My entire family, especially my mother, loves my ex-boyfriend to pieces. They think I made a huge mistake by breaking up with him and they reiterate this point to me on a daily basis. In fact, I don’t know who was more traumatized by my breakup — my ex, or my mother. I’ve tried to explain to my mother that my ex and I had some serious problems, but she won’t hear it. The pressure is getting so bad that I’ve considered getting back with him just to quiet my mother’s nagging. How can I break the news to my mother, once and for all, that my ex wasn’t right for me?
Signed, Under Pressure
Dear Under Pressure,
Your mother didn’t date your ex — you did. Therefore, you have final say when it comes to continuing that relationship or not, and you chose not. Don’t confuse her feelings for your own. Who you choose as a romantic partner is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your entire life. Do your ex and yourself a favor and don’t get back together with him unless it’s what you want.
As for your mother, she’s obviously taking the breakup hard. Long-term relationships can be rough on family members, as well, if they’ve grown attached to your significant other. Give your mother some time to adjust to the idea of your breakup, since she obviously feels like she’s going through it with you. Your mother may have to experience several stages of loss — shock, denial, anger, grief — before she’s able to fully come to terms with your choice. However, if she keeps nagging you, reiterate the fact that you weren’t happy and ask her to support your decision. If she still keeps nagging, you may need to take a break from her calls until she comes to terms with the situation. I know it’s not easy, but try not to take your mother’s behavior personally. She should calm down soon.
Breakups are rough. For now, make your own well-being your priority. You’re the one who has to deal with the day-to-day consequences of your decisions, so make sure they’re good ones. Please yourself first, and hopefully your mother will come around when she’s ready and able to support you.
About six months ago, I was in a two-month relationship that was the best two months of my life. We meshed as a couple, instantly, and I thought we were destined for a lifelong partnership. Then the relationship ended just as quickly as it started. I was in shock. I thought we’d get back together, for sure, but we haven’t spoken since. I feel betrayed by my own emotions. What a waste of time! It was all a big lie, and I regret ever meeting the guy. I wish I could rewind my life and erase him from my mental database. I know we didn’t date long, but our connection was intense. I’m still in pain. How can something so wrong have felt so right?
Signed, Waste of Time
Dear Waste of Time,
It’s clear that you’re sad and disappointed that this relationship didn’t work out. I’m sorry. Sometimes people come into our lives for a brief period of time, yet leave a lasting impression. I’m not aware of the invention of a time machine that obliterates the memory of relationships gone bad, but I understand your inclination to want to erase your “mistake” and the pain that comes with it.
However, I don’t believe any relationship is a waste of time. It’s often the most painful relationship that will put you on track to finding your ideal mate. Each experience offers an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself as well as the type of partner you’d like to date. Once in a while, a relationship comes along that’s so painfully intense that it forever shifts your perspective on love. Believe it or not, this kind of relationship can have a positive affect on your life. You’ve come to a crossroads. You can surround your heart with barbed wire and vow to never love again, or you use your experience as a catalyst to get clear about what qualities you do and don’t want in a lifelong partner.
What’s a man to do when his so-called “girlfriend” refuses to talk to him, e-mail him, dine with him, hold his hand or kiss him? It’s been two years since we started seeing one another. I love her and want to marry her. I’m tired of the loneliness. What can I do to make her mine?
Signed, Down & Out
Dear Down & Out,
Loneliness can be rough, but I’d take loneliness over an absentee partner any day. The fact that this woman is unresponsive to your displays of affection tells me that she’s not the right woman for you. Your time would be best spent looking for a partner who reciprocates your love and shares your heartfelt devotion.
Rachel Iverson is a freelance writer, dating coach and author, who lives with her husband in Venice Beach. Her book, “Don’t Help A Man Be A Man: How To Avoid 12 Dating Time Bombs,” has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray, author of “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” For more information on Rachel or her book, visit http://www.rebelgirlpublishing.com. For dating advice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.