Posted: Wednesday July 19, 2006 10:27AM; Updated: Wednesday July 19, 2006 11:49AM
Last year I blew it with a perfect girl. Just plain stupidity on my part. She then started dating a guy and got engaged, but that fell through. We stayed close through it all. Any suggestions on how to get her back? -- Brad, Charleston, W.Va.
People always kick themselves over "the one who got away," but do they ever take time to remember why they threw that person back in the first place? Was there something missing in the relationship, or was it simply selfishness on your part to hang out with the guys and meet new girls? If it was the latter and she is a bright girl, odds are she has already figured this out and thinks you are a jerk. There will be a lack of trust, and it will take a lot of effort on your part for this to work. Remind her that you were an idiot and that you have no intentions of leaving her for a stupid reason ever again. If there were problems between the two of you, however, you need to carefully evaluate what you want from this relationship and whether those aspirations are reasonably attainable. That doesn't mean some problems can't be corrected, because people do change and mature (well, most of us anyway), but you have to expect some slight turbulence and resentment in the beginning.
My fiancée moved from Atlanta to Boston so we could be together. We have since figured out that we aren't going to work out as a married couple. There are no hard feelings; we just grew apart. That being said, she still lives with me, and as far as I can see has made no plans of moving out. Every time I ask how her apartment hunting is going, I get an earful about how badly I want her out of my life, which couldn't be further from the truth. I just want the Band-Aid to get ripped off. What do I do? Please help. -- Adam, Atlanta
Why do I see visions of Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston duking it out in TheBreak-Up? Maybe she thinks you two will eventually work out your differences, and that's why she's reluctant to leave your apartment. While you may not want her completely out of your life, it is probably best that you force her to get out on her own, or she will never start her new life. It may seem mean, but you are doing her a favor. Stop giving her false hope that this is going to work out, because until you are able to take a stance, you are going to have an unwelcome houseguest and a very hostile home situation. I wouldn't go so far as to have the locks changed just yet, but I would make it a point that it is your house ... and she is not your wife. Then hand her the classifieds.
My ex-girlfriend and I had a special place that we would go to for dinner. What's the rule on taking a date to the place that was once special to you and your ex? -- Tom, Huntsville, Ala.
It depends. What's the possibility of a chance run-in and how long have you and the ex been separated? If it's been a relatively long period of separation and you two have mended fences, then I see no reason not to take a date to a "favorite place." It was probably a favorite of yours before you took the ex there, so why attach a negative memory to a quality restaurant? Why not build a new one? I'm all for being sentimental, but to not go somewhere because of one person is silly, especially if the food is like nothing else. Recycling restaurants isn't a deal-breaker. Recycling engagement rings, however, is a different story.
In your last Mailbag, you addressed the topic of moving from friendship to a relationship. What about moving from relationship to friendship? I have been dating a girl for about three months, and we both agreed not to get serious. Things have gone nicely and I really like her, but I know that the relationship probably won't go any further. I am just not "feeling" it. Is there a way to "break up" and still be friends? -- Jacki Lin, Houston
No one ever wants to hear the phrase "Can't we just be friends?" It's almost as bad as "It's not you, it's me." In fact, it's probably both of you. Three months ago you set the stipulations that you two would not get serious or attached. For women, this task is nearly impossible. We can say until we are blue in the face that we don't want a relationship, when in reality we are genetically programmed to want to be with someone. You need to understand going into this that she is, in fact, probably falling for you, so her feelings will be hurt. You break up. Now here comes the really hard part: How do you redefine your relationship? It's a lot easier to go from being friends to being in a relationship than vice versa. When attempting to forge this friendship, you have to understand your own motives for doing so and make sure the other person is aware of them. You don't want to give her false hope for reconciliation. Just make sure you stick to whatever boundaries you set. And above all, don't drink with the person. The end result, whether it's a fight or a one-nighter, will be worse than the hangover you have the next morning.