Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Transition

Dear Aunt B,

I know you stated on your website to go ahead and ask any question. But as I began to write mine I noticed I was writing too much haha, it is a very long story and I don't want to take up too much of your time because I see how many people have already written to you and they had straight to the point stories, not taking up more than 2 paragraphs. But I just really needed someone to talk to, so I basically poured my heart out haha. Is that okay to send to you anyway or would it be better if I tried summing it up more? Whatever is convenient for you just let me know and I will shorten my big long story :)

Editor's Note; I wrote back to Jennifer the following...

"Hello Jennifer,
I am in receipt of your part one question. I welcome you to please tell me everything you feel you need to say. There is no limit or guideline, short or long. The more I know, the better to help you.
I'll welcome your reply and will answer you asap!"

I then received her next letter which Xmichra kindly took the time to answer.

Well Aunt B, here is my story. I am only 20 years old but have put myself in an awkward position and need help getting out of it. I have been dating this person for almost 5 years. We were high school sweethearts and are still together to this day. He's a good person, my mom loves him, we have seen each other grow and even helped each other grow as well. All of our family encourages our relationship and have never once doubted anything we did as a couple. Even our friends call us the "real deal". At one point in our relationship, around our 3rd year together (i know, i know.. we were still very young) we began to talk about marriage and having kids. Everything seemed so perfect, he was my best friend, he was always there for me. There was nothing negative I could say about him or about the relationship, even now. And to be honest, when I made these decisions with him I really believe I did it out of comfort. Because I figured nobody as perfect or more perfect than him would come along and I was afraid to find out anyway. And over the following years I believed I let go of that fear because I felt it in my heart that I was genuinely wanting this life with him. But then I started college in the fall of 2008 and I was making friends left and right. Catching up with high school friends and finding new ones. He and I had our differences and sometimes clashed. But we never argued, we would always discuss how we felt and didn't leave anything unsaid until we found a mutual understanding. And believe me I am grateful for that because I know other couples don't have it picture perfect. I don't want to sound like I am complaining but , all the "perfectness" started to get under my skin. And I really tried to fight it because I did not want to feel like a brat or lose what was most valuable to me over a silly phase.

But I couldn't help how I was feeling. The more we had these discussions the more I began to realize our differences, which seem like a lot. I realized how jealous he was, how controlling, and needy he was. He didn't want me to dress a certain way leaving the house, he didn't want me talking to any boys even if they were old friends, he did not like for me to attend any kind of events, parties, get togethers, or even bowling with a few friends. He would get upset if I didn't call him to let him know where I was, when I got home, or who I was with. He did not want me having any kind of webpage like myspace, facebook, etc. He did not even want me texting anyone back while I was on the phone with him. I just began feeling suffocated. But we are the type of people to want to resolve things instead of getting mad or "getting back" at eachother. So I was patient, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt at least 80% of the time. But then we started having double standard issues.

He would hang out with his friends or family and not call me for two days. Or he would go get his hair cut and wear a nice outfit on a regular tuesday. All these things, were things that honestly did not bother me. I love when he dresses nice, I want him to socialize and what not. But it seemed like he was taking advantage of it. He understood where the double standard stood but he was too stubborn to try and fix it. I remember our first arguement was when I had to take a business trip to florida for 2 weeks. He complained about how much he missed me the entire time. When I got back I called him to let him know I had landed safely and he did not pick up. I tried again later that night, still no answer. So I left him a voicemail telling him goodnight and that I love him. The next day, no calls, no texts. The day after that he calls and was talking to me like everything was fine. I was surprised because he's such an anal person, he usually calls my phone billions of times a day when I go on trips. But I didn't think anything of it. The day after that, no word from him again. So now I'm thinking there's something wrong, because he hasn't even asked to see me since I got back, which is very rare for him to do. Then a few more days pass by, I get one call in 3 days. On the fourth day he says we need to talk. So we meet up at the park and he says he's feeling suffocated..surprise surprise right. He said sometimes he doesn't want to be on the phone with me all day because he wants time to hang out with his brothers and his friends. He said he doesn't want to sit on the phone for hours after he has already seen me. And my reply was "But I'm doing all of this because you want that. You're the one who calls me the most and you complain if I want to get off the phone or have to. You tell me to call you every time I make a move. All of this I do for you." And somehow we began to argue, it was a really stupid arguement but we got over it, we ended up just talking it out. A couple of days passed and I call him just to say hi on my lunch break at work, we talked for a few minutes then I asked so what are your plans for the rest of the day and he said he was leaving to california. I was kinda shocked, he was just ready to take his little vacation and he had known about it for a week and didn't say anything to me. I was not happy with the way he had been acting at all so I confronted him. And his excuse was, he thought I'd be upset if he told me earlier so he decided to put it off til the day of. So by this time I'm feeling really, really annoyed with him and I'm not sure why. But I began to raise my voice, I was really frustrated with him. I was bringing up all sorts of things, I mentioned how he still hasn't even asked to see me since I got back from florida, how he would have chewed me up and spit me back out for making plans to go to cali without telling him, etc. And again, we argued, talked it out and went about our business.

Little things like that kept happening here and there. Then I met this guy in college, he was very very nice and his personality just attracted me to him very very much. He was everything I was attracted to, very tall, well dressed, handsome face, and nicely built. I had a little crush on him and it wasn't for a long time until I realized that everytime I was around him I completely forgot about my boyfriend. We ended up hanging out on a regular basis. But nothing more than friends at that time. He would take me out for breakfast after our first class, then sometimes would stay after his last class waiting for me to get out of mine just so he could talk to me before we both left the campus. I was slowly drifting away from my boyfriend without really realizing it. Then one day the guy from school was walking me to my class one afternoon after we had got back from a little cafe across the street. He asked if he could get a kiss on his cheek and I thought it was the cutest thing ever. And i don't know what made me do it but I did, I went to kiss him on the cheek but he turned his head and kissed me on the lips, then just walked away. I was still standing there in shock for a few seconds. And the whole time in class all I kept thinking about was him, I didn't even once think of the bigger issue, the fact that I had a boyfriend who I am supposingly in love with but I just let another guy who I have the biggest puppy crush on, kiss me. So to make an extremely long story, a bit shorter.. I spent the night at his house one night and did something I really probably shouldn't have. I broke all my rules with this guy. My boyfriend of 4 years had been my first and only everything and vice versa. We took eachother's virginity and he was my first boyfriend and my first kiss. I had made a promise to myself and God that I would give my body to only one man for the rest of my life, since I had started having sex before marriage. But obviously that promise wasn't strong enough because I had sex with the guy from college that night. But still I wasn't thinking of the fact that I was now cheating on my boyfriend and breaking my promise to God.

That same night we had decided to start a relationship between us. And a few weeks later he told me he loved me. And I was very very cautious and skeptical at first. But I started believing it little by little, just because of his actions. He would still tell me "i love you" even though I never said it back. He didn't stop being a gentlemen or doing the nice and thoughtful things he did even before we began dating. He was very attentive and was always trying to find ways and things to please me. And one day it just hit me that I was in love with him and not my boyfriend. But I just couldn't let go of my boyfriend, I don't understand why. I know I was still with him out of comfort but at the same time I was falling in love with another guy, so why was I still comfortable with him and not the college guy. So I held onto my first boyfriend and as bad as it sounds I wasn't feeling guilty. I hate to say it but it is the truth and I can not deny it. Things were going great with this college guy. He wanted me to look my best, he wanted me to socialize with friends and was not hesistent to bring me around his guy friends. He wanted me to meet his mother and his mother instantly took a liking to me. He wanted me to attend all the family gatherings and would introduce me proudly.

There are some things about him though that are a little less than nice. He is also 20 years old, but he has a 3 year old son. He smokes weed on a weekly basis, he loves to watch porn and still keeps condoms in his car & on his nightstand even though he knows I am allergic to the lubricant in condoms. One night he left me all dressed up waiting for him to come pick me up for a dinner date. And when I asked what had happened he said he got caught up at the studio (he is a musician). But two days later I was at his house and we were taking a nap, I woke up to turn the TV off and accidently knocked our cellphones off his nightstand. So as I went to pick them up I noticed ticket stubs for the movies under his wallet, I picked one up and it said 9:10pm and the exact date of the day he stood me up. So I got curious but for some reason didn't even confront him about it. The next week I left for a trip to florida to visit family. He was very sweet about it and told me he would call me every day. He told me to enjoy myself and behave. He gave me a very expensive bracelet and told me to wear it proudly and think of him everytime I put it on.

When I came back things were still good. Then I began to argue again with my first boyfriend. We would stop talking for weeks at a time, then get back on the phone very cold and distant. We both noticed the change, but I was still not letting him go. We had not seen eachother for about 3 months by then. This pattern continued over the next months and my birthday came around, which was the 25th of june, not too long ago. My other boyfriend wanted to spend that day with me so he tried to book a hotel for us, but he had lost his job due to a trip he had to make to california to see his son, but the company he was with told him he did not have any vacation time and that they would just have to lay him off since he was only working there for about 2 months. So he did not have a steady income and was doing little work here and there like construction and performing at night clubs. But most of his money he had to send to his son, which is totally understandable and I even encouraged it. So I decided I would book the hotel since he had already done a lot for me previous to being laid off. I booked the hotel, I bought the candles, the bubble bath, the flower petals and the whole nine. The night did not go as romantic as I had planned for it to go. He brought his ps3, his cds and his weed. I was kind of disappointed I'm not gonna lie. But the way he was looking at me and touching me, I was just melting and ignoring everything else. He asked if it was okay to smoke in front of me and I really don't know why I said yes because I hated the fact that he smoked and certainly did not want to see him doing it. So he began preparing his stuff to smoke and asked me if I would do it with him just one time. And I said no, then he started to beg and mentioned how he drank alcohol with me at one of my family's parties even though he didn't drink. So I figured if he did that for me I could do this just once. And I did, and the feeling was not too pleasant. I was enjoying the mood with him but I didn't like the effect the drug had on me. That night had its ups & downs. And he ended up falling asleep on me earlier than I had planned, which kind of ruined the rest of the night because I was wide awake and had planned all these things I wanted to do with him. We didn't light any of the candles, the flower petals remained in their box, the sex oils were not used, the bubble bath and huge jacuzzi in the middle of our room went untouched. So there I was, high as a kite, bored, upset, hungry and irritated. Then he woke up around 3am and ordered room service, which kind of made things a little better because he knew how to order my food since I am a picky eater. He asked for a special dessert to my liking, he asked for flowers and for a small cake to be brought to our room that said happy birthday on it. And it was that kind of thing that had me back and forth with him. Because he would do something I didn't like or something questionable but then it was like he balanced it out and did something thoughtful right behind it, so there was no room for confrontation or a window left open to argue.

A few days later my first boyfriend called and said he was sorry for not being able to spend my birthday with me because he works at a car dealership and is a salesmen and a supervisor and is always working, sometimes from bell to bell. He said he would like a chance to make it up and that he had a special gift for me. So he came to pick me up that night and he had a fish tank in the back of his car and when I looked in it, it had two baby turtles. That is one of my favorite animals and had always wanted little ones as a pet. My heart started beating faster and all of a sudden I stopped thinking of my other boyfriend. I couldn't believe he remembered and that he would spend so much money getting it for me. He was not the gift giving type. I took the turtles inside my house and got back in his car, he took me to an old church parking lot and told me to get in the drivers seat. I didn't know how to drive because nobody wanted to teach me and my mom was always promising to teach me but never followed through. He knew that was something I would really, really appreciate. So he taught me how to drive that night. He even let me drive all the way back to my house. Then he gave me a calendar for 2009-2010. And each month had a big picture of us back in High School. And The month of our anniversary had a picture of us standing together in the spot where we had our first kiss. I was speechless, I knew he took his time planning this and put all his money into it.

So now I am trying to re evaluate things with both of them, because I realize my errors and I know I can not take them back or fix them. But I can start doing the right thing, I just don't know what the right thing to do is. I feel strongly for them both. And I keep making the same lists of pros & cons for both. The college boyfriend has the personality, the lifestyle and the looks. My high school boyfriend has the morals, the respect, the goals and the loyalty. I'm torn between the two. When I think of my college boyfriend I think of how much fun we have together. How he makes me feel and how good of a person he is. How sweet he can be and how independent he is. How his mother tells me the significant change she has seen in him ever since we got together and how he's is a much better person when I'm around. How he holds my hand and always wants to bring me around family and wants to always be around mine. He tells me how I'm the only person he doesn't get tired of being around, that even his mother and closest friends annoy him after a while. He always wants to see me and is hard on himself when he can't take me out to places or buy me things. He talks about us moving in together and how he's never felt the way he feels for me for any other girl. But I also think of him smoking, and watching all this porn, and the condoms, his obsession with girls, his son, his goal to be rich and famous, his lack of nuturing sometimes and his attitude. He is kind of mean and when we play fight he leaves marks and bruises. One minute he's saying I love you and holding me, then the next he's avoiding asking me to come see him perform or texting me all day for 2 days straight instead of calling. He asks me to buy him things and says a lot of cocky things that are almost hurtful sometimes. He will play around with things but in a mean way. Like he will tell me to get a job, even though he's jobless as well and knows how hard I am trying to find employment. He will say things like "do this or do that, stop doing this or stop doing that if not ill break up with you". He will slap my butt with all his force when we play fight when I ask him not to, then apologizes and kisses it when he sees the welts. With him it's like a rollercoaster, we're always down to make up. He has even admitted to not knowing his own strength sometimes. He is 6'4 and 240lbs. I am 5'2 and 130lbs, an odd match right?

And with the high school boyfriend, I think of how long we've been together. How much we've been thru together. We have seen eachother in our worst times and have been there cheering eachother on in our glory. I think of how he has never disrespected me or ever played around like my other boyfriend does. How he doesn't want me attracting the wrong attention for my own safety, not out of jealousy. How he doesn't want me around the wrong crowd for the same reason. How he always puts my feelings first and will sacrifice everything he has for me. He will take the bus from one city to another just to see me for 5 minutes, which he has done before back in High School when he wasn't driving. I think of him being my first and vice versa. I think of having a future with him and knowing he would be a great husband and father. Then I also think of the double standards. How he won't change it no matter how many times we argue. How he will fist fight with another man for just looking at me funny. How he doesn't want to bring me around his cousins or brothers in california. How he wants me to stay at home all day unless im with him. How he won't allow me to interact online with friends. How he doesn't even want me to wear a sundress to school. How he doesn't want me doing my hair all the time because I attract attention. How he has admitted to not wanting me to stay in shape because he thinks if I gain a little weight less people will find me attractive. How he doesn't like going out with me on dates. He doesn't like to go to parties or clubs or even the movies because he doesn't want me getting dressed up. How on several occasions he made me put on his big hoodie if we were around his friends so they wouldn't notice my chest so much. How he doesn't want me to greet his guy friends with hugs, but will greet another girl with a hug sometimes. How he gets upset if I buy tight jeans or heels and always says "its not like im gonna let you wear it anyway, so why bother buying it". How I really am not attracted to him physically, more mentally than anything. And how we stopped really getting along like boyfriend and girlfriend slowly after our 3rd year together. It felt like a best friend, who you will argue with from time to time, but have so much history and his always be there for eachother and be a part of eachother's lives.

I'm scared to continue letting my gaurd down with the college guy because of how fast things are going. We will have been together for just one year in october. I can't really tell what our future holds as a couple. I truely love him and would love to grow together, I want to believe that everyone can change it just takes the right person to bring it out of them. I see all the good in him and see his potential. I'm just scared and sometimes I really don't know why.

And with my first boyfriend I just don't know how to let go. I want him to be a part of my life but not relationship wise. I think of what if I stay with him forever. I think I would just be complacent, but not fully happy. I would appreciate him and value him but I would be sticking around out of fear to venture, out of guilt and out of not giving myself enough credit to find someone perfect for me. It is just very difficult to throw away the years and the memories over confusion. I don't want to make anymore mistakes and I want a chance to redeem myself with God because I know I have been doing wrong without even caring. And I am open to the criticism and to be called out on my faults because I know I need to hear it and I need to fix my personal problems before I can fix others.

Dear Torn:

Sounds to me like you are doing a lot of soul searching actually. People change and grow going from a teenager to a young adult. They change all the time, but this transition seems to have to most affect on a person’s attitudes on life and love.

Before I go any further, my honest advice would be to stop with the both of them all together, take some time out for yourself and try to figure out what it is you really want (and not from them) in your life, what your goals are, and what you think you deserve. These are things that you should be thinking about before entering into another (or current) long term relationship, or you are not being fair to yourself or to the other participant.

I would like to encourage you to reread this letter that you wrote, but skip to the last four paragraphs. I want you to read them, your pro and con list, and tell me (or better yet, yourself) why you are with either of these guys. Read the paragraphs two or three times if needed. You are making a pro and con list of the two guys... well what about the pros and cons themselves, and how they affect YOU.

As for the weighing options... well, there really isn’t much to weigh. You have out grown your first boyfriend and his choices. You want to remain friends, but don’t know what to do or say to ensure you don’t lose him. Here’s the thing – that’s not up to you. You should break it off with him (because you know it’s the right thing to do) by telling him that you two have grown apart, but you still love and cherish your friendship. You can tell him that you would hate to be on the outs with him and would like to remain friends, and see where it goes. Honestly, if you have the time for the other guy... I suspect he has another girl and is doing the same thing as you. Regardless, once you break it off and extend the branch, it’s up to him on whether he wants it or not. I would not bring up that you have been messing about with some other bloke for the past year, etc. That would just hurt him, to clear your conscious. Which isn’t fair.

With the second guy... it sounds as though you are being played big time. The guy is used to getting out of “girl jams” by being kind and cute. But laying condoms out and about when you aren’t using them... don’t you think he might be using them with someone else? Does he know about your boyfriend, and is he okay with it? And the “slight playing” where he leaves welts is totally not cool. Nor is it cool that he puts you down, in the manor of a joke (like the unemployment thing) and you aren’t seeing it because it isn’t blatant. Okay, you said something that I really really really want you to understand. You said : “I want to believe that everyone can change it just takes the right person to bring it out of them”. I really want to point this out to you, because it is a flaw a lot of people make through their entire life. I am telling you, with absolute certainty, that this is wrong. Only the person who wants to change, will change. And they will do it his/her self, for themselves. A person cannot (and will not) change just for another person without regret, judgement and feeling resentful. If you think you can change a person, I am sorry but you are going to get hurt.

Right now you are basing you attraction to boy #2 on sexual desire for a physic, and that can be dangerous. You are overlooking all the things that make you not like him at all, in favour for the things you *do* like, that you didn’t get with boy #1.

The point of being with a partner is not to change them. It is to understand and love them because of their similarities, AND their differences to you. The things that last for couples tend to be on a totally moral and value scale, not on looks. And being in your twenties is a time of discovery and helps to form and solidify your beliefs and values. I am not going to go into the whole god aspect, because I think you should figure all that stuff for yourself. But you don’t have to be constantly worried about being sent to hell, because you are trying to figure things out. If you want to do well by your god, and his word... then do so. Make it a point to be honest, starting with yourself. Make it a point to let go, and to be fair. Doing these things takes courage, and it will create unfamiliar territory (being single) but in the long run YOU will benefit from learning about yourself, and what you need from life.

I hope you find the clarity you require to find yourself through all of this.


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