Six years ago I lived on the east coast and met a man at a mixer. I’ll call him east coast guy. Prior to meeting him I had hoped to meet someone who shared my love of the arts. My wish was granted and we went everywhere together: concerts, museums, galleries and stage plays.

Although we never took the next big step, cohabitation, I was at his place a lot. It wasn’t very big, only a studio apartment. He never asked me to move in and I never inquired if I could.

As time went on our relationship became tumultuous. There was no physical abuse, but he threatened to break up with me several times. I was often in bad spirits because life after college was not exactly what I envisioned. Also, he could be dismissive and uncaring about my “emotionally unbalanced” state.

By 2011 it was over. He repeatedly told me, “I don’t want to be held back by a woman.” Right before the final breakup we got into a horrible fight. It was nighttime and he threw me out of his apartment saying, “You are trying to manipulate me into staying another night.”

Things got so bad I got sick to my stomach and vomited all over myself from stress. I had no money for a subway and he refused to drive me home. This happened outdoors and he would not let me back into his apartment to
change clothes.

Eventually he gave me a pair of his pants, but I was not allowed to change in his apartment. He demanded I change in the building stairwell while he spotted me from the door. Afterwards he got a cab for me and I went home. At the end of the month I moved back home to another state.

I emailed him. I said I still loved him and couldn’t get him out of my system. His response was crass and cruel and I ended contact.

A month and a half later, at home, I met a new man and we quickly became romantic. I’ll call him west coast guy. Three months later I moved in with him. Our relationship was far from perfect, we had our fair share of blowouts, but he stuck with me.

We’ve done some great things together, including travel, but I longed to share my love of the arts with someone as enthused as I am. Six months into our relationship, east coast man emailed asking me to come back. He admitted the breakup was a big loss on his end.

At first I seldom responded and was vague about my whereabouts. I thought if I ignored him he’d get the message. Four years have passed and he is still asking me to come back.

I have to admit at first it was an ego boost. But lately I’ve been second guessing my decision. In my current relationship we don’t attend any artistic events, and I do miss sharing my utmost passions with someone.

To make matters stickier, west coast guy has made me his sole heir. I’ve not had the best job luck and I’m terrified of my future. I love west coast guy, and if I leave him, I will lose so much. But I am still carrying a torch for east coast guy.

I keep thinking I’m cheating myself if I don’t give him another chance. Help!

~ Melissa

Melissa, your letter makes us feel like we are in school again solving equations. You want us to plot both men on a graph and find the sweet spot, the point of maximum benefit for yourself.

But your equation is easy to solve. Being torn between two lovers means neither is right. Love, genuine love, makes the choice for you.

You won’t see that, however, until you stand on your own two feet.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of September 21, 2015

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