Fractured Fairy Tale
One of the saddest truths in life is that our wonderful fairy-tale romances invariably end up being just that. The dreamiest, most amazing, smartest, funniest, sweetest, sexiest, and most perfect-for-us person we will ever meet eventually turns out to have some unexpected, devastating flaw: well-hidden addictions, hateful and/or intrusive families, unresolved emotional baggage, intolerable sleeping habits, social ineptitude, or fidelity issues. Each of us has to determine what, on balance, we can live with.
For most of us, discovering a beloved's unfaithfulness rips us apart like a trailer park in a hurricane. And just because you have decided to rebuild and go on doesn't mean the day after the storm everything is all hunky-dory again. You wouldn't be human if you weren't hurt or angry, and it will take time for this to pass. It will go away more quickly if you keep it to yourself as much as possible. Even though your lover has wounded you, constant reminders won't help--he knows what he's done and how you feel--and going over it endlessly with your friends will just turn them against him. You don't need to suppress your feelings of anger and hurt, just don't summon them. And when you find yourself dwelling on your bad feelings for more than a few moments, find a distraction: pick up a magazine, turn on the television, kiss your sweetie. You will never totally forget what happened, but nothing makes past pain go away faster than present happiness. So if you are a little more patient with yourself, eventually the unhappy memory will move from the front of your brain to the back, to live forever with the memories of every other painful event you thought you'd never recover from, but have.
I'm 17 and I met this really nice girl at school two weeks ago. My class went on this camping trip together where I got to know her well, and we ended up really liking each other a lot. She told me she has a boyfriend, though, and she is sad because she doesn't know what to do (she has been with him on and off for three years; it's a serious relationship). We hang out all the time, and she spends time with me every minute she can. We talk on the phone till 2 a.m. sometimes, and she even told me she would do this one-night thing of "making out with me." What should I do? Sometimes I cry because she has a boyfriend, and then she starts crying because I'm sad. I love her to death and all her friends think we should be together, but the only problem is her boyfriend. Should I keep hanging out with her, should I try to win her over, or what should I do? Please help.
Andrew All Shook Up
Dear All Shook Up:
I know it feels like life or death to you now, but, believe me, very few women marry the boys they dated at 14. Even though your new gal pal has been with her boyfriend for three years, it's probably not as terminally serious as either of you think it is. If she really loved this guy with all her heart and soul, she wouldn't have the time or desire to see you. She's caught between wanting to be with you and not wanting to hurt him. It's a tough place to be, because she knows that, whatever she decides, someone will be unhappy. But where you are is tough, too, especially because it is her decision.
Don't give up on her yet, but it would be a good idea not to spend quite so much time together and to lay off the late-night tear fests. Your own feelings are so strong that they're bound to be a little overwhelming to her. Stay friendly but don't pressure her. Tell her that, as much as you want to "make out" with her, you'd rather wait until she's decided it's you she wants to be with. That's the honorable thing to do. If you don't give a damn about honor, next time you see her, give her the biggest, yummiest kiss you got, tell her there's plenty more where that came from, and let her take it from there.
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