I am a 26-year-old Christian young lady who is very much active in my church. I've been in a relationship for the past three years with my partner; however, we have been friends for many moons. He was always a very reserved person. Two years ago he migrated to the US. I was depressed when he left. I don't have a US visa and he has only visited once. Sometimes I feel as if I am begging for his attention. He is always tired when I call, and he either falls asleep on the phone or we are just there listening to each other breathing.
In search of friendship and someone to keep me company, I went online and met a young man. We exchanged numbers. He is all I've been praying for. I invited him to church and the only time he is absent is when he has work. He even got baptised after attending church with me. This guy is head over heels about me. All I want is love, attention, affection, happiness and someone who loves the Lord and I see all this in him.
My problem is this — I want to get married and start a family where we all go to church and serve the Lord together. My boyfriend in the US never speaks of filing for me. He surface talks about marriage and as for church, I don't know where he stands. The other guy here in Jamaica would marry me right now. I really don't want to make the wrong decision, but I don't have any time to waste. I don't want to hurt my boyfriend in the US, but I really don't know what I am holding on to because even if we get married, I doubt he would change, and I don't want to disappoint the guy here.
I can almost hear people reading your account and saying that the solution to your dilemma is straightforward and requires no intervention from a counsellor or anyone for that matter.
The considerable contrast between the two men is like day and night — one extremely generous and loving the other doesn't have a clue how to treat a woman. And so to many this seems like a no-brainer as your selection is obviously clear as crystal.
But let's have a closer look at what is going on here. Your boyfriend of three years has taken you and the relationship for granted and is seemingly unaware that his lackadaisical approach is stifling the growth and development of the relationship. Partners in intimate relationships who disregard the feelings of each other will experience the reaction/feedback of the affected partner in a direct or indirect way.
As you indicate, all that someone needs in a relationship is love, attention, affection and happiness, and if those basic ingredients are missing the relationship becomes hollow and without foundation.
One can understand your sense of frustration that would have led you to seek happiness elsewhere. However, you are still in a committed relationship with the guy overseas and as much as you want to believe that nothing is going on between you and the local guy, the truth is that you have developed an emotional bond with him. If you continue to connect and communicate with him as you presently do, it's only a matter of time before things go to the next level or get out of hand.
Be mindful also that the new guy could well be putting on an act to impress you. The honeymoon stage of the relationship is always one of heart -throbbing excitement and novelty where everyone is on their best behaviour. This is not to say that the new guy is not genuinely doing the things he is doing, as he could well possess those fine qualities you mentioned.
You must sit down and weigh the pros and cons of both partners, bearing in mind that you will never have a perfect person with all the qualities you desire. If you decide to go with the second guy, then you should terminate the first relationship. If on the other hand you'd rather stick with your boyfriend, then you should reduce your communication with the local guy and eventually shut down the connection.
It's dangerous to be juggling both guys, as eventually the truth will come to the fore and you might end up being alone. As a Christian pray about the matter and respond accordingly.
All the best to you.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.