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May 27

Confused by post-breakup mixed feelings

Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 8:40 am

NOT letting go on July 13, 1998

Dear Breakup Girl,

I know that I’m on your Breakup List and I wholeheartedly agree — and the deed was carried out a couple of weeks ago. We agreed to be friends and in an effort to “talk” (we estimated an hour) we ended up spending most of the day (and night) together — good idea…at the time. So in parting, we really let loose on the feelings while in an hour long embrace — I cried, he choked up — the whole 9 yards.

Well, I’d closed the chapter — not to look back ANYTIME SOON, when who appears at my office(almost missing me) we ran into each other as I’m getting off the elevator and he’s getting on. He was with a friend and I was with his sis (who I work with — tough to forget with her around). He says that he misses me and was going to call me the night before, etc. We all chit chat and sis and I go in the office. So on my desk is a note saying that he wished I was here, that he missed our talks, he was looking forward to seeing me, ending it with “Love…”. So, I call him later that night and we talk about how the last night together was great…..we get mushy and I tell him that if I didn’t talk to him before he went away again (extended period for work), that I hope that everything worked out, etc. We end the conversation with me saying that I still love him and he says “I love you — you know that,” not to mention him using all of his pet names for me, etc. He also says that he’ll write (which is something that he didn’t do before and a source of stress for me). He didn’t offer and I didn’t ask about his living arrangements or phone number or anything — I ended up not talking to him before he left and he’s gotten to where he was headed and I haven’t heard from yet either. I was definitely doing much better before he stopped by, now, I’m confused again, whereas before, I was quite happy with the way things ended. I guess that now, I’m deep down inside thinking that there’s a chance. I don’t know if he was just being cruel by being so nice so soon or if there is some chance somewhere down the line? By the way, in ending the phone call, he said to keep remembering the talk we had while clutching each other.. I’m VERY CONFUSED NOW.

— Barbie Doll

Dear Barbie Doll,

I don’t think he’s deliberately being cruel; he’s trying, however clumsily, to make amends while he’s in town. Which he’s better at, it appears, than staying in touch while he’s away — or, in fact, when he’s in town AND in a relationship with you. May I remind you that in your first letter, you said that while he was away for three months: “I sent him many cards (he never sent any — said that he had one for me, but I never got it).” Your next two entire long paragraphs were dedicated to his — when he came home to visit — micromanagement-level back-and-forth “let me see how things go” excuse factory as to why he was so terribly hard-pressed to schedule 15 minutes WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND (um, that’s you). Even after you’d offered to bring him food! You may recall that at one point he suggests that you get together at “midnight.” There was also the part where he says, “I’m not ‘relationship-programmed’ right now.” Heinous expression, but he’s right.

Look, Breakup Girl — while she is more than willing/happy to be proved wrong, down the line (also see below) — does not put people on The Breakup List willy-nilly. What you both have here are the NORMAL mixed-, grass-is-greener-feelings that are part of a breakup, not evidence against its wisdom. He was very attentive while he was home this time, which is good — and frankly, it’s unusual enough behavior that, well, no wonder it threw you for a loop. But I see no solid long-term evidence that you have been bumped up on his priority list — um, like, remember, he didn’t tell you how to reach him when he left this time. My guess is that this time around, he was doing what he needed to do to get closure for himself. Or in any case, he was offering gestures of good will, not beacons of hope. All in all, as relationships go, it wasn’t ideal, but as breakups go, hey, not bad. If you can just wait out the mixed feelings, you’ll be relationship re-programmed sooner than you might think.

Breakup Girl


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