Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Which Man Do I Choose?

Dear Jocelyn,
I am 18 years old, and I am in a very confusing situation. I am in a serious relationship with my boyfriend of two years and about a couple months ago, I met someone else.  At first it was just a simple flirtation, and then it grew to be more serious. I am now going out with both of them at the same time. I love my boyfriend of two years, but my family does not approve of him. He would treat me like we were married, but now we have worked that out. Now the other guy, he is actually a long distance relationship and my family does want me to be with him; the only thing is that I'm not sure if that's really what I want. I do have some feelings for him, but of course they are not as strong as for my boyfriend of two years, He is very nice and we do get along, but again I'm stuck at a fork in the road and don't exactly know what to do. I'm very surprised at myself for keeping this up so long, and I'm getting to the point where I really can't do it anymore. I know I have to make a decision and I just don't quite know how to make that decision. To be completely honest I don't know exactly know what I want, I just really don't want to hurt or disappoint anyone. Your advice would very much be appreciated.
     -Don't Know What to Choose

Dear Don't Know,
The most important thing you should do right now is come clean.  First to your boyfriend, then to the other man.  While I think casually dating more than one person at a time is perfectly fine and can even be helpful (especially at your young age), there is a difference between casually dating and being in a monogamous relationship.  Your boyfriend believes he is your one and only, and you are lying to him by keeping this other relationship a secret.

I think you should also break up with your boyfriend, if he does not do so when you break the news to him.  You should take some time to yourself to consider why you would lie to these men.  After all, you are not married to your boyfriend, so you could have broken up with him if you wanted to see this other man.  It seems as if you want to "have your cake and eat it too" - you didn't want to have to choose between the two men.  It is this type of thinking that will get you in trouble in marriage.  That is, after all, a harder and much longer commitment.

Before you consider entering into another serious relationship, you have to deal with this.  If you're not willing to do what it takes to be faithful, and to sacrifice being able to explore other relationships in order to be true to your boyfriend, you are not ready for a serious relationship.  

You are very young, and the prospect of coming clean probably scares you.  It should.  However, the choices we make when we are young define us.  You already made one mistake by cheating on your boyfriend; now is the time to decide whether or not to correct that mistake.  You can try to be a woman of honor, or you can continue in this duplicitous relationship.  Try not to make the choice that will be easiest, but the one you can be proud of.
     -Jocelyn

1 comment:

Jess said...

Good question and good answer! I would also like to point out that "Don't Know What to Choose" said "I just really don't want to hurt or disappoint anyone". I believe this may be what led to the situation of starting a new relationship before ending the old one: not wanting to upset anyone, and therefore avoiding saying "no" to either boyfriend.
18 years old is a good time to develop some boundaries and learn to make decisions confidently. As Jocelyn said, this is a defining moment. Neglecting to address this behavior will only create more problems in the future. Saying "yes" and "no" and meaning it is an essential skill for any functional adult.

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