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January 4, 1999   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

I seem to be suffering long-term effects from a breakup that occurred in May of this year. We started dating in January, he was very warm, caring, called every day, brought flowers and wine whenever he came to see me. Told me everyday that he was thinking about me. We were very hot together.

I knew he was going through a divorce shortly after we started dating. I know that's the big #1 no-no in dating. I just waited for 2 years after my divorce for a man just like him to come into my life. I was ready to fall for someone.

Several problems happened during the early part of our relationship: one of his parents died unexpectedly and he was suffering massive guilt after that. His divorce took a very nasty turn for the worse. My life was making great improvements all the way around.

In April, he started to tell me that he needed time to think. I let go for a couple of weeks and then he wanted to see me again. I saw him once and told myself that this was the last time I would ever see him again and I used it as a way to say goodbye to him inside myself. We never said goodbye.

I didn't speak to him again until August. I had sent him a funny card just to say I was thinking about him. He called when he got the card and begged me to see him. He was sorry about all the time that had gone by and that his divorce was almost over.

I agreed to see him that night. We had a wonderful time together. We did not have sex that night; I didn't feel right about it since we had not been together in all that time.

Anyway, he left for a month-long training right after we saw each other. He called me in the middle of the night before he left and promised to call. He didn't call. He called a day after he got back in town.

That was the end of September. In October, his divorce was final and he called me on that day to tell me. I told him that I was happy for him, and that if he wanted to talk about it he could. I told him not to be surprised about some feelings he might encounter. He said "OK, well, I have to go to work now, I'll call you tonight....". It's now December. He never called back.

From the end of September through the end of October, I was a complete mess. I was barely functioning. I did recognize this; I did get counseling. I was just destroyed. When he called to say he was now divorced I guess I expected him to come back.

I have tried to date new people in the last month or two, but I haven't clicked with anyone. I wonder if I ever will. I feel like there's unfinished business here. I don't know if he's dating anyone else or if he's finishing up loose ends of his divorce or what.

I'm afraid if I call him, I will start waiting again for something that won't happen.

I guess I'm wondering when I will shake myself out of this. Will I ever be over him? I don't cry about him anymore, but I do stupid things like check my voice mail, my mailbox at home, expecting something from him. Is this happening because we didn't say goodbye to each other?

Is he sitting somewhere trying to put his life together so we can get back on track again?

-- Tracie

Dear Tracie,

You're doing better than you think. You are. Your heart and brain each seem to be behaving normally; it's just that they're not always in sync. You were totally on the right and strong track when you did that zen one-voice goodbye...or at least tried, anyway. Also good call on the counseling, if you thought you needed it. Finally, yeah, the mail madness may indeed be related to the fact that you guys never did overtly seal the envelope and toss it in the dead letter file.

But more important, you're right in that calling him again may actually set you back, not firm things up. Why didn't he call? What's he doing now? Who knows. And I betcha he kind of doesn't either. You know from experience how whacked your feelings and actions can be after a divorce, for a good long while. So guess what: you're going to have to decide for him. Give yourself the answers. Make it all up. Invent your own plausible, non-insulting, non-blaming explanation for his vanishing act, and stick to it. Leave yourself a message if you need reminding. And be patient with yourself. You may not get the mail you want right now, but you will get that click again.

Breakup Girl



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