I’ve been living with my boyfriend for a few months now. We’ve been together on and off for three years now and this is our third attempt at trying to be together romantically. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future and where I see myself going. It’s been no secret to my boyfriend that I’m not interested in marrying him. He’s even stated that he accepts it. However, I’ve been seriously thinking of joining the military after I’ve gotten my second degree and he is now telling me that I’ll have to marry him prior to joining the military otherwise we’ll never see each other. The thing is, I can’t help the way I feel about him. I’ve always known, (and been honest with him about it) that I wouldn’t marry him and that’s not going to change if I do join the military. What I need advice on now is, should I continue this relationship or not? Part of me feels like it’s wrong of me to be in a relationship with someone I don’t see a future with, yet at the same time, he’s stated that he’s alright with it. – Military Brat
The problem here isn’t that you aren’t interested in ever marrying your boyfriend — plenty of people maintain very long-term, happy, healthy relationships without ever getting hitched. The problem is that you don’t see a future with this man at all, with or without a marriage license. It’s not like you’ve found The One and have made a joint decision never to marry — you’re simply killing time with someone you like OK until something better comes along (another guy, a career, an adventure, etc.).
The fact that “you’re honest” with him about how you feel and that he “accepts” it doesn’t make it right. It’s cruel to continue letting him hope there’s a chance somewhere down the line you’ll have a change of heart or that if he hangs in there long enough he may be able to manipulate his way into a marriage with you. And manipulating you is exactly what he’s trying to do with his bogus suggestion that you better get married before you join the military, “otherwise you’ll never see each other.” If he really thinks being married means you’ll magically have more time together, there are countless military spouses who can discount that ludicrous idea. Regardless of whether you join the military or not, it’s time to take this relationship off life support once and for all. Who knows? Once you’re free to pursue other relationships, you may even discover that joining the military was an idea that simply filled a hole your relationship created.
I am somewhat newly single again after about six years of being with a guy. I thought I was going to get married and have a child with him but he ended our relationship quite abruptly. It’s been five months since we broke up and I’m ready to try dating again, the only problem is that I don’t want to date another guy. I’ve always considered myself to be bisexual but I lean heavily toward women. I’m only attracted to men after getting to know them but I practically fall in love on sight with women. In the last year with my ex (after becoming engaged) I questioned more and more whether I could be happy with only a man in my future. Thankfully, I’m not faced with that dilemma any longer, but now I’m faced with a new one.
I’m fairly young (25), and I’ve never really dated anyone besides my ex, regardless of sex. He was the only guy I was with physically and while I have been with several girls, but it’s been years. I’m trying to date and using online dating sites I have been making some connections. I think that I would feel uncomfortable discussing my dating history with anyone — even if I was dating a guy — but now I’m faced with the fear that I’ll be judged for not having enough experience with girls. Do you have any suggestions of resources for me or advice for online dating in general? — Newly Single
First of all, congratulations on dodging the marriage bullet with the ex-fiancé you had doubts about! That’s the good news. The bad news is that your fears about being judged in the dating world are completely founded. Not only will you probably be judged for not having enough experience with girls; you’ll likely be judged for having too much experience with girls … or too much experience with boys, or for being too tall or too short or having hair that’s parted on the “wrong side,” and a degree from a school that isn’t impressive enough. My point is that the dating world — hell, the world in general — is full of insecure, self-conscious people ready to pass harsh judgments on anyone brave enough to put herself out there in a sad attempt to feel a little better about themselves. So what? That’s their problem. You’re looking to make connections, gain some dating experience, maybe meet someone you can have a long-term relationship with — you’re not out to make friends with the entire world. If people are judging you or making you feel bad about yourself, move on to the next person! For as many people out there ready to judge you for the wrong reasons, there are plenty ready to accept you for the right ones.
While it’s your prerogative to share as much or as little about your dating history as you like, you should consider opening yourself up a bit and letting others in, especially if you meet someone you might like to build something with. Sure, doing so risks you getting hurt, but relationships are built on trust and intimacy — two things that are formed only when you let yourself be vulnerable. You don’t have to share every detail of your past relationship(s) (I wouldn’t recommend that at all), but doling out a few highlights — like, that you had one and it was serious and it was with a guy — to someone who is willing to share a bit of her (or his) dating history is how you build the blocks to a real relationship. If what you’re after is some no-strings-attached, hot girl-on-girl sex, that’s fine too, but be honest and up-front about your desire. The last thing you need as a guppy in the lesbian love pool is a bunch of angry women out to get you.
*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.