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She's a STAGE FIVE clinger

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  April 8, 2011 08:55 AM

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Your book reviews are here ... and this (below) has "Friday letter" written all over it. Enjoy.


Q: Hi Meredith,

I'm considered a pretty nice person, which at times is not good. Yes, I have gotten the whole "You're too nice" malarkey several times. And no, this is not one of those "waaahhh I'm too nice, I hate my life waaaahh" stories. No, I'm not like that I, I don't play that card, I find it pathetic. But every once in a while I wish I could be more of a jerk.

I'm a single person in my late 20s. I love my independence. I do things for myself and answer to no one. Would I like to have a girlfriend? Sure, if it's right, but right now I have other priorities. So, a couple weeks ago, I hooked up with this girl and she stayed over. Sweet, right? Wrong. I've known this person for a long time and had a sense that she liked me but I wanted no part of her beyond what we were doing that night and made that explicitly clear. Before anything physical began I reviewed the ground rules (this is what it is and not anything more, I don't want you calling me all the time, I will not visit you, I do not feel for you romantically, this is just a hook up etc etc). And now I am being mercilessly bombarded with numerous daily texts, phone calls, Facebook chat messages and wall posts, she's friended my friends ... I hate when my cell phone buzzes. Seriously it's NON STOP. I've reminded her of my pre-bedroom riot act speech but nothing changed. Currently I'm ignoring her and it’s not working.

So this where the whole "nice" thing comes in. I'm not totally unaccustomed to clingers, but this is for sure a STAGE 5 CLINGER. I usually have good radar for them, but I definitely let my guard down to satisfy an urge, and now this has become my life. My friends think this is hilarious, but even she's annoying them. Any breakup or parting of ways, aside from a couple nasty heartbreaks, has either been mutual, cordial, or ended by passive disinterest. I have never had to resort to being a jerk to get rid of someone and I really do not want start now. I feel like that might be my only resort unless you can figure out an alternative.

– Exploding Phone, South Shore


A: My dear EP, feel free to cut this next paragraph and email it to your clinger.

Dear [insert clinger's name here],
This is a difficult email to write. I'm concerned about our friendship. I allowed our relationship to become physical a few weeks ago and it was probably a mistake. I've been noticing that you're contacting me a lot more often than you used to, and while I think that you're pretty great, I just can't be the friend/partner you're looking for. I'm starting to feel guilty when I don't pick up the phone, and when I do pick up the phone, I afraid that it means more than it should. I think that we should take some space to figure out how to make our relationship more like it used to be. I care about you and don't want to hurt you. But I also want to be honest and make it clear that I was happy with what we had before we crossed a line. I hope you understand. For now, let's keep our distance.
Sincerely,
[your name here]

That answer falls somewhere between passive and jerky and makes it possible for you to block her on Facebook and to ignore her calls without feeling as though you're disappearing without explanation. Just be clear about what you need -- and do it respectfully. It's called being empathetic and assertive. You're capable.

Readers? How can he tell her to back off? Should he have known better than to start a recreational relationship with someone who likes him? Should his "ground rules" have been enough for her? Anybody else want to draft the e-mail (or should it be a phone call?) for this LW? 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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