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Parallax - Advice            October 9, 2000

  Relationship Rumbles

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Breaking up is hard to do...and this week our perceptive pair wrestles with parting issues. There's the guy who wants to know how to have friendships with his exes...the man who met a 'great woman' at an out-of-town wedding, but panics at the thought of seeing her again...and a woman who plaintively asks, 'What went wrong?'

Can he be friends with his ex-girlfriends?
As long as he understands there's no s in ex.
 Date: 10/09/00

What follows an out-of-town fling?
How about a visit? She's coming his way and he's frantic.
 Date: 10/09/00

Believe it, or not...
She claims there were no signs of trouble before her man walked out.
 Date: 10/09/00

More from last week...

Can he be friends with his ex-girlfriends?

Dear Conversely,

Email to a Friend I've always had a hard time with breakups. Or should I say, having women break up with me? Since my first relationship, I've always managed to get dumped, and then I find that I can't talk to my ex-girlfriends. I remain uncomfortable with them, and I never call or write because I'm convinced that they want nothing to do with me. I've acted this way with two girls whom I miss deeply, and truly care about, but I can't seem to downgrade my relationships with them to mere friendships. What do I do?

Her view:

Dear Friendless,

It doesn't sound like you've really tried to foster friendships with your ex-girlfriends. Maybe they are interested in friendship, and haven't pursued it because they made the decision to leave you. When one decides to go, it is good behavior to let the dumpee decide how to proceed. If you don't make the first move they won't call you, fearing that they will cause further upset.

So, if you'd like to be friends with your ex-girlfriends, just be bold and give them a call. I bet they'd welcome a call from you, and would love to get together for lunch to catch up and find out what you've been doing with yourself. But you'll have to be bold and make the first move. Of course, you realize you cannot hit on them - that would ruin any glimmer of a friendship. You must be interested purely as a friend.

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His view:

Dear Friendless,

It's unlikely that these women don't want anything to do with you. Maybe they sense you are still too attached (in love?) and that makes them cautious - even if they wanted to be friends.

I think your problem stems from the fact that you want to be friends with them for the wrong reasons. Many couples break up and say, 'Let's be friends,' because they're afraid of rupturing the intimacy - the being together. They're scared of the void that will emerge in their lives. Unfortunately, friendship cannot replace this intimacy, and that is why many post-breakup friendships don't survive.

Couples who want to remain friends because they have a lot in common have a better chance of succeeding. If you used to do things with your ex that can still be done without being a couple - like going dancing, or to the movies, or whatever - then a friendship allows you to keep doing those things.

But you have to understand that being friends is not 'mere' - it is simply different. If you still love them - if you can't get over them - then don't try to force the friendship. You may risk getting dumped again.

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You Vote!

You Vote! 15% of Women agree with HER VIEW and 85% with HIS VIEW.

5% of Men agree with HER VIEW and 95% with HIS VIEW.

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