Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I am currently separated and have met someone who I fell for quickly. I don't know how to figure out whether I was just so lonely and this is just a rebound, or whether it's for real. We're going slowly, and we're both being very open and honest, but it's still a worry.
Carolyn says: Sometimes a new relationship is a chance to feel good again after a long time of feeling bad. That's a rebound.
Sometimes a new relationship is the happy culmination of all the things you learned and all the ways you changed from your bad relationship. That's a keeper.
You're doing the right thing by moving slowly and being open and honest. Time is the best way to tell a rebound from a keeper.
That, and listening to your doubts. Are there things you're seeing that you know would normally bother you but that don't bother you now for some reason? Are they superficial things or close-to-the-core-of-who-you-are things?
Happy infatuation chemicals are persuasive but they don't really hide anything. They tend to make the stuff in plain sight into something more palatable than it really is — or, than it will be after the love buzz wears off.
Dear Carolyn: My husband has always liked our apartment — the bachelor pad he was already living in when we got married — but I've never been a fan. The rent was cheap, though, so I agreed to live there for a few years until we saved up a down payment for a house.
It's now been a decade. We are still living in the apartment. He finds something wrong with every house that we have toured — and there have been dozens. He'll say the street is too busy (even if it's a quieter street than the one we now live on). Or the house is too small (even if it's bigger than our current place).
I don't think he's deliberately sabotaging our housing search, but he's generally resistant to change and he's lived in our current apartment for so long that he's blind to its numerous faults.
Meanwhile, I'm resentful as hell. I've put up with a place I didn't like for a decade. Why can't it be his turn to overlook a few faults? Do you have any advice?
Carolyn says: Have you said any of this to him? If he's still raising specific objections to the houses you tour and has not addressed the larger issue of his intransigence/your resentment, then you have not had an honest reckoning.
And if you have tried for an honest reckoning but he won't join you there, then I suggest at least a session or two with a good marriage counselor to help you talk this out.
Re: Hubs won't move:
Same thing happened to me — Realtors showed us a million houses and Hubs wouldn't budge. That was home to him. It took a dangerous situation in the neighborhood to move him. He now wishes we had built equity earlier, but he confessed that because his family moved all the time, he wanted to stay in one place. If we'd explored it sooner it might have been different.
Carolyn says: Yes, thank you — where there's willfulness, there's a why.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with her at 11 a.m. Friday at washingtonpost.com.