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Q: Dear Laurie,
I have a wonderful girlfriend that I've been going out with for a year yet sometimes I feel that I want to date other people. My problem is that she fulfills every one of my expectations in a partner and I don't want to risk that. How can I get rid of this feeling of wanting to see other people?
A: Let me get this straight. You've got an A#1 superb one-year relationship with a "wonderful" girl who "fulfills every one of your expectations in a partner" and yet you "feel that you want to date other people." Squeeze me?
Sounds like a classic case of having your cake and eating it too. (I used to misunderstand this metaphor. I thought: so, eat your cake already--quit your crying and complaining. Eat a PIECE of cake, save the rest. Have your cake AND eat it too! It took me years to "get" that the metaphorical cake is not divisible. Sheesh.) So you don't want to risk losing Miss Wonderful and yet you want to see what else is out there. Wouldn't it be nice if you could put women in a state of suspended animation while you (men) figured it all out; give you time to trade and collect all four, that sort of thing.
As I see there's one of three things going on here. 1. You're young/inexperienced and damn lucky. You haven't had the pleasure of dating a Bitch From Hell and so (naively) assume that all future girlfriends will be as fab, or even fab-er, than the one you've currently got your antsy little hands on. 2. Something's missing. You can't quite put your finger on it but your relationship ain't as grand as you're making it out to be. 3. You have commitment issssues.
Either way, you're chock full of angst. You're peter meter, that implant all men receive at birth, feels the need to seed. Makes perfect sense with spring just around the corner. Kind male soul that you are you want to make the female gardens of the world lush and plentiful. How else to make it happen than to get out there and sow, sow, sow.
But there's risk involved as you've pointed out. You risk losing all the great things you love about your current woman and POSSIBLY getting none of them back again in the next go round. That's the problem with dating: it's not cumulative. I've always thought this was a HUGE flaw in the system and have sent countless cards and letters on the subject to my congressman all to no avail. If you were paying attention in Math 101 you'd know, for example, that addition is cumulative: 1+1=2, while paying taxes is not. Running for president if your last name is Bush is cumulative; luck is not. Aging is cumulative. Calories are cumulative. Fat on your ass is cumulative. Fishing for a new girlfriend, as I've already pointed out, is not. Just remember: the bad things in life are cumulative; the good things, like love, are not.
When you trade in the old model it's anybody's guess if the new one will be an upgrade or an error in the system. So, as you know, it's a huge risk to throw out a good catch. Then again you CANNOT stay with someone while constantly fantasizing about the lean ass I mean green grass on the other side of the fence. It's terribly rude to your mate and lame on your part to be half in/half out of love. You could get hit by a truck tomorrow so best to eat dessert first and take a stand. Unmitigated indecision and fear is so unbecoming in the new millennium.
The Not-so-Short Answer: Maybe your answer lies behind door #1, 2 or 3 or none of the above--what do I know? What I do know is your hemming (and hawing) will slowly and insidiously eat away at the foundation of your relationship. Whether you actively take a stand now and leave or continue to do so passively--either way you'll end up exiting stage left. You'll either learn something from the exercise and progress or continue to scratch your head.
Get courageous: sing karaoke I mean be honest with yourself about what you have available to you in your current relationship and what you're looking for that's not there. Are you naÔve about what you expect and what you have to offer? Are you willing to work on what's maybe missing? Are you afraid of being alone? And how do you know she's not thinking the same thing?
Lovingly and Logically yours, Laurie