Q. I feel as if I am caught in a love triangle and don’t know which way to turn. I ended a five-year relationship six months ago due to the fact he wasn’t ever going to propose to me. We can call him Adam. Adam and I live together and own a dog together. Since the breakup, he has been living in the basement. He moves out at the end of the month. I truly thought he was the person I was suppose to spend the rest of my life with, but after many warnings throughout the past two years, I finally had to end it and move on and find someone who is dying to marry me and propose.
Recently after the breakup, I met someone through friends and am falling quickly for him. We will call him Carter. He understands my situation at home and has been extremely patient with me and having an ex who lives with me. Obviously with dating a new person, you get into a new and different routine of doing things — and I don’t know if I like or can continue the routine we have gotten into. Carter works all the time and we never have similar days off. It is always me going over there late at night and leaving early in the morning. When we do get a day off together, he spoils me and we always have fun, but it is rare that it happens. Also, I am the type who enjoys going out to local bars on nights I have off, whereas Carter would much rather stay home and lounge around. This seems to be our main argument.
The more time I spend with Carter, the more I am questioning whether to take back Adam. I miss the lifestyle that Adam and I grew together with friends and our favorite date-night spots. Lately we have been grabbing drinks or dinner, and it has been eye-opening how much I miss him and our life we built. I don’t know what to do. Either I take Adam back and accept I may never be engaged or married to him, but we continue to grow our life together (then I’ll never really know what could have happened with Carter). Or I say goodbye to Adam for good and explore what could be with Carter even though there is still a lot to learn about him. Help.
— Adam or Carter
A. You forgot the third option, which is to break up with Carter and stay broken up with Adam. It doesn’t sound like either man is a good match for you right now.
Carter’s schedule might be temporary, so I can look past that if he seems like good partner for you in all other ways, but he very much doesn’t. You want different lives — and different Friday nights. Let Carter go. Accept that some breakups are amicable and low-drama. It’s been a great experience, and now you know more about what you want in a new significant other.
Please don’t compare your relationship with Carter to what you had/have with Adam. That’s unfair — mostly to you. I’ll try this metaphor: With Adam, it’s like wearing a pair of incredible pajamas that feel so good but might fall apart after two more washes. (Sorry. I’m wearing similar pajamas right now.) Any new sleepwear will feel weird and stiff for a bit, and might even mess up other laundry in the wash. But that doesn’t mean you (or I) can wear the old, comfy pajamas forever. They’re still falling apart, despite how good they feel right now. (Oh Target, why didn’t you keep making this brand?)
The point is, Adam knows your history and literally lives in your basement. Of course it feels easy and special to be with him. But you ended things with him after two years of “warnings.” That hasn’t changed.
I’m not sure you should be with anyone in your current cast of characters. Make space to consider others.
Carter isn’t the one. This is a rebound. Be alone for a little while and find someone who is a better fit instead of settling because you don’t want to be alone. MMNNEE
You talk about taking Adam back, but never said he even wants you back. He’s moving out at the end of the month. This is not the action of someone that wants to rekindle a relationship. CUPPAJOESEATTLE
“Break up with Carter and stay broken up with Adam.” Seriously. Do this. FREEADVICEFORYOU
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.