Dear 100 Hour Board,
Relationship drama warning for those of you who want to keep scrolling down the page.
I need someone to talk sense into me:
So six months ago I broke up with a guy we’ll call Luke in our story, after six months of dating. We were very similar in unbelievable ways. I felt while dating him that I was always the one always planning things, wanting to do more together, and wanting to progress in the relationship. Luke seemed glad to go on dates, but was undecided- he liked me, but was always afraid that by being with me he might be missing out on someone better. Ultimately he broke it off. He sent me a note a month later, stating that he hoped I was OK, and that he was sorry that he hurt me by breaking up with me, it was hard on him too, he missed my company, and that I was an amazing person, but that he felt the breakup was “probably for the best” and that I deserved someone who was more into me.
I am now dating someone who has a great heart. There are a few little things, though, that he does not have that Luke did. Luke lived independently, had a career, dressed well. New guy always has bad, visible underarm wetness, is still figuring out his career, working a mediocre job, lives with parents and doesn’t really try to be independent of them (and parents are in good health and we are both in our upper 20s, he can’t find anything in their kitchen type of dependency- Mom always cooks, manages his schedule, and so on), was raised a little differently from me in some ways that Luke and I were similar. New guy wanted to be exclusive, I agreed, and then I started to get anxious about him.
I feel like it’s not fair to be exclusive with New Guy when I really would rather be with Luke (assuming Luke overcame his hesitancy about getting serious with me). And I’ve known New Guy for less time- maybe once I’ve known him longer, I’ll become more attached. At the same time, I feel it’s not fair to New Guy that I’d rather marry Luke if Luke ever started to chase me again. Part of me wants to contact Luke and see if he’d ever be interested in dating me again. Yet the logical part of me says that he broke things off (and I was doing most of the pursuing when we were in a relationship), and that that is not anything he’d be remotely interested in. Part of me wants to keep going with New Guy (who has a great sense of humor, is a great conversationalist, and is eagerly chasing me). Yet a third part of me wants to keep my options open and keep looking for someone with many of Luke’s qualities- but I’m in my upper 20’s, and worried I could wait a lifetime.
Dear Drama Llama,
There are more categories of men in the world than "Luke" and "guys who are completely dependent on their parents," and while the choice about who you want to date is ultimately up to you, just keep that in mind. You seem to have the mindset that you can either date New Guy, Luke, or no one ever again, but in reality, your options are much broader than that. So please remember that, and don't make decisions out of desperation.
It sounds like you're trying to talk yourself into falling for New Guy, and that doesn't sound like the basis of a happy relationship to me. You might want to examine your reasons for being in this relationship. Is it because you truly like him, despite his flaws? Is it because you're afraid of spending the rest of your life alone if you don't get married soon? Is it just to make New Guy happy? Is it a rebound? If your motivation for being with New Guy stems from anything other than genuinely liking him and enjoying being around him, my advice would be to get out. Not so that you'll be single in case Luke decides to come back, but so that you'll be happy and New Guy can be happy. Just like you deserved to be with someone who was committed to you the way you were to him, New Guy deserves that, too.
Also, giving yourself time to grieve and move on is A-okay. You may feel like you should have moved on by now, but forgetting someone who so deeply marked you and influenced your life isn't going to happen immediately, or even necessarily all that fast. It's okay to just give yourself some time to heal in which you don't enter into any relationships. If you're completely moved on and ready to enter relationships, great, but like I said earlier, just make sure you aren't rebounding. I've had one experience where I totally rebounded, and it sounds eerily similar to what you're going through right now, so my advice is to be wary of that. Trust me, you'll be happier in the long run if you just give yourself some breathing room, even if it's incredibly painful to be alone, instead of trying to numb that pain with another relationship with someone who you aren't particularly invested in. Again, making the decision about what you want to do with New Guy is up to you, and I would strongly recommend praying about it, but if you decide to break up with him, don't be afraid to. Sure, it might be hard and messy, but isn't it better to go through a breakup, or even multiple breakups, than end up with someone who doesn't make you happy?
So you're in your upper 20's. So what? The average marriage age is approaching 30, making you comfortably within the norm. And even if you make it past 30 without getting married, that's by no means an indication that your entire life will go that way. The future is never determined by the past, at least when it comes to your own personal potential and future. Being single is hard, I know. But it will pay off eventually. You get the promise of eternities of bliss with someone who loves you completely, and who you love completely. Whether you get married next week or when you're 87, you'll still get eternities with that person. That's such a wonderful promise, but also, can you imagine how hellish it would be to spend eternity with someone who you're not completely in love with, or who's not completely in love with you? That's why it's okay to wait. Everything will be made fair in the end, plus you'll be happier if you wait for the right person.
And finally, if you haven't read anything else in this answer, read this: look for someone with GOOD qualities, not someone with LUKE's qualities. Like I said earlier, men fall into more categories than "New Guy" and "Luke." Sure, Luke had plenty of good qualities, but even without having ever met him I can guarantee you he wasn't perfect, because he was a human. Don't overglorify him in your memories, and don't think of him as the paragon of all that you want in a man. In my experience, we think we know what we want, but we're wrong more often than not. Don't confine yourself to just looking for the good you found in Luke. Let yourself be surprised by other amazing qualities you've never even thought of. You'll find other people who are just as amazing as Luke was, but in completely different ways that you could never have imagined, that complement you perfectly. Maybe right now that doesn't sound very appealing, because from what I can tell you're still hurting for Luke, but in the end you'll be so much happier if you can focus on finding someone who's a good person rather than an exact duplicate of your ex. Like the 13th Article of Faith says, seek out that which is "virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy." Personally, it seems to me like New Guy isn't exhibiting attributes that jive with those characteristics, but also remember that Luke isn't the only person who does exhibit those good things.
Relationships are hard. Breakups are hard. Life is hard. But it's also excruciatingly beautiful, and it's worth it. So again, don't make decisions out of desperation, and don't just be in relationships out of convenience. If I've sounded anti-New Guy in this answer, it's because I got the feeling from your own question that you're not super enamored of your relationship with him, so I'm just trying to push you towards the way you're already feeling. But there's also the possibility I completely misinterpreted everything you said, so make sure you ponder about this decision yourself, and definitely pray about it.
Best of luck, friend.
New guy sounds like a bad situation for a long-term relationship, but that's just me. I think you need to find someone that is able to at least find a can opener in the kitchen and can manage his own schedule.
I know that is asking for a lot out of a guy, but I think you'll manage!
-Sunday Night Banter
Some of these issues with New Guy are things that you could talk about. Some may be things you're willing to live with. But I think that in aggregate, the qualities you've described are dealbreakers - or at least, they would be to me.
If you're in your late 20s, I think it's reasonable to look for someone who has a career plan, is able to live independently and take care of himself (it's okay to live with parents for practicality, but he should demonstrate that he wouldn't be lost in his own apartment), and who is able to carry a conversation with you.
Underarm wetness isn't completely within someone's control, but a basic sense of hygiene ought to be there by a person's late 20s.
I don't think you're being too picky, personally. It's better to be single than to be with someone who you're unhappy with.
My advice? Move on from New Guy and Luke. Use these experiences to help you hone in on what you're looking for. Don't stay in relationships you don't want to be in.