DEAR ABBY: I have been close to my best friend for three years. A year ago we decided to date. We have a wonderful relationship on almost every level. The only issue I have is that he's reluctant to open up about his past. He is a very private person, and I know it's because of his upbringing. This has sparked many debates between us that have ended less than pleasantly.
Recently, he did open up, and when he did, he dropped a bomb. He asked me if I believed in soul mates, and I said yes. Then he told me about how in his past there was a girl he loved very much. Sadly, she died. He said he sees this girl as his soul mate, but he doesn't think it lessens any of his love for me.
This was the first time he opened up to me. Now that it has sunk in, I'm hurt. I already have self-confidence issues, and I worry that since I am not her, I'm not enough. I can't live up to a dead woman.
I always thought I could change his closed ways, but now, knowing the cause, I fear there is nothing I can do to help him. Maybe he's just too messed up for me. I don't know what to do. Can someone have two soul mates? -- NOT HIS SOUL MATE
DEAR NOT HIS SOUL MATE: Please do not allow your self-confidence issues to ruin your relationship, because from where I sit, it appears you're looking for a way to push this man away. So what if he had a romance that ended tragically? She's dead -- gone! And you're very much alive. Stop competing with her.
If there is one thing I have learned, it is that we cannot change other people. He doesn't need your help; he needs someone who will accept him the way he is and love him for it.