Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Q & A: "I am constantly crying and regret that the relationship is over"

Q: I have been broken up with my ex boyfriend for 5 months. The last time I saw him was a month ago. He told me he went on a date and I became jealous and hurt. When I got home I threw away all of the pictures of him and called him saying we will never see each other again. Right now, I have been obsessing over the past and how I missed him and the relationship. I am constantly crying and regret that the relationship is over and not having him in my life anymore. I know I should be over it, but the thoughts about him is like a disease and I cannot control it. What can I do to forget abut him? --Trying to let go

Dear Trying to Let Go,
It takes time to get over a relationship, so don't be so hard on yourself. Lighten up. Are you really grieving for him or because you don't have a relationship? And, do you now want him back because he's moving on in his life? Perhaps your renewed interest is because you think he's over you and you don't want him to be. In any event, he's moving on.

I can understand you feelings. I'd feel hurt and jealous too if my ex was dating and I wasn't, and I still had feelings for him. Grieving is good, it's healing. But wallowing and staying too long at the pity party is simply self-destructive. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's not very attractive. Remember, your job, like all queen bees, is to attract those swarms of wannabes.

Now this is the deal. At one time or another, all of us fixate on what was. It lets us keep reliving the past. That way we don't have to say goodbye to that person or situation. However, to the best of my knowledge, obsessing on the past has never changed it. But it does keeps you from living in the present and totally prevents you from doing anything about the future.

You know it's time to let go. Here's the first step. Wish yourself well and then wish him well. Write yourself a letter about all your hopes for you, starting right now. Tuck it away. Then write him a goodbye letter but don't, I repeat, don't mail it to him. Burn it or tear it up. The process is to bring closure to you.

Then start focusing on what you can do to make you feel better. Take up a new challenge, a hobby or sport, to build up your self-esteem again. Nurture yourself with girlie stuff like a manicure or pedicure. Take a bubble bath. Do something special that makes you feel special. Get together with your girlfriends. Do some volunteer work with animals, kids, or the elderly. The key is to do something.

Q: I am in college and my boyfriend is still at home. What does it take to make a long distance relationship work? --Long Distance Dater

Dear Long Distance Dater,
Relationships are hard enough, LDR are even harder, but not impossible. They require greater commitment to the relationship because of the distance, more communication in order to maintain a close connection, appreciation for whatever you two can share together, and, the realization and acceptance of the sacrifices that must be made because of the lack of proximity.

Specifically, you can ‘t meet for dinner on a whim nor will his arms be there to comfort you when you're having a bad day. The flip side is, that because of the distance, you don't take each other for granted when you are together. To keep the relationship and connection strong, create special rituals to make your time together memorable. Create memories that will tide you over until the next time you're with each other.

Send cards and emails. Perhaps create a personal website in which pictures are posted of what's happening in your individual lives, thus allowing your partner to share in some of the experiences. In a LDR, it's important to focus on what you have going for you and not what you're giving up in order to maintain the relationship.

Let me add one more thing. College is a very special and precious time in one's life. It is a time to explore and expand one's life experiences. Are you sure you want to give up the college dating experience? Do you think your boyfriend would want to deprive you of these experiences? Have an honest, heart to heart talk. Weigh the relationship and examine the sacrifices that both of you will have to make in our to preserve the relationship.

Q: Several months ago I met this woman on the net who lived in another city. We first started writing. Then we moved to the talking phase. We talked and wrote nearly every day. We connected on so many levels. I thought I had found my soul-mate. As she lives in another city, we agreed to a 12 hour date. We met and spent the day together. It was nice, but the magic on the phone didn't translate into being with her and the date didn't meet my expectations. I was really disappointed. I feel cheated. I don't want this to happen again. What can I do differently next time or should I give up on dating on the net? --Disillusioned about Internet Dating

Dear Disillusioned about Internet Dating,
There's good news and bad news about meeting someone over the Net. You get more choices which means you're probably going to kiss more ducklings until your find your swan princess. Although dating is a numbers game, it only takes that "one" to make you a winner.

You spent several months getting to know the inner person and voice behind the face. That created an expectation, not to mention the fantasy you built up in your mind. When you met up close and in person, the reality didn't match your fantasy. I don't blame you for feeling disappointed and cheated. I hate it when our fantasies don't come true. Sorry to tell you this and it may sound a little harsh, but that's why they are called fantasies. If both of you had been in the same city, you would have moved from online to offline much sooner. Next time don't wait several months for that first meeting.

Here's another observation about dating on the net. The longer the time between that first contact and meeting face to face, the more time you have to build up an expectation. And, there's a greater likelihood of being disappointed when you do finally meet. In your search to connect with that special someone, you like most of us, had hidden deep inside of you that flame or, at the very least, a flicker of hope, that this date with this woman would be your last first date. I'm sorry that it didn't happen for you this time. But stay open because maybe your next date will be the one.

Don't confuse chemistry and infatuation. Infatuation can happen by seeing a picture, reading an email, hearing a voice or in person. It doesn't matter how many levels you connect on, chemistry only happens when you're up close and personal. And it's either there or it's not. Don't give up on love.

Q: I started dating a guy about a month ago. The other night on the phone he asked what I want out of "what's happening between us." I stated that all things take time and in time I will realize if we have something more than friendship or if something more than friendship is possible. He said that he couldn't see himself getting into a serious, long-term relationship with anyone. I asked him why. After telling him that I liked things as they are between us, he kept reiterating his position. He explained that he did not want me to get my expectations up and then be let down. I told him that I did not have any expectations of what could happen between us. I just wanted to take the time to get to know each other and see where (if anywhere) it goes. I did a little test.

I made myself completely unavailable to him for one week. After that week I called and left a message while he was at work to just see how his weekend was and say hi. That was my entire message. He called back within 30 minutes and left a message for me to call him as soon as I got home from work. I called and talked about my weekend and asked about his. Oh, we live in two separate cities that are only an hour away. I kept the conversation short and told him that I needed to get some things done. It was almost as though he felt I was blowing him off. He wanted to keep talking and if I had any plans to come to his city this weekend.. He made sure to tell me several times that he would call me later this week to see what my plans were. I guess my question is simple. What am I supposed to think of the things he said? And then how things changed when I make myself unavailable to him? -- DJ

Dear DJ,
Me thinks he doth protest too much! He's just scared, for whatever reason, about getting involved, and he's letting you know that. Listen to his words, but pay more attention to his actions. Many men like the hunt. You've created a challenge for him by making yourself unavailable. You're doing the courting dance of the pursuer and the pursued. You're doing great because you're being authentic. You're not playing a game or being manipulative. You're interested and interesting but not needy and you're being alluring but genuine. Your self confidence and appreciation of you for you makes you that much more attractive. Keep up the good work.

Q: This girl and I have been friends for 8 months. She split up with her boyfriend 2 weeks ago, and has been talking to me about the breakup. She definitely knows that I like her. I'd like to turn a friendship into a relationship. I think that she is interested, as she flirts with me over the net. How long should I wait to ask her out considering that she split up 2 weeks ago? If she does like me, would she ask me out, which isn't what usually happens, or is she waiting for me to ask her out? Are there some signals I should be looking for? --When's the right time

Dear When's the right time,
If she's confiding in you about her break up, then you know where she's at emotionally and whether she's ready to date again. A friendship is a great basis for a relationship. But turning a friendship into a dating relationship can be tricky, if both parties don't feel the same way. Before you ask her out, determine how important the friendship is to you. Do you want to remain friends even if dating doesn't work out? Would you be okay if she said no to a date? Could you bring your friendship bond into the dating relationship and build on it? By this I mean building on the trust and honesty you two have established over the last 8 months. Often, the honesty between friends doesn't exist to the same degree in a new dating relationship because our fears get in the way. There's a certain comfort level in friendship, whereas dating can and will press your buttons and make you uncomfortable. Get clear with yourself. Can you handle it? If you think you can, go for it. It takes courage to go for what you want. It takes faith in yourself. Take a breath. Then take a leap of faith. At the end of the day, people only regret what they didn't do, not what they did do.

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