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Should I settle for him?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 31, 2013 08:44 AM

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Happy Halloween and Red Sox Day.

And just in case you missed yesterday's announcement: We're getting some celebrity help from Love Letters next week. If you have a letter that you'd like answered by some athletes (and me), email it to me at meregoldstein at gmail -- or submit through the form on this page -- and write SPORTS at the top of your note. Try to send by Friday morning.


Q: Hi, Meredith,

Here's my situation. I'm 37 and I've been dating a guy for three years. He's 40. Early in the relationship, I found out he was seeing another girl and me at the same time. It wasn't that big of a deal because I didn't consider us exclusive at the time. However, I later found out that he continued to see the other girl even after telling me he just wanted to date me.

Needless to say, there have been lingering trust issues in the relationship. Obviously, not good. In addition to that, we have lived together for two years, and it hasn't always been rosy. He drinks a lot, has some OCD issues, and can be pretty selfish sometimes.

Yet for some reason, I can't seem to end the relationship. I know that he's not going to change (he's even admitted it, saying, "This is me"), but I'm afraid that if I end it, I won't find anyone else I like as much. I'm not even concerned about finding someone better. I just want to make sure I don't downgrade. Leaving really scares me because I struggle to find people I even like to hang out with. I worry that I'm never going to be satisfied with anyone, and then it will be my own fault I'm alone.

I do love him. He feels like family at this point. We even have a dog. Yet I can't help feeling as though something's not right. I sometimes wish I could date someone else, someone more active, less of a drinker, and more helpful. I also feel somewhat bummed when I hear about girls getting engaged or having kids because I feel as though he ruined that fairy tale for me (keep in mind, I know relationships aren't always like the movies ... but still ...). Do I really want to marry the guy who cheated on me? Do I want to have kids with an alcoholic who may never change? But every time I try to leave, I chicken out. I realize no one's perfect, including me. So then I start to question my desire to leave. It makes me wonder if I'm being too greedy. My dream guy probably doesn't even exist.

I don't want to waste more time, seeing as how I am 37. Yet I feel stuck and afraid to act, and I'm scared of sabotaging my life. My boyfriend would have a family with me if I wanted to. How do I determine if it really is time to leave or if I'm just wanting too much?

– On the Fence, Western Mass.


A: Nobody's perfect, but that doesn't mean that you have children with a guy who who drinks too much. It's not about wanting a fairy tale; it's about wanting trust and stability.

I can't promise you that there's anyone better waiting in the wings. I certainly can't promise that you'll find someone quickly. But can you really live like this forever? You're not asking for Prince Charming, by the way. You say that you want "someone more active, less of a drinker, and more helpful." That's a pretty fair list.

If he were open to change, I might tell you to work on the relationship. But he's made it clear that what you see is what you get. And for you, that's just not good enough.

Think about what the 47-year-old version of yourself would tell you to do. Would she tell you to stay? Or would she say, "Run now -- because you're only 37!" Something tells me that she'd want you to take the leap and keep looking.

Readers? If she wants kids, should she stay with him? Is she asking for too much? Will she find someone else? Help.

– 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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