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Please help me choose.

Question

I met a girl at work in March 2012, who I will call Anne, and we started seeing eachother – although I told her from the beginning that I wasn’t sure we were right for eachother and that she should consider seeing other people. I told her this because I knew another girl at work, who I will call Laura, who had a boyfriend but was planning on leaving him, and I had been interested in Laura before I even knew Anne. I didn’t let Anne know this however.

Eventually, Anne caught on to the fact that I was often talking with Laura at work and also texting with her while out of work. This made Anne very upset and she began to tell me that she wanted an exclusive relationship with me and would not continue to see me if I didn’t stop making her feel uncomfortable by flirting and talking with Laura. I told her that I would stop. The problem with the Laura situation was that she wasn’t sure if she was going to leave her boyfriend because they had been together for 8 years and they had a daughter together in November 2011.

I tried to focus on Anne during the times I was uncertain about what was going to happen with Laura, but it always stood in the way, and I would meet up with Laura on occasion and we were intimate. In September 2012 I started staying with Anne in her apartment and I believed she hoped that would make a difference between her and I. On the night of my birthday in October 2012, Laura came out with a bunch of our other work friends to a club and Anne saw Laura kiss me. Anne broke up with me that night, but allowed me to stay with her. I told Anne that I would end things with Laura. I tried with Anne, but the strain of knowing that Laura was going to eventually break up with her boyfriend was always in my mind and I wanted to stay in contact with her. I was finally open with Anne and told her that I had been cheating on her with Laura for some time. She was very upset but allowed me to remain with her as long as I sorted out my feelings with Laura and would eventually choose to stop seeing her. That’s not what happened though, and Laura did eventually break up with her boyfriend in December 2012, and I left Anne’s place that same month. Anne kept waiting for me to come to my senses, see that she loved me and allowed me to put her through hell, and would choose to be with her. But I didn’t.

Anne eventually moved on to another boyfriend and I was with Laura.

Actually being with Laura – whom I didn’t really ever believe I would have the chance to be with because I didn’t honestly believe she would ever leave her boyfried – made some reservations come to mind. Although I had thought about these things previously: her boyfriend would always be in the picture because of their daughter, that I would have to help raise someone else’s child, that I would be walking into somebody else’s situation, that I was on the ‘outside’ of things, and that Laura was very afraid of being a single mother and alone….when I was finally with her and experiencing it all full-time, these problems were more real. Furthermore, I took her to meet my parents and they were very unhappy with my choice to date her.

I eventually told my fears and concerns to Anne and she said that she was leaving her boyfriend and would be there for me if I wanted to try again. She also said that she was planning to move out of state but would stay if I decided to be with her again. She said that she loves me and wants to marry me. Anne and I got back together and were intimate. Laura found out that I cheated on her and was upset but said that she loves me and wants to be with me and wants to be married and have a family with me. I am very happy with Laura. She is very loving, caring, mature, and I think could be good for me. However, I often times do not feel in control of what is happening and feel that I am part of something that is not ‘my own’.

I also feel that with Anne, although there were things about her that caused us to argue – it was pretty much always about Laura. Anne showed deep loyalty to me – which I think is the most powerful thing that keeps me thinking about her. I could also have a life of my ‘own’ with her and not have to be under the shadow of a previous long-term relationship that resulted in a child.

Aside from the fact that people have told me to move on from both of them and start over, I wish I had an idea of which woman I may be happier with and may be better for me. I know I have been a jerk in this and possibly don’t deserve either one of them. But they both love me, and I feel love for both of them. Please help me make the best decision possible.

Answer

You say you feel love for both of them – but are you in love with either of them?  You’ve cheated on each one – and you have all these reservations.  Why do you feel compelled to pick one?  It kind of sounds like you’re putting yourself first – that you’re being selfish with your expectations of what a relationship really is and how things “should” be.

My advice is to take some time on your own and really figure out what you want, and NEED, in a relationship. In a relationship that works neither person is “in control” – and that is ok, because it’s not about “you” it’s about “us.”  Life is uncertain – but in a real relationship, a committed relationship, you maintain integrity and trust and respect and truthfulness – you are open and vulnerable and you need each other.  There are no hoops to jump through, no tests to pass.  You love and accept each other as is.  No judgments, no expectations.

So, maybe you need to work on yourself.  Get clear with yourself.  

If after some time apart you find that there is one of these women with whom you really can’t live without – follow your heart.  And if you decide to commit – then really commit – don’t look back, don’t hold back.  

I recommend the book “Hold Me Tight” – check it out and see what you think.  

Good luck!