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February 7, 2000   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I am a high-profile, professional woman, forty, fit, no children. I was married and divorced in my twenties...too young. The one great love of my life wasn't ready to get married and we parted when I took a job in another city. It took me more than four years to get over it. That was 15 years ago! You can imagine, then, how wonderful it felt to be fixed up by friends with a 53-year-old, attractive man in my own industry, who had been in the city for two years from upstate. He's a contemporary of mine, a high-profile "celebrity type"...who my friends said had been divorced for two years, from his wife of 20 years. From our first date, we had a magical time...his attentiveness and obvious interest in me were delightful. I made him laugh constantly and we had everything in common. We spent every day together, every weekend, and every night. He asked me to marry him, to have his child...he wanted a little girl. We contacted a realtor and searched for houses, we set the date for a beach wedding in Hawaii. He told all his coworkers and his boss. I told mine. This is a small industry we're in...in just a few days, everyone knew and all were happy for us.

Fast-forward four months...his boss told him budget cuts would mean his contract would not be picked up. He was devastated. Time to get things in order. He had told me he owned a house in the next city and allowed his ex-wife to live there rent-free. She is not the mother of his grown, married children. I suggested he ask her to move out and rent the house. He wouldn't. I started to smell a rat the size of a Mexican Hairless. Now, keep in mind the business we are both in requires a certain skill in investigation...so that's what I did. You guessed it...the "house" he claimed he had bought two years ago with the divorce settlement money he got...was also HER house -- which he had bought with her only six months before...as HUSBAND AND WIFE.

Yep, still married. I confronted him, and he tearfully said, yes, we're getting a divorce in January. Being either forgiving or a total dweeb, I said OK...we can work thru this..but why did you lie to me? He said "I didn't need the aggravation." It stung, but I forgave him for that comment.

Then more investigation revealed he hadn't even FILED for the divorce. He stopped telling me he loved me as much. He stopped making love to me, even though he was coming home to my place every night. He would get up in the middle of the night and sleep on the couch. It just got very weird. My heart was breaking...and there was nothing I could do. I had already bought his plane ticket to whisk him away with me for Christmas in my country home...bought his presents, and wanted to make our first Christmas together memorable in spite of his job loss and in spite of the "problem." Then, on the 14th of December, he comes to me and says...I'm moving to my house upstate to think until I get my job back. I asked if he was moving back to her. He assured me he was still getting a divorce. He assured me he had filed. He told me she had moved out of the house, and had moved in with another guy two months ago. I told him if he moved up there, we would be over. Tt was just too far, and we couldn't survive.

He left, only to his apartment, but I just wanted to die. I missed three days of work. On the 18th, he called and said he loved me and missed me and wanted to see me...would I please, please see him for dinner? We went out, cried most of the evening, and -- I thought -- got back together. For the next few nights, however, he would come to have dinner, sleep with me, and leave in the middle of the night to go back to his apartment! I told him this wasn't acceptable, and on nights we were together I expected him to stay if I was indeed the woman he loved and not some bar hooker! The next night, he came and stayed, the next morning, put me on the plane for my trip to the country for Christmas. I gave him his gifts...he got me nothing. Not even a card. He said he was going to spend the holiday alone ... but would be on the phone to me... from his estranged wife's house in the desert!!! He assured me she would not be there. He kept me on the phone constantly all through Christmas, hours at a time, professing his love, and talking about how he missed me. Days later, he was waiting for me at the airport. We kissed passionately, went home and made love -- then I had to go to work! He told me he would be home when I got there later that night. He called me at work and told me he wasn't feeling well; then he didn't call me again. Very odd.

The next evening at work, he calls. He told me he was under too much pressure..and that his wife was having psychological problems..and that he needed to "be there for her." He said he couldn't be there for her and also be with me. It was an eight-minute phone conversation and I was at a loss for words...all I could say was, "It's over."

I was alone for New Year's Eve. Three days ago, he finally dropped off a box of my belongings at my apartment with a brief note saying he missed me terribly, but that probably didn't mean much to me...that he kept hearing that psychic telling us "you'll think its over, but it's not..." He then left a message where he knew I wouldn't be, saying he missed me, take care of myself, that he "had to do what he had to do." He took at job in a city two hours away...opposite ends of the state from his wife, by the way.

My friends are calling him a loser. His wife looks like Mrs. Doubtfire and people who know her say she is NOT having psychological problems! My therapist says he married his mommy. My heart is telling me I don't care about any of this, I just want the lying, cheating jerk back in my life. All this to say: Do you smell a character flaw in this guy?? Will he try to come back crawling and with divorce papers?? Would I want him back anyway?? Are you finding as much humor in this as I am??

-- Shocked and Stunned

Dear Shocked and Stunned,

I know you are -- not to mention heartbroken -- and I'm so sorry. But, um, a Mexican Noseless could smell a character flaw in this guy. This is not to berate you; you're certainly not the first person to have clung and hoped and overlooked and forgave just to try and will everything to be the way it was ... in the first paragraph.

But S&S, as I told Searching for Logic, the deal here was broken by, well, the second paragraph this time. Married his mommy? Reports from friend-spies (who were wrong about his divorce in the first place)? Will he be back? Will he change? Digging for these answers is Mexican Pointless. Why, I'd go so far as to upgrade the following oft-stated admonition to an IMPORTANT BREAKUP GIRL MAXIM: If you have to ask yourself "Why would this person behave in a consistently bizarre, duplicitous, and downright unacceptable manner?" then you also have to ask yourself, "Why am I even bothering to ask?"

And then you have to let yourself hurt hurt hurt and, slooooooowly, heal. And try not to kick yourself --or worse, to develop a thick, love-proof skin -- for having been Mexican Clueless. Gosh, I mean, if the first paragraph's that good with a bad guy, just imagine the whole story with a great one.

Breakup Girl



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