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Parallax - Advice

October 15, 2001

After the breakup...

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!My girlfriend and I agreed to end our relationship after nearly four years. We were both sure that we needed to part ways; I was treating her badly and she was having feelings of resentment toward me. We were spending too much time together and were annoying each other. We worked and went to school together, and also spent several nights each week together. After the breakup, I moved to another town. My feelings for her have changed and I have been treating her a lot better. We talk almost every day and the breakup has been very hard on both of us. I would take her back in an instant, but she still has feelings of resentment. She feels she would be cheating both of us if we got back together right now, even though she often thinks about it and wants to. Do you think she may warm up to me and want to be with me again? Should I keep trying to prove to her that I've changed? How can I change her resentment toward me? Thanks.Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Changed,

Sounds like she still loves you and that you have a shot. Her speaking with you all the time is taking up time she would have for another suitor, so you're best off continuing on that course. Once you get yourself out of her schedule and her rhythm, she will be gone before you realize what happened. So stick around as long as possible, even if it means relegation to the friend role.

Having said that, don't push her too quickly. Back off a bit on the hard sell. Just be a really great guy when you're around - the kind you weren't when you were her boyfriend. She'll take notice; girls notice everything. She will note your various changes and the consistency of your behavior. When she is ready she will discuss with friends the inevitable 'should we start dating again question.'

So it will come up for you naturally, but let her move at her own speed and don't confront her with constant observations on your great metamorphosis.

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His view:

Dear Changed,

If you're going to be on the phone with her everyday, why did you move to another town? You should have moved downstairs and installed a new phone line. You're both kidding yourselves; the sad thing is you don't even realize it. It has been hard for both of you? I think you don't know the meaning of hard. You would take her back in an instant? Clearly you haven't learned a thing.

What do you think is going to keep you from taking her for granted when you get back together? And do you honestly believe she will get over her resentment without a more prolonged and true separation? You need to move to another state and stop the daily calls. Moreover, you need to find a new woman, date her for a while, and see if you take her for granted. Find out what you really miss or don't miss about your old girlfriend. And give your old girlfriend a chance to do the same.

Your current plan is so weak it's going to fail. It's like getting away with a light slap on the wrists when you should be getting a full-on spanking.

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