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The Prince and the Pauper

Dear Philippa:

I�m trying to decide whether I should leave a guy I�ve been going with for a long time. We love each other, but we fight a lot. I am loyal in every way to him. He�s a good man, but he�s struggling to make ends meet and we have to deal with this constant pressure. And he�s possessive. I have been very unhappy for a long time. There is this other man I know that wants to share his life with me and my family. I know life with him would be good. But I�m scared because I don�t want to make a wrong decision. What should I do?

�Amy, Tallahassee


Dear Amy,

Your letter conjured up a story of a lady hidden away in a dark tower, who sees a handsome prince on a horse below. The prince tells her he can rescue her from all her sadness. Looking down at the prince on his gleaming horse, she tells him that she is too scared to jump. But, she doesn�t have to jump�she already has the key to the door to the prison she helped build herself.

Amy, you are not a prisoner in this story. The only thing holding you back is your fear of the unknown. You may think that you are being faithful to the man you have known for so long, but your heart is elsewhere.

Are you feeling guilty because you are dreaming of escape while the man who has been in your life for a long time is still struggling to survive? This man may be hurt whatever you decide. In a sense you have already left him emotionally and he will begin to sense it if he hasn�t already. Guilt solves nothing. You need to take responsibility for yourself and your life. You can�t be responsible for anyone else. You can only be honest and kind. Just make sure that your choice to stay or leave is based on what you truly believe is best for you and your family. Do you see the other man primarily as a prince ready to sweep you away into a happier life, or can you see him realistically as simply another man who will also have his faults and frailties?

It takes great courage to make these kinds of decisions. I believe you already know what you need to do. The key to the door is already in your pocket.


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