Dear Uncle Mat,
I am having serious man problems. I am completely torn between two very different guys. One is sweet, caring, and financially stable. The other is sweet, fun, but not at all stable financially.
The first, referred to as Mr. Military hereafter, would do anything to have a serious, committed relationship with me. He would even consider going vegan if I requested it. He helps me when I need it, which is not something the feminist in me is comfortable with, but I am a grad student barely making enough cash to keep veggies in the crisper. The problem is that our lifestyles have no common ground. Not only am I a vegan, feminist, anarchist who supports gay rights, but also I am very social. I like to drink, hang with friends, and have a good time when I have the chance. Mr. Military is a homebody who frowns on drinking and has a serious social anxiety disorder. I like him, despite the meat eating and the uniform, but he doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or even my friends. Plus I hate arguing with him about whether I am ok to drive after one or two beers.
The second, Mr. Punk Rock, is the complete opposite. He is an anarchist and feminist and eats vegan more often than not. We have known each other a long time and the only reason we didn’t get together sooner is because my best friend was throwing herself at him like a drunken frat girl every time we saw him. We have a great time together and have a lot in common (friends, music, interests, etc.), but he lost his job recently. This and other problems he has had in the past make me wonder if he is stable relationship material. I can’t stop thinking about him but I also can’t ignore the fact that he needs financial and emotional help that I may not be able to provide.
My mother is convinced that Mr. Military is “the one,” but I am not so sure. Can two people with two very different sets of morals and ideological values really make a good run of it? Should the mind make the deciding vote in matters of love, or the heart? And if Mr. Military is such an obvious choice, why are my dreams so often visited by Mr. Punk Rock?
Thanks, and I love your column,
Indecisive about love
I love to categorize and label men as well. It’s terrible fun, emotionally convenient, and places every thing into nice neat boxes. It is also a great way to stunt your relationship(s) and cut your potential suitors off at the trunk.
Is there a trust fund or dowry that is going to expire if you don’t marry a man before you graduate? I am not sure you need to make any choice right now. How long have you been dating either of these men? I am not suggesting you drag them through some decade-long Victorian competition of suitors or corrupted who’s-my-baby’s-daddy modern love triangle. You don’t sound particularly sold on Mr. Military or Punk Rock, so take it easy and get to know them better. Give them the opportunity to be the men they are and not the men you think or want them to be. Maybe you will be surprised.
Unemployment can be temporary and social anxiety or other emotional problems can be eased through therapy and other wonders of the modern world. It is important to share common interests, but not always the exact same viewpoint. In a relationship, you will grow and evolve together. Differences accompanied by quality communication can allow for compromises that develop complementary strengths and build a strong, respectful, and loving relationship.
Be honest with yourself. Try to focus less on their faults and more on their attributes. What makes you happy? How do you make each of them happy and fit into each of their lives? A good relationship will be about your potential as much as the man’s.
Much love and luck,
Your Uncle Mat
P.S. There is nothing particularly un-feminist about accepting a ride or groceries from a man, unless it is in your motives.
Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets and art. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/yourunclemat, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.