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How do I get her to ingnore her ex?

Dear Panel,

...it just isn't right for a guy to be calling my girlfriend and confessing his love for her. That's just a pride issue, however, and I can deal with that....

I believe it would be healthier for him in the long run if he would minimize contact with her and stifle his feelings for her so he can move on with his life and maybe open himself up to the concept of finding somebody else.

-- Frustrated in PA

Male, age 26, Pennsylvania

[read the entire question below]

Dear Panel,

I am a 26-year-old guy who ended a six and a half year relationship in August 2001. In that relationship, the girl was hell-bent on getting married but I didn't feel ready. I wasn't terribly happy and I wasn't absolutely sure I was with the right person. One girl in particular that I always wanted to date during that time is the girl I'm with now.

Jane is a 22-year-old college senior who is currently finishing up her last semester of school a few hours away from me. We've been very close friends for over seven years and we've wanted to date each other for about the last three years.

Al Can't Deal With Their Break Up

Al is Jane's ex-boyfriend. They go to the same college and were dating for about ten months. She basically dumped him for me and he isn't taking it well (it was painful for the obvious reasons). He's actually seeing a psychiatrist about it.

They were friends for a few months before they started dating. He treated her well, but she didn't really have the spark for him that he had for her. Throughout their relationship, the guy was always an emotional wreck, crying all the time and always worrying about her leaving him, etc.

He's basically a nice guy and I have no ill feelings towards him. When Jane came home for her winter break in mid-December, she was fairly serious with Al. We spent some time together, however, and she decided that she just couldn't wait any longer to find out what it would be like to be in a relationship with me and she didn't want to lose her chance if I got into another serious relationship.

She's Trying To Be His Friend

As a result, she broke things off with Al and jumped into an exclusive relationship with me. Now we've been together for a little over a month and we see quite a bit of each other because I go and visit her at school whenever I can. Things are going great between us, but Al is a bit of a problem. Jane is trying to still be friends with him, but I really think that it is torture for him and it would be healthier for him to not hang out with her until he is over her and moving on with his life.

He Calls and Confesses His Love For Her

His inability to accept the situation has manifested itself in him calling her and blabbing on and on about how his feelings haven't changed for her. There are a few reasons that this is a problem for me. For one thing, it just isn't right for a guy to be calling my girlfriend and confessing his love for her. That's just a pride issue, however, and I can deal with that.

She Feels Bad For Hurting Him

The real problem is the effect it has on Jane. She gets frustrated and depressed about how much she hurt Al and broke his heart, especially when he makes his phone calls or sees her in person and mopes around all tortured and self-destructive.

She thinks she is helping him by trying to be his friend and by letting him blather on ad naseum about his feelings for her but I think that he is basically just using her as an emotional crutch and dragging things out. I believe it would be healthier for him in the long run if he would minimize contact with her and stifle his feelings for her so he can move on with his life and maybe open himself up to the concept of finding somebody else.

Maybe AFTER that they can be friends.

Am I right about the proper course of action? If so, how do I explain this to her effectively?

-- Frustrated in PA

Male, age 26, Pennsylvania

Mel, Buddy, and Judith answer this question.

 

 

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