Ready to Try Again
Q: I broke up with my ex about 7 months ago. We were madly in love and lived together, but I messed up by setting dates for marriage and not following through. Plus I was going through a depression due to job layoff and not making enough money. I am also a single parent of two children that live with me. After she moved out, we didn't talk for about two months and then all of a sudden she started emailing me. It then progressed to phone talks and then having dinner from time to time. The thing is that she is currently dating someone else and she thinks she's falling in love with him, and yet we are in touch daily and still go out to dinner. She keeps telling me that there is still something here that she can't shake. We are even going away together for the weekend. She thinks by going away it might shed light on what it is that is keeping her attached to me. I have read a lot of books and did a lot of work on myself to correct the problems I created when we were together and I do want her back. I'm just not sure what's going on here. -- Nate, 40
Dr. Susan: Uh-oh. She's "falling in love" with someone else, yet she wants to go away with you to see why she's still attached to you. Not a smart move on either of your parts, at least not unless the other guy knows what's going on and agrees to this odd triangle. Not likely! She's hesitant to take you back and lose the guy she now has feelings for, since you haven't proven yourself as someone to depend on. But does she realize that she's totally messing up any trust she might have developed with this new guy? Not to mention that if you go away with her, you're risking getting badly hurt if she continues to dither back and forth and have affairs with both of you at once. For everyone's sake (including your kids), urge her to give you both enough time to work it out together, without this other guy hovering so close by. Give it, say, two or three months. Then, if the two of you aren't feeling fully loving and committed, she could say good-bye (for real this time) and look elsewhere. Sure, she may lose him. But right now you're participating in a dishonest situation which is in no one's best interest.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.