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Parallax - Advice

September 23, 2002

She's singing a new tune

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!Recently, my girl friend and I had some problems—one was that she cheated on me. I love her so much and miss not hearing her voice, but she tells me she needs time and space. The only problem with this is I'm pretty sure she's still seeing the guy she cheated with. When I confronted her about this, she told me that she loved me and that she never wanted to lose me. I don't know what to do. It hurts so much to think that she's with someone else. She has hardly spoken to me and I fear that she is just trying to let me down easier. What do you think I should do—stay or go? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Leftover,

Go. She's hanging on to you to ensure that her budding relationship in fact 'sticks.' You are the proverbial backup option right now. Girls love to keep a backup option. Sure, she may come back. But not until her current relationship has failed her and she has realized that a predictable life with you is better than what she currently has.

Sometimes, these scenarios work out, but it is not a good spot for you to be in. And with you constantly communicating all your affections to her, it only makes it easier for her to keep you in the back-up spot in her mind.

So, make a clean break and send her packing. It will force her to think about whether she really wants to let you go completely and forever. This will cause her stress, but she will still choose to let you go. The new guy always wins in these scenarios (simply because he is new—you can't beat that.) She may come back in time, but only after a lot of it and she has gone through a couple of phases. You would be waiting quite a long time.

It's better for you to be on your way. Should things work out for the two of you by a happenstance run-in in a couple of years, so be it. But there is no way you can plan on it.

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His view:

Dear Leftover,

It's great...the fact that you actually think one of your options is to stay. Human optimism—it always gets me.

What exactly would you be staying in? I'll tell you: It's called the backburner. She likes the look of you there. She keeps a little heat on. She doesn't let you get cold. Once in a while, for example, she says she never wants to lose you.

Lose you as what? I'd like to know. Wouldn't you like to know, too? As a friend? As a plaything? As a backup for when the new Mr. Right flies out of town?

Here's another piece of news: She's no longer cheating on you. She has a new man. You are her ex.

Yes, it hurts. But it's not going to hurt any less if you keep waiting for her. This might help you go: You will never get back what you had with her before.

Stop fantasizing about it. It's over, and it's probably for the better.

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