Past-Times      April 19, 2004

Do your past experiences serve as lessons to you? Or do they perhaps serve as warnings to others? Some people learn from past mistakes; others seem determined to repeat them over and over, as though they are perfecting the very thing they are trying to avoid. This week's letter writers are all trying to get past the past. Can they do it? Our love seers peer into the future.

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First love, first jerk

Dear Conversely,

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I have an ex-boyfriend who is always getting to me. Just when I get the courage and the strength to move, he calls and just breaks down my defense. He has a girlfriend who he claims is not treating him well, yet he stays with her. Recently we got together, ended up having sex and then he just left and went back to her. Please help me see whether he's worth it. I love him dearly because he is my first.

Her view:

Dear Jerked,

He is not worth it and you are an idiot.

Just because he is your first you let him treat you like his cleaning lady? Do you really want to be his girl on the side while he has relationships with other women he cares about more than you? Does that seem special? In the words of Donna Summer and Barbara Streisand, 'Enough is enough.' You have only one course here, which is to firmly dump him and cut off all communication.

Once you've done that, you should think about your own worth and self-esteem. You need to realize that you are valuable enough to be treated well by someone who cares about you. By the way, being by yourself is much better than being with someone who treats you badly.

So, get it together. Get on with devoting time to you and what you want. When the time is right, you'll meet someone new.

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His view:

Dear Jerked,

The 'he's my first' excuse is only going to get you so far, and then it's going to get you in trouble. You can use it as a refuge for your stupidity and lack of courage, but the only one getting screwed here is you.

Who cares if he has a girlfriend who doesn't treat him well? Who cares if he stays with her? Who cares if he's got a thousand girlfriends?

Every time you pick up the phone when he calls, tell yourself, 'I am a fool.' Repeat it ten times, or twenty, or as many times as it takes to get it through your head.

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