Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.
Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email email@example.com.) Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by Karen Lynch, who just had an essay on the site that was phenomenal. Read and share and comment and get Karen’s book here. Send us your questions because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ‘em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.
By Karen Lynch.
Here goes. I am in a relationship right now. I love this guy…but I’m not in love with him. My heart isnt where his is and I feel he wants to marry me (like right now) and I have told him I do not and will not get married again. He has a lot of growing up to do. I dont feel he is happy/loves himself.
There is another person in my life who every time I am around, he lights my entire body on fire. He’s the one who I feel has gotten to my soul! His actions speak so loud and clear, along with the signs I have seen nonstop since we have gotten to know each other better. The hard part is that we are coworkers, and my current boyfriend and I graduated from high school together 23 yrs ago.
I know where my heart lies, with the one who took it without my knowledge (if thats possible). I know he is the one, just not the right time just yet. When I had a vivid dream about a month ago, he came out west to be with me. And these vivid dreams I have ALWAYS come true. Though I dont have many of them, but when I do, they come true. He’s the one who seems to be able to handle my extreme independence. Time and patience are what it takes relating to relationships sometimes, that things happen when they are meant to.
I am not a babysitter for a grown man who can’t handle alcohol on weekends (current boyfriend). One who has an slept beside me for almost three weeks (one excuse or another). Who is afraid to get near me because my dogs get protective of me, and a lot more. I know what I need to do, just got to jump in and do it, even though feelings will be hurt no matter what.
Any advice/opinions will be appreciated.
It’s clear to me from reading your letter that you are very unhappy in your current relationship and you are working up the courage to leave. When you mention that you don’t want to marry again, I assume you have a divorce behind you, and possibly you have carried that baggage into your current relationship. Sometimes after a marriage ends, we carry a sense of failure, and a fear that we will never have a successful romantic partnership. It’s not unusual to hang onto the rebound or post-divorce relationship long after it has run its course simply because we don’t want to feel we have failed again.
You mention several things that make you unhappy with your boyfriend, his drinking, his withholding sex for weeks, and his discomfort with your dogs. These are not small things. For many people, these things alone would be deal breakers. And yet, you are staying with this man.
Now there is another man in the picture, someone who represents an unknown future full of possibilities. Oh wouldn’t it be wonderful if he were to sweep you away from your current relationship? It is easier sometimes to make decisions by default, and allow another person to become the impetus for our breakup, than it is to look at our soon to be future ex and say, “I’m not happy. I need to move out.” You may choose this path, you are on the verge of at least an emotional affair with this other person, but if you don’t end the relationship you are now in before you go on to the next partner, you risk never have the chance to honestly face your current partner, tell him the truth, thank him for all that was good, and move on. If you fear you will hurt his feelings by leaving, believe me, leaving for another person will be even more hurtful to your current partner.
Whether you choose to have a relationship with the new man or not, I recommend you take care of your unfinished business with your current man, before beginning something new.
Finally I leave you with a short story. Do you know how they catch a monkey in Brazil? They cut a small hole in a tree trunk and place a banana inside. The monkey reaches inside the tree trunk and grabs the banana, but the hole is too small for him to pull out the banana. The monkey will never let go of the banana once he has grasped it. You can offer him a banquet table full of his favorite foods, still, he will grasp the banana and remain trapped in the tree.
There is a banquet out there for you, Christine, and you deserve to taste all the delicious dishes you want. All you have to do is let go.
Karen Lynch was a Homicide Investigator in San Francisco, and after 29 years of police work, and a bout with breast cancer, retired to become a full time writer. Her memoir, “Good Cop, Bad Daughter-memoirs of an unlikely police officer,” is the story of how being raised by a bi-polar mother, and a tribe of hippies provided the perfect training for police work. It was published by NBTT in February. Karen is a native San Franciscan, and proud Cal Bear. Her essay, “The Road to Kyra” won the national Notes & Words contest in 2012.
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Please note: Advice given in Dear Life is not meant to take the place of therapy or any other professional advice. The opinions or views offered by columnists are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed physician or mental health professional. Columnists acting on behalf of Dear Life are not responsible for the outcome or results of following their advice in any given situation.