WE all know how it feels to have two men fighting over us: one you’ve been going out with for 11 years, the other new on the scene.
You have until next weekend to decide which one you like best. It’d be easier if you could tell the difference.
Both men profess unending devotion and loyalty, wooing you with sweet promises.
You’ve had your ups and downs with the incumbent. He’s disappointed you more than once, reneged on agreements and behaved in ways you’ve not always admired.
He’s a little older (18 years) than the new suitor, but he keeps in good shape walking every morning, and loves his cricket.
He’s not bad with your finances, all things considered, and he seems to care about you, but then he does what he wants, whether you like it or not, and doesn’t always keep you in the loop.
He’s also got shocking dress sense: Akubra hats and Wallabies commemoration tracksuits.
You’ve thought about breaking up with him a few times, but weren’t in a position to. Now that your chance is finally here, you’re not so sure.
It hasn’t been an abusive relationship, just a little loveless and uninspired.
But then you hear lots of marriages get like that over time and maybe it’s best to accept your lot. Better the devil you know …
After all, you don’t know the other bloke very well. He’s youngish (50), enthusiastic and he speaks Mandarin, but he also does the hokey-cokey, picks his ear, and crashed a sing-along at a retirement home, which was highly embarrassing.
There’s no denying they’re both as keen as mustard. The current one would do anything to keep you and the new one is falling over himself to win you over.
They’re showering you with new undertakings, a different one every day. Everything that the old one comes up with, the new one then says, “me too”.
Each time the new one proffers something, the old one calls him a copycat – which is superfluous, because the current beau admits he’s going to dump you for his best man when he chooses, and the other has a mate who’s fessed up he’s going to change everything once he’s got you.
There’s no distinguishing on looks because they’re peas in a pod. The new one could be the old one’s son and share the same optometrist.
They’ve stuck posters all over telegraph poles and you have to look twice to see who’s who.
The old one is urging you to remember the good times, reminding you how dire things were before you got together.
You’ve never been better off, he vows, his best man whipping out a graph to jog your memory.
The new guy’s insisting otherwise, trying to convince you just how rosy things would be if you’d just give him a chance.
They’ve even resorted to bagging each other’s mates. The old guy says the new guy’s friends are of questionable association and you wouldn’t want to hang out with them, even suggesting the new guy’s best female colleague is dubious because she doesn’t have kids.
The new guy retaliates by saying the old guy’s posse are all posh lawyers out of touch with reality.
It’d be nice to find a quiet moment to think, but your friends are in your ear telling you who they prefer. The two suitors won’t leave you alone either, badgering you to make up your mind.
Do you go for someone with moral fibre who accepts responsibility and apologises for past mistakes, or a man who buys expensive gifts?
Problem is the new bloke’s untested. A man can behave quite differently once he’s got you in his clutches.
Thank goodness it’s easier when it comes to love.
This column appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on on November 18th, 2007