Torn Between Two Loves
Q: I was previously involved in a relationship for about four years. We had our ups and downs, time behind bars, and then I got to a point where I just walked away and gave it all up. I have a new guy now, one who would never hurt me. His passion for me is extreme. It is so perfect, maybe too perfect, but I feel my love growing for him each and every day. This is a crazy situation because I still love my ex. He was my world and I feel that I contributed just as much as he did to screw it up but I can't let it go. I wake up and know in my heart that I still love him. Sometimes I can't sleep because I am worried about him. He can make me happy and knows everything about me. We have been through so much together. The catch is my family doesn't like him, never has, never will. The color of his skin and the way he was brought up doesn't make our love together easy like the new one. Do you spend your life with the perfect love and have the perfect marriage or do you take the path of loving your soul-mate to live in struggle and never be half as good as you would have been???? -- Angie, 23
Dr. Susan: The impulse that drove you to "give it all up" sounds like a wise one, as your former relationship sounds rather horrible in so many ways. All you're doing now is second-guessing yourself pointlessly. If your "downs" with the former boyfriend included him abusing you, as well as a non-stop struggle to keep your life on an even keel with him, then you're so much better without him. Listen to yourself: your love for the new fellow is growing daily. You can envision a perfect marriage with him (which doesn't exist, by the way). So stop thinking of the other guy as your soul-mate, as there is no such thing. You got addicted to him and you're on your way out of that. Give yourself time. But don't pin all your hopes on having a perfect relationship with anyone. No one is as perfect as they seem at first. It always takes effort and really learning who the other person is.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.