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dating coach for smart, strong, successful women Evan Marc Katz
Dear Evan,

I broke up with my girlfriend of 11 months three months ago. I pulled the trigger but I think that if I hadn’t she would have within a month, we were fighting so much. We are both young (20-21) and in college, and were both each others’ first real relationship.

My problem is that, after cutting all contact with her for two months, I have recently started having sex with her again. Her idea. I initially rejected her offer out of spite (and to keep myself from developing feelings again), but she was persistent and so my “other” head won out over my rational head, as often happens.

Predictably, I think I have developed feelings for her again. These are not rational feelings. Logically, I know I do not want to be with her because 1) it’s over and I want to meet someone new, and I am actively pursuing other women (I have a date tomorrow in fact), and 2) she said and did some things that really hurt me while we were dating and I don’t want to go through that again.

But it’s not just the sex I like… she’s wonderful to hang out with, we have great interpersonal chemistry, she lends me CDs, always offers to help me with stuff, etc. I am also pretty introverted, so my social life takes a big hit if I cut her out of it.

In a moment of weakness where I brought up the possibility of a relationship again, she made it quite clear she does not want to be with me, beyond friends with benefits. Her rationale is, “I’m attracted to you, we’re compatible in bed and I love hanging out with you, but I can’t see me spending the rest of my life with you. Our values are too different.”

Simply, the alternative of reinventing your life is a lot less appealing than keeping up your unpleasant status quo.

My concern is that she will find someone before I do, and thus I will be alone and devastated, feeling used as a filler. We have discussed this and she says she wouldn’t feel that way if I found someone first… a bit jealous maybe, but not devastated. I know the best decision is to just STOP seeing her. I have made repeated attempts to do this, but they all ultimately fail. I don’t call her and she doesn’t call me, but we run into each other, and end up in bed every time. This is all my own failing, because she has made clear to me EXACTLY what she wants, with no pretense. Nobody is leading anybody on. I can tell her no any time I want… yet I never do.

Should I just suck it up and enjoy what I have while it lasts, or actively avoid her if I run into her? I’m confused as hell and I don’t know what I want.

R

Thanks for the email reminder, R, that relationship questions know no gender boundaries. You’re the traditional woman in this scenario, and I’m pretty sure that any woman here could tell you EXACTLY what to do.

But since you asked me, and I’m a guy, I’m going to lay it out for you in guy terms.

You had a good thing going that went bad. And what you’ve now discovered, at 21, is that, often having something flawed is better than having nothing.

This would explain why we stay in dead-end jobs and dysfunctional relationships way past their expiration dates. Simply, the alternative of reinventing your life is a lot less appealing than keeping up your unpleasant status quo.

And who could blame you? Losing a girlfriend means losing your best friend. It means giving up your source of constant sex. It means scrapping the relationship you’ve been building for 11 months. It means you suddenly have a lot of time to fill that was previously occupied. In short, a break-up leaves a tremendous void that doesn’t just get magically filled. It takes work. And a lot of the work is going to be of the trial-and-error variety – going out to bars and not having the guts to ask for a number, emailing a few women online who relegate you to the friend zone, taking out a few first dates where there’s no chemistry, hooking up with a couple of women for whom you have no feelings.

So you say to yourself – “Was it really that bad? I mean, my life kind of sucks now. Maybe I should give her more of a shot. She knows me a lot better than anyone else out there, we do have great sex, and I don’t have to take her on expensive dates.” And that’s how you find yourself right back where you started.

I’ve been in your shoes, and I’m very sympathetic. A woman I loved dumped me primarily because she couldn’t handle who I was – a dating coach, a flirt, and unapologetic about both. A few weeks after she broke up with me, she came back to figure out how to make things work. After all, we had so much worth preserving; it would be a shame to let our chemistry just fizzle out like that. But as much as I was dazzled by her and wanted her back, I knew one thing for sure: she was the exact same person who dumped me three weeks before. Nothing had changed – except we were both a little scared and lonely on our own. That fear and loneliness was bringing us back together, and would have been the easiest thing to give into.

She doesn’t want you back. She wants to use you like a sex toy and not deal with you as a boyfriend.

Don’t do it.

For two reasons: 1) After 11 months, you know this girl well enough to know exactly what you’d be getting if you took her back. 2) She doesn’t want you back. She wants to use you like a sex toy and not deal with you as a boyfriend. I can’t think of a stronger endorsement as to why you should cut this woman out of your life.

“Friends with benefits” is great conceptually; but once someone develops feelings, it all falls apart. Don’t ignore your feelings, R. Use them to your advantage. Think about all the reasons you resent your ex and use them as a justification to cut her off cold-turkey.

Not only will she survive just fine without you, but you’ll have a chance to thrive on your own. More importantly, your freedom will help you find a girlfriend who may be a keeper. This one’s certainly not it.