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Dear Breakup Girl,
I am in a very complicated situation involving my ex-girlfriend. We are both
college students; I'm 20 and a junior, she's 19 and a sophomore. We were dating
for about a year and a half and monogamous for about a year or so. I broke up
with her six weeks ago for many reasons, but mainly because I felt unwanted and
unappreciated... I had almost always treated her with love, respect and dignity
and felt that she was not reciprocating. In the cases in which I made a
mistake, I always attempted to understand her concerns and apologize when
appropriate. Although I initiated the break-up, it was not something I wanted
to do; I felt compelled by the situation to save my self-esteem.
About a week after we broke up, I found out that she was pregnant. I went to
be with her for the ensuing abortion which was obviously exceptionally
difficult for both of us.
A few days after the abortion, I heard about some things that had happened
in that week. My ex had tried to hook up with a friend of mine two days after
we broke up and had hooked up with three other guys in a short period of time.
This hurt me intensely... she was my first love, and I hers; I thought it
unbelievable that she would treat my feelings for her in such a disrespectful
manner. We have tried to talk about things the past few weeks, but about 10
days ago I finally blew up. She was trying to have it both ways... the
alternative experiences that she thought she needed with other guys combined
with my support and romance. I basically told her to get out of my life because
she was being so unfair and cruel to me. She has never apologized for trying to
hook up with my friend, and she continues to maintain that she loves me even
though she needs these other experiences. I cannot understand that, and it was
that insistence of her love for me that drove me over the edge. It felt like
she was completely playing with me.
I understand that both of us have been through a hell of a lot. I just don't
know where to go from here. Until she apologizes to me I cannot think of
beginning to reestablish our relationship, friendship or otherwise. On the
other hand, I understand the massive stress that the abortion caused her. I am
trying not to be a complete jerk while maintaining my self-esteem and
protecting my own rights. How do I deal with this?
What she did with your friend was way crappy.
Especially after you supported her , even post-breakup, through a terribly
difficult experience. I know it feels like she was totally playing with you,
your feelings, and a respect for your history together. I also think that her
Rebound-a-Rama -- while
involving some poor choices -- does not mean that she does/did not love you.
Just trust me. That's what rebounds are.
So don't hold your breath -- or your life -- for an
apology. Or for reestablishing a friendship. I'm not saying you two shouldn't
be friends -- I'm just asking: why should you? Because you Should? Point is,
you are being all Mr. Principle about the whole situation, which is not
inherently wrong-headed; it's just not getting you very far in practical
reality. Insisting that closure and forgiveness and moving-on are contingent on
someone else's doing the right thing is an excellent way to blame the other
person and remain in hell indefinitely. Remember, I'm not saying you're not
justified in being out-of-your-mind hurt and angry; but closure and forgiveness
and all of that stuff are never ever up to anyone but you.
So here's how to be neither a jerk nor a doormat. If
she calls about post-abortion stress syndrome, give her the number for the
Parenthood counseling line. (You should have it for
yourself, too, you know.) This is not a cop-out. You are the ex; they are the
experts. And if she calls to apologize, lovely. Accept graciously. This should
finesse -- not cause -- whatever truce you two may establish. But don't wait by
the phone. Instead, work on the difference between being a good guy and a
Better Person. Hint: you've got the first one down. Leave it at
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