Q: I recently began dating a smart and gorgeous girl who treats me exceptionally well. I like to think of her as the one that came along and rescued me from a Charlie-Sheen-like lifestyle that consisted of hard partying with relationships not lasting more than a night. (Disclaimer: By "Charlie-sheen-like" I mean general heavy partying without the worry of consequences the next day, NOT the parts about doing drugs, sleeping with multiple porn stars, and having abusive relationships.)
When we first started dating a few months back, I found her to be somewhat clingy. She required my attention almost more often than I could handle (even though I've got tiger blood and Adonis DNA). She always initiated the first step in moving ahead with our relationship, such as proclaiming to others that I was her boyfriend, making sure I met and received good grades from her girlfriends, and telling her family how awesome I was. This was a bit smothering and uncomfortable to me at first, but I stuck it out and actually started enjoying her attention. I also found myself opening up quite a bit, something I've always refused to do with anybody besides my closest friends. She's now a person I can have an amazing time with, without the need for alcohol and partying.
The problem that haunts me is this: Charlie Sheen still lurks inside me. I feel the need to sleep with other women, and more specifically, the need to do 100% of what I want to do without repercussions from anybody else in my life. I know inside that most likely I will want to start a family someday and certainly would leave Charlie behind for that, especially for a girl like this. The problem is, I don't know if he will ever leave me, at least anytime soon. Have my many years of partying as a twenty-something-making-a-lot-of-money permanently gotten the best of me and will Charlie continue to haunt me into being a single man for the rest of my life?
– Charlie Sheen's Distant Cousin, Somerville
A: Are there really only two options here, CSDC? Drunken one-night stands or a serious commitment? I'm going to suggest a happy medium -- a grown-up relationship that you take one day at a time. That's all you're capable of right now.
No matter what happens with this woman, you can't pretend that you're locking the Charlie Sheen part of you away like a criminal. You can't think of him as this little devil who's eventually going to bust out of his cage and take over. You are a collection of personality traits, impulses, habits, wants, needs, etc. The Charlie Sheen part of you is as important as the part of you that wants to be dating someone you love. You just have to figure out which part of you is screaming the loudest.
If you decide that your Charlie Sheen desires are more important than your relationship with this woman, it doesn't mean that you're a lost cause. It just means that you're not quite sick of that lifestyle -- or that you're not interested in spending your life with this specific person. And that's OK.
Really, there's some Charlie Sheen in all of us. We can't deny it. We just have to make responsible, honest decisions and do our best to treat people well while we're "winning."
Readers? How can the LW tame the inner Charlie Sheen? Is this relationship the problem? Is Charlie simply the LW's conscience? What's going on here? Discuss.
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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.