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Dear Breakup Girl,
I can't decide whom to marry. I am a 26-year-old male with three very good
candidates who all love me very much. I have dated all of them at one time or
another, and they all know each other.
The first one is Lara. She is 20, and we dated for two years. We were
planning on getting married; we were each other's "first love," and (I
believed) soul-mates. I went overseas to teach English, and while I was gone,
she kinda flipped out since she was so young. She started doing drugs and
cheated on me. It was very hard for me, and she wanted nothing to do with me.
For over a year we hardly saw each other, but barely a day went by that I
didn't think of her. Now she wants me back. She has had two years away from me
now and knows what she wants. She is sorry and is saying and doing the right
things. She is in school 1,000 miles away. I am back in school. We are both
sophomores. So Lara wants another chance. But I don't know if what happened was
a sign to let go and move on or if we are being given a second chance. She
drove out to see me, and it was incredible. It brought back all my memories of
her, and it felt like home. But I am still trying to remain objective.
In the meantime, this summer I fell in love with a girl I met when I was
overseas. Nothing happened between us when I was away from Lara; we just met
and that was it. I was still in love with Lara, but then she came to the United
States, and we started to hang out a lot. We talked a lot this summer, before I
knew Lara wanted me back. She knows about Lara, as I have told her everything.
Nino is only 17, so that is a bit of a problem. But I am in no rush. If she is
the one, I am willing to wait. Her culture has old-fashioned values, and she
will be faithful, a good mother, a good cook, and all that old fashioned stuff.
They get married at an earlier age in her country, and she is very mature. (I'm
not just saying that, I know.) I was very careful with her, since I know
she is young, and I didn't want to repeat the mistake I made with Lara so we
have not kissed or anything, but we have a very strong connection. I dated
quite a few girls after Lara left me, but Nino is the first girl since Lara who
gave me the "in love" feeling. I know we would be happy together, even though
there would be a lot of challenges. She has stepped down for the moment to
avoid being in the way of my making a decision about Lara. She said she knew
Lara would come back to me, even though I had no idea. I guess that is just
The third lady is Erin. She is 29, and the "mature" side of me likes her.
She owns her own house, has a master's degree, and is a successful therapist.
She has a very strong heart and loves me a lot, too. I just never fell in love
with her, even though we dated for about six months. We have been through a lot
together. I feel like I never gave her a chance, but that were I to let myself
love her, we would be happy, too. She is very tall and very beautiful. But I
don't want to make my decision based on beauty.
To me, Nino is the most beautiful and exciting. Lara is the most familiar,
and the closest I have ever had to real love. Erin is the most mature and makes
the best "business sense." (Besides school, I own my own business and have to
meet people. Erin makes a dashing impression and is the most beautiful by
So, am I obligated to Lara to make things work, or to give her (myself)
another chance? I trust her now, and I know she loves me the most of any of
these girls. She said she would step down for Nino, too. But I am tired of the
games and not being able to make up my mind. I know I would be happy with any
of these girls if I would just put my mind to it. I think my problem is that I
won't allow anyone to love me or allow myself to love again, maybe because I
feel scared and am still hurt. I know I can only give one girl my heart, and I
want to give all of it to just one. But WHO? I know I am fortunate to have
three wonderful people love me, but I want to make the best choice! HELP!
--Can't Decide After Bad Breakup
Dear Can't Decide After Bad Breakup,
Invidual comments, then one big one.
- Erin. She is a grownup, and (especially given the
rest of the field) that is an excellent point. But "she makes the most business
- Nino. One (well, you) might be tempted to say "age
is just a number." But 17 - 26? Those are a lot of numbers. Especially
in your world, which is where you would live, right? And while I acknowledge
that your feelings/intentions feel strong and pure right now, I really don't
see you hanging out, priestlike, until time bends and that nine-year gap "narrows"
with age. Culture, schmulture. Mature, schmature. Wait, schmait. She is a
- Lara. Well, I do wonder if you're (re)considering
her partly out of just-in-case obligation. Also, I will say that first love
is often the last to fade in your memory, the highest of standards by which
we measure what follows. If you keep that in mind -- i.e. maintain
your perspective (from a distance of 1000 miles?!) -- then maybe. Maaaaaaaaybe.
I understand completely if you're "at the age" where
you'd like the next woman you pursue with any degree of focus and vigor to be
someone you will -- I mean, could -- theoretically,
But mister! If you're still at the point where you've
got (a) "three" (b) "candidates" -- not all of whom you've actually
dated recently, or ever -- then the question you shouldbe asking BG and
yourself is "Which one, if any, should I consider pursuing further ... toward
a possible goal of one-day marriage?" I feel like you're doing a little
of, "Okay, ready now. Let's see who's in the lobby." Which again, is fine, in
theory, for dating. Starting from square one or two. Not for "You! I
do! Do you?"
Also: it's good not to limit yourself to seeking out
only one type of woman. But the way you describe the pool here, you've got the
"home" one, the "business" one, the this one, the that one. Seems to me like
each is, in some sense, part of what you want. And -- at the risk of getting
in over my head psychologically-- it sounds to me like you're pursuing
mirror-shards of fragmented pieces of yourself. You're all over the place, kiddo.
You own your own business in the "real world," yet you're also still a sophomore
who relates to a teenager. Not to mention: your breakup may have thrown you
for a loop, confused you about who you are and what you want. (And again, it's
great to not be too rigid in that regard.)
But my observation is that you need to slow down and
consider what it is about each gal you like. And consider that you might
find all of that -- feelings toward her and character traits already in
place -- in one person, when everyone's ready. More important, if LOVElove
is what you want, and if you are willing to wait -- and whether or
not you wind up with one of these girls -- I'd hold out until there's
just one of you.
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