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Old guy or new guy?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  May 25, 2010 07:17 AM

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The ex vs. Mr. Interested ...

Q: I had been dating this guy for almost nine months until the relationship started going sour. I say this because he started working more (very demanding job) and paying less attention to "us." I finally had cut ties with him and ended the relationship. He was devastated and could not understand why I wanted to break up. He just plain and simple did not make time for us. I loved him to death but his effort was no longer there.

Toward the end of my relationship, I had met someone else. Someone I have been interested in for a while and who actually asked me out waaay before my ex and I even met. I turned him down when we first met because I had been seeing someone else at the time. So anyways, Mr. Interested (that's what I'll call him) shows up again in my life, like I was saying, toward the end of my relationship, and asked me out again. I had it already programmed in my head that I was going to break up with my boyfriend so I said yes. After my first date with Mr. Interested, I felt confident enough to call it quits with my boyfriend and move on to greener pastures. Or so I thought.

Everything was going great with the new guy -- gives me goose bumps, makes me smile ... the whole bit! Then my now-ex comes back into the picture and is heartbroken and says he will do anything to get me back. He has sent flowers to my work. He sends me texts begging for another chance to prove to me that he is the man for me. This is all sweet but I've heard it all before. This time, however, he seems much more sincere about it and wants to change. The wheels in my head start turning and I keep thinking, "Hmm ... I could have new guy or keep the old guy I'm pretty comfortable with."

I honestly like both. Both have qualities I love and adore. Part of me doesn't want to lose my ex because he really is a good man, my friend, and someone I never want to hurt. Mr. Interested is fun, romantic, and sweet. He is definitely someone I see myself with long term. The downfall is he is very cheap. My ex loved spending money especially on me. So, I'm not used to a cheap guy. Very sweet but very cheap.

My dilemma is I know I can't keep both but should I be looking for Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now??! I'm so confused and don't want to hurt either one. What kind of advice can you give me? I'll take anything I can get. Thank you:)

– Annalisa, Chicago


A: Annalisa, who is Mr. Right and who is Mr. Right Now? I'm pretty sure you're thinking that Mr. Right is Mr. Interested. My vote goes to Mr. Interested, so that works for me.

No one likes letting go of a loving ex, even when that loving ex was less loving by the end of the relationship. It's natural to feel awful about cutting ties, especially when the ex starts sending flowers to confuse you. But you know what you want. Mr. Interested gives you goose bumps. He respects you. He has been after you for a long time. He's your greener pasture.

For the record, I’m not so sure he's cheap. Your ex spent a lot of money on you, but he also ignored you. One seems to have something to do with the other. Wouldn't you rather have a partner who respects you and doesn't take his time with you for granted than a guy who showers you with presents? Mr. Interested seems to be pursuing a realistic relationship with the right priorities.

I believe it was the great J. Lo who once said, "Think you've got to keep me iced? You don't!" Her love didn't cost a thing. Your love should be about romance, respect, and friendship. Sounds like Mr. Interested wins in those categories.

Readers? Should she give the ex a chance or is it too late? Am I wrong about the cheap thing? Is this letter writer a liner-upper? How can someone who's used to getting presents get comfortable with a partner who doesn't shower her with gifts? 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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