DEAR NATALIE: Is it possible to be in love with two people at once? I met a wonderful man recently and we have been dating for six months. He is sweet and loving and checks all the boxes. But then recently, my ex came back into the picture. The reason we broke up was because he moved away for a big job opportunity. Well, he has since relocated back to my city and wants to see me again. He was my first real love and I’m honestly falling for him again, too. They don’t know about each other and I’m a terrible liar so I know this can’t last long, but how do I decide? They are both very different men but either would make a great husband. Any ideas on how to figure this out? –TORN
DEAR TORN: This is the classic triangle. One man represents your past, the other – the future. No matter what you decide, you may always wonder “what could have been.” The question to ask yourself is: “Who has the same vision of the future that I do?” Love is a big part of a lasting relationship, but you need someone who is your teammate – not your adversary. You need someone who believes in you and supports your dreams. Who makes you a better person? Who challenges you when they need to? Who helps you to be vulnerable and open and brings you back to yourself? Remember that the past always has a rosy glow to it, as well. First loves can hold such sweet memories for us, but in this moment – is your ex-boyfriend your future or just a romantic daydream of what once was?
DEAR NATALIE: My ex-husband is getting remarried. We had an incredibly amicable divorce and we co-parent very well. His fiancé is not necessarily my favorite person, but I deal with her well enough. She doesn’t have a lot of friends and has asked me to be in the bridal party. My kids, who are 15 and 17, think this is nuts. I feel very conflicted. I don’t think it is appropriate for me to attend the wedding, let alone stand up there while they recite their vows. I tried to explain this to her, but she just started to cry, saying how “strong of a woman I am” and “how I inspire her,” etc. It’s like she needs my blessing. I am not sure what to do. I haven’t talked to my ex about it, yet. I think he will also find this all very strange. How do I politely remove myself from what could be a very stressful and embarrassing situation for all of us? —YOU DO, I DON’T
DEAR YOU DO, I DON’T: This is a hard pass for me. I can’t imagine going to my ex’s wedding, let alone being in the bridal party. What a strange request to make of you – and wildly inappropriate, too. I would chalk this up to the fact that she is having pre-wedding anxiety. Gently let her down after you tell your ex-husband what is happening. Say to him that you are very flattered, but you don’t feel that this is appropriate. While I appreciate how the rules have changed when it comes to “consciously decoupling,” that is still a lot to ask of you. She is overstepping her boundaries and there is nothing wrong with you drawing a line in the sand. Send a gift and stay home – preferably with a glass of champagne and a bubble bath.
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