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Is there any reason to stay?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 10, 2010 09:18 AM

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A "Mortified" ticket winner was chosen. I sent the entries to one of the "Mortified" producers and let her pick her favorite. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Reading yesterday's comments I was thinking … remember empathy. I'm not scolding, and tough love is welcomed on Love Letters … just make it tough and helpful love.

I think "Tough and Helpful Love" will be the first single on the first Love Letters album. Second album: "Grilled Cheese: The Remixes."

This one is obvious, but talk her through it. Again, empathy. Remember that it's not so easy when you're the one in the middle of it.

Q: I have been with my current boyfriend for over a year now. We just went through a really nasty break-up and then decided to give it one more try. I fought so hard to try to have us make it work, and now I am just wondering if I am just scared to be alone.

This relationship has been a tumultuous one. I ended a three year relationship to start seeing him, and we also have an 11 year age difference (I am 24, he is 35). He is also still married, but in the middle of getting a divorce. Without getting into too many details, the marriage ended because he doesn't want a family. I do. It's hard to feel like this doesn't automatically doom us. He has made it clear that right now, he does not want kids, and while that may change in the future, he would only want one. This is an area I am not willing to compromise in. I know I want a big family. I know I would never be fulfilled in life if I didn't. He let me know his wishes from the beginning and I jumped in knowing this and accepting that the relationship may end because of it. He did the same knowing what I want as well.

There have been lots of other problems. The first month of our relationship was basically him figuring out if he wanted to be with me or with another girl he started seeing when he and his ex separated. Then it was about remaining friends with her, which I was very against. I never made him choose between us, but he knew how much it bothered me. He finally realized that she wasn't worth it and was wasting his time, and tried to make it work with me. There were a couple other incidents involving his ex that he blamed on his guilt over how things ended, which I understood because there is a lot more to that story. We fight constantly and constantly get caught up in past events that make us not trust each other. We are trying really hard to gain that trust back.

When things are good, they are amazing. We get along perfectly, we have the same sense of humor, and he is the first person who will tell me I am beautiful, and I really believe he means it. We have so much in common -- way more than I have had with anyone else I dated. So I guess my question is -- am I wasting my time? We fight so often that it makes me wonder if this is all worth fighting for anymore, and that we are just too different.

I know how clear cut this sounds, but I love him very, very much. He is a very good person and his intentions are good, he has just had a lot of misfortune in his life. I have not been an angel to him either, and he still wants to try and work things out with me. I just wonder how much time I should put into this and if I am building a future with him that doesn't exist.

– Bummed in Beantown

A: BIB, just because you love a guy doesn't mean you have to stay in a relationship with him.

"He has made it clear that right now, he does not want kids, and while that may change in the future, he would only want one. This is an area I am not willing to compromise in. I know I want a big family."

I mean, there you go. The end. I didn't even have to get to the part about the fighting and the cheating. I was done before I even knew that stuff. You want different things. You're on different paths. Sorry.

Don't feel like you've wasted time with him. It has been a tremendous learning experience, and you get to walk away feeling beautiful.

You're scared to be alone and to let go of someone who cares about you. That's pretty normal. But now is the time to start looking for someone who shares your goals. You sound ready for the next step. You might be more ready than he is, so this break-up might have to come from you.

Readers? Is there any reason for her to stay? Any words of wisdom about letting go? What does her age have to do with her problem? Think he'll change his mind about family if she decides to leave? 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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