Dear Annie: I need your help with something. I am still in high school and have hit a bump in the road with a relationship issue.
I was dating this guy, “Andrew,” for 10 months, and I really thought we had something going. Then I met this guy “Will,” but we were just friends. One of my really good friends, “Natasha,” would always talk to Andrew at the time, and it bothered me. I asked both of them whether anything was going on, and they both said no.
Later, I found out that Will liked me, but I didn’t like him back. So Natasha and Will made up a plan to break Andrew and me up. They told lies about me, and Andrew believed them and broke up with me.
Now my used-to-be-friend Natasha and Andrew are dating, and though I am happy in the relationship that I am in now, I still feel hung up on him, and I am not quite sure how to get over him. He was a big part of my life, and my parents even approved of him. We talk every once in a while, and he seems happy where he is, but I am still wondering whether there will ever be a chance of our getting back together. — Still Hung Up
Dear Still: Things ended abruptly and bizarrely, and now you’re wondering what might have been. That’s totally understandable.
But Andrew began disrespecting your relationship the minute he took Will and Natasha’s word over yours, and he really fouled things up once he started dating Natasha. Just as any real friend wouldn’t date your ex-boyfriend (without permission), any guy worthy of your love wouldn’t immediately start dating your friend, no matter the circumstances.
Dating other people can be helpful after a breakup, as it’s good to see for yourself that there are plenty more fish in the sea. But real closure can only come from within. If you’re not smitten with your current boyfriend, don’t hesitate to end things. You’ll find someone who makes you forget all about Andrew eventually. In the meantime, focus on your own hobbies and goals, and spend quality time with true friends (i.e., not Natasha).
Dear Annie: I’d like to respond to “Distracted by His Distraction,” who is happy with her boyfriend aside from his staring at attractive women in public. Many years ago, I was engaged to a very macho man who frequently flirted with other women in front of me. He was also insanely jealous of other men and constantly accusatory of me.
We would be walking down the street, and I would see him exchange eye contact and a sexy little smile with any attractive woman who walked past. If I said anything, he would tell me that I was jealous. He never took responsibility for his demeaning actions.
Then one day, we were in the supermarket, and I turned around to see him flirting with a woman in line at the front of the store. I told him that he was disrespectful of me and that if I ever saw him flirting again, I would yell, for all to hear, “He is unemployed and impotent, but if you want him, you can have him!” He knew I was serious. Of course, I soon broke up with him and eventually married someone else, but at that moment, it was a sweet victory. I made my point and took back my power. — Threats Can Work With Jerks
Dear Threats: Threatening jerks is not so effective as leaving them, so kudos to you for getting out of there.