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Parallax - Advice

January 10, 2005

Wake up!

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question! Does 'out of sight, out of mind' apply to men? I'm forty-five and a while back, I had an ugly breakup with my forty-nine year old boyfriend. There was no closure and words were exchanged. A couple months ago, I saw him at a wake and he seemed anxious to approach me. He knows I still love him and I know he's physically attracted to me. I looked good and was confident (I didn't act like a lovesick schoolgirl). He was staring intensely and I think he wanted to apologize, but I also think he was afraid to approach me. I am confused and I need closure. Your thoughts, please... Email to a Friend


Her view:

Dear Confused,

Get your closure, if it is haunting you. At this point, it's all about you. It's about getting you what you need to move on and put this fellow behind you. If that requires an, 'I'm sorry I said horrible things', or you need to hear that from him, call him. The relationship is very over. You need to be clear in that communication. You need to not seem as though you're trying to strike things up again.

Call, and clear the air. End things on a happy note and wish each other well. There is no sense in having loose ends and wondering about bad feelings. Just have the simple conversation on the phone or over coffee.

End it, once and for all, if that is your goal. You do have me wondering about ulterior motives. If you have those, perhaps a longer conversation will be more suitable.

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His view:

Dear Confused,

You seem to know everything that is going through your ex's mind, so I'm not sure there's any need for us to provide advice. All you have to do is figure out what he thinks about your relationship and how it ended, and that should give you closure.

On the other hand, if you're are only guessing and hoping that you know what's on his mind, then closure will require more than just writing a little romance novel in your head.

'Out of sight, out of mind' does apply to men—as does any old clichéd refrain. Perhaps the reason he didn't approach you at the wake was that he wanted to avoid a scene or drama or whatever he envisions would accompany your closure. It's quite possible that he hadn't thought of you at all until he saw you at the wake, and right now, he's no longer thinking of you.

In any case, it sounds like you want more than closure; it sounds like you want him back. That's going to be tough to achieve, especially if you remain in denial about what you want. Once you make up your mind, approach him directly (with the same confidence you profess to show at wakes) and figure out—once and for all—whether there is any chance of reconciliation.

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