is such a good feeling… that and the fact that you’ll now be available to find a guy who IS the right guy for you (once you figure out what that looks like).
LIly in NYC February 6, 2013, 10:37 am
I know we are supposed to say “neither” – but honestly, I don’t agree in this case. Guy #2 sounds great but you will not be able to give him the relationship he deserves until you get over your ex. I think you should make a clean break with the ex (in my experience, once you lose the physical chemistry, it doesn’t usually come back) and focus your attention on the guy that has shown himself to be mature and emotionally available. I get a slight vibe that you might be into the drama of having two guys into you. If that’s the case, then I agree with everyone else that you should just break up with both of them and not date for a while.
Copa February 6, 2013, 10:39 am
I was once in a similar position to this LW’s original ex-boyfriend. The details vary and the “triangle” drama didn’t last nearly as long before I got pissed off and realized I wanted nothing to do with my ex, but I can say from experience that when someone puts you in this position (and you’re still emotional enough about the situation to be an idiot over it like I was and like both ex-boyfriends seem to be), it really, REALLY hurts. It’s draining. It’s also completely unnecessary. LW, leave these men alone. You probably should have handled things differently from the outset, but you didn’t — and that’s fine. Neither of these two are perfect for you. So move on. All three of you need to. The sooner, the better.
Kate B. February 6, 2013, 10:39 am
Break up with them both. What you are doing is cruel, whether you mean it to be or not. I don’t think you do. I think you are confused about what you want. You need distance from both guys and time to sort out what’s best for you.
EricaSwagger February 6, 2013, 10:40 am
“Actually, I feel no desire to be intimate with him whatsoever, but I love him more than I can even express…”
Sometimes, you lose the passion. It’s not your fault, but you have to be honest about your relationship with guy 1. You aren’t sexually attracted to him anymore but you care about him deeply. That’s it.
It’s not fair to even consider being an a relationship with him if you don’t want to be physically intimate with him. It’s mean to him, and it’s unfair to both of you. Love needs passion (maybe not romance novel level passion, but some!). You shouldn’t be able to say “I have no desire to be intimate with him whatsoever” and then still think being with him is the right choice.
Think about what getting back with him would mean. You’d run to him and embrace and and tell him how much you missed him and love him and how wrong you were to leave him and then… not have sex? I mean, come on.
People deserve both love and passion. If you get back with him, neither of you will ever be fully satisfied.
Frankly, I think it’s amazing that either of these guys have stuck around this long. I want to say this has nothing to do with you being manipulative or leading them on, but that’s my gut feeling when reading your letter. It’s just not normal for a guy to not move on. There’s something keeping him on your hook, and you’re doing it on purpose because you wont let him go.
I don’t really have any opinion about what you should/shouldn’t do with guy 2, but you’re definitely treating him like shit so cut it out.
wendykh February 6, 2013, 10:40 am
whatever happened to casual, non exclusive dating until one felt truly committed (at LEAST a year or so)? Why must young people jump from pseudo marriage to pseudo marriage? Why must evreyone constantly be searching for the Big Serious Relationship? FTR it will have an easier time finding you if you stop relentless searching for it, relax, and let it find YOU.
You just feel guilty over Guy 1. Probably exacerbated by Deep Talks with him. Shoot the puppy. Time to end it until he (and you) can truly be JustAFriend ™
btw if you aren’t into a guy sexually that is not relationship material.
bethany February 6, 2013, 11:51 am
Totally agree with this. I fully support “just dating” vs going on 3 dates and then becoming BF/GF. I think people should try just dating a little more.
katie February 6, 2013, 12:16 pm
lol at “shoot the puppy”
BecBoo84 February 6, 2013, 12:53 pm
I agree that dating is great (and something people should do more of before getting serious), but I think it’s presumptious to assume that a person can’t feel truly committed to someone in less than a year.
BreezyAM February 9, 2013, 12:20 am
not saying they CAN’T. Just saying you’re committed or not. No reason to talk about it really. Date. Share feelings when actually ready. As in several months AFTER you think you are.
lets_be_honest February 6, 2013, 10:43 am
The more I think about it, if I were the LW, I’d be so turned off that both of these guys are willing to just sit around and wait for me to decide that I’d MOA from both. They both sound pathetic.
TaraMonster February 6, 2013, 11:25 am
My thoughts as well. Maybe that’s why she has no respect for either one of them and gets all “woe-is-me, why am I hurting people!?”
LW, you’re hurting them because you don’t have the ovaries to walk away from both of them. Grow up.
Desiree February 6, 2013, 11:28 am
And they don’t have the balls to tell her to go away. Hopefully they will all take some valuable lessons away from this experience. That’s about all that’s left to be had here, in my opinion.
Desiree February 6, 2013, 11:27 am
Agree 100%. I have never been attracted to guys who allow themselves to be manipulated this way. Nor should guys be attracted to women who manipulate like this! Everyone has their moments of indecision and mistakes, but I seriously don’t understand how this trio has had the energy to sustain this situation for a YEAR. So exhausting!
Matcha February 6, 2013, 12:45 pm
Exactly. Guy #1 (the ex) sounds sad and lonely. It’s been a year and she dumped him for another man. Never thought I’d say this but: Take a cue from Taylor Swift, man.
ebstarr February 6, 2013, 10:50 am
I can’t really judge you for all of this. Pretty much everyone I know has done this at some point in their lives. It really hurts other people, but it’s just the nature of love that sometimes you really do have strong feelings for more than one person at once. Nevertheless, you say you aren’t sexually attracted to guy #1. Do NOT compound the hurt you’ve given him by getting back together with him while you are physically repulsed by him. This is a terrible feeling for anyone to have, much more terrible than being quickly and kindly dumped. Then you can figure things out with Guy #2. But you should do one of two things: 1) take three to six months to be single, leaving him free to date other people, and then if you still have feelings for each other you can try again IF it seems like a good idea objectively, or 2) commit to him and STOP breaking up with him right now, if you think you can do that. This on-again off-again thing is probably not helping you.
ebstarr February 6, 2013, 10:53 am
To be clear, I think you should do #2 only if you think the sole reason for your problems with Guy #2 was because you were still having doubts about Guy #1. The entire internet (more or less) is going to spend this morning telling you that your thing with Guy #1 is doomed if you aren’t attracted to him, so please believe them!
landygirl February 6, 2013, 11:05 am
LW, methinks you like the drama of it most of all. Good relationships are solid, not wishy washy and you don’t constantly break up and get back together. Try being on your own for a while…a long while. Try therapy too.
lemongrass February 6, 2013, 11:08 am
You need to spend some time by yourself and figure out how to live your life in an adult, drama-free way. Your life isn’t a chick flick, you don’t need to cry in the streets or break up multiple times for your relationship to have value.
EmJay February 6, 2013, 12:19 pm
I love your comment. Chick flicks are great for entertainment, but thats it entertainment! Real life is much more complicated and real emotions are involved. So are REAL PEOPLE.
bittergaymark February 6, 2013, 12:49 pm
The tragedy is that far too many out there really do wish that their life was indeed a chick flick…
Monica M February 6, 2013, 11:09 am
I think you need to really analyze what went wrong with the first boyfriend. I think the relationship is over however you need to reflect and find closure mentally with the breakup. I don’t think you are still in love with him. When you are with someone that long and the ending isn’t a clean break then the attachment lingers. Unlike a lot of the others I don’t think you need to get rid of the new guy. However I think you need to identify what went wrong with the first so you don’t repeat the same mistake with the new guy. Sometimes I think it takes meeting someone new to realize that your current relationship was not working and needed to end. I’m not advocating cheating or encouraging serial dating. I just find from my experience with friends that it took seeing that there were better options out there to realize the current one was bad.
j2 February 6, 2013, 11:30 am
I wonder if LW has ever sustained a close friendship with an eligible guy without it becoming a sexual relationship.
Lucy February 6, 2013, 11:33 am
Ask yourself what your emotional payoff is for keeping ties to your ex. Is it that you like the drama on some level? Are you punishing yourself for breaking up with him? Whatever it is, admit it to yourself, accept it, and then cut ties with him so he can have a clean break and start to actually get over you, instead of being stuck in limbo. He’ll survive. Everyone does.
I personally think real life can be messy and don’t subscribe to that old “no men” adage. But you’re manufacturing drama here. If you can’t stop, then you do indeed need to cut the new bf loose while you get your shit together.
EmJay February 6, 2013, 12:01 pm
I think the problem was jumping from one guy to the next without giving yourself time to heal from the long relationship. This is never the right way to do things. Jumping just covers the past momentarily and than these problems arise. I have to agree with the majority of everyone here…NO MAN is the right choice. Plus, after what you put both of these men through, i do not see either of these relationships working out for the long run. You need to be single. You need time to yourself without male influence. Go hang out with your girlfriends, sisters, cousins and cry out your emotions over glasses of wine. Write all your confusing feelings for each guy in a letter thqn burn it. You need you time. Do not call,txt, facebook etc anyone of these guys. Clear your head, and when you feel completely ready, than go out if the dating world again, but not with these two men. It is time to let them go and forget about them. Letting them move on with their lives is the most unselfish thing you can do.Good luck! And please update us.
Sheryl February 6, 2013, 12:09 pm
I think you answered your own question with your first bf… you feel no passion for him. Sure… you care about him, but you can’t have him as a friend when he is still madly in love with you. You need to be the stronger person and let him go, and not lead him on. It seems pretty clear to me you are not interested in him as a boyfriend, and just to keep him in your life… that is confusing him, and making him think you have a chance getting back together, and therefore preventing him from moving on. Otherwise, it’s selfish to keep him around. Most people can’t be ‘best friends’ with their ex immediately after breaking up, so you can’t expect that of him.
Then, once your ex is truly out of the picture, figure out if you really want to be with your new guy. Likely, with you ex gone, you’ll have a clearer picture if he is the right one for you. I dont necessarily agree with the above that just because you’ve had trouble getting rid of your past, you can’t have a real future with new guy.
Also, get some girlfriends…(I may be going out on a limb with my assumption here) you really shouldn’t be so dependent on romantically involved men for their “best friendship”. Seems to me that someone who knew you better and wasn’t trying to get in your pants could offer some objective input.
I think young people get too caught up in the ‘my lover is my best friend’ thing … yes, your SO quickly becomes the person you go to first, and sometimes its hard to detach from it when you break up… but they are very different things. Ideally, ‘the one’ does become your ‘best friend’… but when you don’t have a clear ‘one’ yet, sorry, but you still have a ways to go and should have a separate “best friend” support group. So get some girl best friends. You are going to need them even when you do find ‘the one’ because even they do stupid things you need to complain about!
EmJay February 6, 2013, 12:30 pm
Its not so much that having trouble getting rid of her past will mean not being able to have a real relationship with the new guy, but after everything she put him through, knowing the feelngs for the ex, going back and forth. Both guys waiting in the sidelines, the friendship she had with both are going to lead to trust issues. And if she stays with the new guy, every time she is distant, upset, etc the guy is gonna think she is still pineijg for the ex and it will cause more fighting, drama and the like. So i do believe she needs to be single work out her feelings and start over with someone new when she is ready. Someone who is not part of the problem.
bittergaymark February 6, 2013, 12:47 pm
Okay, so either both men are complete and total idiots… or you are simply BEYOND smoking hot. I mean — really? — why else would they possible put up with all of your inane high school bullshit drama and/or shenanigans? Oh, wait, I know, I know… There are often two sides to every story which means that BOTH are true. Yes, they are total morons and, yes, you must be one hell of a piece of ass.
You know what? I’m bored today, so I say…. Wield your power! Go Poly! Moreover, DEMAND they go gay for one another in hot three ways with you and then, uh, send me the video…
Desiree February 6, 2013, 1:41 pm
I was thinking that, too. But then again, I have seen guys give up all their dignity for girls who really aren’t that hot (or even, very attractive at all…). Some girls are just VERY good at the manipulation and head games. My medical school class has a girl like that. We were all so relieved when she got into a relationship so she would stop leading around guys on a psychological leash all the time.
Matcha February 6, 2013, 12:53 pm
“And I’m like, “I just, I mean this is exhausting, you know
Like, we are never getting back together, like ever”
L February 6, 2013, 1:19 pm
Everyone has some great points. Moving on from both will benefit you in the long run.
I wanted to comment especially on your ex and his willingness to go to couples therapy and all that jazz…as someone who tried to singlehandedly hold a relationship together, it doesn’t work. He’s obviously still into you but you’re very much NOT into him. Save him the trouble and cut him loose. If he’s like I was, he doesn’t realize just how exhausting it is to try to keep a relationship going by yourself. It truly is exhausting. Don’t keep stringing him along.
Northern Mermaid February 6, 2013, 2:56 pm
LW. You need to make a decision fast. Whatever decision you make is your call, but you have to pick now. I’ve been in this exact situation…except I was the boyfriend (well girlfriend) number two. The emotional roller coaster is awful, and even if you do end up with either of those men, there will probably be lingering doubts in their brains if you’re even worth it.
Recovering Lurker February 7, 2013, 5:37 am
Contrary to what pretty much everyone else has said, I say polyandry is clearly the answer here. Then again I might be a bit defensive as i’m pretty sure this is me writing from the future and i hate the idea of being monogamous.
tbrucemom February 7, 2013, 6:18 pm
It sounds like she “loves” her ex-boyfriend like you would a best friend but isn’t “in love” wth him (hence the no sexual desire part) and is not “in love” with her new boyfriend either but is “in lust” with him. Neither one is a good situation for a true relationship.
CassieB February 9, 2013, 3:26 am
Two words: Brother husbands.
cali February 9, 2013, 1:56 pm
Do them both a favor and call it quits with both of them. You need to do some soul-searching and figure out for sure what (and who) you want. It’s not fair to date one, while still harboring feelings for the other.
Lacey April 28, 2013, 9:34 am
Sorry to hear this. I am having trouble deciding to end or not end my year-long relationship (longest one for me ever, at the age of 25!). I am not sure why someone said you’re not in a RomCom, whatever that is, but it sounds like maybe they’re weirdly stupidly jealous?? Lol anyone in this situation (and yours is at your stage worse than mine at this stage) knows it’s not fun drama. It’s a huge huge pain in the chest and head and heart, and very achy and depressing to have to hurt one or both of them.
I believe you should not listen to laymen thinking. Ignore the saying, after you contemplate whether this is a matter of choosing, to be monogamous in a blindly monogamy-enforcing society, or whether you really do have problems with both and are just scared to be alone (for the latter, in which case don’t ignore the saying).
I’m around the stage you were once at. And it is hugely passion & fun AND getting enough touch (holding, etc.) & empathy and tons of communication at the cost of feeling smothered VS. apassion and a ‘normal’ life with someone I appreciate as a person and who is less embarrassing to show to friends and family (the other guy is very weird) and who never gets tiresome to be around.
Lacey April 28, 2013, 9:39 am
Also I am extremely sorry there are idiots who must have read your explanations and obvious sympathy wrong who are calling you manipulative. Ridiculous.
Guy #2 March 23, 2017, 9:23 am
This post is not about me. This isn’t my case. But I have nearly the exact case. And in mine, I am Guy #2. I am reading comments about neither of the guys having enough balls to tell her to go away. I don’t want her to go away. I want her to be mine. More than that I want her to be happy. But in my situation, she’s not out of the relationship. She left him, and he showed up with gifts persuading her to not lose the 3 and a half years they were previously together. As guy #2, I want her to be happy more than I care about her being mine. I want her away from him because once I relationship is broken. It takes way too much to fix, especially if they aren’t putting in their all. Which she obviously isn’t, she’s talking to me.
Guy #2 March 23, 2017, 9:26 am
And another thing, if you’re ever talking to someone and start to catch feelings with another. Don’t go back to the first, if you truly were fully into the first, the second would have never been in the situation.
Guy #2 March 23, 2017, 9:27 am
Wait, just realized how old this is… what did you do? And how did things turn out?
Tisha Dee April 3, 2017, 2:28 pm
I’ve been girl #2 in this situation for 2 years and the emotional damage he’s inflicted upon me along the way of his “indecision” has left me empty inside.
I know that if it’s such a difficult decision to chose one of us, that it really means neither of us are giving him everything he needs. If he was totally fulfilled with one of us, it wouldn’t have been a hard decision at all. This is the terrible, ugly painful truth, I’ve come to learn and am working on accepting. Now that I’ve pushed him away because I finally see this, he is pursuing girl #1 with everything he’s got because he’s terrified of being alone. Truth is he was unhappy with her to the point where it ate him up inside and led him to cheat with multiple women. He wasn’t attracted to her sexually and now he thinks he can live with that, because it’s comfortable and familiar and she’s weak and afraid of being alone too, so she’s going along for his insanity ride one more time. Truth is, it’ll just be a few months or a year before they find themselves back at square one, which is that they aren’t meant to be together. It’s sad, because of the anguish that has been caused to everyone involved and the years lost for all. I have come to realize that only weak and selfish men and women allow a situation like this to endure for so long. Grow a pair of balls or ovaries and cut ties with both, like fully 100% no contact and allow everyone to move heal and move on. If it’s that difficult to choose, the answer really is neither.
Ron April 3, 2017, 3:25 pm
Nobody but yourself can keep you dangling for 2 long years while he makes up his mind. You talk about the guy being ballsy enough to make a choice. You should have made your own choice 2 years ago. Did you see his ‘choice’ as a prize you wanted to win, just for the shear competitiveness of it?