Dear Ms. Behavior:
I’m a lesbian who recently got dumped by the woman of my dreams. She didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me why; instead, she stopped returning my calls and answering my e-mail. Finally, when I managed to get hold of her, she said it just wasn’t working for her. This was after a fabulous month together on the Cape, great sex, and sharing our most intimate feelings with each other.
I feel like I should just forget about trying to meet another woman. I am totally blown away by this experience. Any advice?
Dear Forlorn Lesbian:
It’s never a good idea to make a grand plan for a life of spinsterhood right after you get dumped. Be dramatic if you need to and invest in the wardrobe and accoutrements (sweatpants, baseball caps, book-of-the-month-club, multiple felines), but don’t commit to it. You’re right, however, that this may not be the best time to meet, court, and marry someone new. You’d probably just project your hurt and insecure feelings onto your new girlfriend, which would make you feel like a cling-on, and wouldn’t bode well for a healthy relationship.
This is not to blame you for what happened in your last relationship. It sounds like you’re actually fortunate that you weren’t with her longer; a woman who doesn’t have the courtesy to return your calls or offer an explanation after a whole summer of dating probably has some serious emotional issues. But this would be a good time to honestly think back about whether or not there were any clues that she could be so dismissive or that she wasn’t as connected as you might have imagined. If you can feel more confident about reading someone else’s signals in the future, it may make you feel less fragile. In the meantime, it doesn’t make sense to plan how long to stay alone because it will really depend on how you feel. Once you think you can see clearly—you won’t confuse a new woman with your ex-girlfriend or your rejecting mommy—then you’ll be ready to meet someone.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
Last spring, I began dating a man who seemed sweet. Each time he came over, I made a great meal and we had sex. I was single and a little lonely, despite a full life. He was just breaking up with someone after five years.
I didn’t ask for a commitment. We had a blast at the gay pride parade, but then his tune changed, and he acted mean and told me I was moving too fast. I told him that I couldn’t help how I felt but that I understood that he wasn’t ready to become someone’s boyfriend so soon. The day he broke up with me, he was nasty. I was heartbroken.
Recently, he visited the store where I work and left a message saying that he didn’t want to disturb me, but hoped all was okay. Perhaps this was something like an apology, but I reacted very negatively. He didn’t say he was sorry or that he’d done anything wrong. I felt that trying to “make nice” after breaking my heart without apologizing was inappropriate. I crumpled his note and have no intention of calling him. I’m seeing someone wonderful now anyway.
I did fall in love with the first guy, but wasn’t expecting any commitment so quickly. Maybe I’m being silly getting worked up over this because he probably doesn’t care. I’m angry because of how he treated me and because he didn’t allow any closure.
What do you advise? I’d love to get over this. I value your opinion and enjoyed your book.
Although you say you’re happy with someone new, Ms. Behavior hopes you’re not harboring secret fantasies of resuming a romance with Mr. Ambivalence. The best thing about your relationship with him is that it ended quickly. People who become mean or inconsistent and end things badly will often do it again, in an even more hurtful way, given the opportunity.
Ms. Behavior has nothing against the concept of forgiveness; it’s just that in the absence of a sincere apology and desire to behave differently, there’s no reason to think someone is capable of more than they’ve already shown you.
You sound like you have a lot to offer to a boyfriend, and Ms. Behavior hopes that the new one turns out to be worthy of your love. (If, however, the real problem is that you exude the scent of desperation, you’ll find out soon enough, when the new Mr. Wonderful’s toothbrush disappears from your bathroom.)
© 2012 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.