Alright, this is going to be lengthy but I appreciate any non-judging advice please. I know my situation may be frowned upon which is why I am here posting to fix it.
I'm a 27 year old female and I am torn between two men.
The first is someone I met when I was 18, he was 23 at that time, but despite our age difference we made it work. He and I had been together for 7 years, he was there for my serious life transformations, the 20's are rough years. When he and I began dating he was sober, fit and took his job seriously, he is a business owner. We used to go on dates, spend a lot of time together, etc. As time went on he stopped being sober because his other friends quit too. He was never abusive but he became incredibly lazy. He barely worked because he had employees that work for him that generate money, he was always at the bar getting drunk and blowing money. I put up with it even though I expressed my concerns. We broke up for a while and then got back together. Things changed for the better and then he fell back into his party routine. Finally, a few months ago I had had enough. I had landed my first professional job, the feeling of settling down with the right person was on my mind and I didn't see him as that person. I told him we needed to take a break to sort our lives out because the direction we were going was not healthy.
Que new guy. This new guy is my age, we have been seeing eachother for about 5 months. He and I met during a film community event and hit off right away. He is incredibly sweet and considerate, we have in depth meaningful conversations which I don't remember if I used to with the old boyfriend. The new guy works so hard at his job, he has visions of what he wants in life. I could see myself with this guy. There is the issue that he has had only one girlfriend before me that only lasted a few weeks - he has a difficult time finishing during sex which deterred him from pursuing relationships. I have told him we would work on it or get him help if he needed.
The old boyfriend recently began contacting me telling me how he is motivated at work again and all of that. How can I be sure that this is for real and not just a change that will die off in a few weeks? I think I am afraid to let him go because we have so much history. We had gone through all the pitfalls most people do in a marriage, it felt like we were married and overcame obstacles. The new guy and I are probably still ibn our "honey moon" phase unless this is truly what real love feels like.
Could anybody please offer insight or advice? It's not fair to anyone. It makes me feel like a bad person and hurts.
Thank you in advance.
You need to understand is that it doesn't matter where your relationship is with the first guy, you cannot move onto another relationship successfully until you are well and truly over him. Your post and it's headline tell us that you're not. It's all OK to take a mutual break to sort your lives out, but it's not OK to try and develop another relationship with someone else while you do this. The result is your confusion about your feelings for guy number 1 after he contacts you after being absent for awhile.
You have your values and standards and you have your goals for a successful life and you need to stick to them. Your first guy has a drinking problem, and at a young age too, and this can have serious and varied consequences for any relationship. It was your choice as to whether you wanted or needed to share your life with him, regardless of the history. You basically made that choice when you decided the relationship wasn't healthy and you acted on it. Yes, it's all very well for him to contact you again and state that he will turn it around but you're not alone when you mistrust his words, because actions speak over hollow words every time.
As for the history that you shared, it doesn't matter about the good times or the bad times you shared together, you need to realize that it was one of the many learning curves of life, particularly when you met him at 18. You're correct, seven years is a lot of history, but you need to shift through those years and take the lessons from them and use them to guide you and live your life as you see fit.
You need to be true to yourself and you also need to strong enough to keep other people safe while you sort through your feelings for guy number 1. You need to listen to your instinct and analyze what led you to make the decision to break up that last time. Don't listen to your heart because if you follow your heart when you are in doubt and in the situation that you're in, you will only get hurt further. Spare a thought for your new guy because, regardless of his issue, he needs an understanding partner (as with all successful relationships) who can be with him 100%. Ask yourself if you can do this and support him while you have the shadow of your first man hanging over you, regardless if he is in contact with you or not.
If you or anyone here hasn't yet managed to make the important distinction - a regretted mistake is provable as such by the protagonist taking real, clear strides to make good their error, in the process psycholinguistically demonstrating zero hidden, underhanded agendas towards yet more unfair and selfish gain at the expense of their victim(s). Nor, certainly, any perfectly detectable attempt to dupe or emotionally manipulate any unwitting advisers into inadvertently providing data on how to better succeed with any such selfish aims. We're a more canny, insightful bunch here at PP than perhaps most are used to; we can tell which is which. Thus, it's patently obvious that you're just caught in a quandary, not to mention, one not even of your own doing (he contacted you). No Naughty Chair for you, therefore. Please exhale.
Your situation is a very common scenario and is called Dog In Manger syndrome (go Google). It mainly means the ex doesn't want you for himself yet neither wants any other man to succeed with you, usually due to his feeble ego not liking the possibility of him being shown up by another man through his managing to conquer and make purr the Porche (you) that he, Mr Renault Clio (or Reliant Robin), wasn't adult male enough to handle and/or kept damaging - to the point where said vehicle refused even to start. Other reasons include the ex believing that if he leaves you long enough before re-contacting and re-starting the relationship, you'll from them on be too scared to rock what already proven to be a too unstable boat for fear of it capsizing again thus is wholly likely to get away with treating you even worse than before or, better still, putting up with an FWB situation (all male perks and no work for him, all work and no female perks for you).
It could be said that a man who truly loves you (or has been programmed to know how to love in a way most people understand to be healthy and life-enhancing for all) would never let the woman he purports to love and need so much get away from him in the first place. However, that denies the power and delay-making of over-roused, negative emotional states and confusion-based paralysis; ditto where his own ex (or life's sh*t) sees her (its) chance and pounces, confusing things further; men's tendency to play high stakes poker even for the power of majority good (e.g. where the woman has genuinely been the unfair, unkind or withholding party); the woman herself being unready to talk sensibly and sort, thereby just getting him (and herself) het up all over again (which is WHY No Contact is preferable when neither can calm down fast enough), etc. Nevertheless, that still doesn't excuse any length of time that any sane person deems unreasonable.
I feel 6 weeks maximum (3 weeks No Contact, 3 weeks of trying to reach agreements) is a fair deadline, and that if any lover could cope with any lenthier separation than this, when agony is typically at its keenest, he could obviously KEEP coping...forever ("bye-bye"), although it obviously depends on the individual(s).
But not five-FIVE LONG MONTHS(!) without contact whatsoever. (And nor re-contact via any cowardly or commitmentphobic or exploitative method, such as text.) No way, Jose!
Dog In Manger. Ignore.
Plus, it's natural to feel you need one last look over your shoulder (you) to ensure you've chosen a much better bet. In with that is, grieving for/wanting the era itself back (you); not wanting to feel one might be sacrificing any now-possible dividend pay-out from what was a hefty, seemingly wasted investment (you); feeling lasting fondness purely through the fact the ex was a co-victim of life and/or a survival aid (you)...and also because the physical side with newbie isn't yet rivalling what you experienced with the ex (you again).
Bigger than those put together, however, is where - the injustice of the ex having got away with treating you so poorly - one feels one can equal the scoreboard by positioning the ex as a (possibly shag-able) safetynet for in case the new lover ends up pushing one off the Love Mountain onto the rocks below all over again when you've only just had the leg casts taken off but are still limping (you). But we none of us like to admit this inkling lest we lose our otherwise good opinion of ourselves and so we tend to want to hide from that fact.
Trying to get that kind of equalisation doesn't bring any kind of victory, however, because by having any part of our mind on the ex then automatically guarantees to damage our new relationship's chances for success. Own Goal.
Ignore. And also keep bearing in mind:
1. The enfuriating irony of this situation: Had the ex not mistreated you (including, knowingly fed your hopes only to dash them) so repeatedly for so many years, you wouldn't even FEEL THE NEED for rigging up any pre-emptive safetynet.
2. Albeit common, it's not exactly intelligent to compare feelings, performance and all-round calibre for a 5 month newbie with a 9 year oldie. What you have to keep comparing is both men at the exact same points of tenure. (The results might then surprise you.)
3. Men are more sensitive than most women realise. Newbie would be perfectly capable of SENSING that a part of your heart were otherwise occupied or getting held back without any cause from his quarter, meaning a sign of potential danger for him and his own heart, a worry which would wholly likely affect his ability (seemingly not for the first time) to in whatever ways (this case, between the sheets) LET GO.
Here's the really good news: If, as this sign firmly suggests, newbie's heart lives in his knickers then the potential for mind-blowing bedroom activities - ONCE HE GETS THE SIGN(S) THAT HE CAN RELAX - exists.
Ignore the silly ex and the misguided notion of needing a safetynet with what is a completely new and different kettle of fish (i.e. a man who is *not* the same man as your ex) and increase yours and newbies chances of thriving and succeeding.
She who dares, wins / Feel the (understandable post-traumatic) fear but do it anyway.