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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

After four years of having a long distance relationship with a man I began to feel that I wasn't being romanced enough. It seemed that we had just become comfortable with one another; so by mutual consent, we broke off our relationship. Shortly thereafter I began seeing someone who treats me the way I want to be treated. My former boyfriend now wants to rekindle our relationship. I am not sure who is better for me. They are both exceptional people who want a committed relationship. When I am with one, I cannot help but think about the other and compare one to the other. I don't want to base my decision on the comfort of one or the newness of the other.

Answer

You are indeed a lucky woman to have two "exceptional" people in your life. Let's take a look at what we've got here. On the one hand, there is the familiarity of the first man and the fact that you have four years invested in the relationship. The issue of keeping the romance in a long term relationship is not an uncommon, especially among women. It can be worked out in a variety of ways if both parties are committed to making it happen. Even long-time married people have found that having at least one night each week set aside for "date night," with each party alternately taking responsibility for the date, can be quite a boost to the relationship.

However, this does not deal with the issue of the long distance between the two of you. Not unless and until you are both certain about wanting to make more of a commitment, one of you moving would be inadvisable.

With the second interest, you have convenience instead of comfort. But this relationship is still new. So it's premature to make a decision, though he clearly has the inside track because he is local.

My question to you is, why do you feel compelled to have to make this decision now? Perhaps you could explore both relationships and allow your feelings determine the direction you should go. So long as both men meet your criteria for a mate, you could enjoy the company of both of them. Trust that you will know which one -- if either -- you would prefer to have become a more permanent part of your life.

3/5/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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