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Parallax - Advice

June 23, 2003

Doormat dilemma

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!Seven months ago I met my girlfriend. We dated a little and she finally committed to an exclusive relationship with me. I am twenty-four, she is twenty-six and the mother of a two-year-old girl. I take care of them and treat them extremely well. Recently, everything has stopped being peachy. When we first went out she was happy, but recently she's become mean. I'm talking cold and uncaring and rude. She doesn't show much affection or appreciation for the little things I do. When I try to talk to her she gets annoyed. She is always in a hurry and when I try to tell her how I care about her and her daughter, she says I'm whining and being a wuss. Now she says wants two weeks off without speaking or seeing to me. I'm afraid that during those two weeks she'll lose whatever feelings she might have for me. Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Desperate,

She's already lost a lot of the feelings she had for you. She may be using you as a crutch because you are nice to her and take care of her daughter. In fact, you are the ultimate screwed-over nice-guy.

The turnaround in her affection implies that her attraction has faded and she may be looking around for alternatives. Smothering her will get you nowhere. In fact, the only chance of having any success is to play hard-to-get and see if she bites. It's a gambit, but it sounds as though you are well on the path to losing her anyway.

Tell her she can have her two weeks as you've also been rethinking things and are not sure you want to continue. Don't call until the third or fourth week. See if she expresses any longing. If she doesn't, you've been given the official heave-ho.

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His view:

Dear Desperate,

She wants two weeks? Give her four. Give her eight, if needed.

From where I'm standing, she's doing you a favor by pushing for a break. It's clear to me that the only way you would've gotten off of your knees is if she'd kicked you down to the floor.

The main problem with your lack of perspective is that you think things will change or improve; you think things are magically going to go back to the way they were at the beginning.

In truth, what you don't want to lose is what you had with her in the first couple of months. But face it. You lost that already. It's gone...bye-bye.

So, give her what she wants. Give her all the space she needs. Yes, there is a chance she will reconsider and go back to being Ms. Sweetness. More likely, a few weeks off will remind you that you can do better than a mean, rude princess who calls you a wuss.

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