Dear Leather and Lace: Carmen is the hottest girl I ever met, and I couldn’t believe that she wanted to be with me. Somehow, I managed to get her interested, and we dated for about six months. We got along ok, I guess, but we didn’t see eye to eye on some major things and we started to argue all the time. After our last big fight, we broke up. Now, 4 months later, I realize that I still love her and I want her back. We talked on the phone a few times since, and she also said she was sorry we’d broken up, too. We agreed to get together and try again. Then she canceled a few times. Now her best friend tells me that she has hooked up with someone else and that they seem serious. I feel as though I let the love of my life slip through my fingers, and now I don’t know what to do about it. I just want things back the way they were. I know she has a new guy and I guess I should respect that, but I really need her in my life. Should I tell her how I really feel about her now that I know she’s got someone else?
Signed, Andrew, Crazy About Carmen
Lace’s Take on This: It took you four months to realize you still love this person? That alone, tells me that while you might be missing what you had together, it might not be her that you miss, or the fighting. If there were serious issues that you fought about constantly, these aren’t going to go away the second time around. You know that, don’t you?
Sometimes love stories don’t have happy endings. While you’ve been deciding what you want, your ex-girlfriend has apparently decided to move on. But Carmen hasn’t mentioned the new boyfriend to you? That tells me something as well. You hear this second hand, from a friend.Has she changed her Facebook status? Does anyone else in your circle of friends think Carmen is now an item with someone else?
It’s curious that Carmen said she would try again with you, if she has a serious relationship with someone else? And the fact that she canceled getting together again several times tells me she is ambivalent, at best. This could mean that while she has feelings for you, she knows that it wouldn’t be wise to re-connect with you. Mixed feelings are normal after a breakup.
Before you try to re-connect again, consider the circumstances of your fights and breakup. That will tell you what you can do to avoid history repeating. While it’s true that people fight about stupid things, fighting can sometimes be positive. And, when you’re really committed to a relationship and truly in love, you can forgive (although not always forget) when things get rough. In your case, six months is still a “settling in” stage in a relationship where differences of opinion can sometimes be startling.
What about Carmen really attracts you in a longer term way. You say that Carmen was “hot” in the very first sentence, but nothing else afterwards about why you want to be with this woman. Could it be that what you miss is the feeling that a great looking woman wanted to be with you, and you miss the feeling of being with someone you are attracted to? Or, do you just miss the feeling of being in a relationship, instead of dealing with that awkward stage in dating where you have to deal with the formalities of getting to know someone all over again?
Before you pick up the phone, or arrive on Carmen’s doorstep with a bouquet of roses, I hope you will seriously consider what I’ve written above. If it is true that she has moved on to someone new, it would be selfish of you to try and win her back. You can confirm this. But when this much time and angst has past, perhaps it would be wiser to wish her well, soothe your suffering, and move forward with your own life. If you continue to press for her to come back to you she might, for a time, but if the issues that were tearing you apart are still there, another breakup is likely to happen that makes you feel worse than you do right now. It isn’t easy to let go of someone or something special, but in time you will find someone even more special than Carmen, because you will be right for one another in all the ways that count.
Leather’s Take on This: We are missing big important pieces of information here so my advice is not going to be on target. You should have told us how old you are, how old she is, how did you meet her and how long did you know her before you started dating and most important of all what issues were you fighting about.
You define her as the hotest girl you ever met which tells us two things, you do not consider yourself hot and she was interested in your personality and mind not your body. She saw a potential and a fascination in you, the relationship failed when you did not deliver on what you initially advertied.
When in a relationship with someone you could care a lot about but do not feel worthy of you will try to push the person away in order to either prove you are unworthy and worthless or have your partner continuously prove they want to be with you.
On her end the relationship failed because you lacked confidence in yourself and respect for her even when you disagreed with her. Vigorous discussion without acrimony (bitterness) is good for a relationship. I categorically accuse you of taking the relationship for granted while it was happening, you did not do enough to make her feel special, to make her time with you special and do special things together so when things started to get rough she did not have the good times to remember and just gave up. Many new marriages fail for similar reasons, the end goal was accomplished, they got married, they then stop trying. Similarly if she is attracted by your confidence and direct action approach if you go all new age compromise and deferring to her wishes she will react badly.
You should also understand that Carmen’s current actions suggest she did not want to break up with you initially, You forced it. Her agreeing to see you was a hope by her that things could be straightened out, her falling for someone new is her internal fear that another time with you will not work out and that a new relationship has all possibilities.
Best advice is show her that you have changed and grown. You have to show a new. more exciting version of yourself in order to reattract her and quiet her fears. Always be cheerful and never bring up baggage from the first time. Be trully interested in her life, her thoughts and dreams and her friends. If you can conveniently “not know” she is dating someone else, do small things like send her a cute card and include a cute personal message, find some event (especially cultural like symphoy, ballet, modern dance, an art opening) that you know she might like and is plausible that you would go yourself and then contact her say that you want to go and you want company. Even if she declines find someone else (plausible girlfriend material) and go with them, afterwards contact her, tell her about the wonderful time and how much fun it was to go with girlfrined substitute but that you would rather have gone with her. If nothing else you will have fastracked girlfriend substitute.
Lace’s Comments on Leather’s Answer: I am not sure I agree with Leather on his assessment that you lacked confidence and didn’t deliver “the goods” so Carmen ditched you. We don’t know what your personality is like, and frankly, sometimes opposites just attract. And while Leather seems to be encouraging you to woo her back, I truly believe if these things happen organically, they’re meant to be but if not, there’s no profit in pushing it. This is particularly true since you really don’t tell us anything you like about Carmen (other than her looks) and only say your relationship with her was just “ok” in the first place, followed by lots of fights. In high school I broke up with my boyfriend of several years because the relationship had run its course, He sent cute cards, He offered flowers. He made incredible mix tapes (you may be too young to remember tapes, but you can get the idea). I appreciated the effort, but started to get annoyed when he wouldn’t stop. I wasn’t in love with him anymore. I didn’t want to hurt him further, but I was honest about my feelings and he understood, much to my relief. Fast forward many years, and this man found me on Facebook. We are now casually re-connected, but we could do this because we didn’t cause more drama and heartbreak to one another, way back when. In my opinion, that’s the way it should be!