Episodes We Love: Love In Doubt
Dear sugars is supported by ZipRecruiter some job boards overwhelming with tons of the wrong resumes. Not smart but ZipRecruiter finds the right people for you. And actively invites them to apply smart, try it for free at ZipRecruiter dot com slash sugar. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Oh. The universe has good news for the lost lonely and heartsick sugar is here. The both of us speaking straight into your ears. I'm Cheryl strayed. I'm Steve almond. This is your sugar radio. Oh, don't you plea? Some bitter sweet as maybe. Shit. Us. Hi, cheryl. Hi, steve. How are you? I am doing good. I'm terrific. We're going to deal another of our rapid fire episodes today. And the theme talk about love and doubt people who are quite clear about their feelings of affection or love or Lester compatibility, but they have that one question that they're struggling to answer. It's like the love train as chugging along and gaining momentum crashes into the giant boulder of doubt. How's that for a terrible metaphor pretty good one? So the question is can we help them get back on track? Okay. We're gonna leap right in. I'll read the first letter. Do it dear sugars I've been dating at wonderful man for just over a year. We've been officially a couple for just about six months. We have so much fun when we're together. And he shows me that he cares in so many ways sneaking quietly into bed. So he doesn't wake me invited me to his family holidays. Lots of kisses and snuggles when we're together, and I miss you when we're apart. We spend all of our free time together. And we've decided to move into a few months. We talk about everything he shares. His ambitions his insecurities, and whenever we have a disagreement. We talk it out. He's more open about his feelings than anyone I've ever dated. He's told me that I'm the person he feels closest to. But there's one thing he hasn't shared his love while I feel it from him. He hasn't uttered. Those three little words to me. I love you each time I- relationship has moved to the next level. I've been the Proactiv one. So on this front. I've held back. I'm waiting for them to tell me he loves me before I said, I'd like to know he loves me before we take the next step of sharing a home together. But I don't feel comfortable asking do you love me if he said, yes, I'd feel like I'd forced it like he said it because he knew it's what I wanted to hear. So sugars what do I do? Can I get him to express his love and words without disbelieving it how long is too long to wait to hear. I love you signed. I love him. Who Cheryl I love you. On the record. And I love him. You know, it's so important to you to hear those words, you have the right to hear those words meaningful to you. But I'm having trouble making sense of your letter because I'm having trouble squaring. We talk about everything. He's more open about his feelings than anyone I've ever dated with the feeling that you have that language that you need is being withheld from you. And I think that requires that you figure out how important hearing those three words are versus the actions that are really the embodiment of the enacting of love in one another's lives. It's also significant that you are on the brink of moving in together or you've decided to move in together and that nowhere in that conversation. Did you express to him? I need to hear you say that you love me. I think you need to somehow rectify the part of your boyfriend in this relationship that is moving full speed ahead. He's the best thing that ever happened. We talk about everything he's more emotionally available as many I've ever been with with the part that saying, but somehow despite all of that his not saying these three words is lighting that flame of doubt within me. And so he needs to know that because he's your guy. Yeah. I agree. You have to talk to them. And I want to say, you know, welcome to a long term relationship. You know, there's the way that you want the other person to be or behave. And then there's the way that they are and behave and you need to negotiate these things. And so to me, it just sounds like that he loves you. And that you love him, and he just has a signs of different value. To those three words. I I have a good friend. Who is the mother to kids who are now grown up there in their twenties. And if you years ago, we were talking about being parents, and she mentioned to me that she never said to her children. I love you. She had overheard me talking to my kids on the phone in a we say, I love you literally like twenty times a day to each other. That's just the culture of our family and the culture of her family is that they didn't say it. But what was interesting to me is that it didn't mean that she didn't love her kids and her kids knew that she loved them. But she just didn't say it. And I think that maybe this is what's going on with your boyfriend. I love him. Like, maybe for whatever reason. That's just not a thing that he has said in his life to people. I want to underscore this. Because I think it's such an important point. I come from one of those families that did not say, I love you. And I literally had to train myself to say to Aaron and to say to even friends of mine when they say, I love you. I feel uncomfortable. I it's as if there's been a sudden kind of intrusion of intense direct emotion that makes me feel a frozen get stage, fright interesting. Yeah. And it's terrible. I mean, I really literally now I can say it all the time to Erin. I love you. Because I know it shorthand for all the things I love him that your boyfriend does for you. And I are magic that. If you explain to him that it's personally meaningful, even if it makes them feel a little uncomfortable. You'll find out what his relationship to that phrase is and whether it's something you should be unsettled by I don't feel I'm at a point where I can say that. Or of course, I love you. We're moving together. But that's not how our family or I didn't realize it was so important to your dot dot dot. There's any problem with commitment here. He's he's full speed ahead. Let's move in together. Yeah. I think you just need to. Revis your ideas about what this exchange is going to be like the two options. I see you taking either just go ahead and say, I love you see what happens, and you are going to just have to let go of this really sort of archaic sexist notion that he be the person who says, I I love you. So that it's you know in real, yes. And you know, you're just not going to get that probably or you just say I need to talk to you about something. I love you, and I propose that you haven't said you love me, and I've been waiting for you to say it. And and I don't know why it's important to me that you said I, but it is when my husband and I decided to get married. It was perfectly mutual decision that we made together. But I wanted to him to then ask me to marry him. And I completely see that for like, the sexist bullshit narrative that it is. And yet I still wanted that piece of it to be in my life like I wanted. I wanted him to do that asking. And maybe it's. Rooted in what you have to say about this feeling that you are the proactive on that you're the one who compiles emotional growth in your relationship deepens, the relationship at each juncture. And so that's something really important for you to unpack. And I think that this. I love you conversation can be a great portal into that deeper relationship. Right. Yeah. It's it's really the question is are we both moving into. Did. We decide that together. Are we gonna make decisions mutually rather than me having to kind of drag you along because that's not you know, this not hearing. I love you standing in for a larger resentment that that you're having to do that work of pushing things deeper and that should be work. You do together and happily we love you love him. Yes. Okay. Next letter. Here we go deer sugars I've been with my girlfriend for about a year now, and I've never felt such a strong connection to someone. She and I have more in common than I've ever shared with a partner and our relationship has progressed very quickly. The only problem is when we first. I didn't feel as much of a physical attraction to her as I thought I should. But I decided that my attraction to her on all other levels was deep enough to overcome that. I thought that are physical chemistry would grow in time. But unfortunately, it hasn't I feel terrible and shallow for even writing this down. And I can't imagine how I could ever explain this to her without hurting her deeply, I've even felt some of my male friends imply or say outright that they thought I could quote do better. My question for you is am I doing the right thing and pursuing a relationship with this wonderful person and annoying. What I perceived to be totally invented standards of beauty or his physical chemistry the first and most important part of a real relationship. Sincerely, struggling with standards. Cheryl. I am so curious to hear your take startling standards. I think that you are up against two things that you've conflicted into one. Okay. And you mentioned them both in your letter as if they are one there is your physical attraction to your girlfriend and the physical. Chemistry. You have with her the sexual chemistry. You have with her and the invented standards of beauty. And this idea that your friends have put into your head that you could quote unquote, do better. Now, what I take that to mean is that that she that your girlfriend might be attractive, but she's not, you know, a a beauty. She's not the stunningly gorgeous woman, and your friends think that you could be with somebody who's prettier than her. And what I want to say to you first of all those are two different things. Okay. The person that you're attracted to and you have chemistry with is not necessarily the person who fits into these standard conventions of beauty. And and this has Steve has talked about this in his own sort of sexual Tra trajectory, really like that you when you're young you sort of like, oh, the hottest person is the person that's the MO that meets those conventions. And then what happens in life is you start dating people, and he starts with people, and you find that actually sometimes the person you connect with the most doesn't fit so neatly into that box. Even that box that you've sort of invented in your own mind. And so the first question, I want you to think about struggling with standards is are you having a a really powerful physical bond with his woman, or are you sort of hung up is is the thing that's inhibiting you from having that bond or having that chemistry is this idea of what women should look like. And if that's the case the great news about that. As it can be revised. You know, you can say fuck those standards. I love sleeping with her. I love you know, this relationship. Now, if on the other hand, it is a chemistry issue rather than a beauty standards issue. Then I do think that you're right for asking this question, and that is an important one because part of a relationship part of a romantic relationship that sustains itself over time is dependent on you being able to have that kind of intimate physical erotic connection with somebody. And of course, as we've discussed many times on this show. You know, how hot that is Wayne's over time, and then like reignites in it can shift in all these ways. But if you don't. Have a basic real attraction to your romantic partner? I do think you need to rethink the relationship and maybe break up or become friends. You know, I will say if you decide to end this relationship struggling standards, I really don't think you should say to your girlfriend. It's because she's not physically attractive enough for you. Because that is an absolutely first of all that's a really subjective opinion. And it's one that will will hurt her for a long time and probably affect her for many relationships the pattern in my life has been when I get involved with somebody as I find out more about who they are and all the hidden beautiful things within them, they become more attractive to me. And what's really unsettling here is that for whatever reason after a year, she has not become more attractive to you. And that to me is the trouble sign, but I do think that you are right to feel ashamed. And troubled by the fact that it seems to be. Inked in your mind. The first place you go after that realization is these friends of mine who say that I could do better because I think this is what being steeped in this kind of culture that is beauty youth and beauty worshiping it. Mixes up our internal lives. We can't separate those. It wouldn't be wonderful shell if we could separate those two parts how much chemistry and how much is this external standard. The problem is we've internalized these things, and they become fall sacred texts inside us that we should be able to get a ten or an eight because we are thus inside. And that is something that you should probably question yourself about. But at the bottom of it, you cannot fake chemistry. You cannot be you know, and friend of mine said to me years ago before I was married. He said, you know, Steve, you wanna marry a woman that you're just attracted to enough that you wanna sleep with them. But no more than that. You know, like, you shouldn't be crazy after them. And at the time, I thought I I don't, you know, the idea. Just be with somebody who just crazy about all the time. And you think they're just they're ten and I've realized like, well, that's the reason that I feel that way towards Aaron and desirous of her is because I've gotten to know her and we've made a life together. And I feel like my chemistry responds more to her the longer. I've known her in the deeper relationship has become a year isn't a short amount of time to kind of figure out whether she's start you're getting past the superficial signifier 's of desire, and the real chemistry the underlying chemistry's there. And if it's not it's not and don't waste her time or yours sort of trying to fake it because that is its own kind of form of humiliation to stay in a relationship where you know, it's not the only ingredient. But it is an essential ingredient is not there be honest about I-, Cheryl, I would not make it precisely about beauty. But I would take stock of the part of yourself that might be mixed up about how much is about. Beauty and how much is chemistry and how those two things have become a linked in your mind and heart. Okay. Next question. Dear sugars, I recently met a great guy. I'll call Richard on a dating app and we've seen each other pretty regularly for about a month recently. He shared with me that he would like a relationship to become exclusive and for us to be boyfriend and girlfriend. I've been single for about four years. I'm thirty and I'd very much like to be an committed relationship. I told him that I wanted the same things, but I'm still in the process of getting to know and understand him. And I needed more time since then we've both shared with each other about our past relationships, and he revealed to me that when he was in college and law school, he cheated on every girlfriend that he ever had. He says that he is not acted this way for about seven years, and he has since had other girlfriends to whom he was faithful when he told me this. I try to remain open a non judgmental. I asked him how he was able to rationalize this behavior to himself. And he said to be honest. I just turn that part of my brain off he emphasized that he was much younger than and he was sowing his wild oats. And that he wouldn't eat on me now because that simply isn't what he wants. He wants someone to spend time with and to be in a committed relationship with he's a very matter of fact type, and he doesn't mince words. So I take him at his word that he doesn't have any plans to resume his cheating ways. However, there are a couple of things that concern me about this one thing is that he didn't express much regret or self reflection. It seemed so he was saying his bad behavior suited his desires back then, but they don't now. And so he has cut out those behaviors. But what I want is a man who has values and principles that guide him through life. Not someone who picks and chooses when doing the right thing, suits them. The second thing is that some of his friends who hangs out with continue to cheat on their girlfriends or spouses, while the acknowledges that their behavior is scummy. It's odd to me that he could be friends with people like that. I know this might sound super self-righteous. But I can honestly say that the. People I surround myself with are good people and do not cheat on their significant others. Am I judging him too harshly for teen all those years back? So I'd be giving him credit for being forthcoming about it. Or is it obvious that he doesn't have a strong moral, compass? I so would like for this relationship to work, but I'm not willing to commit to someone. I don't deem trustworthy, sugars, what should I do signed to judgy or not judgy enough a crate sign off? You know, this is a sticky one because what it sounds like to judge judge enough. What's unsettling? You is that this guy doesn't have an adequate capacity to self reflect and to tell you, I not only did I do these things, but I know they're wrong and they're not wrong because they're not what I want. Now, they're wrong. Because that's that was hurtful to who. I was with you say, he's very matter of fact, in doesn't mince words, so you sort of believe his declaration. But there's something untrustworthy about how he saying it. It's sort of like when you say to somebody. I'm sorry that you were upset by that. I'm sorry that upset you as opposed to. I'm sorry that I said something that was clearly hurtful to you. I did that it's more it feels like he sort of disassociates a little bit. I feel like a month into this thing you need to have a talk with him before it goes any further and say, I know we talked about this. And I know you think the issues over but. It's not for me. And also a little bit curious about why it came up because I don't make an assumption that everybody has been faithful to everybody they've been with especially in the late teens twenties. I feel like the landscape out there. You don't know what you know, sort of the world he was moving through. I don't have the expectation that somehow he should have been faithful to all of his partners. And I think frankly, that's the part of you that's being to judgy the part of you that maybe isn't being judgmental enough is the part that feels unsettled by the way that he discusses his personal morality, especially as it relates to being faithful to you. If you move further into it Modise think. I think you're being too judgy to Judy. Oh, okay. Or not dodgy enough. And I'm not saying when I say, I think you're being too judgy. I don't mean to say that you that. You don't have some valid concerns. And I absolutely think that you should talk more deeply to Richard about those concerns. It seems to me that the most important concern is that his sense of regret her sense of you know, I believe that it's true that he that he sort of put that out of his brain. And did what he wanted to do at that time. But now as the, you know, the thirty year old or thirty something that he is I would wanna know if he's reflected upon those things and really thought about the consequences of his actions. I will say though to me that's implicit in. A the fact that he's told you about these things be the fact that he then spent the last seven years not cheating on girlfriends. You know, you you ask if he's trustworthy. You know, you say I'm not willing to commit to somebody who I don't deem, trustworthy, and yet, maybe you should think about, you know. What is trustworthy mean to you trust where they mean never having made a mistake or does trustworthy mean telling you the truth about his life. And if it's the latter you've got that. This is somebody who has admitted his past mistakes to you, even though he knows you feel judge mental about them. He's also shared with you that his friends some of his friends are cheaters, and he knows that that disturbs you to would you rather that he covers that doesn't tell you the things when you say that you surround yourself with people who are good people and don't cheat on their significant others. What I want to say, you don't really know who's touring significant. And you know, sadly, what you're going to find out probably over the next. Few decades is some shocking information about people you love you're going to find out people use it were were committed and being honest with their partners DC deceived them at times, you know, life and love are complicated. And I'm not saying that it's okay to be without a moral, compass. I'm not saying, it's okay. Hey to deceive in Lyon, cheat. I am saying, however that a lot of people make a lot of mistakes in this realm of life, and it doesn't necessarily mean that they're immoral. I absolutely think you're right to put a high value on honesty, and fidelity, and faithfulness and committed relationships. But I think that what you have on your hands. Here is a as a man who's actually willing to have an open honest discussion with you about it. You know, who I'd be so much more afraid of the guy you met on the dating app at the thirty who claim to have an absolutely pure background who claimed to have this moral righteous high ground. I would never do this. I would never do that. I, and you know, what those are the people who actually have in do and will right? And so I think that lower those judgments open that mind open that heart have some real discussions make yourself falafel. Ask him tell him that. It scares you that he's done this in the past ask him for a deeper search, and you know, maybe. I bet he's telling you the truth that he hasn't thought about it much. But that's the cool thing about a relationship. Is you get to then discuss things in a more deep way. I will tell you my husband my dear husband who I've been with for almost twenty one years. Now was in this very same situation. In fact, worse when I met him he could say to me, I've never been faithful to anyone there wasn't the seven years that he said, well, I was always faithful during that time. He'd never been faithful to a girlfriend and this was hard for me to I really thought. Okay. What am I getting into this guy? But what I found is what I got into was a man who was really struggling with his relationships with women and really struggling with how to be monogamous, and that's been a journey. And I am really glad that I decided to undertake it with him. And a huge key point. For me. Wasn't is a perfect. It was the honest. Busy open is he willing to grow? And by ZipRecruiter some job boards overwhelming with tons of the wrong resumes. Not smart but ZipRecruiter finds the right people for you. And actively invites them to apply smart, try it for free at ZipRecruiter dot com slash sugar. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Dear sugars will traveling for six months. I met a guy when we met my heart melted. And I instantly developed a hardcore crush on him. He's tall dark handsome motorcycle riding musician with a nice accent. We had a great fling. I became emotionally attached to him. But since we're only in the same place for a month. And there is no long term potential for the relationship. I did my best to keep it light and emotion free. We've been messaging sending pictures and sexting ever since I left, and I've been fantasizing about meeting up with him again in some foreign place. And now the opportunity has arisen for that to actually happen. He will be house sitting in Sicily for a few months and working on his music on waitressing stateside as I wait for graduate school to start. He hasn't actually asked me to join him. But I think he might say, yes, if I proposed the idea, here's my question. Do I go and spend a few fun filled weeks with him, even though it will leave me broke jobless and possibly heartbroken? Or do. I continue down my logical responsible path and be grateful for the fun. We had Steve said that crushes leave you crushed. And I know how painfully true that is. But Cheryl says to put yourself in the way of beauty and what's more beautiful than a hot boy on a Sicilian beach. I would be deeply grateful for your perspective, and maybe even your blessing hopelessly wander luster. I have only one thing to say the homelike. And that is there is nothing more beautiful than a hot boy on a Sicilian pretty much knew you're gonna say that Lester, go don't even think don't even look back. Just go have fun. You said you said you signed up for us any control these row, you're gonna be you're gonna probably be heartbroken. You know, those things as long as, you know, those things go, Honey, I think absolutely this is fun. This is the moment of your life to do these things. Do not look back go to that beach. Go to that boy have a blast. Psst liquor wounds later. Wow. Can't believe you even our thinking there's another answer to this question. All the only caveat. I would add is try to do a little bit of self inventory. No, no, just go test. Oh, man, the inventory later with the hot memories of this fabulous guy on a Veton Italy. Okay. All right. Okay. Okay. What inventory could possibly take try to remember that? I am Jewish. So I'm sitting there going. Oh, my but would if she goes over there, and he's recording music, and he's got another one on the side. And she's not really the person, you know, he's going to spend time if you know that he has signed up for you to be there, and that you're gonna have this wonderful ecstatic experience where at least the his interest other than being in the music studio is to be with you. And that is co mutual great. But in less, she's do a little bit of prophylactic. No, no, just here today on my celebrate this thing called life and the great words of our dearly, beloved and recently, departed prince, and this is what life is. Yeah. What if what if she goes? And he's you know, she shows up, and he's fucking the neighbor, you know, so be it like. I think that this agree. This is the that's the beauty I show up in Sicily for my hot boy to have this ecstatic experience, and he's fucking the neighbor. I'm getting sloppy seconds. And she's going to say, do you think it's a she's she says, I think he's going to say, yes. And then of course, if he says, no don't come don't go. But if he's like, yeah, go, okay. It sounds great go with it. Let's go crazy. Maybe rest in funk, I get it. But she is really proposing to spend a whole bunch of money and more the point invest like a big part of her heart. I think she should know that two things one that he wants her to be there. And it's going to spend time with her because we have all been in situations where it seems great and romantic and wonderful. And then that hot Sicilian boy is off with somebody else. And you're left in the shower. I know because mandatory, but just a magin for a moment that there's a world in which a young woman who is telling us in her letter that she is mostly vulnerable to this guy. She's kind of inbetween things and ready to throw heart fully into and she throws her heart into it lands with a thud on the hot Cecilia and sand in it sizzles around why he's making music with some another daughter. More walking up all my God. And hope hearings eternal here. But she wants him not saying I believe people when they like what she's saying. Yes, she likes him more than she probably should Melis. Sane. You know what though like this? This moment isn't about protecting my heart. This moment is about leaving into the fire. Okay. I agree with you, Cheryl. But I do think that there within that general. I'm going to do this thing the way that she asked us to make sure I'm going to be staying with you are are you going to spend time with me, I expect this to be a particular kind of experience that she doesn't spend four thousand dollars an significant sort of outlay of her hopes and expectations in her heart. And then wind up in a situation where she feels really neglected or, you know, undermined or you know, sort of get the rug pulled out from underneath you. Now, you would say, hey, that's part of life life. That's what the twins are four. That's what you learn from. But she might not be a world famous memoirs. Who's like, hey, I'm really interested in having crushes. My was I when I was in my twenties thirties if she were right interest and say, listen, I'm madly in love. And I'm I'm not sure if it's reciprocal, and I would I would say, you know, what? Stay home and invest in yourself and onwards should be wants to run into the burning building. I got into the building right and hot and on fire. Nice Italian, dude. I know I wish she would call him. Sicilian, man, stallion even rather than boy 'cause I hit a pocket full of Trojans. Wow. Some of the newer out of control. Let's get into that corvette baby. And ride. Okay. Here's our next letter. Dear sugars, I'm writing you because I'm not the person or lover that I wanna be a twenty nine year old man in love with an amazing woman s who is twenty eight we met a year ago while casually dating I've been a serial monogamous for most of my adult life which included a six year relationship. I wasn't looking for love when I met us. But from the very first date, I was completely taken with her. She's one of the most interesting people I've ever met everything about our relationship is wonderful. We support each other. We have shared interests, the sex is amazing, and we're moving together despite this. I've not been able to dampen my desire to sleep with other women this desire manifest itself, only when s is not around which wouldn't be an issue except that she travels regularly for work a couple of times I've initiated contact with other women in order to hook up. But I haven't followed through because I don't wanna cheat on us. Yes. I'm excited by the idea of sleeping with other women and being desired. Well, I haven't had physical contact with another woman while I've been with us. I believe cheated on a psychological level as has been cheated on in the past. And I don't want to cause her that pain again, we're so good for each other. And I don't know why I would be jeopardizing our relationship by these desires sugars, do you have any insight on why I have become this person signed bad partner. Bed partner. I'm going to offer an educated guess, I think that you're cold feet are taking the form of hotlines. Basically, the fact that you have escalated this relationship that everything seems to be lining up that you're moving in together has consciously or probably more so unconsciously triggered a kind of panic, and it is taking the form of doing the one thing that, you know, would sabotage the relationship because after all right, Cheryl, you could have conversation with a partner extensively and say, well, I know we're moving towards moving together and getting more committed and let's talk about the relationship and what fidelity means and what the nature of our relationship will lead. That's not what's happening. Instead, it's choreographed in a way where they talk about moving together the commitment ramps up, and he immediately does the one thing that he knows is guaranteed to break her heart and to send her and the other direction. Oh, that's my guess. Yeah. I agree with that. And since you took a psychological approach, which I think is very much encourage you bad partner to to ponder everything's Steve said, I also wanna address just the biological answer to your question. And that is the reason that you desire other women as that's just perfectly biologically natural for for you to be doing. I think throughout your life. But especially at this point in your life, your at twenty nine year old man, you know, and I think that scientists proven to us over and over again that human sexuality we aspire to monogamy, many of us really value being monogamous partnerships for the for the emotional things that that can offer us, but physically we you know, that doesn't shut off sometimes our desire for other people. And so the way that most people manage to make monogamy work is that they don't give in. They do what you've done so far that you see the desire, and then you don't act on it. You you make sure not to put yourself in a situation that would. Ause you to act on those desires, and I think over time you learn how to get better at doing that. So my answer to you release. Just like, listen, you're not alone in this. This isn't an idea like you're not a bad partner because you sometimes think about having sex with other people, you're bad partner. If you act on it a lie to yourself in your partner and deceive her in some way, and you haven't done that what you're doing is really struggling with essentially an internal conversation. I will say though, that there are some red flags for me when you say a couple of times you've initiated contact with other women to hook up. So you are at least reaching toward acting out against your better judgement. And then you something else intervenes. And you and you stop yourself from doing it. But you know, I think that this might be something worth exploring in a as sort of deeper way, either with therapist or with us really openly because the way the way to get rid of this kind of stuff that's really rooted. And shame is bring it into the light. And explore some of the the reasons that you're at odds with yourself most men and women for that matter. But since we're talking to mail letter writer, bad partner feel that when they start to move towards a happy successful relationship, and they move into gather. There's a kind of panic because what's happening psychologically, but also Shiro points out biologically as you're centrally saying, I'm going to be just with this one person from now on and so you have this set of desires, the idea of sleeping with other women other bodies other forms of pleasure being desired by other women. Those are now implicitly and explicitly being forbidden, and I will say we all want to sue, Ian, boy on the beach. But lot say Steve longtime listeners of the show will now I am not a poly-amorous person myself, but time gonna gonna. Time gonna. Here for all of our Polly listeners who are right now like shaking their fists at us as we have this incredibly like hetero normative monogamous, you know, sort of like talk as if monogamy is like the great thing that we should always buy to another solution to the I wanna have sex with people other than the one person. I'm in a committed relationship with is to open a relationship up and to talk honestly with s and decide the terms, and maybe those terms will include having other lovers. You never know it doesn't sound like from this letter. You don't mention that. But I will say that is another path to the mountaintop to the beach as it were at least Cillian. Okay, album bonds is our last letter final ladder. Dear sugars, I have found the most incredible woman. She's smart, beautiful, warm, caring and my friends and family thinks she's fantastic. We haven't been dating all that long. So I'm not going to rush into anything. It's too soon. But we see eye to eye on everything we've had some pretty significant talks things like where we'd like to live views on life money work relationships. Sex excetera big conversations all the major items on our respective checklists are sorted. We matchup splendidly and I cherish our time together. Here's the issue. I'm divorced. I broke up with my ex four years ago, and I've learned a lot since then about myself about relationships and especially about life at thirty five. I finally had healthy relationships, and I found forgiveness for my ex I feel ready to be married again. But the question that lurks at the back of my mind is how do I really know divorce was the worst thing I've ever experie-. Inste- even though I'm the one who initiated it. There's no way I wanna do that. Again, I rushed into marriage. The first time I see now. But when it comes to doing it again, I don't wanna wait forever. My girlfriend, and I have plans to take a trip to Europe later this year. I see that as a perfect time to ask her to marry me at that point. We won't have been together year yet. But will be getting close is that long enough? Why am I worried about if it's seen as long enough? Am I worried that others think I'm rushing into it? Again, my best friend is the only one I've told I could see myself marrying her. He can be brutal when it comes to analysing relationships and he's been right about everyone. I've been in including my former wife, he didn't flinch when I told him I thought she was it. He said he'd be happy to see it lend me your incite sugars. Sincerely, helped me be ready. So help me ready. You know, one of the things I often ponder is. When people ask us a question, it often arises because they're asking themselves that you're you are feeling doubt about doing this thing. You wanna do you wanna ask your girlfriend, but you do feel like it might be a little early? And so I say trust that I'm not thinking that you need to wait terribly much longer. But I do think that European vacation is not the only place you can make marriage proposal. Why not just give it a few more months to sort of quell that doubt that you seem to have doubt that compelled you to write this letter, let it ride, you know, it's not going to make a difference. If you propose, you know, eighteen months in tier relationship as you would ten months into it. And I think because you're feeling the stout because you have this fear of doing again, what you did before why not give it a little more time. That would be my advice to you. And then do it. If you still love her it doesn't. It matter. If people think you're rushing into it, you know, what's in your heart. You know, that marriage is never a guarantee, you know, that you could get married again and divorced as much as we you don't wanna do that. And so you need to enter into it with that. I guess embracing that sense of doubt answer indie. You're never gonna know for sure even if you tell yourself, you do in fact, that's kind of a setup, you know. I agree. And I think that it's significant helped me be ready for one that you're asking us to help you be ready. I wish we that's above our pay grade. You have to help you be ready, but we can certainly suggest some things that stand out in the letter and are not fishy. Exactly. But there was a question in my mind in a couple of places one as you said, I, you know, we've had talks the big conversations about life and money and work and relationships and sex everything, and I say, well, but not about marriage and divorce and children. Have you had those discussions? Have you told her I really feel good in this? But I also have been bitten. And so I'm twice shy. And what's been her response? Have you thought about the events that led to your divorce, and what the ark of the relationship was and whether their similarities or whether they're distinct differences in how you've conducted yourself with this relationship cheryl's, right? If there is doubt, that's a rising. It's not coming from nowhere is coming from some identified part of yourself. That's looking to external factors your friends and family lover, your best friend says she's good for you is is that enough. They can't answer that question for you. Because they're not going to be in the marriage with you. And they're not gonna be in the engagement with you. So you need to spend some time within yourself discussing that. And also having big conversations with this woman who you love so much and the other thing to think about is the idea of kind of choreographing the perfect moment is a up. There's no perfect moment. The moment. That's perfect is when it feels like you can say, I am ready. Not because my family and friends and the checklist says, yes, but because I in my heart and soul and ready to take the risk of saying. Let's do this thing together and chills right? It is a risk. No relation. Ship. No matter how good it looks on paper. How good it looks to everybody around. You is guaranteed. And you ask how do I really know that you do what I've come to understand my own life in my own decisions about romantic relationships is that you you can really know was true in a moment or an era of your life. And we also really know that those truth will change over time. So yeah, I would say listen to the doubt the doubt that compelled you write to us that doesn't mean that you won't marry this woman someday, it just means maybe like just listen to those doubts, and we wish you all kinds of love and luck in this relationship. That's right. We do and that brings us to the end of love and out, love and doubt. I think that kind of lived up to it all these people struggling towards it. So such a beautiful ideal. And it's like nobody has a clear path. I wouldn't even trust to clear path doubt is loves ally. It is if it's properly understood as as. Something that's telling you, you need to think more deeply about making a life with this person or making a hot European vacation with them. And well in many of these letters they were fearful that the the fact of the doubt meant that this relationship isn't sustainable, they should get out of it. And you know, in some cases, it is like if the if you're really doubt in something essential deep about a relationship. You should absolutely listen to it. And it might be the doubt that guides you out of the relationship. But it many times is the thing that takes you deeper into it. We must we must. We must tell you that your sugar is produced by W R in Boston. We are produced an edited by Lisa Tobin. And we're recording today at talkback sound in visual right here in Portland, Oregon. Josh millman is our engineer female by the Portland musicians known as Wunderle in vocals by Liz, vice she is terrific. Listen and subscribed to sugar radio on itunes and write to us if you would at dear sugar radio g mail dot com.