I am 20 and have been in a relationship for two years. It is my first serious relationship. We love each other very much but have been having problems because he lost his job and finds it hard to get back on his feet.
The result is I pay for everything. Mind you, I work, go to school and pay my own bills. Now I pay his on top of everything else.
Recently my first love from the days I lived in another country has reemerged. He is living here as well. He has a girlfriend back in our home and is here completely alone. We met at a family function and exchanged numbers. Ever since, he texts me daily asking to make plans to hang out.
My biggest fear is I actually enjoy texting him and even have butterflies in my stomach thinking about him. What does this mean for my current relationship?
Gillian, whether or not your first love is the one, he has given you something. Clarity.
The butterflies in your stomach show how much you are secretly fighting a disdain for your boyfriend. But do you get to leave your boyfriend clueless while you go out and look for a new person? That’s the question.
Maybe your boyfriend loves you. Maybe not. We don’t know and perhaps you don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. Share your feelings with him and either resolve the problems or break up.
If you break up, don’t say, “I love you but I’m not in love with you.” Don’t say, “I loved you then and I’m not in love with you now.”
Instead say, “I thought I loved you, but now that things aren’t going well, I realize I like you but I am not in love with you.” The glue that would have kept you two together through good times and bad isn’t there. You are past the flush of first coming together. Then you didn’t know who you were and whether you could last through every distress. Now you know you can’t.
Don’t go to the other man if you have any intent to get physically involved with someone who has a girlfriend. Why? Because it’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to you. It’s not fair to his girlfriend.
You have residual feelings for him. He’s out of his normal element and looking for the comfort of a familiar face. He may in all innocence contact you, or he may have residual feelings for you increased by unfamiliar surroundings. “I’m alone here, I need somebody.”
But if he isn’t breaking up with his girlfriend and gets involved with you on the side, all it will do is make you both frauds. Or worse, you fall for him and he goes back home to her as if you never existed. Neither of you is in a position to come together as a free, available, dating single.
Since the two of you had a previous relationship, some inhibitions are missing between you, especially if it was a first love for one or both of you. It’s like the familiar mistake of a person falling into bed with an ex-husband or ex-wife.
You are young. As you move around the planet you need to understand that a man with a wife is not someone to invest emotion in. Don’t get butterflies about another woman’s boyfriend, fiancé or husband.
You didn’t say much in your letter but, boy, didn’t you say it all?
~ Wayne & Tamara
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Wayne & Tamara answer as many letters as they possibly can.