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How do I get her back?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  October 1, 2010 08:00 AM

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Details on a Love Letters event coming soon.

And this, well, I'm flattered. Can you imagine? I have to admit, the idea of discussing grilled cheese with George Stephanopoulos is sort of intriguing.

Today's letter brings us back to college, but it's an ageless problem. Wanting someone back.


Q: Where to start. I am a college student and I have been dating this girl I love for almost three years now. We were practically married; spent a majority of the day with each other, slept in each other's rooms every night, and things were going pretty well.

But last weekend she told me that she was flying to visit her father down south. When she returned on Monday she seemed very distant, cold, and like a completely different person. The next day we grabbed lunch together, and here's the real kicker -- she tells me that she actually didn't visit her father. She spent the weekend at this guy's house, someone she met at her grandfather's funeral a month ago. She cheated on me. I'm so in love with her that I forgave her and told her I wanted to make us work. She is now in a limbo and tells me she has no idea if she wants to be with me or be with this guy. We still see each other almost everyday for a meal and we act as if everything is normal. We hug, say we love each other, and when I ask her how she feels about us she still tells me that she has no idea what to do. And she continues to wear the necklace I gave her, but also the dog tags her new friend gave her last weekend.

And I blame myself for her cheating on me completely. My mother passed away suddenly two years ago and I took a lot of my anger out on her. Nothing physical -- but I would say some very demeaning, hurtful things. I never really fully appreciated her in our relationship and now I fully regret it. Now that she is gone I know what I had and I want to make it better. So what should I do? Should I give her time and wait for her? Do I move on and try to forget? And what do I say and do to try to get her back? Thanks a lot for the help!

– I Want Her Back, Pembroke

A: She's walking around wearing trinkets from two guys? Wow. She's confused -- and maybe a bit insensitive, yes?

I'm not sure that these ambiguous meals and hugs are helping either of you. My advice is to make your case one more time, possibly in writing so that she can read it more than once, and then give her (and yourself) some space. Just make sure that you're honest in your note. Don't promise her the world. Admit that you're confused but that you want to at least try to do this relationship right before calling it quits.

Know that no matter what she decides, you'll be just fine. You learned a major lesson about how to process tragedy, and now she's the one testing your limits. Yes, you might have contributed to the problem, but you have to be good to yourself. You can apologize, you can even grovel for a few hours, but you don't have to punish yourself on a daily basis by looking at some other guy's dog tags while you're trying to eat a sandwich.

Readers? Does he deserve to be put through these meals and hugs because he misbehaved? How can he undo what happened? Does he really want to be with her or is this about fear of more loss? Should he be promising her anything before he takes some space? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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