Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on parenting, relationships, and self-esteem.

on May 16, 2011

Nicole from Houston, TX says: Momma Caroline, I'm a 24 year old that has only been in one relationship. No, not one serious relationship, one relationship, period. The guy that I dated in college for two and a half years decided he felt pressured to get married. I never brought up marriage ever, but that's beside the point. He decided to tell me two days before my 22nd birthday that he had been cheating on me with an ex-girlfriend. It turns out the cheating story was a lie, and he just wanted an out of the relationship. Fast forward two years and now the guy is back again. He has matured a lot and has told me multiple times that he made an awful mistake. It seems like he is trying to woo me back. I can't seem to find anyone else worth my time here in Houston, and I feel like I might still have feelings for him. I'm scared that I'll make the decision to go back with him, and he'll screw me over one more time, or that I'll make the decision to ignore him and I'll end up alone the rest of my life. What do you think I should do?

Caroline says: Let's do the math here. You were in a relationship while in college for two and a half years that ended just short of your 22nd birthday. That tells me you were 19 when you started dating this guy. You were a baby! I'm not going to come down too hard on your former boyfriend, because he was young too, so I'm going to give him a pass on the break up, no matter how lame the excuse was. I'm not sure why he would go to great lengths to hurt you with a story like that if it weren't true –- just sayin'. Having said that, I have to still give him a pass because of his age.

Fast forward to now, you're 24 and he's back. 

I hear the fear that "the clock is ticking" in your voice. Nonsense! I need a little more background on what you've been doing for the past two years. Are you working? Have you been growing as an individual and getting to know and understand the strength of YOU? I hope so. One thing you said bothers me. You told me that you couldn't seem to find anyone else worth your time. I wonder if you're thinking of going back to him because it's easy and familiar. Settling for someone because it's the only option will never work. Love and happiness can never be manufactured; it comes from the heart. If you don't have true feelings for this person, or don't feel like there is potential for them, then don't get involved. It's only a band-aid over your heart that will eventually have to be ripped off.

Finally, if you DO have feelings, then go for it. Take your time and go slowly, no need to rush. You're only 24 years old! Maybe he did mature; maybe he did see that he made a mistake. It happens all of the time. Be sure to have an open relationship where you can communicate your feelings freely to each other. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are healthy relationships that have staying power. You will have ups and downs, twists and turns, laughter and tears. All of these trials, tribulations, and emotions are the foundation on which true love is built. I wish you nothing but the best and don't be scared! Trust me, there is someone out there waiting for someone just like you!