Dr. Reality Steve
I am in a bit of a strange situation. It seems typical but actually is sort of complex when you get down to details.
First here’s some background. I am going to be in my third year of undergraduate college this fall. I have been dating a boy from my college for the past 6 months. Everything is good about our relationship, and I would be totally invested if it were not for my ex.
My ex and I dated for 3 years- starting junior year of high school. We did long distance for the first year of college and it worked out fine. I was very in love with him and we had a great relationship. When he broke up with me this past summer of 2016 it took me by a huge surprise. I was truly devastated and went into a depression. I was truly heartbroken. His reasoning for breaking up was that he knew that we had the potential to be together for a while, but he needed to see other people to make sure it was what he really wanted. He said it had nothing to do with his feelings for me, but that he was curious to see how he would do with other people to make sure I was the one for him. It was originally thought of as a “break.”
However, once we broke up, we never really stopped talking. We went a few weeks without communication at all, until the end of the summer we decided to meet up before we both went off to school. He goes to school outside of Baltimore. When we met up he was very emotional and crying and said he was very sad about what happened but said he still thought it was for the best. I was still devastated as I went into the school year and I was confused because he was so upset about us breaking up, yet he was the one who did it. I figured I should give him some time and space to figure out what he really wanted.
Sure enough, a few weeks into the school year went by and we slowly came back together as if nothing had happened. It was entirely mutual, and he finally admitted that he couldn’t be without me and not talk to me. We decided we were in an “open relationship”, because he still wanted to have the option to hook up with other people if it came up. I loved him so much that I would’ve done anything to make it work even if it was an open relationship. We remained this way from September – November . We spent our whole October break together and it was very normal. I was very anxious however because I was nervous about him changing his mind and getting my heart broken again. When I asked him he said he was happy with how things were at the time.
Finally thanksgiving rolls around. Things had been good up until then. He visited me at my college the weekend before thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the morning I picked him up to bring him to my college, my dog died. I was devastated. He knew how much I loved the dog and did not even say anything to me about his death. In fact, that night he ended it with me and told me we were nothing and that the last few months were a mistake. This is when I realized I needed to move on and the breakup should’ve been firm when it had
Happened months ago. I was very angry with him for breaking up with me the day my dog died when I was very vulnerable. I wish he could’ve as least waited a couple of days.
Anyways, this is when I really decided I deserved better. I went back to college after thanksgiving break and began trying to talk to people. Just before Christmas I met my current boyfriend . He is great to me and the polar opposite of my ex .
However, there are some lingering issues. Even if my ex wronged me, I can’t seem to fully get over it. I love my current boyfriend, but I also feel like I still have love for my ex and I’m not sure why. It also doesn’t help that my ex still occasionally contacts me and we even met up to catch up once a couple weeks ago. When we met up he was being just as he usually was and was even touchy. It made me even more confused. When I asked him if he ever thought about us he said yes, and when I asked if we would ever get back together he said possibly but he can’t guarantee it.
The situation gets more complex because my current boyfriend is going abroad for the entire year this upcoming year. I want to stay with him, but I am not sure if it is entirely fair for me to take a big jump in our relationship and go ultra long distance for a year when there seems to be unfinished business with my ex. It is confusing because I know my ex still has leftover feelings for me, or else he would not be communicating with me and would simply say no when asked if he thinks we would ever get back together. What should I do?
Sorry this was a very long email!
Comment: What you should do is get rid of your ex. All he’s doing is showing interest in you now because he can’t have you. The fact he even broached the topic of an “open relationship” is ridiculous. You guys are in college. Translation: I want to have sex with other women and still have it with you without you getting mad. I can’t believe you agreed to that. That was a big mistake.
This topic is actually address in today’s “He Said, She Said” episode with Amanda from Chicago. A little more serious since it was her fiancé that cancelled their wedding and basically it was because he wanted to be with other women without directly telling her. You obviously weren’t engaged to your ex so it’s a different level, but same concept. This whole “I need to see/have sex with other women just to make sure YOU’RE the one is asinine. I can’t believe guys are using that line. And worse, I can’t believe women would allow it.
By all accounts, your current boyfriend is great. But I guarantee it’s not progressing like it should because of these lingering feelings for your ex. Get rid of them. I know it’s not easy and you have a history with him, but it’s doing your current relationship no good. I would tell your ex you’ve moved on and there’s no need for you guys to be in touch anymore. For what? The longer you keep in touch with him, the more you’ll be in your head about things. You have to get him out of your life. He only cares about you now because you’re with someone else. Remove yourself from that situation as soon as possible or it’s only going to get worse for you.
I’m a 28 year old woman and have never had a long-term boyfriend. I go out and meet guys all the time, but I just really enjoy being single, and find meeting different guys to be fun. I don’t sleep around, still a virgin, I just mean I like the attention and excitement of meeting new people. This year I finally made the decision to start being more serious and maybe settle down if the right guy comes along. But actively looking for a boyfriend, or a guy to date has never been my thing (since I generally meet people a lot and always chose NOT to get serious). So I’m not worried I wont meet anyone now that I’ve decided to.
Funnily enough, just as I made the choice to start getting more serious, my parents have started asking when am I getting a boyfriend, I should be thinking about marriage soon, I am getting older, I shouldn’t be so picky etc. I know that is quite a common “talk” between parents and their kids but it just made me feel really bad, because here I am just enjoying my life and now I feel like my being single was some sort of issue this whole time. I guess I’m just pretty upset at the fact that I’m so happy with my life and how I’m living it, and this being brought up kind of made me feel like the way I am/had been living is so inadequate and dismissive. The talk just made me feel like I shouldn’t be happy, I should be concerned, like them.
Anyways, my question is, WHY do parents care so much?? How do they actually feel about their kid being single? Is it embarrassing to them? Do they think their kid is unhappy? Are they just hoping their kid can be as happy as they are? Obviously I know marriage is just widely accepted as just what happens in life, but I just wanted some insight as to how they feel when it doesn’t happen. I dont think I would care if my future child was married or not, unless of course THEY cared. i would be happy that she/hes happy.
Comment: I think parents are just looking out for their kids. They want you to be happy, and I guess they equate being happy with being in a relationship. It’s possible to be happy and be single. Single in their minds translates to lonely I guess. You have the right mind set. Do what makes you happy. You don’t want to be in a relationship or force a marriage because your parents think that’s what should happen. You do you and let everything fall into place. They mean well but because, I’m assuming, they’re still married and they see you’ve never had a long term boyfriend, a bit of doubt creeps in as to if/when it’ll ever happen. They’re your parents. Of course they’d like to see you with someone. But as much as you want to please your parents, don’t jump into something just because it might make them happier. You’ll know when the time is right and when you’ve met the right person. You might even want to throw a comment there way about how happy you are right now and you know things will eventually work out.
I am in my mid 30’s, and happily married to a good man who travels sometimes for work. We have been married for a couple years and have one infant daughter. My husband has always been a bit of a party boy, but that’s never been me.
My husband is a social drinker, and enjoys getting drunk sometimes. He sees nothing wrong with it, as long as it doesn’t interfere with his job or family life. Since our daughter was born, I have asked him to control his drinking more because it is not fun to have all the responsibility of our daughter at social gatherings if he’s not able to parent. For the most part, he has controlled himself when we are together, but if he is on a business trip with other salesmen, he sees nothing wrong with going out with the guys, drinking and staying out late.
Well, last night, he and 2 male co-workers, went to dinner, then bar hopping and didn’t return to their hotel until 4:30 am. I was irate. He knows this makes me uncomfortable and I was crying on the phone before he left. I just don’t feel this is appropriate behavior for a married man in his 30s. I have actually witnessed marriages ruined over men getting drunk, women hitting on them, and them not having the willpower to refuse because they’re so drunk. So he said he would not get sloppy drunk to reassure me but that didn’t really make me feel better. I don’t understand why he would even go out if he knows it hurts me. It’s not like I’m some random girlfriend. I’m his wife and he always tells me he loves me more than anything but when he blows off my feelings for his fun, I have my doubts. Maybe I sound old fashioned but I just don’t think this type of behavior is appropriate for a married man. Go to dinner, have a drink after and be home by ten. Nothing good can happen at a bar for a married man after 11, in my opinion. And it’s not like I’m asking him to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. I value my marriage and want to protect it at all costs and it hurts my feelings because I feel he is playing with fire. If the situation was reversed, if he didn’t want me to go, I wouldn’t just out of respect for him, but since he doesn’t do the same, it just hurts me.
What do you think? Am I wrong?
Comment: No, you’re not wrong. If it bothers you, and he continues to display the behavior, then that’s on him. I don’t think this is nagging or being controlling. This isn’t some petty behavior to overlook because, as you said, something like drinking can escalate into something much bigger. Whether it be an addiction or infidelity, sure, you have reason to be worried and want him to curb this behavior. If it happened one time, then yeah, you might want to get over it. But this doesn’t sound like a one time occurrence. Granted, maybe he’s not arriving home at 4:30 on every guys drinking night, but he does have responsibilities at home that he seems to be ignoring so he can drink with the boys.
What’s his answer when you confront him about this? Is it, “I’ll work on it, I just had a bad night,” or is it along the lines of, “I’ll do what I want” kind of deal? If it’s the latter, you have a major problem on your hands. Even if he says he just needs to unwind once in a while, that’s fine. But unwinding doesn’t have to be drinking with the boys til 4:30 in the morning. That’s just disrespectful. He needs to find a way to curb that behavior and quick. If he doesn’t, you seriously need to consider whether you want to be married to this guy. I know a young child is involved, but that’s still not an excuse to stay together. Hopefully he sees the error of his ways and changes this behavior quickly.
I’m a long time reader and love the podcast!
I guess I’ll just get to the point with my Dr reality Steve question.
So I work with this guy let’s call him W and we really get along and I’m single but W has a girlfriend and they’ve been together about 4 years. Everything was fine before, we would go for lunch together and he even joined my gym so sometimes we would go to the gym together on our lunch. After spending all this time with him I started to get feelings. So there was one night where we were texting and the conversation kind of turned sexual we probably texted till about 2 in the morning and that happened about three nights in one week where we were up late almost sexting (no pictures even though he asked but I said no, but it was explicit detail on what he wanted to do to me). One of the days he was even on vacation with his girlfriend and he was messaging me the whole night. He got back from his vacation and I kind of told him it was hard for me because I have feelings for him and he said he understood and apologized but he doesn’t have those kinds of feelings for me he’s just sexually attracted to me but nothing will happen because of his girlfriend.
Which I completely understood because I didn’t expect him to leave her for me, he’s said he’s happy with her and all this stuff but would a guy who is happy in his relationship message another girl explicit sexual details? Also even when we’re together he is very flirtatious and tries to play fight with me and he will say things like any guy that dates me will be super lucky and that I’m attractive both physically and my personality. He also once said that it’s a shame we didn’t meet 4 years earlier which makes me think that he’s not completely happy with her because if he thought she was the one for him why would he wish he met me before her? So pretty much what I’m asking is, is this normal behaviour for a guy in a so called happy relationship to be acting? Is it just a case of him wanting to keep me on the back burner so just in case things don’t work out with his girlfriend he knows he has me? (I’m not waiting for anything to happen with him, I am going on dates with other people but nothing has worked out yet). Should I just try and distance myself from him? I know we work together but just keep it as a friendship between coworkers and that’s it?
Thanks in advance for your opinion.
Comment: Is it normal behavior? Ummmmm, no. But do I know there are plenty of guys out there that do it? Yes, unfortunately. Here’s something to think about: Lets just say this guy did break up with his girlfriend of 4 years. Would you really be interested in dating this guy? Look at what he’s doing to his girlfriend behind her back. What makes you think he wouldn’t do the exact same thing to you? Because I’m telling you, he will. The guy is a creep, plain and simple. I understand you’re flattered by his coming on to you as evidenced by the fact you decided to engage with him in sexting even though he has a girlfriend. And even though nothing physically has happened between you two, he’s essentially cheating on her. Some will even say emotionally cheating is worse than physically cheating. The fact he told you to your face that he was just sexually attracted to you but nothing will happen is pretty much all you need to know. He’s a creep. I just wouldn’t engage with him anymore. In the short term, it’ll probably make him hit on you even harder because now you’re a challenge to him. Especially when he’s already “had” you engage with him. But eventually it’ll die off. Nothing good can come out of this honestly. One of these days his girlfriend will see the texts or you’ll put yourself in a situation where something physical does happen, you’ll hate yourself for it, and all hell will break loose. You need to not engage with him anymore. All you’re doing is stroking his ego.
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