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Parallax - Advice

October 7, 2002

Her boyfriend's back

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!My married boyfriend of over a year broke up with me last week. (Yes, I know I should not have been doing that. Simply, it was wrong, but in my heart I really love him.) How do I get past the feelings of abandonment and being rejected? How do I get back my self-respect?Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Seconds,

Well, treat him as any other boyfriend. Yes, I had to read twice to figure out what a 'married boyfriend' is, but I will spare you the lecture.

The fact of the matter is that this guy is—by definition—a loser, and he was using you from the start. By the way, he was never your boyfriend. He was just some married guy who used you for sex because he was a little bored at home. So, your whole sordid affair was nothing to him. He has walked and moved on nicely.

You also need to jump in one fell swoop. Pretend he is dead. It is long over—hate him for all that he isn't. Immerse yourself in other activities you like and move on, even if it means being on your own for a bit.

It is so much better than being the other woman.

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His view:

Dear Seconds,

Feelings of rejection and abandonment go away on their own. And they'll go away sooner if you don't keep picking at them like a mosquito bite. Having a life also helps.

As to self-respect: In order to get it back, you must have it to begin with. Anyone who dates a married person cannot have much. I don't mean this in a Bible-thumping, moralizing way. I mean it in a head-thumping, do-you-have-a-brain-in-there way. The whole 'in my head I knew it was wrong but in my heart...' is possibly the lamest, most pathetic and superficial excuse.

Try being a little more introspective. For example: You dated a married guy because you thought you weren't capable of attracting and keeping a single, available one. Or because you knew he'd eventually dump you, and you like setting yourself up for failure so you can feel sorry for yourself.

Or...well, you get the picture.

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