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Dear Mari: Should she wait a year for him?

SHOULD SHE WAIT a year for her deployed “friend”?

Dear Marilyn,

I have an issue with a close friend.   He is in the Navy. He was recently deployed, and will be gone for a year.

We have known each other since I was in the 9th grade, and he was in the 11th grade. We dated for two years, and then we had a falling out and didn’t speak to each other for about a year. He came back into town about two months ago. He was here for two weeks. He was on leave from Virginia, and came home to see his family and friends, before he was going to be deployed and go overseas.

   We agreed to drop the drama that had happened to us when we were younger. We had a wonderful two weeks together, and were together every day. We got closer and closer, and right before he left we exchanged the “L” word. We both felt like we meant it.

The issue is that he wants me to wait for him. I’m not sure that I want to wait for a whole year for something that we aren’t sure is going to happen. Since he has been gone, we e-mail each other every day that we can. He says that he loves me.

When I try to tell him that I’m not sure that I feel comfortable not being free to date others until he returns, he gets very angry with me. He started comparing me to his ex-girlfriend, and he said that I was being selfish.

I don’t think that he understands what he is asking of me is emotionally draining. I admit that it was VERY hard to say goodbye to him when he left.

He is really a very nice guy, and a good person when we were together face to face. But, since he has been away, I haven’t seen the nice guy in his emails. Instead I am hearing from a guy that has desperation in his emails, and someone that hasn’t been nearly as kind to me.

I almost feel as if I am a lifeline to his old home and family. However, I am really not sure that I want to go for a whole year without dating other guys. I feel like if it is “meant to be” we will find out when he gets back. I don’t appreciate him calling me selfish when I try to explain my thoughts and feelings to him.

I don’t know how to handle this situation. What should I do?

Signed, Not Ready to Commit

Dear Not Ready to Commit,

   You need to follow your instincts. They will not lead you astray. Since you don’t want to be in a committed relationship with him, then you should not do it.

   However, of course he wants you to be true to him, and not be dating others. From his perspective, that is very understandable.

   So, you need to be very careful that you are not sending him mixed messages in your daily emails. As you are feeling, you really are his lifeline to home.

   If you are writing how much you care about him, and miss him, and what a terrific guy he is, and then go on to say that you would like to date others while he is gone, of course he is going to be disappointed.

   So, you need to be very clear. Let him know that you are being honest with him, and that you are not ready to be in a committed relationship. Let him know that when he returns, you will see then where this relationship may go.

   Then, it will be up to him if he still wants to email you every day. And if he does, you need to determine if you should respond every day.

   If so, keep the e-mails kind, and give him the updated news of friends and family, but do not give him mixed messages about how you feel about him. It is simply not fair to him. 

Dear Marilyn,

My girlfriend and I are very much in love. I feel that she is “the one.” The problem is that we are only 19 years old. I’m wondering if it is absolutely ridiculous to be thinking this way. We have been dating for a year. Our relationship is very strong.

We like to do the same things, and we are of the same religion, and we just plain have fun together. We are also very passionate for each other. Do you think that 19-year-olds can be in love in a way that will last a lifetime? What should I do? How long do I wait?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering,

   I absolutely believe that it is possible to have a lifetime love at 19. Some folks meet their soul mates early in life, and for many people it is later on.

   As far as your question as to how long you should wait to marry, there are several things that you should consider. The first point is that if you are in school, it is best to complete your education before you marry.

   The second point is that you need to have a steady income, and together you need to make enough money to pay all of your bills. Financial stress can be extremely hard on a marriage.

   Finally, many folks continue to grow and change and have new interests as they leave their teen years. So, give yourselves enough time to grow, and see if you grow in the same direction.

   There are no guarantees in this life. But if you still feel the same way as you do now when you have completed your education, you are financially stable, and you still have the same goals and dreams, then go for it. I wish you every happiness.

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