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LOVE LETTERS

He says another woman is the one who got away

‘I love him, but I wonder if he will always think of me as an also-ran’

Love Letters
Love Letters

Q. My fiance and I have a relationship that is fun and comfortable but has never been passionate. We share many common interests and have been a part of the same social circle for a long time. Our families have been supportive of the relationship since day one.

Before we got together, he was in love with a mutual friend for years. She’s married now, and they never dated, but he says it was “love at first sight.” He calls her “the one who got away.” Whenever he sees her or her name comes up, his face lights up.

Our relationship has always been more of a flirty friendship than a torrid love affair. When I asked him if he’d regret not being married to someone he felt more passionately about, his response is that it’s too late for that. I love him, but I wonder if he will always think of me as an also-ran.

NOT THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY

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A. “It’s too late for that.”

Um, I just don’t know that you want to marry someone who’s telling you your relationship is all about settling.

That’s what he’s saying, right? That it’s too late for him to find someone he’s excited about, but you’re good enough? If so, yeah, this is a deal-breaking problem.

It would be different — and more understandable — if he told you that the kind of love he’s looking for is more about partnership and deep connection than the sparks that take over when you first meet someone, especially when you have an unrequited crush. But it doesn’t sound like he understands his own giddy feelings about this other woman at all.

Tell your fiance that you don’t want to be with someone who longs for someone else. You can’t stay excited about getting married if you feel like a second choice.

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By the way, I do think you’re the first choice, and that this other woman is not the one who got away. She’s the one he’ll always wonder about, but that doesn’t mean much. I don’t know that the experience of being with her would have ever met his expectations. And if this woman felt the same about him — if those sparks were real and shared — she would have shown up by now.

But he should figure that out before you get married. Talk to him about why you want to be with him and how you hope he feels about you in return. Give him time to process what you’ve said. It might help him rethink what this other woman represents.

MEREDITH


READERS RESPOND:

This is just rude. Do not marry this man, dear God. ... I would also like to say, a lot of marriages aren’t built on passion. There most certainly needs to be something more there, but he’s pretty much just saying to your face that he’s settling.

JACKIEFORREAL


Sweetheart, run away! This man told you to your face that he is settling by marrying you. Why is your self-esteem so low? You are also settling for a man who isn’t crazy about you! This man will leave you down the road. Make your move now while it is easy to leave.

THENURSE


Only worry about yourself. If you break up, you do not have to interact with him or his family, ever again. Also, your family, ultimately, would rather have you call off the wedding than enter into a bad marriage out of a misguided sense of obligation. So, what do YOU want?

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COMMENTOR02


“Ambivalence”: Coming to Theaters SOON! “What happens when the last two singles of a circle of friends give up and marry? Part rom-com, part psychological thriller, not to be missed. What starts out as a goofy attempt to avoid being single at any cost devolves into a tense atmosphere where they take turns subtly demeaning each other until it all explodes in a supernova of a divorce. A rare movie where you are rooting for the lawyers. Almost as entertaining as it is painful to watch!”

HEYITHINK

Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send your own relationship letter to loveletters@globe.com.