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Parallax - Advice

April 1, 2002

Keep the fires burning

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!While I was in university, I was dating a woman who was finishing high school. I was working and taking extra courses, and decided I could not give her the attention she needed, so I broke it off. It's the only decision I have ever regretted. The next several years were difficult, since she was, and still is, my sister's best friend. I moved away for several years; she married and had a child. When I returned, I found my feelings had never faded. I also found out that, despite the hurt, she never got over me. My sister forced us together to talk things over, and since that time we have been friends - her kids even call me 'Uncle.' Now, she's in the process of separating from her husband. Last weekend we were at a party together and things heated up. While I was expecting heavy sexual tension, there wasn't any. We spent the night just holding each other - nothing but comfort and love in the embrace. I have never felt anything so right, and am convinced she felt the same way. I know she is the only one I want to grow old with, but I couldn't survive if I hurt her again - in any way. Email to a Friend



Her view:

Dear Uncle,

Then don't hurt her. Hey, in case you've missed it, here is your big chance...your one chance to go back in time…the one you thought you would never get back...the biggest regret you'll ever have - ever!

She is sitting right there - available and in your arms. If she were not getting separated, you would whine forever about what a stupid decision you made when you left her. Now, here she is, and you're actually having second thoughts.

The two of you have not gotten over each other, and you probably never will. Neither of you will hurt any more than you already do because your secret is well out - it has been out for years.

She's free and clear; she's the love of your life! My guess is that she always will be, whether you take her up on the offer or not. Sometimes there is only one. In short, take the risk.

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His view:

Dear Uncle,

The key question is this: Are you the cause of her separation or just a happy bystander?

If you are the cause…in other words, if she realizes she loves you and can't live without you...if her husband isn't making her happy, etc...then be very, very careful. You don't think you could survive if you hurt her again. Imagine how she'd feel if you changed your mind after she divorces the father of her kids?

If you are just a happy bystander, be even more careful. This is not the woman for whom you want to be the 'rebound man.' She's going through a rough patch and...wow! Guess who shows up to hold her all night? Of course it feels right, but I'm not sure that means she's ready to forgive you, or that she wants to grow old with you.

Even if you are sure about your feelings for her; even if you are ready to accept that fact that she's married (and presently, separating); even though she has kids who call you 'Uncle;' keep in mind that all your good intentions will only get you halfway there.

Bottom line: You are in a high-stakes situation that could easily go bad.

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