Dear Miss Emily:

I need advice! 'Im stuck between two people I really care for. I'm currently with someone but I think I'm still in love with my ex-boyfriend. They are both great guys and they both have great feelings. The one I'm currently with wants to settle down with me, and is talking about kids and a future. He's not as responsible as I would want him to be, but enough for me to be comfortable with. He wants me to meet his family. I love him but not  "in love" with him. He's currently in Iraq but he shall return in May. Maybe things would get better. The other guy (my ex), we have had  a lot of problems in our past relationship and we have gone through a lot together. There's a possibility we can let it go and try it one more time. He's definitely not responsible, well at least not enough for me -- but he also wants kids and a family (with me). I think he's confuse., I know he loves me but the big question is, is he still in love with me? He says he is but I know he has a doubt in his head. My family loves him and he loves them too, but Im not sure if we can work it out and be completely happy because he has changed a lot during the distance we have had for about 1 1/2 years. They are both in the military and they do not know about each other. I care deeply for both, and I really dont know what to do. Yes, I still love my ex, but I think Im in love with they guy he was before he changed. Please give me some type of advice. I asked the closest person to me (my mother) but she has no idea what to tell me.

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

Changes do take place in people over time, and it doesn't mean those changes are better or worse, just different than what we knew of that person. That said, there are certain aspects of people, based on nature and nurture that are almost impossible to change. And this is why I say these things: neither man may be really right for you, and that needs to be addressed. When you talk about settling down with someone -- marriage and kids -- you pretty much better know that your chances of success will be great or you're headed for a heap of trouble  -- or a statistic. Fifty-percent of marriages end in divorce. Happy marriages are not perfect, but they have this in common: They work well as a partnership, they have like values and ideals (politically, religiously, etc.), how to raise kids, and the importance of money and how to handle it. If you don't have these ducks in a row, marriage ends up to be no more than a crap shoot, or a hope that it will all work out. And since you know the often used phrase "Hope is not a plan" is basically true, I would put the brakes on both relationships so you can figure out what you want. Tell the guy you're with, now, you need time to figure out. If he finds fault with that, so be it. It's your life, and you have every right to get it right. The ex, well, my parents always liked my ex boyfriends, too. But that's apples and oranges, isn't it? Proceed with caution on both fronts. There's no rush.  But if you do rush into something, you'll prove the other old quote I often use in my advice column, and it's true, as well --"Act in haste, repent in leisure."