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January 5, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I was seeing this guy for two years and we practically lived with each other. I finally broke things off because we had such different ideas about what life should be like. He and I remained friends and in actuality our relationship continued except we were free to do what we wanted to. His family and I are extremely close and I just spent Christmas at his family's home. Just recently I met a wonderful man and he and I have everything in common. How do I make my ex understand that I have to move on in order to make my life happy without completely breaking his heart?

--Completely Confused

Dear Completely Confused,

With breakups like these, who needs boyfriends? The we-broke-up-but-we-still-sleep-together arrangement is normally designed to quell separation anxiety and get you through hormone monsoon season. But you've also retained family visitation rights! Wow! This is a a new one for Breakup Girl.

But anyway, you're right: the fact that you never quite did pull the plug (to say the least) is going to make the process of moving on for real much harder. But to answer your question -- Breakup Girl has said this before, and she has a funny feeling she'll say it again -- you can't make anyone understand anything. Especially the bizarro breakup feelings that you probably don't understand all that well yourself.

Your goal can and should only be to gently disclose your feelings, not to make him like or agree with them. Say what you need to say, nicely, and leave it at that. He will hear you, yes. And he might "understand," but he might not. Look, if we always waited to hear our ex-partners, "You're right, honey, it is time for you to move on! I completely understand. Buh-bye, and God bless!" from our un-intended, we'd all be locked in some sort of French surrealist hell, doomed to repeat ourselves futilely until the end of time.

Breakup Girl



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