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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » The Vine

The Vine: April 25, 2000

Submitted by on April 25, 2000 – 7:48 PMNo Comment

Dear Sarah,I would really appreciate your opinion on a somewhat complicated matter. I moved in with my boyfriend last summer and was very happy and in fact thought that he was The One and that we were going to get married. During the Christmas holidays while I was visiting family, he cheated on me. When I returned, he confessed all to me and said that he was so sorry blah blah blah. Well, things got very complicated and quite ugly, and he continued to have a relationship with this woman while I was still living in the same house (because of financial reasons, I was not able to move out right away). He was horrible to me through all of this and it just about destroyed me.

Now I am living with a woman friend and am finally starting to feel okay about my life (though it has been a very long, difficult struggle). The Other Woman is gone because of a job relocation, and now he wants to be friends. I told him I needed time to think about it, and then I emailed him a few days later saying that we can give it a try. I'm starting to think that wasn't such a good idea though.

Rationally, I know he doesn't deserve to even be in the same room as me. Emotionally, however, I am finding it hard to sever the last ties between us. I am afraid of him disappearing from my life forever, which I know is ridiculous. I know, though, that the chances of us being friends are slim because I do not trust or respect him anymore; I don't think he can be the kind of friend to me that I value.

How do I set aside my feelings of wanting to see him and let him be a part of my life? I feel like I would be settling for what he wants to give if I agree to be friends with him, and I don't want to be the kind of person who just sits and waits for scraps of his attention or affection.

Thanks for your help,
Pathetic (but trying not to be)

Dear Path,

The guy treated you like crap, but for some reason, you still want him to like you. I don't think you should feel overly pathetic, because I've been there and I've done that, and I've seen my friends go there and do that, and I think it has something to do with the way our society conditions us as women – make nice, get along, smile, don't act like a bitch.

Fuck that noise. The guy is not a friend to you. Tell him you've reconsidered – that you will act friend

ly towards him if you run across him socially, but that you don't see any need to hang out with him or lend him money or otherwise keep up the pretense that he's a friend of yours, because he treated you like crap and you don't need "friends" like that. He'll probably give you a bunch of guilt about it or tell you to "grow up," but if he tries to pull that, tell him to blow it out his shorts and then go out for margaritas with your real friends. I mean, yeah, on the one hand you have "doing the mature thing," and then on the other hand you have "sparing yourself a metric ton of aggro and telling him to bugger off." I'd go with the latter.

Dear Sarah,Okay, I feel incredibly stupid writing into an advice column of any sort asking for help, but you're an honest, blunt person and if my letter ends up anywhere, Tomato Nation is by far the least humiliating place to end up. (Could be worse. I could be writing to Seventeen or some other such drivel.) Anyways . . .

Recently, my ex-girlfriend started dating someone new. She's dated this person before, but the other girl freaked out and couldn't handle it, so they broke up and now they're back together. They're my two closest friends currently, but I suddenly find myself not wanting to be around them. See, I still have strong feelings for my ex, and even though I know it's best that we're apart, it doesn't stop me from wishing. Being around them is painful and a reminder of a lot of problems that I'd care not to think about. My ex tells me that avoiding the two of them together is not a good way to deal with my problems with them. She seems to think that if I still hang around her and/or the two of them a lot, I'll become "desensitized" and able to deal with it. I think that I need some space from her and her new honey. Am I overreacting by refusing to have sleepovers as a trio and spend lots of time with them?

My first name should be "Door" and my middle name should be "Matt"

Dear Door,

You aren't overreacting. If you need the space, take it. I can see your ex's point regarding desensitization . . . but it's awfully convenient for her to take that stance, don't you think? Kind of gets her off the hook as far as looking out for your feelings, eh what?

Your ex no longer has the right to dictate your reactions. If you don't want to spend time with her and her new girlie, don't do it, and don't let her pull emotional rank on you either.

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