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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Dear Philippa:

How can I get the woman I love back? This isn�t the first time we�ve split up. Now she�s dating someone else. We tell each other that we love each other. I�ve written her and tried everything, but she says she wants to see what happens. Should I wait for her or is this a lost cause?

�Steven, Boston


Dear Steven,

One of the hardest lessons for anyone is realizing that loving someone may have nothing to do with being good for each other. Ideally we would all fall in love with the person who is the most compatible with us. But often we don�t, and although we grow to love and care for someone, the realities of the relationship often create conflicts. We fight, split up, come back together, and the cycle continues.

You can take this time apart to break the cycle and figure out what is best for each of you. It sounds like your girlfriend may wisely already be doing that. So Steven, are you ready to figure out what you really want for yourself�not what you want from her? First, stop pursuing her by telling her that you also want to take some time to decide what�s best. This will take the pressure off both of you. This in itself will create a healthier environment to begin a new relationship again if you both decide that this is what you want.

Now use your time apart for some soul searching. Think about the kind of relationship you want with someone special, not necessarily your girlfriend. How do you want to feel around this person? How do you and this ideal person interact, what kinds of things do you talk about and share? How does this ideal person react to you when you having a bad day or you're in a bad mood? You need to form a picture in your mind of spending time with someone you enjoy being with, someone easy to get along with, someone you like and who likes you just the way you are. This is someone you are attracted to and have harmony with�this is the way it can be. Love does not have to exist in constant conflict.

Be totally honest with yourself. Is the ideal person you described like your girlfriend? Even if she isn�t, you may still want to wait for your girlfriend to see if she wants to try again. Maybe when you think about having someone in your life with whom you are really compatible, you�ll realize that you need to let your girlfriend go so she can find the right man for her, and you find the right woman for you. I know this is a tough call. It�s like ripping off a Band-Aid�the quicker you pull it off, the less it hurts.


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