I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan
Originally published June 18, 2009:
I'm going to say up front that I'm a complete and total asshole.
I have been with my current boyfriend for about three years and we are living together. About a year ago, our relationship started to go bad when I found out I was pregnant and ended up having an abortion. Every time I look at him, all I see is this baby I didn't have and I feel horrible to the point where now I don't like him to even touch me anymore. I don't want to hurt him. I just don't see how I can carry on in this relationship anymore.
Compounding all of that, an old flame from Europe is back in my life, and I am still in love with him and I know he still loves me. This guy was my knight in shining armor in college but he had to return to the UK, so we couldn't really have anything. But now the possibility is there because our lives are at a stage where we could move and make it work. I have no idea how to deal with any of this. The old flame looks better and better all the time and I am doing so badly here, but I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't see any route at this point that won't end with at least one person in tears. Please help!
Definitely Out Of My Depth
Presumably there was a good reason why you decided against having a child with the boyfriend. Perhaps you told yourselves that it wasn't the right time, DOOMD, but it seems more than likely you realized, consciously or subconsciously, that he wasn't the right person: He wasn't the man with whom you wanted to have children. Or perhaps the boyfriend was so strongly opposed to becoming a father that you decided to have an abortion—an abortion you instantly regretted and resent him for. Either way, DOOMD, I don't see how your current relationship survives.
And we haven't even addressed the existence of the Euro. You still have feelings for your old college flame—clearly—and if you stay with the boyfriend for the rest of your life just to spare his feelings, DOOMD, your resentments will metastasize. Again, I don't see how this relationship survives.
But none of that answers your question, does it? You've asked me to identify a way out—a route out—that spares everyone's feelings. Sorry, DOOMD, but I can't help you. If you pass on the Euro because you can't stand the thought of hurting the boyfriend, you'll be miserable. And if you stay with the boyfriend, you're only postponing his misery. Your resentments will grow and spread, like so many tumors, until they ultimately kill this relationship. If the Euro has moved on by that point, then all three of you will wind up miserable and alone.