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Parallax - Advice            November 6, 2000

  Breaking up is hard to do, right?

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I have been seeing my boyfriend for two-and-a-half years. I live in Pennsylvania and he lives in Michigan, so we only see each other for one week every month. Lately he began acting strange. He stopped calling and kept postponing his visit, so I finally decided to break up with him a week ago. When I told him, he acted as if he didn't care and I never meant anything to him. I don't understand what has caused such a change in him. My only guess is that he is seeing someone else. Do you have any advice for me? Did all this time mean nothing to him? Did I mean nothing to him? Please help me understand.

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Her view:

Dear Lonely-heart,

He is seeing someone else, and has been since he started talking less to you - and probably before that. Yes, he has cheated, and is probably still with her now. Oh well, these things happen. You just have to dislike him for a while and give him the old 'he's a cheater anyway' write-off.

I'm sure your relationship meant a great deal to him at one time. Then the long-distance thing started to collapse and he became interested in someone new. The rest is history. Don't take his reaction to your break-up too hard - guys are very funny about those things. Nobody likes to hear those famous words 'I think we should break up.' Even though he is seeing someone else it is still a very unpleasant conversation to have and, believe it or not, he probably felt slighted (I know - the outrage). I'm sure he appreciates you. In time, he will look back on the way he treated you in your break-up process and regret his poor behavior.

More importantly, you need to make a clean break and start fresh. Forget about what he thinks - who cares? Focus on yourself and your interests, needs, new boys, etc. Move on swiftly and gracefully - you'll be past this before you know it.

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His view:

Dear Lonely-heart,

Two-and-a-half years mean a lot, no matter who you are. Even if he hated the relationship (or you) all that time - which is surely not the case - it would mean something. Don't go off the deep-end thinking you were nothing to this guy.

Obviously something changed for him in the last few weeks or months. Perhaps he is seeing someone else. Maybe he got tired of doing the long-distance thing, or he realized the relationship wasn't going where he'd hoped and he decided it would be better to move on.

Whatever the reason, I doubt he has just forgotten you and moved on. His reaction to your break-up seems defensive to me - you pretend it doesn't hurt to hurt the other person back. He probably feels quite bad about how he handled things.

If you feel very strongly about him, give him another chance to talk. Don't be confrontational, but see if you can get an explanation from him. If I were the guy, I'd probably take the chance, simply to get the guilt off my chest. On the other hand, if I were you, I'd just let it rest. You've already broken up with him, so why not stop worrying and move along?

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