Q: Hi Meredith!
I'm a big fan of your column! Been a faithful reader for quite some time now, so when I came into my “situation” I knew you and your followers were up for the task, so here goes...
I have been on a dating rampage for the past two years. I was in a long-term relationship that ended badly, and since then I have dated everyone in New England, at least it feels like that sometimes. Granted, towards the beginning of this dating charade, I admit I was not ready to be out in the general dating pool and it was more about getting over the ex. For the past year or so though I believe I turned a corner and began to be more comfortable. My dating history seems to fall into two categories, either it's a first date that doesn't turn into a second date (and I have had more of these than I can count), or it's a 2 month relationship that usually ends around the time she says something like, "I'm not looking for a commitment, I just want to know we are going somewhere..." Coincidentally, this seems to be the time I realize I'm not in it for the long haul.
That's the history. Now here's the situation. I am not a homewrecker, I don't want to be a homewrecker. But, I find myself in a position to pursue the homewrecking business.
I started a new job, and I met someone amazing at the job. She is amazing and different in all the ways my other dating escapades fell short. I get excited whenever I see her. She and I seem to have very little in common, but I am utterly comfortable when I'm with her. Everything she says fascinates me, I am totally engrossed in conversation with her, she has had life experiences I know nothing of, and I find myself longing for more. We are spending time alone together, doing date type things without calling them dates. We talk on the phone and talk on AIM late into the night. We text during the day. She has said things like, "your timing is terrible" and "where were you a few months ago?" She has made it clear that she has similar feelings, but has also made it clear that she has a boyfriend. I have told her that I respect what she has going on, and she appreciates that. Yet the communication continues.
I don't want to be an emotional affair. I want more. I also don't want to be responsible for ruining a perfectly good relationship. I am mixed. She is an adult who can make her own decisions, so part of me thinks if she is putting herself out there, it's for a reason. While part of me thinks the right thing to do is to back off and let them work it out. Plenty of great relationships have started from similar circumstances. My dad's advice...."no ring, no worries...just watch your back jack."
– To Wreck or Not To Wreck?, Boston
A: TWONTW, your dad is funny.
This woman’s relationship isn’t “perfectly good.” She’s texting you all day and IMing you all night. I throw the red flag on her relationship. Or maybe the yellow flag.
The most important thing about your letter is that you’re asking us whether you can pursue this relationship, despite the boyfriend. You seem concerned about the ethics involved in communication with her, and that's good, but I’d worry more about yourself. I’m concerned that you’re giving a lot of positive attention to someone who can’t reciprocate. I’m worried that this is all going to be for nothing.
My advice is to back off and to make sure you tell her why you’re backing off. Tell her that you want to date her (she already knows, but make it clear) and explain that you feel weird about having such an ambiguous friendship with someone who is committed to someone else. Maybe the loss of your attention will help her evaluate her current relationship – including whatever it lacks.
To be clear – my advice to back off is about your self-preservation, not the ethics of the whole thing. You’ve been respecting her boundaries. Now you need to set some of your own.
And regardless of what happens, don’t feel weird about dating so much. When we date for quantity, we wind up with a lost of first dates and two-month relationships. I’d be more concerned if you were with these people for eight months. You’re just dating. Sometimes it’s like that.
Good luck. Watch your back.
Readers? Should he back off or continue getting to know her? Is he wrecking the relationship or wrecking himself? Share.
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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.