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One-Man Woman

Choosing the Right Guy when the Right Guy is not around.

by Dear Jon
July 5, 2005

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One-Man Woman

Dear Jon,

Hi i am soo confused of what i want...u see 2 of the most important people in my life want to be with me...but i just dont know what to say...i dont want to ruin a relation ship with either one and i dont want to turn them down either...what should i do
lost and confused
Dear Confused,
Welcome to the United States, and thank you for your brave attempt to use English. I am encouraged by your letter, in that it demonstrates that the Partial Observer has a large international audience of readers for whom English is a second, and possibly a third or fourth, language.
Dear Reader,
Here is the letter again, translated into intelligible discourse:
Dear Jon,
Hi. I am so confused about what I want. Two of the most important people in my life want to be with me, but I don't want to ruin a relationship with either one and I don't want to turn them down either. What should I do?

Lost and confused
Dear Lost,
There is a lot in your letter that you have left out. Given today's culture, and especially the culture of the internet, it is no longer safe to assume anything. I do not know if you are a man having to choose between two women, or a woman choosing between two men, or a transgendered male-to-female butch having to choose between an effeminate cross-dresser and a department store mannequin.
However, I am willing to infer a lot from your letter. I believe that you are a female, and that you have written to Dear Jon actually expecting some serious advice about two guys in your life. The reason I believe this, is that you are experiencing a form of turmoil that only women experience. To show you what I mean, here is the same letter, but written by a man:
Dear Jon,
Hey, Things are a little complicated right now. I have a chance to score with a couple women, but each of them expect me to be just a one-woman guy. What's up with that? Anyway, have you ever two-timed and can you give tips for us guys on how not to get caught?
Lucky Guy

Anyway, you get the idea. So, Miss Lost, what you are experiencing is the classic female dilemma of being chased by guys whom you like as friends, but they are not guys you would really go after. If one of these was a guy who could sweep you off your feet, he would have already. Right?
What I am trying to point out is that these two guys are really not in a contest with each other. If one of them was a guy you would really go after, there would be no contest anyway. You would figure out a way to be with the guy you want. I'm a guy. I know.
Your real dilemma is you want to hold out for something better, but you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. What you really want is a way to let these two guys down, easy, so they remain friends. And that is completely fine. Your motives are the right ones.
What I need to tell you, from a male perspective, is that there is no way to let a guy down easy. The best way to let one guy down easy, is to let two guys down at the same time. Then neither of them will feel like they have "lost" to the other guy.
In your arsenal of female rhetorical nuclear weapons, you have of course the "global killer" which is the "friends" speech. The friends speech is guaranteed to pulverize the male ego, making him completely incapable of sharing anything like a vulnerable feeling ever again for as long as he knows you. Do not resort to the "friends" speech unless you want to make sure that the guy will feel weird around you forever.
Less murderous to the male spirit than the "friends" speech is the "I'm not looking for that kind of involvement right now." This you can say to both your friends. This preserves a fraction of the male ego, a dim hope that "not right now" could mean "maybe later." Of course, all women know, and men figure it out soon enough, that "not right now" means "the right guy has not entered my life yet." It might be that the next day the right guy will, and you will be with him, and these two friends will realize what "not right now" had meant.
The most important thing for you to remember is that you do not owe either of these two friends in your life any consideration except respect. You belong to yourself. Neither of these guys has a claim. So if you try to let them down easy with the "not right now" speech, and one of them gets weird, that is his problem. It is not your fault. If one or both of these guys try to make you feel guilty, that is a trick men play on female emotions. He might even really believe you are to blame. But you are not. You know what makes you tick, and it is neither of these guys.
If you want to be really mean, you can have them read your letter on the Partial Observer.

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