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July 13, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

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Dear Breakup Girl,

Ready for some....humor? I divorced after five years last December. I went on my first date in 7 years 2 weeks ago - what a total, unmitigated disaster! Now I remember WHY it's been 7 years, and will be 7 more. (I'd started thinking about this in the context of summer flings more than anything else.)

I got a call from a man I've known almost 10 years. We started out dating for a few months all those years ago, and he plain ole out-and-out dumped me. We played on the same softball team, and everyone knew before me. How fun was that? I got over it fairly quickly (hey, what choice do you have when you're the pitcher & he's the catcher...), about the same time he decided the cute but empty-headed bimbo (she was, truly) he'd fallen for was just that and wanted to come back. I said no, and we've been great friends ever since. We used to talk several time a month, then less and less, but it's always been amazing that we can pick up exactly where we left off, no matter how long ago. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Sure enough, after not hearing from him for two years, he called me two weeks ago. Turns out he got married last summer, and I divorced in December. So he tells me they are filing for divorce too, and would I like to go have pizza & a movie the next night? We were on the phone for several hours and it was a heady, giddy feeling when he asked, "Do you think we're being given a second chance?" Of course I said I didn't know, we'd have to see.

(OK, OK, I'll cut to the chase.) I got all spiffed up and went to see him the next night. I thought we'd probably go out for pizza, take in a movie, talk about old time and catch up on what's current -- you know, the kind of thing friends do.

When he answered the door of this flophouse, he was in his oldest pair of sweats, the pizza he'd ordered was sitting on the kitchen table congealing, and the only movie I got to see was the endless hit parade of pictures of his wife. He whined and literally cried all evening long. Needless to say, I was not amused.

It started getting funny by the time I drove the hour home -- after all, the only way I could get out of the endless loop of recriminations was to state emphatically that my poor doggie had been outside since morning, and I KNEW she didn't have any water or food left. I'd be there still if I hadn't made good my escape. I'm not sure if he even realized I left.

The worst part was that he was complaining about his wife nagging him about the same things I eventually left my ex over! I couldn't even be emphathetic, sympathetic -- anything. If his story's true (?) there were some major differences (I got treated much worse) but that know-it-all arrogant hot-flash temper, coupled with a basic disrespect of women (in couple-type relationships, not as friends) has done him in again. I DID try several times to interrupt the monologue and tell him what might be wrong and maybe how to start fixing it, but to no avail. I bailed. And oh yes -- he must still be whining, moaning and carrying on, because I haven't heard from him since. And I don't plan on it -- that's why I have an answering machine to screen my calls.

Not as bad as a "my friends set me up on the blind date from hell" story, but worth a few chuckles in its own lame way!

-- Deb


Dear Deb,

Oy. Well, you realize that in the Bible, seven lean years are followed by seven phat ones. So don't let this Job thing do a job on you.

Other observations:

1. Hey, rebounders: Reboundees don't talk you through the tough time, they just get you through it (ideally). They are not the people you spill to. They are they people with whom you get to pretend nothing ever happened. You can't have it both ways.

2. Deb: there is rarely any point in "interrupting" someone who's spewing to tell them "what might be wrong and maybe how to start fixing it." Doesn't work. They're in spewing mode, not fixit mode. They will hear nothing. Your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- is to bite your tongue and listen. (Let this record also show, by the way, that the fix-it urge -- contrary to Mars/Venus type-theories -- is not a uniquely boy thing.)

3. See how important it is to have a sense of humor/a dog?

Love,
Breakup Girl

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