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I think about her friends

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 14, 2010 06:00 AM

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Thank you to those who entered the worst advice-"Lady With All the Answers" contest yesterday. I picked a winner last night. There are still tickets for sale. Just make sure you type LANDERS (as in Ann Landers) on the Central Square Theatre site to get a discount, and make sure you buy for the Saturday show, which is when I'll be there to say hello.

In other news, our marketing department tells me that RSVPs are rolling in for June 4. I'm excited to see you, too.

In other, other news, someone affiliated with the Red Sox (I'm not supposed to say who) is going to help me answer some letters next week to celebrate the aforementioned Love Letters/Extra Bases party. Any letter that comes to me between now and next Wednesday might wind up in the hands of this Red Sox-type person. If you want love advice from me and from someone wearing red and blue, now's the time to send. Remember when we got help from the Celtics legends? It will be something like that.

And now, meet Mitch.

Q: Meredith,

As a guy, I admittedly feel odd/weird for writing you. But so be it. I'm a 33-year-old, college-educated white male. Not exotic by any means, but pretty normal when juxtaposed with the next random guy. I married my college girlfriend at 23; heartbroken, shocked and divorced by 27. We both made mistakes -- minor and major -- so I don't blame her for my current state. (There's a reason people say you're too young to get married, but I digress.) I'm not sure what exactly it was, but that experience changed me.

Since then, I feel that I subconsciously sabotage relationships after a few years. For example, I lived with my post-divorce girlfriend (and another male roommate) for 18 months. We both had issues, but I believe I exacerbated them with my primal desire to "find something new" and unwillingness to fully commit to her. That relationship ended. After three or so years I'm now living with my current girlfriend. She's sweet, friendly, and a really great person. So why am I always looking at other women wondering, "What if?" Why am I attracted to her friends? Am I just a normal male? Or simply just selfish?

This will sound odd, but sometimes I wish I could have my sex drive reduced so I could maintain a normal, loyal relationship with my current girlfriend. To be clear, I haven't been with anyone else since we moved from dating to exclusivity, but the desire is definitely there. Am I still really this immature at 33? Or am I just addicted to the drug of "newness"?

– Mitch in Dallas


A: Mitch, this isn't about your sex drive. It's about the fact that you got married young and it didn't work out. You're over all that (as much as you can be), and now you're suffering from desire to roam and too much opportunity. More than a few women have wanted to be your girlfriend. And those women have had friends, and their friends have had friends, too. I'm not so sure I'd call this immaturity. You just flipped 23 and 33. You're out of order. And it's difficult to motivate to choose from a pack when your first choice didn't work out like you planned.

I'm sure your current girlfriend is wonderful, but I'm not so sure you can give her what she wants right now. You need to get yourself from 23 to 28 (or 26, at the very least). It's up to you to decide how strong these urges are. It's one thing to fantasize about other women. It's another to know in the back of your mind that at some point, you're going to need to act on these instincts. If you know you can't stay with this woman forever and that you need more experience, you have to tell her.

Regardless of whether you stay with her, these flighty, flirty instincts will go away eventually. I'm confident about that -- not because all wandering eyes can be cured, but because your wandering eye is a result of an ill-timed experience. At one point in your life, your instinct was to give yourself to one person. You'll want that again. Eventually, being with anyone besides your current love will seem like too much work without the right benefits. That's when you'll be ready. You just jumped into more commitment too quickly.

Readers? Is Mitch a bad guy? Am I right to say he'll work through this? Do some people have drives that make it impossible to think about just one person? Does he have to break up with his current girlfriend just because he's thinking about other people? Help Mitch on a Friday.

– 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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