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Do I want to be with either of them?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 15, 2011 07:13 AM

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Lots of letters from the wishy-washy this week.

And she didn't tell me what city or state she's from, so let's say .... Bangor, Maine. Seems like it'd be a nice day up there.


Q: I'm 27 years old and dated someone for over 10 years. He was my one and only -- up until eight months ago. He decided to take a chance and move to another state for an opportunity that he said would better our future. He left me behind and I never saw it coming. I decided it was best to let it go.

I met a younger guy, "Jake," at work and he helped me through the separation. Right before my eyes I realized I fell for him. He gave me attention and made me feel really good. He was there for me.

So I decided to break things off with my ex, but I never quite "cut the cord." We still called each other to say hi, went out for dinner, but that was pretty much it. The years that he and I had were nice. He was never abusive. We did everything together. He became my best friend so I couldn't see myself cutting him off completely.

My ex has returned and wants to get back together. Meanwhile, I no longer work at my last job. I thought it was healthy for me not to see Jake for a while, but he also stuck around as a friend. Having two great people in my life has made me very confused. Jake fell for me completely; he wanted a commitment or at least an understanding of where he stood in my life. I've told him that I do talk to my ex and that he wants to get back together. I even confessed to my ex about Jake and he still wants to work it out. All of this makes it hard for me to know what it is that I truly want.

I always told Jake that I didn't expect him to wait around for me, and that if he found a place in his heart to be able to move on with someone else to let me know. I wouldn't want to be sexually active with him knowing he was out doing his own thing. Recently I think he has, and I'm hurt. I think he's been seeing other people for a while but he still says he doesn't want to lose me as his friend and he can accept that he and I will never get anywhere other than that. I really fell for him, but I feel I needed more time to sort things out, especially because my ex reentered the picture. But I had a great connection with Jake the time that we had together was amazing, fun, memorable, and hard to let go!!!

Do you think I should cut the cord with my ex or try working it out? Should I forget the rest and stick with Jake? Or should I scratch both and not be afraid of what the future may hold for me????

– What should I do?


A: WSID, you said your time with your ex was "nice." But you describe Jake as "amazing, fun, memorable, and hard to let go!!!" Count those exclamation points. There are three of them. That's how much you like Jake right now.

You dated the ex from 17 to 27, which means that you grew up with him. This is like separating from a family member. But don't confuse those feelings of loss with feelings of regret. I'm not sure what opportunity he bailed on you to go pursue, but whatever it was, it's not the reason you broke up. There was more to it. Otherwise he wouldn't have gone and you wouldn't have decided to let go.

I understand why you gave yourself some space from Jake -- your feelings (and this letter) are pretty confusing – but if you want him for yourself, you have to do something about it. And you certainly can't be vague with him about what you want. If you have feelings for him that you hope to pursue, tell him. Maybe it's not too late.

Then tell your ex that you need to sever ties for a bit. You don’t want to lose him as a presence in your life, but you don't want to get back together. The end. No need to string him along.

You're not choosing between the ex and Jake. Really, you're done with the ex. You're just unsure about taking a risk with Jake. And really, what is there to lose? Find out whether he's seeing anyone seriously, and if not, take him out. See how it feels.

Readers? This is the second day in a row I've told the LW to pursue what's behind Door No. 2. Am I right? Does she still have feelings for the ex? Should she be friends with the ex? What's stopping her from being with Jake? Is this when she should have alone time? 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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