Dear Wayne and Wanda,
My ex and I have been together for a year and two months, and we've had our ups and downs. We've broken up twice, and about three weeks ago, I was the one who broke up with him. I was so happy, and, being single, I went to pursue another guy.
My ex and I kept talking. We broke up, but he wanted to give it time; he isn't ready to break up yet. Currently I am hooking up with both of them -- well, just kissing the new guy. I know that's terrible -- I just don't know what to do.
Part of me says my ex has changed a lot within the past few weeks; whatever situation we're in, he's trying to prove to me how much he loves me. He's noticeably changed. We've gone out and about more often -- like to the movies, where he won me a stuffed animal. Then this past weekend he was visiting family in Los Angeles (16 hours from where we live), and he had flowers sent over from a local flower shop. I was completely shocked; it was so sweet.
Then again, I've been through crap with him, and the new guy is interesting (even though he's a bad kisser -- I guess that can be worked on). But he's a sweetheart and I really like the way he dresses, and his personality is completely different from my ex's.
I don't know how to follow my heart or what to do. I need help. My ex finally told me he loves me when we broke up the second time. He said he was "too cool" to admit that before, so he admitted it when we were breaking up. That really shook me up and hurt my heart, but also made me smile that he finally admitted it. I know that you can't make the decision for me, but I'd love to hear your insights about my situation.
-- Ex or Next?
Wayne: Is two weeks of being the boyfriend you've always wanted enough to make up for 15 months of terrible times and breakups?
Is this really a new boyfriend or just the old boyfriend on his best behavior?
Can you teach an old kisser new tricks?
All tough questions.
Here's one more: Why choose? Seriously, there's no rush. You're technically single; you ended the relationship (twice!) for good reasons; you're excited about your prospects and encouraged by your ex's efforts.
I say give yourself two more weeks of being single and your beaus two more weeks to prove themselves -- for your ex to prove he's the boyfriend he says he is, for your new interest to prove he's legit and not just some sharp-dressed distraction. More than likely, true colors will show and you'll have clarity on one or both of them.
We guys are always on our best behavior when we're trying to get back someone we love. Then again, we guys are also at our best when we first start dating someone. Give them each two weeks -- the guy worth investing in will keep the momentum rolling while the dud will find this kind of effort unsustainable.
If at two weeks it's still a toss-up, then, well, flip a coin! Or better yet, be honest with yourself about the man you want in your life and your future, then make the best decision.
Wanda: Wayne is so right. Men perform best than when they're under the heat of the spotlight. It's like a job interview. They put on their cutest outfit, carefully rehearse lines to land the job and prattle away with polished promises.
Red flag: Your ex was "too cool" to admit he loved you? What does that even mean? You know what I think? This dude isn't cool -- he's cold. So put him where he belongs and let him sit out in the cold a little longer and sweat this out. Fresh flowers and stuffed animals from the grabby machine at the theater are nice attention-getters, but what's next?
Meanwhile snazzy dresser/ mediocre kisser is knocking on your door. Don't answer. The best thing you can do right now is take some time for you. You've been tied up in rocky, messy relationship for a while now. Enjoy the peace and focus on yourself. No one can truly be happy with someone else until he or she knows how to love being alone.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.