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November 14

Reunion Agonizer

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:45 am

Classic LetterGoing back for seconds on January 12, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

My ex-boyfriend and I split up three months ago after being together for a year. We split up because he was confused, and I was too dependent on him for stability. Since we’ve broken up, I’ve gained a lot of self-esteem that I used to leech off of him, and we’ve been spending some time together. Although I don’t NEED him, I still care about him and have fun with him. He seems to enjoy himself, too. I’ve dated other men, but I’m just happier around my ex. When we’re together, it’s just relaxed and fun. Now I’m wondering if perhaps we should give our relationship another chance. Do you think this healthy?

— Amy

Dear Amy,

Of all the letters that Breakup Girl receives — have I mentioned that I get over 50 a day? Or that patience is a virtue? — you wouldn’t believe how many say some version of this:

“Dear BG, I broke up with my boy/girlfriend three and a half hours ago and I really want her/him back.”

Or this: “Dear BG, I broke up with my boy/girlfriend. (Only we still sleep together and go on dates and visit each other’s families for Christmas and live in the same apartment.) I really want her/him back.”

Or this: “Dear BG, I broke up with my boy/girlfriend and since then I lost my job, my house burned down, all my close friends moved away, and Jenny! was cancelled. S/he told lies about and stole stuff from me, and we are completely incompatible, but somehow I really want her/him back.”

All of which is to say that your letter is the first one in my Incoming Mail pile (which will soon be as tall as several RuPauls) that says any of the things that would lead Breakup Girl to even consider recommending a reunion. Such as: (a) “I’ve gained a lot of self-esteem that I used to leech off of him,” (b) “I’ve dated other men,” and (c) “I don’t NEED him.”

See, in the book Lost and Found Lovers: Facts and Fantasies of Rekindled Romance Dr. Nancy Kalish’s research shows that the couples who are most likely to succeed the second time around are actually those who, paradoxically, have basically gotten over each other before they get back together. That way, it’s most assured that they’re not getting back together out of loneliness, need for stability, or simply because breakups suck.

So yeah, you two seem to be on the right track. But it’s only been three months (well, maybe four, given the vast volume of mail that Breakup Girl toils round the clock to keep up with!) According to Kalish, the longer you wait — and the more of life you live in between — the more likely you are to make the right call about a rematch.

Breakup Girl


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