Dr. Nerdlove—all I can say is “Help, please!”
I’m a 25-year-old geek girl who just left a very toxic (your tales of your college girlfriend are sort of the story of my life) and very long (10 years, beginning in 10th grade and ending one year after I got my Master’s degree) relationship and I need some help figuring out where to go from here. Getting out of and over the toxic relationship, it turns out, was the easy part (and I’ve felt amazing every day since I left)—the complication comes from the other guy involved. This other guy (let’s call him Rhys—25 y.o.) was my friend before I met my Toxic Ex (28 y.o.)—in fact, I met the TX chatting with him through Rhys’s AIM chat (very popular 10 years ago!) We all remained friends as I dated the TX, even spent some time as roommates and had some threesomes (yes—I know, sexual deep end). Anyway, at some point Rhys backed off from hanging out with us, and I later learned it was because he no longer enjoyed spending time with the TX (and seeing me in such bad sh ape probably didn’t help).
So…down the road a little ways, Rhys joins the army and although I haven’t seen much of him for a few years, I try to meet up with him before he leaves for training and get a hold of him on the day he is leaving a few hours too late to actually see him before he goes. We stay in touch over e-mail, and I regale him with tales of the downward spiral of my life (damn near bought a house not just for me and TX, but his father and father’s gf too, got engaged—“sort of,” all the while extremely unhappy and unsure exactly why). 6 months go by and Rhys is back in town for a week, and I make it a point to go see him without the TX, end up hanging out with him and a few of his friends, getting drunk, and staying until pretty late. At this drunken hang out, I get to hear for the first time how Rhys really feels about me (you’re amazing, you deserve to be happy, you could be doing so much more with your life) and how he really feels about the TX (dead weight bum), I talk to other friends who largely agree and realize I HAVE TO GET OUT—NOW! Toxic relationship over, I decide to go see Rhys before he leaves for his duty station in another country 6,000 miles away. We hang out, have AMAZING sex, I leave, he leaves the country.
Since he’s been gone, we’ve talked via e-mail and g-chat and we agree that we want to be together, but we don’t want this to be a rebound relationship that ends and ends our friendship as well. And, neither of us wants to see any of my old habits from my toxic relationship surface in this one (although, I think the people involved are so different that it won’t be likely to play out that way as long as long as we communicate and make sure to maintain our own independent lives).
Our best solution to that problem right now is to take some time before we decide that we are “committed” (which makes sense since we can’t see each other in person anyway), but I’m so into him that it’s not likely I’ll go out with other guys, and I think he feels the same way about me. Are we just putting off something we want for no good reason? Should we both try to see other people to avoid getting Oneitis and see how we feel when we have an opportunity to see each other again (a little under a year from now)? Any other suggestions for preventing this from being a temporary rebound situation?
Sorry about the lengthy e-mail, but, like I said—“It’s complicated” doesn’t quite cover it!
–Trying to Avoiding the Dreaded “Rebound”