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Parallax - Advice            August 7, 2000

   She broke up with him and took him for $1,500

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I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this $#@!! of a woman. I can't believe it, she was so nice before we broke up, but now she's turned into a complete... First she calls me and gets jealous when I tell her I am seeing other people. Jeez, she's the one who broke up with me! She keeps calling but every time it ends in an argument. The thing is, she owes me some big money that I stupidly lent her, thinking she was perfectly honest. I've called her a few times about it and she doesn't return my calls or basically says she can't talk. I think I'll just give up, though it is $1,500!

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Her view:

Dear Duped,

Well it's certainly time to give up on the girl part of this equation. The relationship is clearly over - and she's overstayed her break-up welcome too. The money part is debatable. Frankly, I think you should just forget it and chalk it up to a relationship sunk cost. These things happen. At least she didn't take your dog.

But as you say, $1,500 is not small and you may want to pursue that. I think the only way you will get your money is to pursue it legally. Why trouble yourself with irritating phone calls to Miss Gracious? If you're really upset about it, file a paper with a lawyer and have it delivered. This may jolt her into returning her debt with some dignity. Bear in mind, this process too is a nuisance, but at least spares you having to deal with her sunny disposition.

That said, the best course is just to note that relationships are expensive and move on. And try refraining from buying your new girlfriend a car until a least the third date.

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His view:

Dear Duped,

There's something thoroughly unsatisfactory about saying 'she's not worth it' and giving up - that wonderful feeling of getting screwed. The feeling that someone can just get up and take your money and that you so easily let them get away with it.

I'm guessing it's more probable that she doesn't have the money, than that she does have it and refuses to pay because she's so pissed at you. If so, not being able to pay is humiliating to her, and some people deal with embarrassment by closing the doors. And I think it's safe to say this lady is not a paragon of stability.

If you think she doesn't have the cash, then I would let it go. But if she's got a cozy job and a fat bank account, I wouldn't let up so quickly. I'd send her a bill for the $1,500 plus interest, offering a comfortable installment plan, or even giving her the option of paying fifty percent now in exchange for forgiveness on the rest. Or, if you want to be more serious, send her a copy of a small claims court suit which you haven't filed yet but will do so soon. Who knows, maybe you'll call her bluff and she'll send you a check.

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