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August 16, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I've got a rather silly situation to get your take on. I broke up with my boyfriend of 3+ years last winter. No gory details necessary--it was very difficult and painful--but I am, as many of my friends have noted, much happier and more myself since. So then I was Rebound Girl: a month or so goes by and I'm back east on a business trip and have a completely unpredicted hook-up (just a kiss) with my ex-highschool flame (he has always carried a torch for me ever since I broke off our relationship some 8 years prior), whom I had not seen in over 3-4 years. I entertain the deluded, romantic notion that maybe the breakup with the most recent ex was fate as it had to happen so that I would be free to meet with the old flame, a concept that I normally would totally dismiss. The ex-flame holds my hand, tells me all sorts of lovely things including that he has a girlfriend but the relationship is not so great and would jump at the chance to get back together with me and even talks about moving to the west coast and so forth. I tell him I will not entertain any discussion of the problems he is having with his girlfriend because I do not poach nor am I the other woman and if he wants to choose to be with me, I am open to giving it a go but he has to figure out the status of his current relationship on his own with no consideration of me being in the picture; however, I am elated because it's nice to know that I could feel something again for someone else, generally speaking.

Anyway, I return to the west coast and ponder things for a week and write him an over-the-top-it's-fate- we're-meant-to-be-together- we-should-give-it-another-chance letter. The deluded part of me believes he will be thrilled to get the letter while another part of me says, helloooo, rebound girl? I figure that if I don't throw the idea out there it will bug me enough to keep me from connecting with anyone else so I should just do it to get it out of my system or if he really meant it then an old romance comes back to life - a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned. So I mail the letter and weeks go by and I don't hear from him -- zilch, nada -- and being an only-maintain-interest- if-it's-reciprocated- kind-of-girl, the romantic delusion dissolves as no response is in fact, a very CLEAR response. Obviously, we were caught up in "the moment" and that's all it was. I humbly admit that I was rebound and it was nice to buy into the fairy tale idea of an old romance reborn, as ephemeral and unlikely as it may have been.

So now, I am no longer rebound and dating again, but still feel like a dork for sending that letter even though it was several months ago -- not so much that I mind making a fool of myself (I'm used to doing that) -- but that it was a poacher kind of thing to do and that's not the kind of person that I am. So I've been thinking about sending a short email that says "hi, hope you're well and by the way, if you got a letter from me, please disregard it as neurotic silliness and, if necessary, extend my apologies to your girlfriend for its inappropriateness." I don't need a response from him but for some reason, I feel the need to have it on the record that all that junk I wrote was ..welläjunk. What say ye BG: send a retraction or just let it go?

-- Should Have Waited For the Rebound Fog to Clear

Dear Should Have Waited,

If the retraction would make you feel better -- with no contingency on his response, of course -- go right ahead. Though since you asked, I'd throw in a kinder, gentler edit or two. Maybe change "neurotic silliness" to "nostalgic loveliness?" Or something like that (you won't have the pressure of trying to alliterate and such). And while I'm at it, I'll edit your missive to me a bit: the kiss/message may not have been decorous or strictly legal, but hey, the day we start tossing out nostalgic loveliness, sweet impulses, and genuine -- if nonactivatable -- feelings as "junk," is the day we see no point in starting cluttered new collections of memories.That itself would be sadder than saying goodbye.

Breakup Girl



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