Reader feels re­lief af­ter leav­ing fi­ance

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - DETOURS - CAROLYN HAX ——— Carolyn Hax is a colum­nist with The Washington Post. Email her at tellme@wash­

Dear Carolyn: My for­mer fi­ance, “John,” prefers stay­ing home to go­ing out un­less it’s for work or fam­ily. I’m easy­go­ing and never had a prob­lem un­til a few weeks ago when he didn’t come to an awards cer­e­mony where I was be­ing hon­ored. This was a big deal for me and I had to beg him to come.

Then he blew it off. In­stead he binged some Net­flix show be­fore it ex­pired. No apol­ogy.

I told him I needed to think and packed some things and went to my sis­ter’s. Af­ter think­ing things over, I told him I wanted to break up. John is sud­denly apolo­getic and promis­ing to go wher­ever I want. He says it’s stupid to break up over an awards cer­e­mony. He says he never messed up be­fore and de­serves a sec­ond chance. But I’m re­ally, re­ally happy. I didn’t feel sad when we were to­gether, but the thought of mar­ry­ing him makes me want to cry. Is John right about get­ting a sec­ond chance? And how could I not see how un­happy I was?

— Feel­ing Free

Dear Free: AAAAAAAAAA No, you do not go back to some­one just be­cause he thinks he “de­serves” a sec­ond chance.

What does that even mean? That your com­pany is his en­ti­tle­ment, or a pos­ses­sion of his that you took away?

You need to con­sider your next step ended with “I’m re­ally, re­ally happy.” You owe your­self that and you owe him — be­sides hon­esty and clar­ity — noth­ing. Not in a mean way, just in a you’re-a-free-per­son­with-agency-and-you-don’twant-to be-with-him way. Done.

In fact, this need to con­sider what you owe him got pretty twisted when you re­al­ized “the thought of mar­ry­ing him makes me want to cry” and yet you still man­aged to keep the ques­tion open about whether John was “right” that he has any say in your re­jec­tion of him.

What? No! Not right! Why are you even con­sid­er­ing it?

Es­pe­cially when he called your rea­sons, your epiphany about what you need from a part­ner, your de­ci­sive­ness in tak­ing the first step to­ward get­ting what you need, “stupid.”

This isn’t just a mat­ter of re­mark­able dis­re­spect — from the Net­flix­ing no-show through the per­sis­tence in treat­ing you like a com­mod­ity he de­serves to ob­tain. He thinks he gets to de­cide things for you and you think he might be right. This is a prob­lem you will carry with you into your life if you don’t take a hard look at it now. Coun­sel­ing with some­one good can open your eyes, as can my fa­vorite boundary primer, “Lifeskills for Adult Chil­dren” (Woititz/ Garner). Good luck.

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