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Will he really break up with his girlfriend?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  January 24, 2009 04:54 PM

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Happy Monday. Today's letter comes from a nameless person in Boston. Let's tell her what's what.

Q: I am in an interesting situation. A year ago I moved from Boston back to my home state with my boyfriend to pursue another job opportunity and to live closer to my family. Upon starting my new job, I quickly became best friends and fell in love with a co-worker.

The situation was sticky. I was living with my boyfriend who relocated for me, and my co-worker was in a 10 year relationship (no engagement, no marriage). Eventually after a few months I decided to move back to the Boston area because I thought he was not ready to walk away from his current girlfriend and I didn't want to pressure him into anything.

Nine months have past since I returned to Boston. My old-coworker and I still keep in touch on a daily basis. Last month we decided we were going to be together. He's going to move out of his house with his ex-girlfriend and I'm going to move out of my place I currently share with my ex-boyfriend.

My question is - is this smart? I'm nervous because he has been in a 10 year relationship (he broke up with her at the time we fell in love but they still live together since they both pay the mortgage), but at the same time we fought the desire to be together for a year and nothing has stopped us from contacting each other. I love him with all of my heart, but I'm afraid I may be setting myself up for failure. Thoughts?

Anonymous, Boston

A: Anonymous,
I don’t know that I’d call your situation “interesting.” I’d call it inconsiderate.

You’re plotting to commit to a guy who's supposed to be committed to someone else (and I don’t buy the mortgage excuse for why he has stayed with his girlfriend – that’s why roommates were invented).

Your letter makes it clear that your own boyfriend (or is he an ex already?) is a plan B – someone to keep around just in case the guy you really like doesn’t come through.

Are you setting yourself up for failure if you move in with Mr. Co-Worker? Probably. His track record shows he’s fond of escape plans and not following through.

Are you setting yourself up for failure if you stay with your (ex) boyfriend? Probably. Sounds like you don't love him at all.

I know this is easier said than done, but perhaps it’s time to give up on both guys. See if you can be single, for real, and maybe you’ll find someone who’s really single.

Readers? Want to let loose with some tough love? Or do you disagree? Share, please.

- Meredith

Want to help another lovelorn reader? Try this problem.

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34 comments so far...
  1. OK, let me get this straight: this guy has been in a 10 year relationship and has not actually fully committed to his current (and future ex) girlfriend? RED FLAG # 1. And this guy was ready and willing to tank a 10 year shared history with another person just to be with you? RED FLAG #2. And he claims that he only stayed with her because of the mortgage? RED FLAG # 3.

    This guy has made no attempt in 10 years to make his current relationship a “forever” thing. Sharing a mortgage is in no way any sign that he is committed to the woman. 10 years is a lot of Christmases, family events, joys, sorrows, SHARED lives – and all of that means nothing to this guy? He’s going to tank it all. In other words, it means nothing to him…which means all the things you two would share in your future lives would also….mean nothing to him. Staying with someone you don’t love because of “insert lame excuse here” basically means that a) you don’t want to be on your own and b) you’re just hanging out until your current one can be replaced.

    Look for him to leave you in about 10 years when he falls in love with another co-worker. Trust me, loving him with your whole heart won’t change him any more than loving your Dodge with all your heart will change it into a Lamborghini. With guys like that, there is no “One Who Will Capture His Wayward Heart and Induce Him To Fall In Love Forever.” That stuff only happens in romance novels.

    If you are unhappy with your current boyfriend, end the relationship, but stop leading your current (or soon to be ex) on as if everything is fine and dandy.

    Posted by Anonymous January 26, 09 11:52 AM
  1. I agree with Meredith.

    1. Obviously you're done with the boyfriend so extricate yourself from that right away. In the letter it says "ex-boyfriend" but you're still living with him? That's creepy. There is no reason for that - rents/mortgages/etc. can be worked out without you two living together.

    2. Apply what I said about your living situation to co-worker's. Other than that this seems like one of those you never know situations. It could work out great or not. The real problem is you seem to be basing your decisions off of these guys. You need to do what is best for you and not worry abou t them until after.

    Posted by pomgreen January 26, 09 12:38 PM
  1. Heard the exact same garbage over and over in my life and my advice would be the same as the advice given except I don't know that I would have been as nice as she was.

    Dated a girl living with her "boyfriend" paying a mortgage together in 1994. No ring no love but there was a lot of guilt. Great sex so it was fun but in the end I was alone and she is in a bogus relationship.

    "spent time" with a married woman that had 2 young kids and shared a home with her husband. No love in the relationship since she was with me mornings before work (5 or 6am) and after work till as late as 11pm and then weekends as well and even have the pictures and videos to prove it. The sex was OK and I was basically using her till "something better came along". In the meantime she wanted a commitment from me so that she could leave her family behind. Obviously I told her to take a hike since you leave because you have the strength and integrity to do so not because some guy or girl is substituting for what you leave behind. Those people are weak and needy and will cheat again. I have moved on and had a great time eventually meeting the love of my life and got married and have a beautiful child.

    Posted by sportsclub la cheater in boston January 26, 09 12:46 PM
  1. With all due respect, if you even have to ask this question, you may want to go talk to a professional. I'd be more blunt, but I am afraid I'd get censored/removed. But let me say this - how about using some common sense?

    Posted by Jon January 26, 09 12:46 PM
  1. What happened to being closer to your family? You quit your new job and moved back to Boston to give space to a guy you're not even in a relationship with?

    This guy will NEVER marry you and will likely leave you in a few years when something better/more exciting comes along. As long as you're OK with that, I'd say go for it. You'll be doing both you ex-es a big favor.

    Posted by LuckyK January 26, 09 12:58 PM
  1. Amature hour. At this point you're an habitual cheater. When you finally get the "Guy", the chase and luster is over. Go be single, date your brains out and leave OPP alone.

    Posted by de bergerac January 26, 09 12:58 PM
  1. Doesn't sound like a match made in heaven to me, but I think you two are meant for each other. You're both rather pathetic. I wish your exes all the best.

    Posted by Mark Gallagher January 26, 09 01:05 PM
  1. Let's see if I have this straight:
    - she moved from Boston to "home" with live in BF for new job & family
    - she quickly "fell in love" with a co-worker
    - she moved BACK to Boston after "a few months" to get away from new BF

    She must be kidding. She's moves back and forth on a whim, dragging along an unsuspecting BF she couldn't care less about, and her biggest concern is will the new BF leave his GF?

    Yet more evidence that women can be at least as sleazy as the men they complain about.

    Posted by Fred January 26, 09 01:06 PM
  1. Meredith is being kind when she calls you "inconsiderate." You and your co-worker/lover are opportunists, liars and cheats, and calling it anything less is itself yet another lie. I don't mean to sound harsh, and I do truly understand that true love does not always come in a convenient package at a convenient time, but you need to take a hard look at whether your behavior is the type of conduct to build a relationship on.There are so many red flags in this situation that it's hard to envision a scenario in which this could work out.

    Once a cheater, always a cheater. If your co-worker/lover will cheat on his girlfriend of 10 years and a mortgage, he will do it to you. And that applies to you as well as to him. Each of you has been living with another while you were in love (and making love?) with each other. Were you having sex with your live-in during that time? Somehow I doubt that you co-worker/lover was sharing only a house with his live-in! It is hard to trust someone when you've watched them lie to someone else (even for you). It is hard to build an honest and committed relationship on the foundation of old lies. So the first step is to *stop lying* and end things with the ex and move on/out. You have hung onto your boyfriend as a Plan B in case your true love doesn't work out. He relocated twice for you, and he deserves better. How would you like to be seen as the consolation prize? Bouncing from man to man is the surest way to wind up alone. You need to be by yourself for a while.

    You and your co-worker/lover sound like the type who only wants what they can't have (been there!). Test it. Each of should move out on your own. Once both of you are free and available, I bet the feelings change.

    Posted by Nancy G January 26, 09 01:23 PM
  1. There is one simple line that comes to mind when i read your letter.

    "Never leave the one you love for the one you like, because the one you like will leave you for the one they love."

    Leave both. Be on your own. Be single. It's never a good idea to date at work anyway.

    Posted by Geoff January 26, 09 01:35 PM
  1. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt. I assume you have tried to make things better with your current boyfreind as you are still with him. He has probably not responded and therefore you decided to be with someone else now that makes you happier. Go for it if you want to be happy. But if you have not tried to improve things with your current boyfriend and you were just stringing him along so you would not be alone ( and he sounds comitted), then you will get what you deserve if you leave him. Real loneliness.

    Posted by mshaw11 January 26, 09 01:36 PM
  1. I agreed with Meredith before I even read her answer. Give up both guys. For lots of reasons.

    Posted by AreYouKidding January 26, 09 01:59 PM
  1. I have had some similiar experience in this situation. I was with someone for 6 years on and off, then a much younger girl came along and latched on to my boyfriend at the time. I have asked him to stop numerous times and to cut her off, he couldn't do it because he didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Needless to say, it caused so much stress in the relationship and the other girl completely ruined our relationship. He didn't stop her at all, he just allowed things to fall through. He waited too long to fix things, by then it was already too late. So I can certainly imagine what the woman who was with someone for 10 years felt and her being screwed out of the whole thing because he "suddenly" found another woman. As a woman speaking from experience, I would tell this author to run in the other direction because she will get hurt just like that woman who was in a 10 year relationship. I guess the saying is true, what comes around goes around.

    Posted by Sandra January 26, 09 02:35 PM
  1. Regardless of what happens with your former coworker, you should definitely move out of the apartment you share with your ex-boyfriend. You were right to end the relationship with him, and continuing to live with him puts you both at risk.

    As far as dating your former co-worker, I would say to take it slowly. Absolutely wait to get involved until you are sure his ex-girlfriend is no longer part of his life -- not just his romantic life, but his household as well. Then, if you are the kind of person who can hold something back in a new relationship, go ahead, but proceed with caution. What do you know about his last relationship? What kind of person is his ex-girlfriend, and what would she say about him? We all know of loveless relationships that continue for years for whatever reason (and we don't know how long his relationship was bad for); sometimes the relationships end and both sides move on to find new and better love. And, sometimes there are relationships in which men who refuse to commit to girlfriends they don't love, and instead of doing the harder thing and ending the relationship, they cheat. I hope you can figure out what went on in your former coworker's relationship without being blinded by love, so that you know what kind of man you could end up with.

    Posted by Katie January 26, 09 03:28 PM
  1. You need to give up both guys and not date until you can treat yourself and others with some respect. Stop using other people. It's mean and gross.

    Posted by AG January 26, 09 04:10 PM
  1. Set both of these guys free & grow up before you get involved with someone else.

    Posted by Jennie January 26, 09 05:07 PM
  1. Lets see. You were "living with (your) boyfriend who relocated for me." Then you "fell in love" with a co-worker, and didn't consummate it only because "he was not ready to walk away from his current girlfriend."

    As usual, I don't agree with Ms. Goldstein because she takes a sexist approach to her responses. If you were a guy, you'd be roasted alive.

    You're not inconsiderate. You're someone who emotionally cheated on a guy who dropped his life for you, didn't see a moral problem with cheating physically on him, and now your only worry is that moving in with your new boyfriend is "setting you up for failure."

    Both of these guys deserve a LOT better than you. Fix why you are so into yourself, because you're not inconsiderate - you're narcissistic and amoral. After that, maybe you can get into a relationship that doesn't set you up for failure, because the reason you're failing is YOU.

    Posted by observer12 January 26, 09 05:37 PM
  1. Oh, and one other thing.

    Despite the immense tarring that comes with it (usually by women), all cheating really indicates is that some major need of the partner that's cheating isn't being met by their current relationship. Cheating is an incredibly immature and selfish way to "fix" that, but in this case that's less important than something else.

    It's not just the selfishness and narcissistic tendencies of Anonymous that presents a problem; its that she hasn't figured out what exactly is so wonderful about the grass on the other side being greener. That means every relationship she's in is doomed to failure until she figures out exactly what those needs are that neither of these two guys meet, since that's what makes serial cheaters cheat. She'd best get some professional help.

    Posted by observer12 January 26, 09 06:07 PM
  1. You're a narcissist, liar and cheater. I hope you leave your current boyfriend (for his sake) and that the new guy dumps you soon after. You don't deserve anyone.

    This chick proves yet again that women are like monkeys. They can't let go of one branch until they have firm grasp of another. How pathetic.

    Posted by CJ January 26, 09 07:34 PM
  1. Stay with your loyal boyfriend who moved for you. The grass will not be greener on the other side in time. Learn to appreciate his good qualities, which you'll miss eventually.

    Posted by egrd January 26, 09 08:52 PM
  1. I do not know your age but your maturity needs time to develop. Come backpacking on your own to Australia, you will open your mind and meet many new friends, from around the world of all sorts of age. Brisbane QLD is a good place to start, you can even work here for 3-6months if you wish, mostly fruit picking etc. Work your way north in Queensland, some say it's paradise.
    If someone is in love with you or you with them it will endure.

    Posted by Saloplad. Peter Wignall January 26, 09 08:59 PM
  1. You are an idiot and a loose cannon....a butterfly at best....go with your old/new lover....you both deserve the worse.....OK??

    Posted by GUNGHOGUY January 26, 09 09:47 PM
  1. I am really amazed that somebody could muster this mess into the form of a question for discussion. Just when I think we are moving forward and gaining a little more common sense and human decency someone has to go and give humans a bad name.
    Thanks for sharing :#

    Posted by Snydley January 26, 09 09:53 PM
  1. Good example here of why certain women should not live with their BFs before engagement/marriage. This is kiddie stuff, high school BS, except now complicated by mortgages and rental contracts. "Living together" keeps people in bad situations they would otherwise walk away from in a heartbeat.

    Posted by lilmonkeybean January 27, 09 12:38 PM
  1. I was on the receiving end of this and I'll tell you it sucks. I gave up my lease to be with a guy who decided he was still in love with his ex. His "I'm so confused" routine was nothing but emotional abuse.

    You're addicted to the drama. End it with both of them and grow up.

    Posted by LH January 27, 09 01:22 PM

    Posted by Anonymous January 27, 09 01:25 PM
  1. Are you serious? Really?

    You are too selfish to be in any relationship.

    Posted by therealdeal January 27, 09 01:39 PM
  1. This is a classic case of one of these women who can't be alone for five minutes. I like your original advice Meredith.. Live on your on for awhile....You would think this is self explanitory for anyone with half a brain.

    Posted by Josh January 27, 09 01:47 PM
  1. Face facts, toots...if he never married after 10 years, you will not be the one to take him to the altar. I agree with the others here, you need to stop fleeting around, get out of both relationships and learn how to love yourself first. The right one will come around and there will be no drama...

    Posted by anonymous in weymouth January 27, 09 05:59 PM
  1. Wow...I'm on the receiving end of a "situation" like this.....Old flame comes back, married and he decides I should "understand". They are a match made in heaven or hell perhaps. I'm sure when you and your soon to be new boyfriend get together it will be a blissful union with all the love, trust, and respect. Oh, but when he has to work late dont bother thinking he may have "fallen" for another co-worker. I'm sure he will first try to work out any issues the two of you may have before seeking it elsewhere. Grow up!

    Posted by Nita January 28, 09 11:39 AM
  1. well said!!!

    Posted by karma January 28, 09 01:18 PM
  1. I am guessing that observer12 is male. As a woman, I'd like to wholeheartedly second everything that he (or she) wrote. I point out my own gender because, in particular, I agree that if the letter writer was male, Meredith Goldstein's reaction would have been far less sympathetic. I hope you're just an immature kid, Anonymous, and maybe you mean well, but I gotta say the flaming you've gotten here seems perfectly deserved.

    Posted by MelissaJane February 2, 09 09:35 PM
  1. There are a lot of strong opinions here - who among these people really is perfect? I agree, the whole situation sounds sticky, and there is some inconsideration being thrown around, as well as some "taking people for granted". But that's life. And staying with someone who you don't love doesn't do anyone any favors. But who can really ignore the strong feelings they have for someone else? If you and this "new" guy shack up, you may allow yourselves to be really happy. And your ex-es may allow themselves to find partners who are crazy about them. It's all a risk, but it's better to just go with it and see what happens than for everyone to sit in the limbo of strained relationships forever.

    Posted by Vicki March 18, 09 12:45 PM
  1. I think comment #33 is the fairest. People are not perfect. Life is full of situations like this and people stay with bf's, gf's, husbands and wives they aren't in love with for many reasons. They may love them but not be in love with them. Are you supposed to let the love of your life just pass you by? Sure, there are red flags in this situation but you have one life to live and you might as well live it without regrets. Just don't stay in this situation forever it will tear you apart.

    Posted by Micky May 3, 09 05:56 PM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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