Originally Published: August 26, 2016 5:59 a.m.
Dear Annie: Last year, I got out of a 10-year relationship. I thought she was the love of my life – until she cheated on me with one of my friends. I was devastated, and only recently have I started to be remotely interested in dating again. Lately, I’ve been on a few dates with this girl – let’s call her “Lauren” – and she is amazing. She’s so beautiful and talented and kind. Just being around her makes me feel like a better person. I want to take things to the next level, but there’s something holding me back.
I’m not sure I can bring myself to trust someone with my emotions ever again. What’s the point of making ourselves so vulnerable when it so often just ends in heartache? This girl has set off no red flags, yet I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.
How do people ever move on after such dramatic breakups? – In My Shell
Dear Shell: Risk is what makes trust possible. It’s the gap that lets us take a leap of faith. If there weren’t the possibility of falling, the feeling of landing safely on the other side would mean very little.
That’s not to say we should jump into relationships recklessly or walk through life blindfolded. It’s only natural – healthy, even – for you to feel cautious after what your ex-girlfriend did. But this new woman has given every indication that she is worthy of your trust. Go for it.
Dear Annie: I am 20 years old and have been best friends with this girl since we were 5. She’s practically my sister.
She’s engaged to a guy she began dating back in high school. Although he is very nice and genuinely cares for her, he does not seem at all mature enough to be married. After a single semester at a local community college, he left to pursue his dream of becoming a musician. He lives with his grandmother and works at Target. He gets extremely upset if anyone so much as suggests returning to school.
A little under two years ago, they broke up for about two months because he had objections whenever she hung out with any males not related to her. Despite his insisting he trusted her, it was clear he didn’t. One night after they had gotten back together, my friend called me sobbing, heartbroken, because he had been jealous and said hurtful things again.
I’m worried that my friend is being naive. She has said she would marry him tomorrow if she could, although she plans on waiting till she is out of school. She has asked me to be a bridesmaid. I can tell that she’s trying to make me like the guy better.
I know it is not my place to tell my friend what she should do with her life. I do believe that they love each other, and I want her to be happy, which he seems to make her. But I still fear that she’s making a mistake. Is there any way for me to express my concerns without destroying this cherished relationship? – Looking Out
Dear Looking Out: It’s heartbreaking to see friends treated poorly by significant others. All we ever want to do is to jump in, pull them out of the situation and make sure they never go back. If only it were that easy. You’re wise to understand it’s not.
As you know, your friend really wants you to like this guy, so the more she senses your disapproval the less she’ll open up to you about the reality of the relationship. The best thing you can do is to continue being there for her, ready to listen whenever she’s ready to talk, willing to give honest input if and when she asks for it. She’s lucky to have you.
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