This reader is stressed out, waiting for the other shoe to drop ... or the other shoe's ex to come back ... help.
Q: I am 29 and recently started dating a guy who is 34. We went out for the first time about 9 weeks ago and really clicked, and talked often after that -- not every day but pretty much every other day. About 5 weeks ago after we went out, we amped up our conversations to once a day and now talk several times a day and see each other often and will spend nights together. Things seem to be going great but I worry I am his rebound girl.
In the "get to know you stage" we talked about our past relationships and he told me that before he met me, he was with a girl for 8 years and was engaged. After four months she called it all off and ended the relationship. Her reason was she wasn't ready and had never really dated anyone but him and wanted to live independently. They had started dating when she was 19. She told him she needed to end it and didn't think he was the one. The rub is -- she has been living in Florida the past year finishing her master's degree so it was a long distance relationship the past year but she is moving back to Mass. in a month so this breakup happened over the phone.
He told me he was crushed when she ended it and never saw it coming -- that they got along so great and he was completely shattered for weeks, they had plans to buy a house this summer and were planning a 2010 wedding and were literally best-friends. He and I met about two months after all this happened, and since that conversation we don't often talk about anything related to our past anymore. We are starting to build what I think is a great foundation for a relationship and he has told me he no longer considers himself single and neither do I.
This weekend we were out and he got a phone call from her, he said they still talk maybe once a week at most but it is nothing to do with their relationship and more of a "how are you" type of conversation. I asked if he wanted to see her when she comes back to Mass. and he said no and that he is probably going to tell her they need to stop talking for a while and let the dust settle and maybe down the line they can try to be friends. He said he has told her about me, he did date a couple of girls between her and me but nothing serious so I wasn't "Next Girl" but I am the next serious girl.
He is a great guy, has a great circle of friends, very successful at his job, honest, attractive and has a lot going for him, speaking for myself I am all those things as well which is why I think we are a great fit. I have been single for over a year. I am very fearful that when she comes back to Mass. he may want to see her or she may want to see him, I just think back to when he told me how crushed he was that she ended things (I could see it in his eyes, the pain he was reliving) and with so much history (8 years) between them two wouldn't take much for her and him to give it one more try when she is back in this area and I'd be left out.
I don't want to bring this up to him and make him think I am insecure -- and he has given me no reason to be -- but deep down inside I am worried about falling for him but I also don't want to ruin what is a great thing we have.... Aghhhhh!
-- AscaredofBeingReboundGirl, South Hadley, MA
A: I get it, ASOBRG. You're scared. You're trying to figure out what will go wrong (and when) so you can manage the outcome. The good news is, much of this is out of your hands, unless you want to bail for no reason just to feel like you’re in control.
On paper, this dude seems to dig you. He has been honest. He has been clear. His breakup was miserable and complicated.
I'm a little concerned about his pace (he was only upset for weeks? not months?), but I do think he seems fairly self-aware.
My concern isn’t the ex. It’s more that you’ve only been together for a few months and that you seem to be moving rather fast, especially in your head. You're still learning about him and what he's capable of. There will be many tests before things get really serious. How he copes with the return of his ex is just one of those tests.
Start trying to enjoy your time together -- as opposed to considering all that could go wrong. I know it's hard, but breathe a little.
And as far as rebounds go, we’re all rebounding from something, aren’t we? Every relationship follows the one before it. My dinner was my rebound from lunch.
It's nerve-wracking, but this is dating. There are no guarantees. All you can do this early in the game is cross your fingers and keep showing up.
Readers? Your thoughts? Help stop the madness. And try not to make too much fun of this woman for counting her relationship in weeks. Share opinions here. Read yesterday’s chat here. Follow my very sporadic Twitter updates here.