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Parallax - Advice            February 5, 2001

  It's rebound romance

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

About three weeks ago I met a girl who is separated from her husband, and in the process of getting a divorce. We both agreed not to let things get too serious, too fast, but I'm having a harder time doing this than she is. Recently, we both agreed that the timing is 'all wrong,' but then she said something that won't let me rest. She said, 'I like you so much. Why can't more guys be like you?' How do I handle this situation? I know she needs time to deal with the divorce, but what can I do to improve the possibility of a future relationship with her?

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Her view:

Dear Mr. Serious,

The 'more guys' is probably her ex-husband, so I wouldn't assume she is hunting around. I would give her plenty of space. It certainly sounds like you like her a lot, and I'm sure she is very confused right now, and recovering from a painful situation. A divorce is a very big deal and one that takes time to sort through.

You can keep yourself in the forefront by being a good friend. Be there for her, and be supportive - don't push her to reach any decision regarding a relationship with you. She just came out of what is - by definition - a bad relationship, and she will be skittish. Give it time, be patient, and nurture the friendship that is developing. This is the part that matters - she'll grow to trust you and rely on you.

When the time is right in the future, make a pitch for the relationship. If you push hard now she'll probably shy away and you'll lose your chance.

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His view:

Dear Mr. Serious,

Oh, man, part of me says, 'Don't even bother.' If she's barely in the divorce process, she is probably far, far from being ready to get into a new relationship. Even if she doesn't realize that at this time, eventually she will. From experience, I know it will take her a long time to be ready for another serious relationship.

If you don't mind being her rebound man, then continue seeing her, and let things evolve at her pace. But keep in mind that if you do end up as her first post-divorce guy, you'll probably be a guinea pig.

Don't agonize so much about her phrase, 'I like you so much.' She barely knows you. Continue seeing her occasionally, but don't forego other dating opportunities. The worst thing you can do is to hang all your hopes on her. Odds are, she'll let you down - whether she wants to or not.

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