She Broke Up, But Not Totally
Q: I had been dating this girl for two months, until suddenly I knew our relationship was over. Yet she still contacts me daily. When we see each other things are still the same, and in fact we nearly kiss each time we see each other. She calls just to tell me to be safe, and always ask about my status on the new job. When I get too close she pulls away. She is dating another guy, but she still calls, sends e-mails and even offers to help me study. Her brother is in jail, and she gave me his address and asked me to write to him. I can't figure out what she wants or what she expects of me. She acted mad when I went home with another girl from the bar. She told me that it was for my benefit when we broke up. She told me she wanted me to finish school and made me promise her that I would. What is up with her and what is she after? -- Steve, 31
Dr. Susan: Your ex-girlfriend sounds a little confused, and she's certainly confusing you. I always think it's best to make a clean break when one of you is still hankering after the other. Here she is dating someone new, but you're still hoping you'll get her back. And she gets mad when you date someone else? It's nice of her to want to remain friends and call you and offer to help you study, but you'll go mad trying to figure out her real intentions. I'm sure her current boyfriend isn't thrilled that she is maintaining this level of contact with you either. It's up to you whether you are comfortable with what's going on. I think she intends to be just friendly and helpful, but after a couple months of dating and a break-up, that's not always the right move. So: finish school, because that's the right thing to do. And stop communicating with her. She's just a crazy-making distraction. Tell her that as long as she's dating someone else, you are not comfortable being close friends anymore.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.