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I fear settling for the wrong person

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 23, 2010 09:38 AM

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Here comes the rain again. Falling on my head like a memory. Falling on my head like a new emotion.

Update at 10:30 a.m.: Letter writer has e-mailed to say she's 25. No surprise there, right?. -meredith

Q: Dear Meredith,

Let me start by saying that reading your column has really given me insight into my own life. Through reading other people’s relationship problems, I think I have discovered my own.

I am not someone who has dated much in the past. Yes, there have been guys here and there, but for the most part, I have always been single. I have had plenty of suitors, and have gone on countless first and even second dates. I am a fun, outgoing, attractive person with lots of friends and a fulfilled life. It would appear that nothing would be stopping me from finding the "guy of my dreams."

So what's my problem? I am terrified of ending up with the wrong person. I am so scared in fact that I even have had dreams that I am walking down the aisle at my wedding and I suddenly panic because I realize that the person waiting for me at the end of the aisle is not the right one. This fear has propelled me to pick apart every person I have dated, and if one thing is not right for me, I jump ship.

I also want to mention that my parents are very happily married, in case you or anyone commenting may think that this fear is a result of my parents not ending up with the right people.

Do you have any advice on how I can get over this fear of ending up with the wrong person, so I can actually give the right person a chance?

– My Own Worst Enemy, Somerville

A: MOWE, you didn't tell us your age, but I'm going to guess that you're young.

If you've been reading Love Letters like you say you have, you know that people in their 20s often panic about winding up with the wrong person, while people in their 30s and beyond often freak out about winding up alone. Yes, I'm generalizing. Not everyone is the same. But at some point, most people realize that there is no guy of their dreams. They realize that even if they find someone fantastic, it won't feel 100 percent right all the time. It will just feel good.

The fact that you have "countless suitors" is part of the problem. I'm all for people having options, but sometimes it's difficult to commit to one person when you know there might be someone better around the corner. My guess is that if your options dwindle, you'll take a closer look at each and every one of those suitors.

My advice is to keep doing what you're doing. Trust your gut. If you don't want a third date with someone, that's fine. I don't care if everyone you know is getting married. You have to do what feels right for you. At some point, you'll want more from someone, whether it's because you're lonely, bored, or because you meet someone you don't want to give up. Most likely, it will be about you. Often, we commit to relationships based on what's going on in our own heads, not because we've met someone who's better than everyone else.

And don't worry about the wedding dream. Sometimes I dream that my teeth have fallen out. Sometimes I dream that I'm trying to interview Justin Timberlake for the Globe but I can't find a pen to take notes (I've had that dream a few times). Dreams are just dreams. I keep five pens in my purse. If I ever need one in real life, I'll be ready. So will you, if that makes sense.

Readers? Is there a problem here? Should she be going on more third dates? What's up with her nightmare? Anyone have relationship dreams/nightmares they want to share? Are the "countless suitors" the problem? Discuss.

– Meredith


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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.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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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