Emily:

I am 18, attending college and I need advice on dating. I had never had a serious relationship until last month. I started dating this guy, he's 23, and we really hit it off at first. Things seemed to be going really well when we met, but then it seemed like things started to fade after only 2 weeks. That is when he started mentioning his ex-girlfriend. He said he really loved her, and he still thinks about her. When he told me this, it killed me. I tried to understand him so I asked him some questions. I asked him if he would take her back if she came back to him and he said that he knows he wouldn't take her back. He said he's the one that broke it off with her because he knew that he wasn't happy when he was with her. He said he broke it off also because she had different goals in life than he did. When he told me this, it gave me some comfort, but of course I was still bothered by the fact that he said he was still thinking about her. It has been over 3 months since him and his ex has broken up. Anyway, over the next two weeks he mentioned his ex-girlfriend 2 more times. It got to the point where he said he felt like he was cheating on me. However, he hasn't been with her, or even talked to her since we've been together. I figured he was trying to tell me that he wasn't ready for a relationship, but he told me he still wants to be with me. Emily, this confused the crap out of me. I confronted him one night and I told him how I was feeling. I told him that I needed a guy that was solely focused on me, and not still thinking/dreaming about past relationships. He said he needed time. So, a few nights later he came to me and said he thinks we need to take a step back. He said he's not ready to be in a serious relationship but that he still wants to see me. In fact, he still wanted to go out that weekend. We went out, and it was awkward at first but, oddly, the night ended up being super fun. It has been 3 weeks since we took a step back and I have started to date other guys again. But, now he is coming back to me and he says that he regrets letting me go, and he wants to start over. I don't know what to do, because I am afraid of getting hurt. I completely put myself out there on a shaky edge while we were dating and it didn't work out. I feel like I'm just sitting here, and he makes all the calls. I hate that. But, I have never liked a guy so much before and it's tempting to say yes again. I want to say yes! But I don't want to just be an easy catch that he can just drop and pick up again. I know this might sound silly, especially since I am young and this is my first relationship, but I want to take relationships seriously. Some people say love is blind, and I'm just wondering if you have any advice for me. Am I really being too easy of a catch? Is it a mistake to be with him when he still thinks about his ex?

-----------------------Miss Emily's advice------------------

Yes, love can be blind, but smart, emotionally secure people have a better chance of getting their sight back before they fall off the edge. I don't think you are setting yourself up to look like an easy catch. Those are just words with little meaning when sincere people simply want to enjoy the company of someone of the opposite sex. You like him, it's being honest, and there's no shame in that. You are ready for a serious relationship, in your mind, because you haven't really had one. He has, he's 23, he's more experienced, and it makes it easier for him to take the lead. The age difference, although not too great, could cause some problems down the line, but you don't know that yet. There aren't a lot of us in the world who haven't had the 'ol heart broken once, or twice, and if you try to avoid it, you'll never let go and truly learn to love another person. He may, now, be threatened by the fact that you are dating others and he's taking a second look at what he thinks was a good thing. A person's ego sometimes dictates feelings, rather than a heartfelt approach, but I doubt that's the case here. This guy has been honest with you about his past and, as long as you are able to monitor his present feelings in a timely fashion, you can get out before things get too heavy. I understand your trepidation. But you like this guy and, from what you have told me, I think you should be open to seeing him again.