Advice, please

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from mezzogal1124. Show mezzogal1124's posts

    Advice, please

    If you're willing to read my long story, I'd really appreciate any advice you have! 

    About a year ago, an acquaintance I'd worked with on a project (I'll call him J.) emailed me out of the blue wondering how I was and asking if I'd like to catch up over coffee.  I thought it was a bid odd considering we'd never spent time together socially, but I went and had a good time.  Soon after, he invited me to a party at his apartment; again, I went and enjoyed my time with him.  We began seeing each other more frequently and, gradually, the activities grew more date-like, sexual tension developed, and I began to wonder whether I had feelings for him. 

    I should mention that my initial, gut reaction to him was that he really wasn't my type.  Most notably, his personality is much more serious and reserved than mine.  The other reasons, I admit, were a bit shallow: he's shorter than me and 3 years younger (I'm 27, he's 23).  However, as I got to know him, I discovered we had many things in common -- same sense of humor, enjoyment of the same activities, similar political outlooks, tastes in music, etc.  I should also mention that I went on a string of pretty bad dates last summer during which I would inevitably wish that I was spending time with J. instead.

    Then, J. got a job in DC and announced he was moving.  Realizing that the soon-to-be distance between us effectively ruled out a relationship (I did the long-distance thing once and got burned), I think it gave me mental permission to simply enjoy J. for who he was and go with the flow.  One thing led to another, we kissed one night, and by the time he moved, we were sleeping together.  This is very uncharacteristic behavior for me, by the way; I've had very few sexual partners, and they've all been in the context of relationships.  In the back of my mind, I knew that introducing a physical aspect to the relationship might be a bad idea as it would make things more complicated, but figured the relationship would run its course and I should stop analyzing (I tend to over-analyze, big time) and enjoy a summer fling.

    That was in September.  Since then, I've kept my mind open to dating and, indeed, have dated other men (none of them went anywhere, though).   Meanwhile, J. and I have kept in touch and visited each other a few times.  The physical stuff has continued and gotten better and better.  We've become more affectionate and involved in each others' lives, even from a distance.  A few months ago we had a talk, which I initiated, about what exactly we were "doing."  I explained that while I cared about him, I didn't think it was fair to either of us to act as though we were in a committed relationship. I wanted him to know that he shouldn't feel held back by me - if he met a great girl in DC that he wanted to date, he should go for it - no harm, no foul.  I was very open about the fact that I'd gone on a couple of dates, too.  He seemed comfortable with that.  I figured that since we saw each other so infrequently anyway, plus we were keeping open minds, there was no harm in it.

    Lately, though, J. has gotten much more attached.  He told me that I mean the world to him.  He wants us to see each other monthly.  He talks about his long-term plans and I seem to be included in them.  While I find this incredibly sweet (because he is a lovely guy), I'm still not convinced we're actually right for each other.  If he lived in Boston and we saw each other regularly, I'm not sure our relationship would have lasted this long.  He met my parents (who know that he's more than a friend), and it didn't go that well.  While I know that my purpose in life is not to please my parents, seeing J. in the context of my family brought home to me that I'm really not sure we have a viable future together.  After all, my instinct initially was that we should just be friends.  And yet, our  physical chemistry is so good and we laugh so much together, I'm second-guessing myself. 

    The problem is, how do I say this to him?  It seems so cruel to tell him that I just think we should stop the visits, because we clearly enjoy spending time together.  On the other hand, I don't like the thought of us investing time, energy and money flying back and forth when I'm having doubts about how compatible we truly are.  In any case,  I'm not comfortable knowing that we seem to be on different footing, with him more invested than I am, when I thought I had taken pains to make sure we were just taking things one day at a time.  How should I say this to him without sounding flippant?

    I'd really appreciate your thoughts.  Thanks!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from SlimPickensII. Show SlimPickensII's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    What's the deal with your parents?  Why would they not like a serious, reserved guy who's crazy about their daughter?  You worry about compatibility, then rattle off a long list of compatible things.  The only sour notes are the parents. 

    I guess that doesn't matter if neither one of you plan on relocating.  You don't sound like you're ready to settle down, and the parents are a distraction.  You're still young so it's perfectly normal to put it off.  I'd stop the visits immediately (for his benefit, otherwise I'd say have fun as long as it's still fun),  and the calls and emails will gradually taper away.  As for how to say it, you said it just fine in your post. 

    If you send this over to love letters you'll get about 500 responses in 30 minutes.  One or two of the replies will even be about your dilemma. (The rest will be a bunch of  useless gibberish).
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    mezzo, I think your compatibility concern is a red herring.  The real problems are distance and your parents' reaction. 

    Distance can be overcome for "the one."  Parents, while well meaning, have their own baggage and whatever that color their views.

    If you remove distance and your folks from your thinking, what are you left with for feelings?  Journal it; it will be clearer to you.  In fact, didn't just writing your post help clarify things for you even a bit? 

    I can't give you any concrete advice other than that because only YOU can dertermine if the compatibility concerns are, in fact, deal breakers.  Every guy has problems and drawbacks.  Not every guy has issues that are deal breakers for you.  Sorting out the difference with each relationship is the key to long term success.

    About what to tell J, tell him the truth.  Pour it all out.  If he's thinking you're the one for him, he'll be happy you trusted him enough to share your innermost concerns and fears.  If it pushes him away, you have your answer easier than you thought.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    Don't let past experiences with long distance relationships taint the good thing you have. Keep doing what you are doing: enjoy it for what it is and don't worry so much about where it's going.
    You're not psychic and over-thinking it won't do any good. Sometimes long distance can work, especially if the distance is temporary. It's not ideal, but it's not always a death knell.

    If you do want to share your feelings with him, just tell him the truth: you're scared. You're afraid of getting too emotionally invested in a relationship that might not work out. And really, who isn't?
    The only way you're going to find out if you're truly compatible is if you invest yourself emotionally and spend the time flying back and forth. Him, too.

    It's cliche, but it's better to have loved and lost than to live your life wondering "What if he was the one and I just didn't give it a chance?"

    the issues you cited aren't ones I'd consider deal-breakers. your parents might warm up to him once they get to know him better. Or, as Slim pointed out, they may ultimately accept him because he loves you and makes you happy.

    and it sounds like he does make you happy, and it sounds like you make him happy. So just keep at it. Maybe one day you'll fidn you don't make each other happy anymore and it will end, or maybe you'll keep making each other happy for the rest of your lives.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from reindeergirl. Show reindeergirl's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    Why are you leading on this man?

    And why are you such a Momma's Girl at age 27?

    Read today's LL about the male version of you.

    And Slim - Mere has given her permission for us to go off topic.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from mezzogal1124. Show mezzogal1124's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    Slim, that's exactly why I didn't send this to Love Letters! :-)

    Kar, the journaling suggestion is a good one and, yes, writing my initial post was helpful in and of itself.  Still, I'm having difficulty clarifying exactly how I feel because I think our physical chemistry and the things we have in common (like our sense of humor) might be clouding my judgment a bit.  Of course, laughter and sex are very important aspects of a relationship, but they're not everything. 

    Update from this morning: J. booked a flight today to visit me again in a few weeks.  He told me he can't wait to see me.  When I saw that message, I felt a twinge of guilt.  I'm going to have a talk with him about how I'm feeling when he visits next, and I'll see what happens.  Right now, honestly, I'd feel UNcomfortable not saying anything and just continuing on, so I know that's what I have to do.

    And Pink, I completely understand and agree with you about not letting the past taint what I currently have.  I guess a major source of my anxiety, though, is that with the long distance relationship I had previously, I went into that MUCH more sure of and confident about my compatibility with that guy.  Even then, it didn't end well.  So my trepidation comes from the fact that I am really not sure about J., and therefore the idea of long distance just seems that much more unappealing and dangerous. You're right, though - it is better to have loved than to wonder if this guy was the one.  I hope my discussion with J. next month will help me see whether this might be the case.


     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from mezzogal1124. Show mezzogal1124's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    In Response to Re: Advice, please:
    Why are you leading on this man? And why are you such a Momma's Girl at age 27? Read today's LL about the male version of you. And Slim - Mere has given her permission for us to go off topic.
    Posted by reindeergirl


    I'm not leading him on.  I've been honest with him at every step.

    Also, the comparison between the guy described in today's LL and me is erroneous.  You might consider re-reading my post - I never said that I was depending on my parents' judgement.  What I said was that, observing the situation, the visit had not gone well from MY prerogative (not my parents') because I had trouble imagining J. truly fitting in with my family in the future.  It's not being a mamma's girl, it was an honest reaction to the situation.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    No, you're not leading him on.  Like Pink said, every relationship has an exploratory nature to it until you get married or break up.  All you can do is what you ARE doing, and that is be open and honest with yourself and him.

    If the absolute very first thing you felt, gut reaction, to his visiting is guilt I think you might have your answer.  Of course, if that was actually secondary (even if momentarily) to a tingly excitement at the thought of seeing him in person, again, you also have your answer. 

    Like Pink said, don't overthink it.  What you are going through is normal.  Breakups happen, and people move on so don't be SO afraid of it that you sabotage yourself.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    Hiya Mezzgal,
    My take on your situation is that you may feel that your feelings have "topped out" for now, and that you're still not feelin' it the way he is.  You're uncomfortable because something, something you can't pin point or define, which is partly from your gut or intuition, call it what you like, is telling you he's not the one.  Having a physical relationship with him at this point is going to start to make you feel very empty, so you're going to have to decide one way or the other.  You both have to be in it 100 percent, which isn't to say there's any commitment, but you both have to agree that you're exclusive and you're going to make your relationship a priority and see how it goes.  If you cannot do that, then you need to end it.  What do you say?  The truth.  It almost sounds like that old cliche "it's not you, it's me" but that is what it sounds like.

    If he's as nice as you describe, he deserves to be with someone who really wants to be with him, so even if you hurt him, he will recover and move on.  Just be sure that if you throw him back in the water, you won't have any regrets.   If you end it, there should be no contact, no friendship, nothing.  Don't try to be friends, it won't work.  And don't end it thinking you can always get him back ... he deserves your respect.  You and he have been in limbo long enough, don't prolong it.  So far, you have been honest, but if you continue seeing him it will be under false pretenses, and that will just be setting him up to be even more hurt. 

    So are you willing to give him up?   Or give it your all?    Good luck. 
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    Okay, I just wanted to make sure this isn't a case of self-fulfilling prophecy. I was feeling like you were dooming yourselves before you really had a chance to start.

    And remember, compatibility isn't an exact science. It's important to have some separate hobbies and interests. Sometimes you need a little break, even in the happiest relationships. For example: I love sci fi and also old movies. DH doesn't. Sometimes he'll sit through them for me, but for the most part I get together with my friends or family  who like them and we drink wine, eat popcorn and enjoy the show!

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bubs06. Show Bubs06's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    In Response to Re: Advice, please:
    Hiya Mezzgal, My take on your situation is that you may feel that your feelings have "topped out" for now, and that you're still not feelin' it the way he is.  You're uncomfortable because something, something you can't pin point or define, which is partly from your gut or intuition, call it what you like, is telling you he's not the one.  Having a physical relationship with him at this point is going to start to make you feel very empty, so you're going to have to decide one way or the other.  You both have to be in it 100 percent, which isn't to say there's any commitment, but you both have to agree that you're exclusive and you're going to make your relationship a priority and see how it goes.  If you cannot do that, then you need to end it.  What do you say?  The truth.  It almost sounds like that old cliche "it's not you, it's me" but that is what it sounds like. If he's as nice as you describe, he deserves to be with someone who really wants to be with him, so even if you hurt him, he will recover and move on.  Just be sure that if you throw him back in the water, you won't have any regrets.   If you end it, there should be no contact, no friendship, nothing.  Don't try to be friends, it won't work.  And don't end it thinking you can always get him back ... he deserves your respect.  You and he have been in limbo long enough, don't prolong it.  So far, you have been honest, but if you continue seeing him it will be under false pretenses, and that will just be setting him up to be even more hurt.  So are you willing to give him up?   Or give it your all?    Good luck. 
    Posted by yogafriend

    Cut and print this one as it is stellar and dead on advice. Call him up, cancel the flight and move on or go all in as noted here. 

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from JEnvie. Show JEnvie's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    listen to bubs, he has the knack of seeing through all the bs and hitting the nail on the head

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    I agree, this is the fork in the road of this relationship.  The distance and trip forces  a decision to be made now if you're all in (meaning you're willing to give the long distance relationship a REAL try) or it's a no go.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bubs06. Show Bubs06's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    In Response to Re: Advice, please:
    listen to bubs, he has the knack of seeing through all the bs and hitting the nail on the head
    Posted by JEnvie


    Well, as a guy I prefer to know the truth rather than linger in doubt or, worse, from someone else. There is a point when you realize that good intentions have potholes and it is best to just spare the drama and move on.

    Nice to see you J.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from ariesgirl. Show ariesgirl's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    Ok Bubs, now that we are in that same crossroads in our relationship, fly the hell down here or cut me loose!  ;)
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    You have an honest, sweet guy who is totally into you. And you have tons in common. You are 27 and in no rush. I say go w/ it.  If the distance is going to kill it, it's going to kill it. 

    If you are that worried about the age difference [it's 3 freaking years! I'm 2 years older than my husband.  My  grandmother was 5 years older than my grandfather], the fact that he's shorter than you are, and what your parents think, then maybe you shouldn't date at all. Those are really dumb reasons to break up w/ someone. 

    Get rid of whatever notion of 'the perfect guy' you have in your head.  Sounds like you've met him already.  So what if he's a little more serious and conservative than you are?  Do you want to date yourself? Your ideal guy sounds like a clone of yourself, quite honestly. 

    With long distance relationships, it's perfectly fine to put time limits on them from the get go - ie, we'll give it six months and see if we feel more strongly then. That's when you need to consider either moving or him moving back. If not, then end it then. You may surprise yourself. 

    BTW, DC is a great place to live and there are way more jobs than in Boston.  I moved to DC 7 months ago. ;-) 
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from mezzogal1124. Show mezzogal1124's posts

    Re: Advice, please

    In Response to Re: Advice, please:
    If you are that worried about the age difference [it's 3 freaking years! I'm 2 years older than my husband.  My  grandmother was 5 years older than my grandfather], the fact that he's shorter than you are, and what your parents think, then maybe you shouldn't date at all. Those are really dumb reasons to break up w/ someone.  
    Posted by ALF72


    I agree - those ARE dumb reasons to break up with someone.  If I was unclear in my post, I apologize, but I was trying to say about the age/height was that I was intially a little concerned about them, and that they colored my initial perception of him as a potential boyfriend. Those are not factors in my dilemma now.  Now it's about personality. 

    Of course I don't want to date a clone of myself, and again, I'm sorry if it came across that way because it's definitely not the case.  Having said that, I think it's only natural, honestly, to picture yourself with someone who has a similar level of outgoing-ness as you, because it does affect things.  It's harder to gauge that when distance is involved and I guess I feel somewhat guilty investing the time, energy, emotion, money over someone about whom I'm feeling a bit ambivalent.  

    Thank you for the advice.  You make great points and I certainly have a lot of mulling over to do.
     

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