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#254: Torn between two lovers!

Still from Jules & Jim

Step 1: Rent Jules & Jim, and do the opposite of everything in it.

Dear Captain Awkward:

There’s no way I can think to say this without sounding like a brat, but here goes. I’m sleeping with a guy that’s completely in love with me and supports me in everything I do. We get along great, the sex is great, he’s someone I could see myself raising a family with, and when we were dating and family came up, he wasn’t opposed to the idea. The thing is, I initially broke up with him because I lost interest in him as anything more than a friend, emotionally speaking. There’s also another guy who recently got out of the military, went to California to see about a job, and is coming home again. He ALSO loves me, the sex is ALSO great, and he pushes me to be better and do better. This boy hits ALL the right buttons for me, and we also dated before he joined the military. I also see a future with him, but he’s not interested in a family-related future. This is fine, because we’re twenty-freaking-two.

On the one hand, there’s a very likely long and peaceful future with the Family-man, except without the heart-induced jitters. With the Military-man, there’s the plus of MY emotions being there, but the minus of a mysterious future. Family-man seems like the logical choice (and I feel like a HUGE brat writing that). But then when I take our age into consideration, Military-man seems more logical. (Serously. 22? Do I NEED a guaranteed family in my future?) There’s also the fantasy-land solution that involves open relationships, but I hesitate to even ask for that because 1) those haven’t worked out for me in the past, and 2) Family-man wouldn’t like the idea but would go with it to make me happy.

Like I said, I feel like a brat lamenting over “Ohhh noooo which boy to I choooose.” I like the way things are right now with Family-man, and I don’t really want things to change, but inevitably when Military-man gets home I will want to be with him and things will change. I feel like I need to have this figured out before all shit hits the fan when he gets home. I thought maybe I need a kick in the head, or maybe an outside perspective. Whichever you can offer, I’d be grateful.

Thanks,
Brat

Thoughts:

1. You’re twenty-freaking-two, so you don’t have to decide everything about your life right now.

2. Here’s how I read this letter:  “I’m with this really great guy who loves me and whom I *should* love back because on paper we are well-matched even though we broke up once for lack of groin on my part. I’m worried because pretty soon the man I really actually love is coming back to town, so can you tell me how to break off my current thing gracefully in a way that totally preserves my options with him if things with Returning Romantic Hero don’t work out?

3. Honestly, if “both at once” isn’t an option for you, break it off cleanly with current guy. There are many scripts buried throughout this site. Maybe go with “I am so sorry, I think my feelings for you have changed and I need us to break things off.” Do not mention your current dilemma, because if you do you’re kind of being a jerk in asking him to solve it for you by being the one to break it off with you or valiantly proclaim that he’ll wait. If things don’t work out with Returning Hero and you find yourself missing Stalwart Companion, 6 months down the road you can say “Can we grab a drink?” and if he says yes you can have the “I’m so sorry, I feel like I made a big mistake back there, could we start again please?” conversation, but again. In the meantime, by making a clean break of it. Don’t try to be friends. Set him free and give him the chance to meet someone else.

4. Being loved is not enough. You know it. I know it. Your heart and your vagina are speaking loud and clear in your letter, and they are speaking as one: Have a good time with Returning Hero when he gets back. Speak up about your feelings and desires. See what happens. Either things will totally click and work out or they won’t. If they do? Awesome. If they don’t? You’ll know for sure that he’s not right for you, and as you move on he won’t be hanging out at the edges of your life as the sexy mysterious might-have-been guy.

5. Maybe it’s just the glow of new love in my own life making me smug and satisfied, but I’m pretty sure that if neither of those situations works out, a fine lady like yourself will surely meet more hot, interesting, kind dudes who are into you. One of those will surely sex you up right, support your dreams, call you on your bullshit when necessary, and share your plans for the future. Life is risk, so risk going after the person you really want, and risk spending some time alone if things don’t work out.

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42 comments
  1. Maybe it’s just the glow of new love in my own life making me smug and satisfied, but I’m pretty sure that if neither of those situations works out, a fine lady like yourself will surely meet more hot, interesting, kind dudes who are into you.

    Not just the glow. LW, the odds are exceedingly high that these are not the last two loves of your life. Go forth, be fearless, and seek no guarantees for there are none (except, perhaps, that you’ll want substantially different things at 32 or even 27 than you do at 22).

    • Oh yes! Congrats on the Glow, Captain!

      • MHM said:

        Yes, so happy for you, Captain! What a lucky dude to be with such a wise girlfriend.

        Personally, I dont think the Captain’s glow is clouding her judgment. For the LW, in love, trust your gut. You can talk yourself into a relationship, but in my experience (self, others), it never really all-of-a-sudden morphs into what you REALLY want. It is so possible to have the fire and the stability. If this is not meant to be with Miltary Man, it will be with someone else.

    • “Go forth and be fearless” should be on the Official CA Army t-shirt.

      • Vir Modestus said:

        “Go forth, be fearless, and use your words.” I’d buy that t-shirt!

        • theLaplaceDemon said:

          Me too!

  2. sara said:

    I agree that you should make a clean break with Family Man. It’s always hard to be rejected, of course, but it is far better to be rejected earlier rather than later (when you’ve invested more time, emotion, money, opportunity cost, etc.). I don’t think there is anything ‘bratty’ about having feelings for two people, but I do think there is something wrong with leading someone on when they’ve been very clear about their feelings, intentions, and hopes for the future and you’re totally not feeling it.

  3. Life is far too freaking short to spend it with people that don’t make your heart sing. Monogamy doesn’t work for everybody, sex is fun to have, love does not necessarily have anything to do with sex, families aren’t always biological, and a certain ambivalence/uncertainty about future/children/career is normal at every age…. but the ambivalence you have about FamilyMan has more red flags than a game of Minesweeper.

    God, what are you doing? You seem to be flexible with monogamy and open to exploring your desires; FamilyMan isn’t. Five years down the road, you’ll meet someone perfect AND convenient who rings ALL your bells, but you’ll be saddled with FamilyMan – what will you do then? How can you comprehend MARRYING someone that you’d drop in a minute if an old flame showed interest? Argh! No! Don’t do that! Your current relationship is fun and satisfying for you, and that’s wonderful, but there’s nothing wrong with admitting that it’s got a hollow center. There IS a lot wrong with treating someone else’s feelings like they’re somewhat inconvenient and ugly furniture. There’s a lot wrong with regarding those feelings with contempt (read the parts about how FamilyMan would let you cheat because he loves you so much. Is that a joyfully open and honest relationship? are you respecting his feelings about you at all? Do you think these feelings will ever get better?)

    I am not judging or censuring you – I’ve been in the same place myself, and it’s insane, and it’s hard to make the decisions from the eye of the storm – but honestly? No. You’ve purchased the Walmart-brand cake-tin of “What Love Is and How You Should Do It” and you’re trying to mash your life and your feelings into this tin, but it just won’t fit, there are tentacles and emotions and groin-feelings erupting all out of it and there are lumps in the batter and things swimming around and you just keep beating them down with a wooden spoon because YOU REALLY WANT THIS CAKE AND EVERYBODY ELSE WHO BOUGHT THIS TIN GOT A REALLY GOOD CAKE OUT OF IT AND MY PARENTS WOULD LIKE SOME GRANDCHILDREN FROM THIS CAKE YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT WORK GODDAMMIT YOU HAVE PUT SO MUCH EFFORT INTO THIS CAKE AND YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE FUCKING OVEN AND YOU ARE GOING TO FROST THAT BASTARD UNTIL IT LOOKS PERFECT TO EVERYBODY ELSE AND YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE THEM EAT IT AND TELL YOU THAT THEY’RE HAPPY FOR YOU BECAUSE THE BATTER WAS PRETTY GOOD WHEN YOU ATE IT RAW AND YOU’RE HAPPY YOU’RE REALLY REALLY HAPPY

    and I just want to say that “THIS TIN IS NOT FOR YOU. YOU CANNOT BAKE THIS CAKE. THIS CAKE-TIN WAS ADVERTISED AS THE DEFAULT CAKE, BUT YOU ARE NOT A BAD OR BROKEN PERSON BECAUSE YOU CANNOT MAKE A CAKE OUT OF IT. BUY. A DIFFERENT. FUCKING. CAKE. You will make a better batter that will taste good when cooked. This cake is full of salmonella.”

    • j said:

      Simply: the cake is a lie.

      • JenniferP said:

        Ha! and Elodie, I love you more and more each day.

    • PomperaFirpa said:

      I can’t possibly love this cake thing enough.

    • I laughed out loud at this comment. I’m getting over a recent breakup too and I am very glad that I’m making my own recipe now. It does not include anything fish shaped.

    • liyyspoon said:

      This comment is just. So amazing. Thank you!

    • Britt said:

      /applause

    • Jan said:

      Personally, I prefer muffins. Damn good writing you got there elodie!

  4. PomperaFirpa said:

    Oh, honey. HONEY. Whatever is making you think that you have to decide the rest of your life now, kick it to the curb. I know about twenty couples from my age group who married before they hit 25. Of those twenty couples, one couple is still married; all the others broke up (some in some REALLY SPECTACULAR divorces that are used as horror stories in our age group) before they hit 26. Also consider: at least half of the generation that was pressured to marry really young in the 50’s and 60’s got divorced in the 70’s and 80’s. Here is the reason: people change SO MUCH between the ages of 18 and 25, so it’s really unlikely that anyone could maintain a stable relationship with another person who is also going through big changes during that time.

    In short: forget the future talk at the moment. You’re 22. The likelihood that you could manage to stay with either of these guys for another four years, let alone a lifetime, is really, really low. Relax on this. Let it gooooooooooo.

    You are not being a brat. You are being normal. You are changing, your needs are changing, and what you need right now is a scary thing: to break up with the Sure Thing that is Family-Man, and to have ALL THE BLINDINGLY GREAT SEX and a relationship and a more unsure future with the Military Man. This is apparently something you need to have happen in your life right now. Maybe you need the challenge, maybe this is all groin, maybe he’s part of something else already stirring in your soul that you want to go make happen. DO IT.

    The Captain’s advice is very sound. You can’t not break this guy’s heart, and that’s going to suck, but the only way he’ll find someone who suits him better and actually loves him the way he needs to be loved is if you break this off cleanly and give him the space and the chance to find that person.

    If you’re actually worried about the future, and not just feeling like you should be, then here’s the thing: you can’t control this shit, and you can’t plan this shit. All you can do is do what you enjoy doing as hard as you can, and know that this is how you will meet your greatest friends and your greatest loves, and how you will find your greatest opportunities, and how you turn into the greatest person you can possibly be. There will be dramatic failure along the way and there will be operatic triumph. I don’t think you’re meant for settling. I think you’re meant to go kick the world’s ass and have an awesome time doing it. GO DO THAT.

    (And Captain! Congrats! SO HAPPY FOR YOU!)

    • rscotland said:

      I actually find comment this really patronizing and paternalistic. Plenty of people who get married before thirty get divorced. Plenty of people who get married before forty get divorced. A whole bunch of people who get married before death end up divorced: And divorce rarely happens *without* fireworks, simply because we’re taught that ‘not feeling it’ isn’t enough, so we bottle up our resentment and unhappiness until we explode.

      The fact that you gossip about your friendship group and use them as ‘horror stories’ speaks volumes about you, not about their relationships.

      TL;DR – love doesn’t have an age-limit, there is no “too young to know” and it’s rude and patronizing to “Oh HONEY” someone just because they’re twenty-two, as if you could understand them and their feelings so much better than the do.

      • commanderlogic said:

        Wow, rscotland. That wasn’t what I got out of Pompera’s comment at all.

        I think Pompera agrees that there isn’t a “too young to know,” but zie’s stressing that there is not an age where you HAVE to know. Also, zie drew on hir experiences with friends who married young (“draw on experiences” vs. “gossip” is a rabbit hole I’m not diving down) to illustrate her point. People DO change a lot in their early 20s. It’s not as big a change as between, say 13 and 20, but at 22, most people (MOST, not all) are still figuring out who they are as individuals, and it’s a big deal to frontload a marriage with the expectation that it will make you a “grown up” for whatever value that has for you.

        If one feels that one HAS to get married by a certain age just because all one’s friends are doing it and hey why not there’s a marriage partner who’s okay I guess – that’s what we’re concerned about here. The LW could be 22 or 18 or 29 or 45 or 72, and I’m pretty sure the advice would be the same: don’t stay in a relationship with a person you are only ‘meh’ about. Pompera only pointed out that marriages between ‘meh’ feelers in hir circle of acquaintances peaked in their early 20’s. Can’t extrapolate it out to EVERYONE obviously, but it’s a pretty impressive bit of anecdata.

      • dusty_rose said:

        This. Age-based condescension is not cool.

        • dusty_rose said:

          Also, if we’re going for anecdata, my parents got married at 24, and are still happily in love almost 30 years later.

          • Hannah said:

            And my parents didn’t get married until they were in their late 20’s, and aren’t!

      • I understand what you’re saying here, but I believe that Pomper was speaking out of compassion and sharing perspective, and that you may be feeling defensive because, as a presumably 22-or-under sort, you feel like Pomp is uniquely judging you and you need to get on the Huge White Stallion of Truthiness and slap her because BITCHES DON’T KNOW RSCOTLAND. And yeah, you get that a lot! Anyone with a few years on you feels OBLIGATED to tell you that you’re not possibly capable of making any kind of life decisions.

        While we’re VICIOUSLY GOSSIPING sharing relevant personal perspectives, I got married at the startling age of 23 (and am, er, still 23, er…) and I do not feel particularly defensive about Pomp’s comment, because I believe that maturity is different at every age. LW does indeed sound young, because she hasn’t arrived at the notion that other people (FamilyMan/MilitaryMan) are sentient beings whose thoughts, feelings and desires are just as valid as hers and whose needs are necessarily part of her relationships. She’s looking at the huge savage river between where she is now, and where she wants to be, and she’s freaking a tiny bit because they don’t seem compatible, and her instinct is to Make the Right Decision and grab the most convenient/safe partner who will bring her to the comfy, knowable future. The disconnect here, that other posters notice because of our unique life perspectives, is in believing that another human being is a prop/cuddly toy to be used this way, and YES, this IS a very YOUNG and immature way for the LW to look at the world. It doesn’t necessarily come with age, and having that perspective to share doesn’t make Pomp smarter or sexier or more talented or better or even necessarily older than you or the LW. It just means she’s stood where we all stood, but she’s gone a little farther out on the river, and from there she can see that the comfy, knowable future is a lie, but so is the illusion of the safe bank LW is standing on, and that there is indeed a world larger than your first few fucks and your undergraduate degree, and that the more you cross the river, the more you learn about your younger self. There isn’t anything wrong with saying that, nor is there anything wrong with noting that your response speaks volumes about you as well and you won’t be ashamed to admit that you’ve changed five years from now.

        and we actually live in the same town, so if you want to work it out further, you will need to buy me a costa

        • Liennae said:

          Why couldn’t I have had this advice a few years ago? I’m wondering if I should save it to give to my hypothetical children, but they’ll probably just figure that old people could never possibly know about the trials and tribulations of the young.

      • Tosca said:

        As someone who is in her 30s and still married to her high school sweetheart and VERY happy, I still have to say “wtf”? Pomper was right on, IMO. People are always remarking on my marriage simply because it is so *rare*! That’s not being patronizing, it’s just being realistic. I certainly wouldn’t advise my teenage niece to marry her high school boyfriend just because it worked out for ME.

        In my experience, for this kind of relationship to work, you have to have a really solid foundation of basic compatibility, as well as a willingness to weather natural life changes/maturing/ups-and-downs. And even then, it’s no sure thing. SO and I have changed a lot since the old days, but we grow together, and that base of compatibility helps tremendously. And it still might happen that we split up (though I really hope not!), because life can be uncertain and nothing is guaranteed.

        As far as the LW goes, I was actually in a situation much like hers when I was 18. My Family Man was my current husband, and Other Dude came during one of those rocky, painful “changing” times. We were both growing, uncertain about each other, transitioning to adulthood: really tough stuff. I was feeling the need to branch out, explore. I felt that if I stayed with my Family Man, I’d be missing out on what the world had to offer. (Also, this was fueled by my crappy-to-meh childhood and the fact that I didn’t get to go away to college or really do much of anything.) In my case, it turned out the Other Guy and I weren’t compatible on some very fundamental levels. I needed to find out, though, and my SO and I are actually glad he came along.

        BUT I am not telling you, LW, to pick Family Man, or that you will be incompatible with your Other Dude. The Captain’s advice is awesome, and something tells me you HAVE to try this out. It’s a need you gotta fulfill. But please break up with Family Man first. I broke up with mine before I dated my Other Guy, because I figured the pain of breaking up with him would pale in comparison to the pain of being cheated on. It was hard, because I would be destroying my safe, fall-back option, but that was a cowardly and selfish need on my part, to keep him waiting in the wings while I spread mine. I set him free. Eventually I went back, but that’s my situation and not representative of anyone else. Good luck!

      • Chickie said:

        I agree that people will line up around the block three times to tell younger people how our relationships don’t matter, can’t be valuable or meaningful, and god forbid you consider marriage. But this second sentence puts it in a different perspective for me – “Whatever is making you think that you have to decide the rest of your life now, kick it to the curb.” Decisions made about the rest of your life at any age are subject to change unexpectedly and without notice. You might change your mind. External circumstances might change things for you. A breakup with the entirety of your life plans pinned on it sucks.

      • Cara said:

        The “honey” wasn’t about the LW not knowing her mind. It was about her thinking SHE HAS TO DECIDE NOW NOW NOW about her whole life.

        I met my husband at 22, too. I still wouldn’t recommend that anyone marry NOW NOW NOW based on some notion that it has to be “settled”. It doesn’t. There’s time.

        That feeling that you have to figure it all out NOW NOW NOW is purely biological. Nature wants us coupled up NOW NOW NOW at 22 so we’ll produce babies. That’s all.

  5. Esti said:

    I’m with the general consensus on Family Man. LW, you are YOUNG. Even if you thought it was a good idea to settle down with someone you aren’t butterfly-y over because you nonetheless love them and think you’ll have a great partnership, this is not the time to do it. Go forth and seek your butterflies. And let this guy go find his someone special. If you know he’s in love with you but you aren’t feeling it, the kind thing is to end things.

    On the Military Man — if you like him and want to have fun dating him, then go for it. If you want to start looking for a life partner now, then I would take a pass on this guy who doesn’t currently want that. But seriously, there is no need to GO FIND FOREVER MATE AND MAKE BABIES RIGHT NOW OR I WILL DIE ALONE when you’re 22, even if you eventually want to have those things. So unless you really want to settle down ASAP (maybe you do, but it sounds more like you know you want to get to that in the future), I vote for having fun with Military Man right now. Maybe you’ll have some good times and then go your separate ways when you decide you want to settle down. Maybe what he wants at age 22 won’t be what he wants forever — the number of people who don’t want to settle down with a spouse and/or kids tends to decrease as you get older (though some people, of course, don’t change their minds on that, which is why I don’t think you should assume Military Man will be your forever person). Maybe what *you* want right now won’t be what you want forever. You’ve got lots of time to get to your future, spend some enjoying the trip.

  6. commanderlogic said:

    All the suggestions here are SUPERB, and I hope you find wisdom in them. Break up with that guy who is merely okay and go live your fabulous life! Caveat: you’re birth controlling it all up, right? Right? You sound super smart, and I’d like to assume that you are doubling up hormones and condoms and have a pharmacy on speed dial for Plan B, but seriously, BIRTH CONTROL.

    This from a lady who just watched an early-20’s-cousin have an oops!pregnancy followed by an oops!wedding that is developing in to a massive oops!divorce, so I might be super sensitive to this possibility at the moment. The baby was born this past Monday. Consider the IUD! And then sex it up all OVER the place, okay?

    • Esti said:

      Good advice, but I’d add that you really need to pair condoms with the IUD if you’re sexing it up all over the place. The only thing worse than an oops!pregnancy is an oops!STI (is there any other kind?).

      • commanderlogic said:

        WORD. Condoms and regular testing. OMGyes. But I also think that it depends on the oops!STI. I had the oops!HPV and it was annoying, but not worse than an oops!pregnancy would have been. Also, there was no societal pressure to marry my oops!HPV bestower, so that was… nice? oops!HIV, however, LOOKOUT. SRS ABOUT THE CONDOMS.

        • AMM said:

          “oops!” — what a great new prefix operator! I think I’ll (over-)use it everywhere, even after I stop oops!surfing the oops!web and get back to oops!work.

  7. the glow of new love in my own life making me smug and satisfied

    LOVE IT!

  8. Ennue said:

    I’m loving the advice. One thing I want to add: it’s not a matter right now of EITHER family-man OR military man. There are two separate choices to make:
    – Do you want to stay with family man Y/N?
    – Do you want to get together with military man Y/N?

    The only answer combination that can’t work is Y/Y, but Y/N, N/Y, and even N/N are all acceptable options.
    It seems to me that you already know the answer to both questions. But try not to see it as one thing (choosing MM over FM), but as two separate decisions. If you break up with FM, it’s because you do not have the heart jitters, not because someone better came along. If you get together with MM it’s not because you like him more than FM, but because you want to be with MM.

    YMMV, of course!

    • Esti said:

      This is so, so well said.

  9. iiii said:

    A couple of my high school friend did what you’re thinking about doing – they started dating in college and got married midway through their grad programs, him thinking, “she’s the best!” and her thinking, “he’s the best I can do!” He knew it, too, and that knowlege has been grinding him down their entire marriage. Last I heard, she’s cheating on him with a guy who actually makes her all oogy inside.

    If you care about your current guy at all, don’t make him into the guy you settle for. It’s a horribly cruel thing to do.

  10. Ldubs said:

    So, I mean… I got married at 23 to a dude I’d been with for four years and now, closing in on 27, it remains the best decision ever. But I was SURE. Like, really really sure. We didn’t start dating thinking about forever, though. It just kind of… happened.

    Its possible that you’re ready for your forever dude right now. I don’t really think either of these guys are that guy, though. Either way it seems like you’d be settling for not getting all the things that really matter to you in a relationship. Plus, you don’t mention loving either of them, just that they love you. Which, normally, wouldn’t matter when you’re just in the “sleeping with and/or maybe dating someday” stage but you’re also taking family and future. It seems like falling in love with someone should come before all that? Especially when you have so much future to play around with.

    Also: PLEASE stop comparing them like you’re buying a car and can’t decide between the practical one with good gas mileage and the sexy one with heated seats. That is kinda bratty.

  11. Yan said:

    LW, it is really really really hard to break up with someone when you don’t have an easy soundbite answer as to why. “I’m not feeling it” just isn’t enough for most people, which is utter BS. “I’m not feeling it” IS the only reason you need. YOU deserve better than that, but so does your Family Man.

    Just me, personally, I want fabulosity in my relationships — the trope is that all relationships take work, yes, so I want that work to be So Utterly Worth It that settling for “okay” just isn’t enough for me. I’d rather be alone than be with someone just to not be alone.

    So, from above: This:
    [quote]- Do you want to stay with family man Y/N?
    – Do you want to get together with military man Y/N?

    The only answer combination that can’t work is Y/Y, but Y/N, N/Y, and even N/N are all acceptable options.[/quote]

    Breaking up isn’t a failure. It’s successfully choosing more for yourself and for a man you care about. It’s just really painful success, usually.

  12. Mary said:

    I’ll preface this by saying my actual opinion is with everyone else: if Stalwart Companion isn’t doing it for you, break up with him as clearly-but-kindly as you can and let him get started on the rest of his life while you move full steam ahead with yours.

    Now, a few things: one is that it’s actually not clear that Stalwart Companion is really that into immediately creating a family unit either, while some of the commenters seem to be giving advice that would apply to a situation where he’d being hinting about or had actually proposed or similar. All LW says is “family came up” and he “wasn’t opposed to the idea”, which is a long way from him actively pursuing either marriage(-ish) or children. It’s not even clear he brought it up, which sort of ties into my next point.

    Anyway.

    My main point is this: I realise this is all reading between the lines, but does LW think that men who want (or rather, are “not opposed to”) creating families of various kinds are rare? They aren’t. They are the majority of men. It’s possibly true that there are less of them than there are women with similar intentions, and before about age 30 that’s probably even more likely, however I was kind of getting a vibe of “how AMAZING is this, a guy not opposed to creating a family, how could I let this rare beast loose?”

    If that’s what’s stopping you, LW, let it go. There are loads and loads of men who want families and you can, if you want to, hold out for the double of “scorching lust” and “wants to be a great partner and Dad”. However, it is definitely not mandatory that you date guys who have compatible family goals unless you are, in the short to medium term, actively wanting to pursue family goals. Start interviewing men about their family plans when the time comes for you when you want to be making those plans. It sounds like that time is not yet, so you don’t have to ascertain the family-orientation of every man you are into at this point.

    • Tosca said:

      In my personal-anecdotal-GOSSIP-experience, the MEN I know are, on the whole, more romantic and eager about the whole family, white picket fence and baby thing. Their girlfriends tend to be the more cautious ones. One man I know who is dating one of my BFs make a “joke” about getting her pregnant* and then they’d be Happy Family Forever because he is so! crazy! about her! Yeah, kinda gross and sweet at the same time, I guess?

      *she has an IUD, so oops!babies won’t happen and he knows this.

      • Oh absolutely! All of the men in my life, including previous lovers, have been 100% into the idea of being dads – obviously I don’t know everybody in the world, but there’s nothing about having a Y chromosome that makes you bad at parenting. Nothing is more amusing than borrowing a baby and introducing it to various social circles, and seeing the women react with varying levels of panic and alarm while the men chirp with joy and fight over it. Last week DH came home suspiciously gooey and twitterpated after somebody sprang a baby on his office, and I had to head him off at the pass by suggesting that we look into getting a small furry mammal…

  13. Cara said:

    LW, to be honest, this isn’t all about you.

    If you’re not madly in love with a guy, it’s not fair to keep him just in case you don’t find someone better. It’s extraordinarily selfish.

    You might think the guy won’t know the difference between real love and “meh, you’ll do, if you cater to me enough” love. Guess what? He will.

    And if he’s as great as you say he is, he deserves more respect than “meh, you’ll do”.

    Do both of you a favor and let him go find his great love. Because if you think you’re it, you’re kidding yourself.

  14. MS said:

    I strongly recommend not marrying, or promising to marry, anyone you are not *already* in a permanent committed relationship with emotionally. If there is a question about whether it’s a good idea to get married, either break up or keep going for a while because it’s fun right now, but don’t make promises.

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