Advice

I see a real future with the guy I’m dating. The problem is that he says he still ‘has feelings’ for his ex.

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I’ve been seeing the same guy for a few months. When we first got together, he shared he’d recently had a breakup when his girlfriend moved out of state. Full disclosure, I have a history of being more into guys than they are to me. I’ve been told I’m intense. I definitely fall fast. I buy gifts, make romantic gestures and do all the things to show without a doubt I’m into someone. Well once again, I was feeling lately like he was pulling away a little.

The other night, I asked if he thought we were on the same page, and he shared that his ex is coming back to Anchorage; in fact, her move away was never permanent, she was out of state for work for the summer, and he always knew she was returning.

I was pretty surprised and definitely caught off guard. I asked if he wanted to stop seeing each other. He said no, we didn’t need to stop. I asked if he still had feelings for her. He said yes, he thinks he does, and he doesn’t know what that means for us.

I really like him and I’m hoping if I give this relationship 110%, he’ll come to see what a great thing we have, and by the time she returns, he’ll fully commit to me. Am I fooling myself?

Wanda says:

Reasons to break up with someone: 1. They still have feelings for their ex. 2. They aren’t fully honest about their emotional availability. 3. They just aren’t that into you. Check, check and check! And with that, it’s time for you to check out of this dead-end relationship.

Look, almost all of us bring history and romantic baggage to the table when we embark on something new. But part of being a responsible adult in the dating pool is being open and honest to establish a foundation of truth and communication in a functional relationship; and also, don’t even swim around in the pool until you’re in a healthy headspace to do those things!

This guy knew he faced a few lonely months and that the woman he was really into would be back, and he took up your time to span the gap so he wouldn’t have to be solo. That’s selfish and super unfair to you. Why would you want to hang on to someone like that? Anyone deserves better — at the very least, a person who prioritizes and cherishes you and isn’t waiting for someone else to show up. You had several unaware months for him to see what a “great thing” you two have, and all he sees is the door he’ll no doubt dash out of the second his ex returns. The sooner you cut your losses and move on, the sooner you can move toward something happier and healthier.

Wayne says:

Oh, for sure, giving that extra 10% in addition to everything you’ve already got will keep him around. But, just in case, you’d better start giving 150% — that should seal it.

Of course he wants to stay with you for now. Listen, he’s pulling off an amazing high-wire act of stringing you along and keeping you close while staying connected to and excited for a future with his ex. You and the ex are both safety nets should one or the other bail or sour on him, or should he eliminate one of the two of you from his traveling circus. Either way, as of now, he ends up with a nice, soft landing while your heart and dreams go splat.

If you are giving all you’ve got, can you accept less than that from him when his ex returns and he figures out his next move? Are you willing to continue investing time, energy and hope in him while he’s already told you he’s investing his time, energy and hope in a woman that is not you? Are you prepared to have the rug pulled out from under you and kicked to the curb should he and his ex have a sweet reunion? And even if it works out with you two, are you going to be able to continue giving 100% or more knowing that you were his backup plan?

I’ll give him this: at least he’s being honest with you. Perhaps you should take him at his word and disengage from him and this situation until he figures out what the heck he wants, because someone with a big heart like you is not going to enjoy being in a game like this, and it’s only going to get worse before it might get better.

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