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December 7, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

Firstly... you rock.

Secondly, I'm kind of a wreck, so I seek your counsel, once again, for a little perspective on my breakup nine months ago. To recap: I'm 29. Me and "John" broke up four times during the four and a half years that we dated, first he with me, then me with him...etc. Every time we got back together it was always because we tried to be friends, and then one thing led to another--you get the idea. We would keep our reconciliations from our friends for as long as possible because we knew they wouldn't understand. Well, actually, it was mostly my friends who wouldn't understand because they always felt that John perhaps wasn't the best man for me, even though they all really loved him a lot, and thought he was a great guy.

When we finally broke up for the last time, it was my decision. We were in the midst of a secret reconciliation, but this time I was really sure that it was not what I wanted at all, but I didn't know how to stop the cycle. I went to a party, got together with a guy there (with John asleep in my bed at home), and that basically started the whole ball rolling...I told John a few days later that I was going to go on a date--we had decided that we could still date other people, a theory that had yet to be tested--and he obviously became very upset. OK, I told him on his birthday...but you really can't plan the timing of events like this, right? I went on the date, the date spent the night, John "stopped by" my house the next morning at 6:00 a.m. and proceeded to scare the living daylights out of me/date by banging on the windows, calling incessantly, trying the door, and waiting for us as we came out the front door.

After that whole incident I was embarrassed, humiliated, and really REALLY over John. That was in February. I started looking for jobs out-of-state, actually found one, and moved in May. I really felt that if I didn't move far away, the cycle would begin again. I needed the space to regroup and figure out if John was right for me or not. He asked me to marry him, I said no (no ring, just desperation), and I told him I just didn't know. He told me he couldn't wait forever. I understood and moved anyway. Haven't seen him since.

So, here I am, nine months later, in a new town, living the single life, yet thinking about John all the time. I've been on many horrific dates, and each one makes John look even better. I miss him so much and I really want to talk to him but I don't think it would be fair for me to call and say I miss him... I guess I just need someone to tell me that just because John was so great doesn't mean he's the right man for me. But my question is...is there a perfect match out there? John is so terrific in so many ways, I don't "hate" him at all, and actually have mostly fond memories of our relationship--especially the last segment. But after so many breakups I just really don't feel that I can invest my emotions in a relationship with him anymore. I will always have reservations because it seems that we are destined to live out the cycle over and over and over again. And each time we break up, my heart breaks so very deeply. I can't break up with John any more.

Help me Breakup Girl! You are my only hope! Can I call him? Do I move on and think of him in the past tense? Will I ever see John again?

--Alison Heartbreak

Dear AH,

"Just because John was so great doesn't mean he's the right man for you."

There. Okay?

From what you say in your penultimate paragraph, it sounds to me like what you have -- at last -- is a healthy breakup. It's the presence of horrific dates -- not the absence of John -- that occasionally make the split look like a bad idea. So: that's a Yes! on the "past tense," a No! on the "perfect," and a Live! in the present.

Breakup Girl



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