Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I’m a long time reader and I’ve never needed personalised advice before (happy enough to read your advice to others), but here we are.
I have been dating Alpha for three years and a half now. We started having the best sex of our lives and then discovered we were meant for each other. He is intellectually stimulating in a way my former partners weren’t, he is caring (puts up pretty well with my ups and downs), he makes me laugh and he loves me unconditionally. These things have been there from the start and still are.
However, he’s also got pretty big family issues, he was depressed and addicted to drugs in the past and he probably has some kind of mental health problem – a mood disorder, I’d say. He refuses to seek help because of bad past experiences with psychiatrists and psychologists.
I’m 28 and he’s 26. I’ve got a degree, a nice job, plans for the future, lots of hobbies and tons of friends. He finished high school, dropped out of college, has no work experience, has isolated himself from his friends and, since we’re together, spends his time smoking joints, playing video games/instruments, reading and working on a crazy startup project (already for 2 years) which doesn’t look profitable at all.
I’m the caretaker type and I’ve reeeally tried. I’ve paid for a psychologist, but he stopped going. I’ve offered him love and all the space he needs (he’s a bit antisocial). About a year ago, I started feeling deeply unhappy: we spent almost no time together, no time with my friends ever and he talked all the time about moving together but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with job/studies. I tried to talk to him many times, even sent him a letter. Nothing worked.
I recently moved out of my parents’ place, sick of waiting for him to get a job.
And then it happened. I went to a music festival and reconnected with a great friend, Bravo. I kind of liked him at university, but he was so difficult, and still is. Amazing, creative, fun to party with, a music connoisseur… but at 31 he’s still trying to finish his degree, has almost no work experience and is a bit of a mess. See a pattern there?
We started talking a lot, dancing and ended up making out while drunk. I felt so guilty. And Bravo doesn’t even remember!
The thing is Bravo and I have been having this weird story for 10 years. All we have had are drunken hookups because he was always so weird and I’ve always thought he found me hot, but he wasn’t interested. Sex has never been great cause he was always so drunk, too. I recently asked Bravo if he was interested in me at university and he was, but I wasn’t brave enough to ask if it was love or lust.
I was the first person with whom he cheated on his only girlfriend. I once kissed him while in a relationship crisis and broke up with the guy the next day. And now this: I’m in a crisis, and here he comes again.
After making out with Bravo and with another random guy, I told Alpha I needed a break. He didn’t think it was a good idea, suddenly realised how unfair he had been to me and surprise! the miracle happened. He got a job, he moved in with me and he started hanging out with my friends. He more or less forgave my infidelity, although he doesn’t know who it was with.
Fast forward two months and Alpha been having problems with getting paid. The little he’s got goes to the startup. I pay for everything. And he refuses to look for another job till they pay him, giving himself excuses. He tries to be tidy and clean around our home, but it’s not his nature. He tries to hang out with my friends, but I can tell he doesn’t enjoy it.
And last weekend I went partying. Bravo was there. My best friend and him are starting something long distance, and I’m happy for them – they’re a bit of a mess, but it might work. They’re two of my favourite people.
While drinking some shots, Bravo told me he’s starting to really like my best friend, and he doesn’t want to, he’s scared, since he always fucks up these things. I told him he should really try this time, and also that I wish my boyfriend was partying with us, that things were better and that I loved him very much. We were happy for each other.
One hour later we were unspeakably drunk, kissing each other like teenagers and having to restraint ourselves not to go home together. We were even caressing and all fluffy.
And now I can’t stop thinking about Bravo, about our conversations and about having sex with him. He hasn’t texted me, but has replied to a text I couldn’t help sending. I don’t think Bravo feels the same way, he likes my best friend and it’s so difficult for him to like a girl.
So here I am. Alpha loves me deeply and has started to change (the job!!!), but it seems it’s not enough, and that he’s just doing it for me, not because he really wants to. I don’t want to leave him just when he’s trying so hard and make him move back with his family. I also don’t want to be unfaithful and I’m getting close to that every day.
And Bravo is starting something with my best friend. I don’t think I can compete with her, she’s great at charming guys. And I also don’t want to, since Bravo is basically like Alpha, the same red flags. Just a bit more of a party animal and more social, that’s it. And with a story of infidelity and fear of commitment, which makes him way worse than Alpha. Even if my body and feelings tell me so, I don’t want a relationship with him.
But what’s wrong with us? Why can’t we seem to move on after 10 years and still come back to each other even when it’s the worst idea ever?
What can I do, Doctor? I’m a bit desperate.
Attracted to Peter Pans