Post # 1
Hi bees, I’m a regular poster going anonymous for this. I really need some guidance.
I’ve been with my BF–let’s call him “John”–for almost a year. He is a great guy, he loves me, we get along well, we have a ton in common, and I think he would be a good person to marry. I love him, but I don’t feel madly in love with him. There’s someone else I can’t seem to stop thinking about–let’s call him “Paul.”
I met Paul at church when I was 18 (I’m 21 now) and we’ve been friends ever since. He’s been there for me through everything since I met him. When I met John, I had had strong feelings for Paul for about 9 months. He is honestly the most selfless, most humble, most encouraging, wisest, kindest, happiest, funniest person I’ve ever met. I’m also very physically attracted to him. He’s even friends with my mom, and she agrees that he’s a wonderful person. I’ve never felt so strongly for anyone else. I tried to forget about my feelings for him when I started dating John, but it hasn’t been easy.
There’s another problem: Paul is 39. I always forget about the age difference because he is so fun and energetic for his age and we have so much in common. But that’s the main reason I never went for him–although I know he thinks highly of me and thinks I’m wise and mature for my age, I was afraid that he would never date me because of my age. I realize now that I should have tried anyway–and in fact, I was about to try when I met John–but it’s too late now.
Besides just wanting happiness for myself, I also don’t want to feel like I’m lying to John for the rest of my life. He doesn’t deserve that. I’ll never be able to tell him that he’s the best person or most attractive person I’ve ever met–those things would only be true if I said them to Paul. Before I met John, I often felt like Paul might have feelings for me, and I still get that feeling sometimes. I’m afraid I will never find out unless I break up with John, but I don’t want to break up with him for nothing. This issue has been nagging at me for so long. What should I do??
Post # 3
@anonpurplemonkeys: youre only 21. Break up with John and see where things go. but dont not break up with john and find out if this paul guy likes you. It doesnt sound like youre in love with John and are with him because he seems “safe” ?? You’re still really young so if you are thinking about someone else already then you should probably let john go.
Post # 4
You are very young, I agree. If you aren’t mad about John, just break up with him. Date around, see what’s out there. 39 is awfully old for a 21 year old, IMO.
Post # 5
Breaking up with him is not “for nothing.” Plenty of people end relationships with really great people. Just because someone is really great doesn’t mean they are really great for you. Both you and John both deserve better I would end things, the sooner the better for both of your sakes.
Post # 6
You need to break up with John, no question. Saying that you don’t want to break up for nothing, is a really horrible thing to say. So you will stay with John until someone better comes along? He deserves much more than that. You are 21 and should be dating. Not thinking about spending the rest of your life with a guy you’ve been dating for less than a year that you aren’t even crazy about. Even if Paul rejects you, that’s life. You need to have relationships and go through these things.
While Paul may like you to some extent, I have a hard time believing any sane 39 year old would seriously consider dating a 21 year old.
Post # 7
@anonpurplemonkeys: You’re only 21. I don’t see the point in staying with John if you’re already thinking about another guy this much. Even if things don’t work out with Paul, at least you tried. No sense stringing John along. Who knows.. you might find someone more suited to you than John and Paul would be. A good relationship is built on more than being “madly in love”, though. I am sure you know this, but those butterflies don’t always last forever (at least they decrease with everyday life), so you need to make sure that it isn’t just a crush you have on Paul. Of course you need to be attracted to the person, but if you’re only marrying for love, you’ll be in big trouble. I stayed with my ex for waaaay too long because it was exciting and I felt like I was “madly” in love with him. I think I was mad for staying with him for so long!!
Post # 8
Age is just a number. You are young still and if there are no children involved than break it off with John. Things will only get worse the longer you stay with him. You will always have Paul in the back of your head. The worst scenario, you break it off with John, become involved with Paul, realize that the intimate relationship isn’t what you imagined. break it off with him and realize that neither of the two were who you were meant to marry.
I was engaged to a guy when I was 20 and we actually end things after 2 years. (Crappy part is I am stuck with him because we have a daughter together). I bounced back from it, met the man I am seriously in love with and planning a wedding. Took me 7 years after the first one but I wasn’t in a huge rush the older I got.
Post # 9
@anonpurplemonkeys: I would probably break up with John, because it sounds like you aren’t truly IN love with him (you love him & respect him). It isn’t fair to have these feelings deep down about somebody else and stay with him, and it isn’t fair for you to settle for somebody who can’t measure up to what you truly want.
If you pursue Paul & he doesn’t reciprocate, please do not get back with John. Just because Paul might not have worked out, doesn’t mean that suddenly if you get back with John you will be madly in love with him now that you have sewn those wild oats.
Post # 10
Don’t get married to John. If you want to get married to someone there is no others catching your eye or interest. Also, that’s a huge age difference with Paul, but I did the math and I see no reason why I wouldn’t want to try that out. He may be the one! Best wishes.
Post # 11
My husband and I are 18 years apart. Trust me, age isn’t anything but a number if you two are at the same place in life, wanting the same things. I left my ex boyfriend to date my husband and it was super scary because of his age but we don’t even think about it. He is the best man I could have ever met and I am SO happy I married him. You need to do what is right for you. You are young enough to still make some changes in your life to make sure you are happy. Do it now because you might not be able to later. Just don’t let the age scare you. If Paul will make you happy then find out!
Post # 12
if John is as lovely of a person as you say he deserves to be with someone who loves him just as much as he loves them. it’s unfair to both of you if you stay with him just because you dont know if your feelings for Paul are reciprocated. You deserve to be crazy madly in love with someone, and don’t settle for less. I felt the same way towards a guy I dated in my early 20’s and although I didn’t have feelings for someone else, I just couldnt imagine love being so lackluster. he was a good guy, I respected him, but the way i love the man I’m engaged to blows my mind. Hold out, it’s 100% worth it!
Post # 13
Sometimes you gotta chase the lighting honey, be it skydying, a new job, or a man you can’t quite get out of your head.
I think the only thing that’s stopping you is the fact that as much as you’re thinking of Paul, you’re going to feel like a bad person for breaking things off the John…and you just can’t let that happen, you’re not being a villain if you’re acting as an advocate for your own bliss.
Post # 14
@canarydiamond: I should have been more clear–when I say “madly in love,” I don’t mean infatuation and butterflies. I’m talking more about feeling like I can’t imagine life without him, feeling like he makes me a better person, etc….it’s sorta hard to explain, I guess. :/ I definitely agree that marriage isn’t all about feelings, though.
Post # 15
@anonpurplemonkeys: I think you know what you need to do. My SO and I have a big gap – we got together when I was almost 26 and he was almost 40. I think where you are in life is a big part of it. I was never much of a party type, and my SO isn’t exactly a grampa, so it works for us. We both work etc. I think it would have been more difficult (if not impossible) had we met when I was in university. We want similar things out of life. You never know til you try. You are definitely very young but I won’t say it’s impossible that you two could end up happy together.
Post # 16
Thank you for all your answers so far, everyone. I guess I am also concerned that I might just be suffering from the “grass is greener syndrome”–getting what I want (John) and then always wondering if something else might have been better (Paul). I’m sure if Paul didn’t exist, or if I knew he would never reciprocate my feelings, I would be madly in love with John.