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Did ex-boyfriend move on a little too quickly?

Regroup without information about your previous partner

Q: I recently ended a long-term relationship with someone I loved but knew was not "the one." It has been a hard breakup for me, ending what was such an important part of my life, and I'm taking my time adjusting.

He met someone new soon after. I know this is fair and want him to be happy, but I keep getting reports from mutual friends that they're doing things together that were traditions we'd started, and I'm in a bad rut, comparing myself to her and, despite my being the one who ended it, feeling our relationship was insignificant to him and that I'm easily replaced. Any thoughts?

Washington, D.C.

A: You can ask your friends to stop reporting his whereabouts, for starters. If his name comes up in passing, so be it, but the way you've described it here, people are depositing news of these sightings like cats leaving mice on your doorstep. You don't need to know, and they don't need to tell you.

More important than adjusting your friends' behavior, though, is adjusting your frame of mind. You see his quick "recovery" as evidence you didn't matter. Maybe so. When someone isn't "the one" for us, it's disappointing. But when we aren't "the one" for someone else, it's personal.

I could also argue, though, that his speed in finding somebody, paired with his putting your special places on his new itinerary, means he wants you back, and this is as close as it gets.

Of course, it's also possible there is no "the one" with this guy so much as "the current one." That happens, too.

Regardless, you're regrouping, and so is he. That's the forest. His ways and whereabouts are just so many trees.

Own your own decision about whether you should stay or go

Q: My significant other is doing Teach for America and I'm along for the ride, living in a city I hate with a job that means nothing to me while I wait out the end of her contract a year from now. How do I keep from feeling/acting resentful about this?

A: Realize that she's not responsible for your choices; you are — and then make a choice you can live with.

Let's say you're resentful because she entered this contract unilaterally, and you believe you deserved some say in her decision. Even then, the choice is yours: Go with her, or follow the path you prefer.

Now let's say you did have some say but felt pressured, or agreed eagerly but now feel misled, or seeded your resentment in any other way. It all points to the same choice. Go along, or part ways.

Such choices often lead to the same, very common mistake, too: trying to have it both ways. You want to stay with your mate, and you want to stay righteously angry.

It's a non-starter, though, because it's rooted in denial of your own responsibility. At some point, just by virtue of your being along for the ride, you decided that the person was more important than the place. So there's no justification for resentment here. Either you respect her decision, let go of the anger and stay; or reject her decision, admit you can't shake the anger, and relocate to a city that suits your needs. In other words: Own your decision, or move.

Did ex-boyfriend move on a little too quickly? 05/18/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 17, 2010 10:53pm]

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