I’ve recently reconnected with a man that was one of my best friends since elementary school. He and I have floated in and out of each others lives since we were young and though we’ve tried very hard to remain just friends, there’s always been these other feelings between us. My family knows him very well and they absolutely adore him, as is the same way between me and his family. He’s in the military and deploys about every other year for 12 months at a time, and though we’ve discussed a relationship between us, he feels like it’s unfair to me to leave me alone for such a long time, not to mention the fact that when he’s stationed stateside its across the country from my home now.
I’ve also been in and out of a relationship with a man for over 3 years. Sometimes, it’s a great relationship, we seem to be perfect for each other. Other times, its completely unhealthy for both of us. It’s like we intentionally hurt each other. I don’t trust him at all and called it quits a couple of months ago. He also has a 6 year old son that he has full custody of. Even though we’ve had our problems, I love him and his son very much. In the last month or so, he’s said that he knows it’s his fault that our relationship was so rocky, but that he loves me and he believes that we can work it out. He says that he wants to marry me next year and wants to restart our relationship, “forget about the past and move on to a brighter future.”
The problem is, I don’t know what to do. Guy A and I have a lot of fun together and since he began this last deployment, we’ve been keeping in constant contact. He understands me more than anyone else ever has and I feel like I’m a different person when I’m with him. We have so much in common and its very easy for us to talk to each other for hours at a time. But it hurts me that he won’t consider a relationship between us until he’s out of military.
Guy B and I have a long history together. I love him very much, but I feel like he is constantly judging me for things that I’ve done in my past, and he’s very critical at times. I often play a mother figure to his son, and in some way it thrills me that he wants to start over and wants a future with me.
I really don’t know what to do and I need some advice. Someone please help me.
A: It would be highly unfair to Guy B and his little boy for you to talk about making a future with them when you still have a piece of your heart over with Guy A. You are essentially having an emotional affair with Guy A. He’s your “if only” guy. He’s the guy you are holding onto in the belief that things would be better if only . . . You may be right. You may not. But as long as you think that just maybe the two of you are meant for each other, you are not going to be able to fully commit to Guy B.
Only you can decide if you can forgive Guy B enough to truly start over and give the relationship a real chance. Only you can decide if you are genuinely ready to commit to a commitment with him and completely stop thinking about the possibilities with your childhood friend. If you can’t cut off contact with Guy A and put yourself wholely and lovingly into making your relationship with Guy B work, let the man loose so he can find someone who will make a family with him and his son.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Nov 2011
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Torn between Two Loves. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/02/torn-between-two-loves/