Dear Annie: I’ve known this guy “Henry” for about six years now. We never got the timing right, and we’ve cheated on our significant others with each other. When I was single, he wasn’t, and vice versa. Now I’m in a healthy and happy relationship. Henry and I still talk, and it’s hard to let him go. He’s had trouble letting me go, too.
I used to believe I was in love with him, and I still have feelings for him. His attitude has changed during the past year.
He’s been real sweet and asks me what I want in the future. We both want the same things out of life. We share similar interests and get along very well. He makes me feel a different way than any other man has.
He has asked me to run away with him and start a life together in a new state. I don’t know if he would actually go through with it. He’s very spontaneous but also flaky.
However, my current boyfriend, “Mason,” has been there for me through a crazy and tough time. Mason is real sweet, too, and he’s helped me grow a lot as a person. He lives with me, and we want the same things out of life.
Mason would do anything for me to make sure I’m happy in the relationship. We communicate well and haven’t had any issues yet.
I don’t want to make a stupid choice and regret everything. If I leave Mason, I don’t think there’s any going back. But I worry I’ll always wonder what could have been with Henry. — Love Dilemma in Vermont
Dear Dilemma: I’m not sure how happy and healthy your current relationship is if you are still lusting for Henry. Ask yourself if what you are feeling is more lust or love for Henry — and Mason — and that will give you your answer.
Lust dissipates over time, while love persists. Whether Henry or Mason is more love or lust is a question you have to ask yourself. Start by asking, “How do I feel about myself when I am with this person?” Don’t forget that if Henry cheated on others, he will likely cheat on you.
Dear Annie: My mother-in-law puts her husband first in her family. His moods and feelings dictate everything in that house.
Consequently, their children — my husband and his sister — do not know how to assert themselves in their relationships. They don’t know how to sort out their true feelings.
They weren’t allowed to disagree in their early years at home. This nearly destroyed his sister, and it has caused problems in our marriage, which, thankfully, we have weathered. But the bottom line is they didn’t learn to have a good relationship with themselves.
Putting yourself last isn’t always saintly, nor is it always healthy, for you and your family. — Sad Observer
Dear Sad Observer: Your letter brings up a good life lesson. If your own personal and emotional cup is not full, how can you fill the cup of others? The answer is, you cannot. Take time every day to fill up your own cup when you can. Some good ways are through walks with friends, prayer or meditation, long relaxing baths, journaling, singing a song you like or spending time in nature.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.