The Predicament of the Week from December 7, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I have been consulting your Website for the past few weeks, and I have found it to be chock full of good humor and good advice, which is what us broken-hearted people need. I have found myself in one of those situations that requires consultation. Trouble is, everyone has given me conflicting feedback, so I was hoping to submit this to you, the grand pooh-bah of the broken up.
Here is my story: After a lengthy period of not having anyone special in my life, I met this fantastic woman. I live in a college town, so it’s kind of a major event when I find someone my own age. She’s thirty, single, the mother of two children, appreciates the nuances of the “The Dukes of Hazzard” and likes to act out scenes from Shakespeare plays as foreplay. All in all, a great match for me.
Over the course of a few months, Mr. Love pays us a visit, and we start talking about “the Big Picture,” which includes us moving in together and living happily ever after, etc. But I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at her occassional freakouts. Over time, I find out that her last boyfriend and the father of her second child turned out to be a full-blown psycho. So there was physical and mental abuse in her past, and probably some pretty unspeakable things.
I take this all in, and our relationship quickly keeps going up and up. I plan this big, romantic dinner, and she is all giddy with anticipation. I had tried to tell her that I loved her before, but she had put her hand over my mouth to stop me. She had melted then, but she wouldn’t let me say it. So I am thinking that its time to try again. The big day comes, plans have been made, and I get this feeling that tonight is the right time. But earlier that day, my best friend from college, a women who I have known for ten years, e-mails me to tell me that she is coming to town to attend a wedding, and wants a place to crash. So, me being Mr. Sensitive and all, I figure I should ask my girlfriend how she feels about this before I give the OK.
Huge, huge, mistake. I brought it up before our big dinner, and my sweetie has a jealous reaction that’s off the scale. We went ahead with our dinner, but I couldn’t get her off the topic of my friends’ visit, and I realized, sadly, that tonight was not the night to try again with the “I love you.”
Our relationship turned into a roller coaster after that, and even though my old friend had arranged to stay elsewhere as not to be the cause of any grief, I still got some red faced, angry accusations from my girlfriend. A week later, we broke up. During our breakup time, I kept thinking that maybe the cause of all this jealousy is actually contained somewhere in her mental baggage. I know that she has had many heartbreaking disappointments, and maybe she was just so afraid of having another one that she just couldn’t even handle the thought of me letting her down.
So I wait a few weeks, and call her to try and patch things up. To my surprise, she seems very happy to hear from me. We talk and talk about how great our relationship was, and then somehow we stumble accross the idea of giving it another chance. I went over to her house, and we slept on it (just sleeping and spooning). And then, for the next few days, everything seems fine. But I notice that she is reluctant to meet with me. I realized that she probably needs to take it slow, so I give her a few days of space, and then call her on Friday night.
Guess what. She has company. The company is a twenty-one year old boy that kept showing up on her doorstep while we were dating. One night, at her graduation party, this guy made made it very clear that he intended to run me off, and he even tried to crash on her bed. I drove him home that night, but now it seems to me that I’m being put off, while this kid is spending Friday night with her! What is worse, I find out that he actually moved in for a few days after our breakup! Of course, my ex comes back with the old “Who’s jealous now?” angle. I have to admit, I was pretty displeased, and I made it very clear that this was a rotten turn of events. After a heated a phone debate (no doubt that this young man was insufferably pleased with himself), she tells me that she will call me back tomorrow.
That was the last time I heard from her. I did leave a message for her, even though I knew it was a bad idea. Now, I am completely crushed, and I can’t imagine why she would feel it necessary to do this to me. Suddenly, she will not return my calls, and I am starting to regret having met her. When we had our little reunion, she told me that she missed me, and that I was her best friend, and she even promised some future make-up loving. I am just completely confused, hurt, and in shock. Was I in love with a psycho, or someone who was damaged beyond repair? I hate to think that I hurt her bad enough that she feels the need to get back at me, but I think that’s what happened. The worst part is, I just can’t get over her. Am I still in love with her, or am I trying to play the role of the Rescue Guy?
— ‘Lil John
Dear John (as it were),
Shakespearean foreplay. I am loving this. “Is this a dagger I see before me … or are you just glad to see me?”
And speaking of daggers, yes, there may have been all manner of scarring madness in this gal’s recent past. But John, she is being completely unreasonable, and you are cutting her far too much slack. Which is probably partly why it’s been hard for you to cut ties.
Let’s review. You asked your girlfriend’s permission for an dear old friend — who just happens to be female — to crash at your place? Yes, it would be appropriate to say, “Hey, girlfriend, if you notice some pink Body Shop lotion in the bathroom, don’t worry, it belongs to a longtime pal who needed to crash on my futon.” But to feel that you must ask her permission? That alone — never mind Lady Macbeth’s absurd reaction — tells me that something is rotten in Denmark. So does the fact that your response to a threat from your arch rival was “Need a ride?”
John, she and Bo are walking all over you. You did not do anything to hurt her; you are not going to even come close to getting over her until you stop trying to “understand” (which you won’t) and just be, I don’t know, good and mad. She needs a lot more rescuing than your handwringing and message-leaving and regretting will do. Rev up the General Lee and swing around for yourself.