Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — In college I was engaged to this guy. Then I decided I was way too young to be that serious and broke it off with him as nicely as I knew how, but he was still heartbroken and took a long time to get over me. Well he just showed up again 7 years later, I was stupidly weak, between boyfriends and started it up again. I guess I just felt lonely and this was there, so easy. Now I’ totally regretting this. How do I break up with this nice guy again? —Guilty Feet
Dear Guilty Feet,
Honey, you need to buy a vowel and solve the puzzle of what you want in relationships — and stop using other people as convenience appliances for your amusement. It’s clear your ex-/current/ex-/current b/f is not like me, because I’d never allow someone to push and pull me as you have him over the years, so it’s very likely he won’t appreciate my answer any more than I expect you will. Yet, I manage to continue. Very simply: you both will benefit from identifying and acknowledging that whatever it was that was so great back in the day is over (developmentally), and if it is not, it’s still not the same warm-fuzzy relationship you had as kids because you’re not the same people today. Seven years completes one cycle of personal growth and living (if nothing else, physically you don’t have the same hair, skin or…heart!). Move on, both of you. This hanging on, fall-back default is not a healthy way to have relationships (for different yet co-dependent reasons of both of you), and hey, Guilty Feet?, you will benefit from working on getting over your need for blind adoration. That will be the best thing you can do for this “nice guy” once and for all.
Time for a new dance,
Dear Guilty Feet,
Well, it’s complicated. First thing I’m going to say is, “STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!” You said you would date the guy again, not commit to bearing his children. You tried again, admirable. You had the courage to see if there was something still there. Now you know there is an end date. Don’t blame yourself because this is not a long-term relationship. Take a deep breath and figure out how to let him down easy.
Realize that he may be a nice guy, but don’t allow yourself to be manipulated into staying in the relationship. Verbal abuse and emotional manipulation that make you responsible for his happiness is just not ok. He is a grown man who must learn to deal with disappointment—whether in relationships, career or other situations. That is life.
Your job is to be sure to be compassionate. You two have a relationship and history, which does not mean that just because your romantic relationship is ending all communications and friendship has to end with it. Be honest and straight-forward and communicate your intent to end the romantic portion of your relationship.
Let him know that he is a good person. Let him know that you do not like disappointing him and that although some of the hurt may be inevitable, there is light at the other side of this juncture. Compassion is king. Here are some tips on how to do the break up thing, but really first forgive yourself for the last time. Doing what is right for you will sometimes leave others with hurt feelings. It is inevitable. You cannot make everyone happy all the time. Forgive yourself, be truthful with him and do what has to be done before the infection of resentment sinks in.
The truth will set you free,
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