The rules of disengagement from December 29, 1997…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My girlfriend told me that we just don’t “click” anymore. I’ve always tried to be there for her, and I loved — still love — her more than anything else in the world. More than I thought I was capable of loving. I mean, I was in the jewelry store the other day learning of the 4 Cs of diamonds, hoping to present her with a ring after the New Year. I want to be with her so badly. The only thing I want more in all the world, though, is for her to be happy. I’ve always tried to be there for her. Always tried to offer a shoulder to cry on when something went wrong, or encourage her when making a new venture, or join in her cheer when all was right. She has always done the same for me. We always tried to be equals; neither of us ever “dominated” the relationship. If anything went wrong between us, we always worked together to make amends. Our friends thought we were made for each other.
What do I do? Crawl back to her, begging her to not call the relationship quits? Do I ask common friends what she still thinks about me? Live by the old adage that “if you love something set it free?” I still love her and this is tearing me apart.
— Owner of a Broken Heart
Not that there’s any reason Breakup Girl should know this, but in case anyone’s wondering, the 4 Cs of diamonds are Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carats.
More importantly, it’s clear that you are a gem of boyfriend — and your letter is one hell of a heartbreaker. But I want you to know that Crawl is not one of the 4 Cs of breakups. Neither is Check with Friends. These actions may, in the immediate, satisfy your restless, frustrated urge to do, fix, or know something about the relationship, but they are not guaranteed to bring her back. Given what you say about how healthy and pleasant your partnership seemed, I’m guessing that the breakup was a tough, gray-area, gut-feeling decision for her to arrive at and stick to. Any pressure in the opposite direction may, at this time, only make her dig in her heels more firmly.
So here, unfortunately, are the 4 Cs you need to learn today:
- Confusion. Ultimately, you’re not going to fully understand what “doesn’t click” for Miss Ringless. It’s unlikely that she can explain in a way that will make you say, “Oh, I get it,” and leave it at that. That’s partly because she probably doesn’t quite understand, either. You may just have to live with that for a while.
- Centuries. How long it will seem to take to get over her — or at least for her to have had enough “space” to be able to turn around and reconsider from a new perspective.
- Clemency. Let her know -once and for all – that you are merciful and all-forgiving. That if she all of a sudden hears that click, she knows where you live. Then leave her alone.
- Carnage. The effect that all of the above will have on your heart and mind. Just so you know. Be brave.