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Parallax - Advice

March 24, 2003

Breaking up; making up

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!My ex-girlfriend and I have broken up and reunited three times. Right now we're apart, but we could be back together tomorrow. We live in the same dorm and it's hard not to fall back in with each other. I think we both want to move on and see others, but we're too lazy...or maybe we're still in love and should try harder. We've got another five months before summer, when we won't see each other. Or maybe we will, since we both live in the same city. What should we do? Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Complacent,

The only way out is if one of you calls it off permanently and allows no recidivism. You need to decide if you will be that one. If you were moving to different cities at the end of five months, I'd say do not even bother to make the effort, as you'll have too hard a time making it stick—being in the same dorm and whatnot.

But if you actually do want out, you need to take the steps to get out. You have to be firm and not look back, no matter whom she dates. So, that said, you need to decide if you really can lose her, because you haven't yet. And if you feel like you just cannot make that happen, then why not have the out-and-out relationship and call her your girlfriend?

Because what you have right now is, in fact, called a girlfriend, with whom you've had a few spats.

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His view:

Dear Complacent,

It could be the fact that you are living in the same dorm or you like the same movies or there's some supernatural force pushing you together. It could also be that neither of you has any willpower or true desire to meet someone new. It could be that you are both lazy and content. The odds are on the latter explanations.

I don't think there is anything you can do. Eventually, one of you will get really sick of the other person and try meeting someone else. Or one of you will get lucky at the next frat party. Or the semester will end and you can each go your separate ways.

In any case, it appears that right now things between the two of you are too good, too convenient, and too satisfying to merit the momentous effort of seeking out a change. People in your situation do best to wait until things start to go south—you'd be surprised how easy it is to move on when that happens.

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