It's Time to Put Up or Shut Up
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Dear Christine,

I’ve been in love with the same girl (Deanna) since we were kids. We’re now in our late 20s.

Dianna pops into my life, and then we don’t see each other for a while. When I finally have her out of my system, she pops up again, reminding me of how much I would love to be with her.

I am in a relationship right now, and while I hate to admit it, I settled with my current girlfriend so I wouldn’t have to be alone.

Although Deanna has a boyfriend, her best friend tells me she’s not really happy. She says I should speak up. I’m so afraid of rejection. What should I do? -- YEARNING – SPRUCEDALE, ONTARIO

Dear Yearning,

The first thing you must do is set your current girlfriend free. Playing make-believe because you’re afraid to be alone isn’t fair to her.

Secondly, you can bet the best friend is advising you after having discussed the situation with Deanna. Girlfriends do share secrets. She still may be interested but waiting for you to make the first move. Tell her and get it off your chest for good. You’re not kids any more. It’s time to stop talking to her friends and passing notes in class.

No matter how Deanna responds, you must gain some closure. You can’t continue living in the past. Your unhappiness in your current relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you’re meant to be with your childhood sweetheart—it could just mean you need to find someone else entirely.

Better yet, spending some time being single could help build your self-confidence and give you time to sort out your true wants and needs.

Dear Christine,

My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly a year. Since he’s 43 and I’m 37, we both have pasts, not all of which we are proud of. He was upfront with me about his history from day one—even admitting he’d been jailed more than once for both using and dealing drugs. He seemed to have risen above his criminal, addictive behavior and taken control of his life. Until he started using again. He messed up once … then again … then it was constantly. My friends and family say he’s an unchangeable loser, and I should cut him loose.

When I told him I couldn’t take it any more, he checked himself into rehab. He is very remorseful for all the things he’s done and has promised to make amends and put things right for us. Should I trust him? How much is too much forgiveness when it comes to the person you love? -- SHERRY T – TORONTO, ONTARIO

Dear Sherry,

This issue is not about you and forgiveness; it’s about him and his addiction. When he falls off the wagon, he’s not cheating on you; he’s cheating himself, his health, and his future.

Recovery programs will tell you that until an addict has been clean and sober for at least a year, he is in no condition to be in a relationship.

Good intentions aside, you’re putting your future happiness in the hands of a man who isn’t equipped to keep his promises. Hopefully he can find the strength to get past his addictive tendencies. But for both of your sakes, take your loved ones’ advice: Step away and give him the space to focus on recovering.

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