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Parallax - Advice

June 24, 2002

The Real Thing

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'Breaking up is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can't do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.' So observed Jerry Seinfeld during one of his more reflective times. On-screen or off, breaking up is hard to do, and when push comes to shove, somebody ends up singing the blues. This week we meet three people whose pining (and whining) is not producing desired results. Will they find harmony? Or will our maestros suggest they go solo?


Wrong move?
The music is over.
 Date: 06/24/02

Awed or odd?
A man possessed.
 Date: 06/24/02

Slip of the tongue.
Ex or exit?
 Date: 06/24/02

More from last week...
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Wrong move?

Dear Conversely,

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I made a mistake. I thought I wanted to break up with my girlfriend, but after I did, I realized it was the wrong thing to do. She has a new boyfriend and she says that she would never go out with me again. I want to know if there is a way to get together again.


Her view:

Dear Finito,

Nope—you've done it. Once there is a new love, you (the old) are sent off to ex-boyfriend heaven (or hell—depending) where she will not give you a second thought.

There are a few problems. First, you dumped her. That's never fun, and part of her really hates you for that. Second, she has the excitement and novelty of new love. First kisses, first everything. You just can't beat that. Third, she is happy without you and does not need you for a thing.

So buddy, it is final. Let her go. Next time, don't be so rash with the guillotine. Do the classic hedge and suggest a small break because you have to work out some things. That's always preferable to the out-and-out dump.

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His view:

Dear Finito,

One might admire your perseverance, if it were not for the fact that one might be more tempted to wonder whether you are not paying attention here. Are you a completely undesirable and spineless specimen? Why else would you want to go out with a woman who has expressed an unequivocal disdain for you?

Here's what you need to do. First, replace her as soon as you can with someone else, preferably someone more attractive, intelligent and laid-back than your ex. And don't be too bothered if your ex happens to find out about the new woman.

Next, offer to become friends with the ex. Since you are no longer a threat, she may accede to this olive branch. In the course of a couple of sterile lunch outings, let your ex think she might have lost you for good.

At this point—if you have followed directions carefully—you will realize that your ex is not worth pining over after all. The notion of getting back together with her will strike you as a terrible error in judgment...which Conversely has happily helped you forget.

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