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Parallax - Advice

August 6, 2001

Hunger Pains

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It is said that 'the hunger for love is more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.' This week, we meet three love-starved writers who might be nibbling on the wrong dishes. The first samples a love-bruised colleague, the second contemplates a fifth cook-off with the same guy, and the third asks if love is always part of the marriage recipe. Our Conversely love-chefs offer 'food for thought.'

The right guy?
The wrong time?
 Date: 08/06/01

More than three strikes?
He's out!
 Date: 08/06/01

Rewriting the vows.
To like, honor, and cherish?
 Date: 08/06/01

More from last week...

The right guy?

Dear Conversely,

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I've been a friend with this guy from work for over two years. We got along really well, and then became much closer when his live-in girlfriend of four-and-a-half years went overseas for six months. During that time we spent a lot of time together and I realized I liked him more than as a friend. However, nothing happened and nothing was said during that time. Then he went overseas to spend two months with his girlfriend. On Valentine's Day he told me his girlfriend broke up with him, and he asked me out for a drink. A week later we went out for dinner, got drunk and I confessed my feelings for him. He reciprocated, and we fooled around a bit, but then we decided to take things slowly. That was two months ago. Since that time we've spoken twice, but we've only seen each other once. I don't know what to do next because we haven't really discussed it. I really think this guy could be the one, but I'm very frustrated at not being able to be with him...

Her view:

Dear Frustrated,

I think your fellow is licking his wounds. 'Breaking up is hard to do' is not just a cliché - it has a strong foundation. It is probable that your boy has a flicker of an interest in you, but is stuck on his ex-girlfriend. What's worse, she broke up with him. I'm sure he feels that outcome is not ideal, even with a new girlie on the horizon.

He may be trying to win her back, because a relationship of close to five years is not one to move past quickly. He's probably wondering what if? If she has a new beau, he's likely jealous, and not relishing the thought of someone else sleeping with his girlfriend. All of this makes for a very confused suitor.

Your best play is to steer clear and give him space. You won't make him miss his ex-girlfriend any less, and jumping into a relationship with you will only cause him confusion. Give him as much time as he needs to heal. Lay low until he comes to you. If he sorts himself out, and he likes you, then he'll show. Right now you are just some girl he's fooled around with, who doesn't come close to replacing his girlfriend.

You have no choice in this - just be patient. If you feel you've waited long enough, your only course is to move on.

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His view:

Dear Frustrated,

Sometimes, things happen in a rush. You go from a super-steady relationship to a period of havoc. Before you know it, your girlfriend of four-and-a-half years (count them - fifty-four big months) is gone, and you're fooling around with a girl from work (the one you secretly liked for so long) and she likes you too. And then...then you hit the wall. You take a deep breath. You put everything on hold.

If I were this guy, the last thing I'd want to do is dive into a new relationship after being in one for nearly five years. No matter how much he likes you, he needs to decompress. He needs to enjoy his freedom...look around...fool around. He isn't ready to plunge back in and he knows it. That is why he really has slowed things down.

The last thing you want to do is to pursue and lust after him. And don't fool around with him - not if you want to be his keeper. Make yourself scarce, but don't disappear entirely. Stay in touch...just enough to keep him tantalized and to make him aware of what he could have, if and when he decides the time is right. Eventually, he'll calm down, the memories of the old girlfriend will fade, and he'll ring you up.

If you're desperate and you can't wait, he may be open to a more immediate attachment. Just remember, you're more likely to end up as his rebound girl if you do this.

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