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Ex’s role in his life too large to ignore

Dear Carolyn: The chemistry in my nine-month relationship is awesome, the hard work feels minimal, we stay up late and talk often.

I’ve always wanted my lover to be my best friend. There’s only one problem: He already has a best friend, his ex-girlfriend of eight years. He broke up with her because it was an unhappy relationship and their counselor said it was “maladaptive.” He’s made it clear to her that she would be the last woman on Earth he would date again.

She’s still in love with him. Now that I’m in the picture, she makes all the time in the world for him. They spend more time together than he and I do. They’re planning summer trips together.

When I told him how I felt, he said that he will not stop spending time with her.

She even does some of his grocery shopping and comes over in the morning when I’m still there, in bed.

My intuition tells me this is an extremely hot but completely screwed up relationship, but I’m seduced by the opportunity for me to become the model self-confident woman unaffected by trite things like silly ex-girlfriends.

Are we stupid? – L.

I think it’s great that you’re trying to be mature about the best friend.

But when you maintain that effort despite an almost comical tower of evidence that you’re the only one prioritizing this relationship – day to day and as an institution – it puts you on the dysfunction bus with the rest of them.

So if an argument for staying is what you want from me, then you’re on your own. If it’s a push out the door, then I’m skeptical, because you’d have left by now if that’s what you really wanted.

What’s left to advise? That you stop kidding yourself with artificial, high-minded goals, and instead take a cue from the guy, of all people: Decide what you will and won’t abide, draw those lines for others, and live accordingly. Anything else just wastes your time.