Sunday 17 December 2017

Dear Mary: I'm devastated we've split. Is she stringing me on?

Illustration: Tom Halliday
Illustration: Tom Halliday

Mary O'Conor is a relationship counsellor and psychosexual therapist who offers advice in her weekly column.

I met this girl about eight months ago and I fell madly in love with her and thought that she felt the same about me. She had just broken up with her previous boyfriend as he went abroad for a job. She said that everything was over between them but they still kept in touch.

I was worried about this but she said that they were just good friends. We went on holiday together and it was simply wonderful. I was thinking long-term commitment and the whole future seemed mapped out for us. Then the guy came home and a week later she broke it off with me. She wants to remain friends and says that our relationship was very special to her, but I am devastated. How can I stay friends with her? She keeps ringing me up and I feel she is just stringing me along.

I've met her a few times and just to be near her is magical - and heart-breaking. But I still want to be with her. Am I crazy?

Mary replies: The significant fact here is that your girlfriend had only broken up with her previous boyfriend because he went abroad to work and not, it seems, because they had made a decision to end the relationship. You are probably too close to the whole issue to be clear-headed about it, whereas I can see the warning signs. It seems to me that she has always carried a torch for him, otherwise she would not have remained in touch with him. Then he was only a very short time home when she finished with you. However she wants to keep her options open by ringing you and meeting occasionally.

The only way for you to prevent further heartache and be able to move on is by severing all contact with her. Don't take her calls, don't call her back and above all don't meet up with her.

It is serving no purpose at all, other than reassuring her that you will come running whenever she feels like it. She no doubt enjoys the control she has over you. You will eventually get over her and will find somebody else who will treat you better than she has done.

I fully accept that she should be quite free to date whoever she likes, but I object, however, to her keeping in touch with you and giving you hope.

Above all keep busy.

Make sure to keep in contact with your friends, arrange nights out especially at the weekends, and be proactive in having a social life.

If you are at home moping you will be much more likely to weaken and accept her calls.

Sometimes it is difficult to get back into a social life as a single person but you will find that friends will rally around if you let them know that you are hurting.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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