Couple's latent feelings won't be put aside lightly
Q: I'm falling in love with "Liz." We dated for two months a year ago, but I ended it when it was clear it was becoming a committed relationship; I was still shaken from a previous, six-year relationship. I will admit, though, that breakup was 16 months before Liz and I got together.
Liz and I never stopped spending time together. We also never talked about any of this, until recently. A couple of weeks ago she told me she had begun dating someone, but never stopped having feelings for me and isn't really happy with her current guy, although they have been dating on-and-off for eight months.
I've never stopped having feelings for her, either. In fact, I think I'm falling in love with her. The next time we spoke, a couple of days later, I told her so. I told her that while I don't want to mess anything up if she's happy, I absolutely want to be with her.
That was almost two weeks ago; she said she needed to think. I don't want to be pushy about this, but I'm also very confused. She said she's falling for me, I've told her I'm falling for her, and she doesn't want to date the current guy anymore . . . I really don't understand what's missing. I'm not sure whether to bring this up again.
A: That's one way to look at it: She loves you, you love her, she doesn't love him.
There's also: She's seeing one guy, openly expressing her doubts, and professing love to another.
And: You dumped her once, just as she was getting serious, but stuck around, and showed no signs of wanting her back until you learned there was someone else.
Certainly if she were the one writing to me, I'd advise skepticism.
And since you're the one asking, I'm advising skepticism.
Both of you need to strip away the distractions of exes, currents, comparisons, territorialism, and whatever else is lurking in there (tough to see through choppy water), and just figure out what you want.
If you're worthy of her trust, then — tough as it may be — you'll encourage what's best not just for you, but for her, too, and the guy she's dating. Same applies to her. That's how you spot a good thing.
Resentment of dad's girlfriend is misidentified
Q: How do I learn to accept my dad's girlfriend? My mom died two years ago, and while she was alive, he treated her awfully. Of course, now that she's dead, he absolutely cherishes her. He's bringing his girlfriend to a family get-together, and I feel like the worlds are colliding — his personal life and the "family life." I'm not ready to accept her.
Kansas City, Mo.
A: It's not her fault that your father mistreated your mom. While it is natural to resent the person who's receiving the kindness you feel your mother deserved, it's still not right to express it.
The person you're unready to accept is your father. It is possible his too-little-too-late affection for your mom is merely self-aggrandizing. However, it's also possible your mother's death awoke him to his regrettable ways. Greet her warmly, consider him carefully. If your resentment lingers, then tell him, calmly, what he has done to upset you. (Pre- or post-gathering, please.)