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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Time to grieve may be all you need to heal

Carolyn Hax The Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I broke up about a year ago. We had some legitimate reasons, and ultimately, I don’t think we were “right” for each other. But we did have a really great time while it lasted (for about a year and a half, friends for almost 10 years prior) and were head-over-heels in love.

The problem is that while I am resigned to the fact that we aren’t long-term material, I still can’t get over him. I have a great life – lots of friends, good job, very busy. I date, but I just can’t seem to take anyone else seriously. My thoughts always go back to my ex and how much I miss him. I still have strong feelings for him despite knowing it can’t work. It’s really starting to inhibit my life. Any advice? – Boston

Revisit your definition of “can’t work.” A cat person can live happily ever after with a dog person. The whole cat thing just has to be a part of yourself you can comfortably live without. Nothing wrong with compromising, as long as you aren’t compromising yourselves.

Side note – this is why it’s so bad to be desperate. Then there’s no part of yourself you wouldn’t gleefully drag to the curb if it meant you’d be with someone. Ugly.


If this ex broke up with you, then you have no choice but to get over him. My advice for that is to stop trying so hard to get over him. You don’t just snap out of a major loss, and you were in love; if that isn’t major, what is. Let up on yourself.

Obviously if “starting to inhibit my life” means it’s affecting your work, friendships or health, time to run by your doctor the possibility that you’re depressed. But if it’s merely a hurdle to dating, then stop dating and grieve as you need – usually until you start to see that whole grief thing as a part of yourself you can comfortably live without.

Dear Carolyn: A friend I grew up with is getting married this summer. I’m in the wedding party. She’s having a bachelorette party in a middle-of-nowhere resort town 2.5 hours away. I’m expected to be able to take off of work as well as pay $200 to rent an expensive cabin.

I stated my stance: supporting her decision, but regretting I would not be able to attend. I also offered alternatives that would still enable us to spend time together even if I was absent from the actual event. Now I have been deemed “less of a friend” because I am not going. Am I a bad friend or is this a bad idea? – Bachelorette Regret

There’s nothing wrong with the idea of an elaborate out-of-town party, and there’s nothing wrong with the friend who declines to go. Your regrets were just fine.

What counts as a bad idea – and bad friendship – is enforcing attendance at an elaborate out-of-town party as if it’s required by law. Any time you ask guests to travel and spend, you have to expect that some, if not most, will refuse. You may have shared a childhood with this girl, but you’re too kind to suggest she grew up.

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