OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS: Odds and Evens 

OTHER PEOPLE'S PROBLEMS

ODDS AND EVENS Listen: One of my old girlfriends recently moved back to town. This was a girl I thought was “the one”--the only problem was that she didn’t think so. And to prove it, she left town. Then she told me the other day that she thinks I was right after all. It’s been about five years and I’m dating someone else -- pretty seriously, I might add -- but I want to explore the possibility that I might be her “one” and she might be mine. I definitely still have feelings for her and it’s obvious she still has them for me. The only problem is my current girlfriend. Should I break up with her entirely? Or should I not tell her about Beth, my old girlfriend, at all and just see where things go? I’d hate to hurt her, but I also don’t want to loose her for nothing if this thing with Beth doesn’t work out. Signed, Time to Two-Time? Okay: Would you consider yourself a gambling man by nature? Because sometimes you just have to put up or shut up. It’s true, you can hedge your bets, but you’ll never be the grand winner that way. You’ll only just break even. What I’m saying is, you can’t play the odds on relationships. If you think you want to be with Beth, be with Beth. If you don’t at least explore the option of Beth, you’ll never know for sure if she’s the one that got away (and you might regret that later). But if you’re going to bet on Beth, you can’t keep a few chips on your other girlfriend, too. You can’t just keep her on the side while you play the other tables. You have to tell her what’s going on. Because not to wouldn’t be fair to her or to Beth. So let’s say you tell your current relationship what you’ve told me ... chances are she’ll be a little hurt, but she’ll probably understand why you need to do this. At the same time, you need to understand that she should have the option to see other people, too. And if it doesn’t work out with Beth and she doesn’t meet anyone else, then you’ll both be a little surer of your relationship. Now the other chances are that you’ll tell your current girlfriend what you want to do and you’ll lose her ... well, that happens. Then you just start all over with someone else, date Beth, or try to win her back. Dating is always a gamble. But I guarantee you that if you try to date them both at the same time, you’re going to end up in the hole. Just remember: you’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run. Listen: I don’t really have a problem, I don’t think. I’m not sure. See, in the past few years, all my friends have been getting married. First there was a wave of my high school friends and then my friends from college got into the act. Now, even my single professional friends aren’t really single professionals anymore; they’re all on the road to engagement and one of them has even quit her job to raise her newborn daughter. Lately when I go out, I’ve had the feeling I’m the last single gal in all of Memphis. Seriously. I meet men whom I like and I immediately find out they’re either married or engaged or seriously involved. I’m afraid they might have to bring back the term “old maid” to describe me. See, I’m not sure if this is a problem. I’m not ugly; I’ve got a good job and I would consider myself fairly intelligent. I was even engaged once but I broke it off because my mother wanted me to marry him more than I did. I just wonder if I’m missing out on something. Signed, Bridget Jones’ Best Friend Okay, Friend: Honestly, I don’t know if you’re missing out on something, because I’m not married or engaged, either. I think that’s a question you have to answer for yourself on sort of a case by case basis. Like with the guy that your mom liked, do you feel that by not marrying him you missed an opportunity? And listen, while you might be missing out on something now, it doesn’t mean that you always will be. Like, if you wrote me and said you were 60, single and had never had your own children, I would say that you probably did miss out on something if kids were what you wanted. But if you wrote me and said the same thing at 34, I’d say head on over to the fertility clinic or to the nearest bar (definitely a cheaper method of getting a stranger’s sperm). There’s still plenty of time. So maybe you’re missing being married in your 20s (I’m assuming) -- that might not necessarily be a bad thing. If I knew divorce statistics, I’d use them, but luckily I don’t, because that would be boring. But you always hear people say of their divorce, “we got married too young.” My personal opinion is that people need time to grow and become themselves before taking on another person. Again, my personal opinion. So you miss moving into your first apartment with your husband or raising babies on entry level pay ... you get a whole other set of experiences, like decorating your first apartment entirely to your tastes or staying out as late as you want simply because you can. As for men you like already being snagged, remember those marriages will probably end sometime. You stay single long enough, you’ll see it happen. And then they’re fair game.

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