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Best girlfriend choice is No. 3: neither

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By Carolyn Hax
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn:
Iím dating two different women. One lives near me in Virginia and one is on the other coast. They both know about the other but neither of them likes it. Virginia girl wants an exclusive relationship. West Coast girl doesnít seem to care.
I know deep down that Virginia girl is better for me. Sheís almost perfect intellectually, spiritually, interest-wise, except I have very little physical attraction to her. On the other hand, the chemistry with West Coast girl is off the charts.
As long as they both know about each other, is it OK to go on like this for a while? I donít want to hurt either one of them but I donít want to choose right now. I hate that society puts such pressure on us to be in monogamous relationships. And not that it matters, but Iím not a 20-something guy. Iím an older woman. Does that change the dynamic?
ó Compatible?

No, because the dynamic is that youíre with two wrong people instead of two potentially right ones.
This is still not about choosing, though ó itís about how long youíre willing to find happiness in two people (who provide it grudgingly, it seems) because neither one really fits.
Youíve been honest, so I can argue that you donít need to choose for their sakes; they can act in their own interests. If youíd prefer monogamy, then thatís an argument for ending this arrangement for your own sake.
Note, I didnít say ďan argument for choosingĒ: Virginia girl is not ďbetter for me,Ē sheís a dead-end street because you obviously value chemistry. West Coast girl is not ďbetter,Ē either, unless you value her companionship as much as you do her passion. Thinking in either-or terms is so needlessly limiting. There are more than two women on earth.

Re: Compatibility:
I have a related question. Iím in my late 30s, single and still looking for a partner. Iíve noticed a pattern: The people I feel most alive around and most enjoy are often not available. A few recent examples: one was moving to a new country; one was of the wrong sexual orientation for me; one was way too young; and one was not wanting a serious relationship.
On the other hand are the people I meet who are constant and reliable, which I value, but feel less alive around. Is it unrealistic for me to think I can find a partner someday who is constant and available, but whom I also feel really alive around? Am I missing something here?
ó Anonymous

You havenít said anything about personalities, just available and un-. If that indeed is the only difference, then Iíd guess you only fully let your guard down around people you already know you canít have. As in, thereís no risk of getting rejected for who you are when theyíve already said no based on who they are.
So, finding a partner is possible, but youíll have to outsmart yourself. Maybe awareness of this problem is all you need to pre-empt it, but if not, be ready with Plan B: Donít judge these ďconstant, reliableĒ people until youíve had time to get as comfortable around them as you are with the ones you know you canít have.
(c) 2014, Washington Post Writers Group
Story tags » Advice

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